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Here's Where You Can Watch The First Christmas Movie Ever From 1898

The Holidays are coming up fast. December is almost here, meaning it's time to think about all the new and old Christmas movies that need to be screened this year. For those who grew up in the 1990s and early 2000s, there are likely a few that hold a special place in their hearts. "Home Alone," featuring Macaulay Culkin and Joe Pesci, is a longtime fan-favorite (via Reddit) and still has a majority of positive reviews from critics (via Rotten Tomatoes). "Elf" was released in 2003 and proceeded to take on a life of its own, launching the career of Will Ferrell into superstardom. He even has a new Christmas movie this year alongside Ryan Reynolds called "Spirited," which was released on Apple TV+. The list goes on, including "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," and more.

However, it's sometimes tough to beat the old classics. Many might think of "It's a Wonderful Life" for this category, as it is truly a staple of cinema during the holidays and what some consider to be the best Christmas movie ever made, even 80 years later (via RadioTimes). There's also "Miracle on 34th Street," "White Christmas," and many more. Although, this certainly raises a question about how far back Christmas movies really go. There's a 1923 "Scrooge" silent film that you can watch on YouTube, but it may surprise you to know that you can still watch the very first Christmas movie ever made — released over a century ago.

The first ever Christmas movie is Santa Claus from 1898

Produced about 50 years before "It's a Wonderful Life," the very first Christmas movie that is known to experts around the world is 1898's "Santa Claus." Not only is it the first Christmas movie, but it's allegedly the first time Santa Claus ever appeared on film (via Nerdist). The movie is silent, just over one-minute long, and originated in the United Kingdom from director George Albert Smith. Thanks to the British Film Institute, anyone can screen the movie on YouTube, and the plot essentially introduces the basic concept of what Kris Kringle, or Santa Claus, does. He comes down the chimney while the children are dreaming in their beds and leaves gifts. In 2019, Deadline reported on the "Santa Claus" film as well, explaining the intricacies behind the filmmaking, and how it was a pretty big accomplishment at the time.

Smith used parallel action to show the audience Santa Claus coming down the chimney and the mother putting her children to bed simultaneously on-screen. This was likely incredibly cool for audiences at the time, as "Santa Claus" was one of the first films to employ this effect (via Deadline). 

"Santa Claus" comes 10 years after the very first film ever shot: 1888's "Roundhay Garden Scene" (via Guinness World Records).