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'A Boy Called Christmas' — release date, cast, plot and everything we know about this new movie

A Boy Called Christmas is a new twist on the Santa Claus origins story.
A Boy Called Christmas is a new twist on the Santa Claus origins story. (Image credit: Sky Cinema)

A Boy Called Christmas has an all-star cast to die for, including Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent and Toby Jones, and a setting to rival Narnia, so this big movie promises to be as Christmassy as it comes. 

Coming to cinemas, Sky Cinema and launching on Netflix in select countries such as the US, the film tells the story of the origins of Santa Claus/Father Christmas through the adventures of Nikolas, a young boy from Finland who ends up setting off on a magical quest.

Joining him are his loyal pet mouse Miika (voiced by Stephen Merchant) and a headstrong reindeer Blitzen.

Here's our guide on what to expect in A Boy Called Christmas...

'A Boy Called Christmas' release date 

A Boy Called Christmas is a big festive movie launching on Netflix in the US on Wednesday, Nov.24. In the UK it will be shown on the Sky Cinema channel from Friday November 26 and in cinemas across the UK  Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France and China on that same date. So you can expect to feel that festive spirit nice and early. 

'A Boy Called Christmas' plot 

A Boy Called Christmas follows a decidedly ordinary boy called Nikolas, nicknamed ‘Christmas’, who sets out on an extraordinary adventure into the snowy north in search of his father who is on a quest to find the fabled elf village of Elfheim. It’s a dangerous trek and Nikolas faces many obstacles but he eventually discovers Elfheim, which is only found through true faith. However, there he learns that humans are hugely unpopular and he’s thrown into a dungeon with a hungry troll and a truth pixie, who can’t tell lies. No spoilers here but it’s fair to say Nikolas goes on quite the journey, in more ways than one! 

'A Boy Called Christmas' cast

Newcomer Henry Lawfull plays protagonist Nikolas but he has a stellar cast supporting him. Toby Jones (Detectorists) plays Father Topo while Downton Abbey’s Dame Maggie Smith is Aunt Ruth. Jim Broadbent, star of the Harry Potter movies, is Father Vodol. Stephen Merchant, from The Office and Jojo Rabbit, lends his voice to Nikolas’ mouse friend Miika while Sally Hawkins (Paddington) is Mother Something. Indica Watson, Kristen Wiig, Michiel Huisman and Zoe Colletti also star. 

Dame Maggie Smith as Aunt Ruth in A Boy Called Christmas.

Dame Maggie Smith as Aunt Ruth in A Boy Called Christmas. (Image credit: Sky Cinema)

Father Vodol (Jim Broadbent) looks a little scary in A Boy Called Christmas.

Father Vodol (Jim Broadbent) looks a little scary in A Boy Called Christmas. (Image credit: Sky Cinema)

'A Boy Called Christmas' trailer 

The trailer for A Boy Called Christmas (below) sees Dame Maggie Smith, aka Aunt Ruth, telling a group of children that until Nikolas nobody had ever heard of Christmas. We see the King asking for volunteers to travel to the edge of the kingdom to bring back a spark of magic to give hope to its people. Then we join Nikolas as he sets off with his cute mouse companion on an epic quest to find the fabled elf village. The trailer shows a winter wonderland, full of magic, which suggests this movie will be more Christmassy than Mr Claus himself. And as Dame Maggie Smith says in the trailer: “Nikolas showed the world that anything could happen.”

'A Boy Called Christmas' locations

Filming of A Boy Called Christmas took place in Lapland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and London. It was directed by Academy Award nominee Gil Kenan (Monster House). Ol Parker (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, The Best Exotic Marigold Hoteland Gil Kenan adapted the screenplay from the bestselling book by Matt Haig (see below).

'A Boy Called Christmas' — the books by Matt Haig 

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig is the first in a festive series of books for children by the best-selling author and mental health campaigner. His other books include The Girl Who Saved Christmas and A Mouse Called Miika, about Nikolas’ trusty companion, so don’t be surprised if they make it onto the big screen too. The idea came about when Matt’s son asked what Father Christmas was like as a boy. 

“I wrote this story to cheer myself up,” Matt wrote on Instagram when he saw the movie’s poster (see below). “A story of hope in the dark. Never expected this to happen.” 

The books are illustrated by Chris Mould. 

A Boy Called Christmas poster.

The 'A Boy Called Christmas' poster. (Image credit: Sky Cinema)

For other Christmas treats to enjoy in 2021, hit the links below... 

* Robin Robin
Terry Pratchett’s The Abominable Snow Baby
Death in Paradise Christmas special
Worzel Gummidge Christmas 2021
The Amazing Mr Blunden
The Mezzotint
Netflix reveals 2021 holiday movies, TV shows and specials lineup