Keep the Candy Canes! 4 French Christmas Cartoons to Sweeten Your Holidays
Want to add a little French flavor to your wintertime celebrations?
Learning French is especially fun during this time of year since you can authentically incorporate festive vocabulary into your different Christmas activities.
So why not continue your French studies curled up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa a great holiday film?
Fortunately, the French clearly agree that Christmas wouldn’t be the same without holiday cartoons, and there are plenty of great French titles to discover!
- 4 Sweet Christmas Cartoons for a Traditional French Holiday Season
- How to Learn French with Christmas Cartoons
4 Sweet Christmas Cartoons for a Traditional French Holiday Season
“L’apprenti Père Noël” (“Santa’s Apprentice”)
This heartwarming film was released in 2010 and has already become an annual must-see holiday classic in France.
“L’apprenti Père Nöel” tells the story of Santa Claus, who must retire from his post and choose an apprentice who will eventually replace him.
Though he doesn’t want to stop being Santa, he’s forced to pick a child as an apprentice or else risk the magic of Christmas ceasing forever.
A young orphan from Australia is chosen to take his place, but he lacks self-confidence and must learn to believe in himself while Santa has to learn to let go of his position and move on.
A sweet and unique story, this cartoon fits in perfectly with the touching and uplifting Christmas stories that we all love and count on each season.
The film is available for online renting or purchase at various sites, all of which are conveniently listed with their respective prices on Allocine.
If you like the film, you’ll also want to check out the cartoon series adaptation with episodes ranging from 12-30 minutes each. The great thing about the series is that all of the episodes are available for free on YouTube.
“L’agenda du Père Noël” (“Santa’s Address Book”)
This short, 23-minute cartoon tells a story about Christmas spirit, similar to many of the classics that English speakers regularly enjoy.
The film opens with Christmas being threatened because of a decline in the belief of holiday magic and Santa Claus.
What’s more, Santa accidentally erases all of the children’s addresses, among other things, from his electronic organizer and risks causing even more disbelief.
In order to save the holiday, he must find a way to bring back Christmas spirit among the children. Luckily, he has help from Jasmine, a young girl trying to convince her brother that Santa is real, and a pair of silly elves back at the North Pole.
This charming little cartoon can be found for free on YouTube.
“L’Enfant au grelot” (“Charlie’s Christmas”)
This adorable short film is just under thirty minutes long and features an incredibly charming animation style.
The story is equally charming, opening with a violent winter storm having blown a mysterious baby in a basket into the middle of a forest, where a kind-hearted mailman finds him with nothing to indicate his origins except for a tiny bell.
The mailman delivers him to the closest orphanage, where he grows up and always struggles with wondering where he comes from and who his family is.
Some years later, the boy helps the mailman, who has become his best friend, deliver the children’s letters to Santa. In the process, he discovers many answers to the questions he’s pondered during his childhood.
This must-see film is available to rent or purchase on Vimeo.
“Le cristal magique du Père Noël” (“Santa Claus’s Magic Crystal”)
Released in 2011, this animated film follows the notion that Santa Claus has a magic crystal that allows him to deliver presents to all of the kids around the world on Christmas night.
However, when Santa’s evil assistant, Basil, steals the crystal in order to enslave children, everything is at stake.
To make things right, Santa teams up with a young boy named Yotan, and together they undergo many trials and adventures in order to rescue the kids and restore Christmas.
To watch this cute and unique film, check out the various renting and buying options on Allocine.
How to Learn French with Christmas Cartoons
Before you jump into these films, you should remember that you’re watching as a learner, not just as an average viewer. There are many different approaches to learning a language through watching films, and you should pick the method that best fits your learning style.
For example, if you’re an auditory learner, then perhaps it’s best for you to turn the subtitles off and simply listen to the dialogue in the film.
If you learn best visually, then leave the subtitles on but try keeping them in French so you can see the words you’re hearing.
Finally, if you’re truly a beginner and barely acquainted with any French at all, you can certainly add English subtitles while you watch, but be careful not to simply rely on these. Instead, really listen and associate what you’re hearing in French with the English meaning.
A great way to prepare for one of these holiday films is to brush up on some French Christmas vocabulary beforehand so you’ll better follow the storyline. For this, the language learning program FluentU can help. It has a library of authentic French videos, including holiday-related content, and each one has interactive subtitles that teach words in context. You can then review them through personalized flashcards and quizzes.
Build up your word bank and then try seeing how many holiday words you can recognize during the films you watch!
Another wonderful advantage to watching French Christmas cartoons in particular is that they’re normally meant for families with children, so the enunciation and vocabulary will be geared towards younger audiences. This makes them perfect for a new French speaker.
Don’t just stop with these great French cartoons, but continue your holiday season binge-fest with some wonderful live-action French Christmas films as well!
Enjoy the Christmas season and have a joyeux Noël! (Merry Christmas!)