Top 10 non-Christmas animated movies to spice up winter break


Josh Campbell

Tired of watching all of the same Christmas movies every December? The Sidekick executive editor-in-chief Sally Parampottil shares her top 10 animated movies to watch over winter break that are not Christmas related.

Sally Parampottil, Executive Editor-in-Chief

With two weeks of rest and relaxation right at around the corner, you may be wondering how to fill your time. Rewatch the same few sitcoms? Maybe start one of the many shows you have on your ever-growing “to watch” list? Resort to the annual handful of worthwhile Christmas movies?  

Look, I love Macaulay Culkin as much as the next person (Home Alone will be playing at least once before Christmas). However, my watch list extends beyond just the basic. Here are my top 10 underappreciated animated movies to watch over winter break – and none of them are Christmas related. 

1 – Chicken Little

If you are not punched in the face with nostalgia from this movie, I am sorry to say your childhood was lacking. 

Chicken Little introduced me to so many pop culture references when I first watched it: Indiana Jones running away from the boulder, songs like “Wannabe,” “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” “I Will Survive” and “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” and even the fact that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father. Was it cheesy, unrealistic and all over the place? Was its humor odd and sometimes random? Did it have Adam West, Don Knotts and Sir Patrick Stewart all voice characters only to receive a 37% on Rotten Tomatoes? Absolutely – and that is exactly why you should watch it. It may not be an objectively good movie, but it sure is a fun one. Despite its poor ratings, it is one of the staples of my childhood and one I recommend to people of all ages. 

2 – The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Perhaps I am biased because I read the original book of the same name in second grade and listen to the musical adaptation enough times to get the album on my Spotify Wrapped, but I love this movie to no end. With mature themes (ethnic cleansing, persecution and a villain displaying most of the seven deadly sins) and an incorporation of religious elements, there is more meat to this story beyond just what children pick up on, making it perfect for older viewers. While significantly watered down from the source material, the story is good all the same. Beautiful animation and an iconic soundtrack add to the stellar plot. Most importantly, Esmeralda is one of the few brown female characters I had as a role model as a child, and this movie holds a special place in my heart because of how awesome she is.

3 – Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island

Scooby-Doo is always a good watch, but this specific direct-to-video movie is one of my favorites. The best part is the fact that it actually scared me as a kid, and it is one of the few movies which (semi-spoiler alert!) does not follow traditional Scooby-Doo conclusions. Oh yeah, and “It’s Terror Time Again” is one of the catchiest songs of any Scooby-Doo movie of all time.

4 – Anastasia 

Though not true to the historical tale of the Romanov family (the last of the dynasty to rule Russia before their execution in 1918), the spectacular production of this movie is enough to ignore its inaccuracies. Magic dances on your screen, extending beyond just the literal magic in the plot. The clothing, the hair, the use of color for the settings – it all weaves  a seamless visual story.

5 – Megamind 

When I watched this in theaters back in 2010, it was my all time favorite. Step aside Disney princesses – this blue alien with a massive head and an identity crisis had taken the spotlight. With action, comedy and a plot twist that shocked my tiny mind, this is a movie I would not mind watching again.

6 – Cinderella III: A Twist in Time

I may offend some Cinderella fans, but the third movie is the best of the franchise. While I recommend you watch the first movie for context, I have very little memory of the second one and highly doubt you would miss anything if you were to skip over it. You have time travel, Prince Charming having an actual personality, a high-speed ride in a literal pumpkin on wheels, a redemption arc and Cinderella taking on a more direct role in determining her future. What more could you ask for?

7 – A Monster in Paris 

If I had to describe this movie in three phrases, they would be “Lucky Charms leprechaun-looking man,” “wildly unrealistic body proportions” and “jumbo fly man.” 

A French movie, A Monster in Paris is actually Un monstre à Paris and has both an English and French version – both which I have seen. With a funny tale of science going wrong, a creature being judged for its appearance and a handful of love stories here and there, this is a good movie to watch with family or a group of friends. The song “La Seine” from the soundtrack is one I still listen to to this day.

8 – The Sword in the Stone 

Yes, this movie is old. However, 57 years after its release, this 1963 Disney movie is still entertaining. 

This movie does not depict King Arthur in all his glory, in the midst of battle or speaking with his knights of the round table. It shows him as a little kid who has little magical adventures with his wizard companion and his talking owl. As a child, this kept me engaged, despite its lack of relative popularity compared to other Disney movies. As an adult, the ending feels more satisfying and conclusory than it did when I first watched it over a decade ago.

9 – The Book of Life 

As lively as its name, this animated movie is a vibrant and colorful tale of love. Set in Mexico, the entire story is wildly captivating. Similar to Song of the Sea, the animation style is eye-catching. This is a movie that will make you feel happy, and in my opinion, there is no better type of movie to watch over break.

10 – Song of the Sea

This is an enchanting Irish movie about a boy and his sister, a selkie (a being who can change between human and seal in Celtic folklore). While the target audience is on the younger side, there are many reasons why this movie is worth watching. 

A beautiful and unique animation style sets the mood of every scene. The music is astounding – it is actually how I discovered this movie in the first place. The plot may not be the absolute deepest or complex, but this adorable movie is perfect to unwind and relax to. 

Follow Sally (@SParampottil) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.