Christmas DVDs have been rolling in since September, believe it or not, but I just haven’t been able to bring myself to pull them together for a story before November.
So if you put up your tree and stockings and holly and mistletoe a couple of months ago and have been waiting anxiously for these, all I can say is — get help!
You will notice that the vast majority of these titles are cartoons aimed at little ones, but we’ll start with some newly released live-action films.
“12 Films of Christmas” (Lifetime/Lionsgate, 2005-08, six double-sided discs, $24.98, 12 movies). Twelve Lifetime cable movies, to be precise. Some are better than others, of course, but if you’re looking for discounted holiday-themed titles guaranteed to be warm-and-fuzzy and family-friendly, these comfort-food comedies, heart-tugging dramas and familiar fantasy riffs on “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Freaky Friday” should fill the bill.
Included are “The Road to Christmas,” with Jennifer Grey; “Recipe For a Perfect Christmas,” Christine Baranski; “Home By Christmas,” Linda Hamilton; “Holiday Switch,” Nicole Eggert; and three with wedding-bell themes: “A Christmas Wedding,” Dean Cain; “A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride,” Luke Perry, and “His & Her Christmas,” Wendie Malick.
“Holiday 4-Film Collection” (Lifetime, 2012, $19.98, four movies). These Lifetime movies that played on the cable channel last year are “The Christmas Consultant,” starring David Hasselhoff; “Holiday Spin,” featuring Ralph Macchio; “The March Sisters at Christmas,” a contemporary spin on “Little Women”; and “Holly’s Holiday,” a riff on the old Ava Gardner film, “One Touch of Venus.”
“Saving Santa” (Anchor Bay, 2013, $21.98, featurettes, music video). An unappreciated inventor elf (voiced by Martin Freeman) inadvertently reveals Santa’s location to an evil billionaire (Tim Curry), so he hops aboard his time-traveling machine and tries to undo what he’s done. Cute, amusing animated feature also features voice work by Joan Collins, Ashley Tisdale and, as Santa, Tim Conway. (A Walmart exclusive; also on Blu-ray, $29.99.)
“Alpha and Omega 2: A Howl-iday Adventure” (Lionsgate, 2013, $19.98, DVD and digital versions, featurettes, trivia, trailers). Follow-up to the “Alpha and Omega” theatrical cartoon has a wolf cub going missing in the snowy wilderness. (A Walmart exclusive.) (Also on Blu-ray, $24.99)
“The Horses of McBride” (aka “Christmas Rescue,” eOne, 2013, $14.98). Canadian holiday-themed family film is the true story of a community pulling together to rescue a pair of horses trapped in the Rockies. Country-music singer Mackenzie Porter stars, along with Aidan Quinn.
“Hitched for the Holidays” (Gaiam/Vivendi, 2012, $14.93). Catholic Rob Marino and Jewish Emily Hampshire pose as a couple to appease their respective families in this made-for-TV comedy.
“Merry In-Laws” (Gaiam, 2012. $14.93). George Wendt and Shelley Long do something of a “Cheers” reunion playing Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus in this TV movie about their son proposing to his girlfriend, although she has no idea who her in-laws will be.
“Come Dance With Me” (Gaiam/Vivendi, 2012, $14.93). Andrew McCarthy stars in this romantic holiday TV movie (a riff on “Shall We Dance?”) as an exec about to propose to the boss’ daughter when he decides to take dance lessons and sees sparks fly with his instructor.
“Scoot & Kassie’s Christmas Adventure” (Universal, 2013, $19.98, deleted scenes, bloopers). Luke Perry is in this kids comedy about a rescued police dog helping a young girl raise money for a charity while two crooks plot to steal the cash.
“Home for Christmas: A Golden Christmas 3” (Gaiam/Marvista, 2012, $14.93). Three golden retrievers assist in bringing together an unlikely couple during the holidays in this TV movie.
“Little Brother, Big Trouble: A Christmas Adventure” (Lionsgate, 2013, $26.98, featurettes, trailers). Animated feature about a young deer whose little brother goes missing on Christmas Eve.
“Rise of the Guardians” (Dreamworks, 2012, PG, $19.99, featurettes; toy marching elf). Re-release of the theatrical animated film about Santa Claus, Jack Frost, the Tooth Fairy, Sandman and the Easter Bunny coming together to stop evil Pitch Black, the boogeyman, from destroying the faith of children. Last Easter several DVD and Blu-ray versions featured Easter egg toys; this one has a Christmas elf.
“It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!” (Nickelodeon/Paramount/Blu-ray, 2012, $26.99; Blu-ray, DVD, digital versions; 11 episodes, featurettes, music video, two MP3 songs). This Christmas show from last year leads a collection of “SpongeBob SquarePants episodes. (A Walmart exclusive.)
“Care Bears: The Great Giving Holiday” (Lionsgate, 2013, $14.98, new movie, vintage episode). The title cartoon is a new straight-to-video movie about Beastly trying to spoil the holidays.
“The Secret World of Santa Claus: Elves in Toyland” (Cinedigm, 1997, $14.95, 13 episodes).
“The Secret World of Santa Claus: A Present for Santa” (Cinedigm, 1997, $14.95, 13 episodes). French animated series (dubbed in English) about Santa and his elves working at getting Christmas ready and meddlesome Gruzzlebeard making mischief for them.
“My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas” (Shout! Kids/Hasbro, 2005, $9.99, sing-alongs). Animated straight-to-video 44-minute holiday movie with Santa visiting Ponyville.
“Bubble Guppies/Team Umizoomi: Into the Snow We Go!” (Nickelodeon/Paramount, 2013, $14.99, three episodes). Holiday episodes from the animated kids shows of the title.
“Thomas & Friends: Santa’s Little Engine” (HIT/Lionsgate, 2013, $14.98, five episodes, interactive games). Holiday-themed episodes of the animated series for children about the anthropomorphic train and his pals.
“Bratz Babyz Save Christmas: The Movie” (Lionsgate, 2013, $14.98, five episodes). Straight-to-DVD animated movie based on the dolls (spun off of the Bratz line), plus five episodes from the TV series.Comment on this story
“Holiday Gifts From Nickelodeon: It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!” (Nickelodeon/Paramount, 2013, $19.99).
“Holiday Gifts From Nickelodeon: Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure” (Nickelodeon/Paramount, 2013, $19.99).
“Holiday Gifts From Nickelodeon: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise of the Turtles” (Nickelodeon/Paramount, 2013, $19.99). Each of these box sets features the title DVD, along with a coloring book, four crayons, a poster and a sticker sheet. For ages 3 and up.
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." His website is www.hicksflicks.com