8-Bit Christmas - Family Movie Review and FREE Activity Sheets

(L-r) SOPHIA REID-GANTZERT as Annie Doyle and NEIL PATRICK HARRIS as Jake Doyle in New Line Cinema and HBO Max’s family film “8-BIT CHRISTMAS.” (Image from HBO Max)

Take Christmas, a hint of nostalgia, and the always entertaining Neil Patrick Harris - combine together and you get a delightful new holiday classic, 8-Bit Christmas, now streaming on HBO Max.  8-Bit Christmas is an entertaining, if slightly familiar, story about a little boy in a quest for the ultimate Christmas gift.  Sound familiar?  Yeah, it's got a little bit of an A Christmas Story feel to it, but the 80s baby in me finds this retro Christmas flick a walk down memory lane.  But I wasn't the only one who enjoyed it - the kids fell in love too!

Click here to download 8-Bit Christmas Activity Sheets!

8-Bit Christmas Family Movie Review

It's the late 80s and every kid is in a quest for the ultimate Christmas gift - a Nintendo Entertainment System.  That's right, long before the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and X-Box topped Santa's wish lists, it was Paperboy, Super Mario Bros, and Duck Hunt that reigned supreme.  With a similar vibe to A Christmas Story, Jake Doyle is an adult now looking back on that magical holiday season and retelling just how far he went to try and get the 8-bit entertainment system of his dreams.  Parents questioning the value and safety of the gaming system (similar to "you'll shoot your eye out, kid"), a bully, and a teacher seemingly determined to stand in his way, won't deter Jake and his dedicated group of friends.  What he ultimately discovers though?  The most special Christmas gift may not be the one that you spend the whole season searching for.

(L-r) BRIELLE RANKINS as Tammy Hodges, BRAELYN RANKINS as Teddy Hodges, MAX MALAS as Jeff Farmer, CHE TAFARI as Mikey Trotter, WINSLOW FEGLEY as young Jake Doyle and SANTINO BARNARD as Evan Olsen in New Line Cinema and HBO Max’s family film “8-BIT CHRISTMAS.” (Image from HBO Max)

There's a lot to love in this move as it feels both familiar and fresh at the same time.  Neil Patrick Harris is one of my favorites with his witty comedic timing carrying most of the film as he narrates from the present day.  Not to be outdone, Winslow Fegley (young Jake Doyle), Steve Zahn (John Doyle), and June Diane Raphael (Kathy Winslow) all bring the laughs too.  But perhaps my favorite of the Doyle family is young Lizzy Doyle played by Bellaluna Resnick.  She is the quintessential little sister - adorable and annoying all wrapped into one!  

Check out my favorite quotes from 8-Bit Christmas here!

This movie is made for families to enjoy together.  Parents will love the look back at the 80s and kids will connect with the quest for the ultimate gift - something that still holds true to this day.  No concerns with language, violence, or any inappropriate scenes, but your kids may get a few ideas of how to pull some fast ones over on you here!  Tune into HBO Max this holiday season and make 8-Bit Christmas a new tradition in your house!

About 8-Bit Christmas (From HBO Max)

Starring Neil Patrick Harris, Winslow Fegley, June Diane Raphel and Steve Zahn, 8-Bit Christmas is a humorous and heartfelt look back at the adventures of childhood. Set in suburban Chicago in the late 1980s, the story centers on ten-year-old Jake Doyle’s (Fegley) herculean quest to get the latest and greatest video game system for Christmas.

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