To get into the holiday spirit we like to turn our family movie nights into an event, along with activities and snacks inspired by the movie.

We use it as a way to sneak in learning while we can. I am often googling things while the movie is on so we can connect with the fun facts (and separate it from the fiction). 

Our first Christmas movie this year was Noelle on Disney+. Produced in 2019 by Walt Disney Pictures, Noelle tells the story of Santa's only daughter, Noelle (played by Anna Kendrick).

After the unfortunate passing of her father, the Santa hat gets passed to her big brother Nick (Bill Hader). Nick struggles to find his jingle bell groove. So he flees the North Pole.

And chaos ensues!

It is a cute movie with the most magical North Pole set. It bursts with holiday joy, as we see Noelle skating around town on the ice track!

What to watch for:

Hidden Mickeys. They are everywhere! A hidden Mickey is a Mickey Mouse head hidden in a lot of Disney entities. It has become a popular pastime at Disney resorts to try to spot hidden Mickeys in attractions, and in hotels and restaurants. There are books to help family sleuths spot them all (which does help pass the time in the long lines).

But Disney likes to include Mickey “Easter eggs” in their movies too, and Noelle has several! So tell your kids to keep an eye out! If you want a head start, I will list what I saw (if you want to find them yourself skip to the next paragraph): the flooring in the Claus house, on young Noelle’s pajamas, and on the fireplace. But rumor has it there are a lot more. So if you spot others, let us know!!

Puffins! As Noelle skates through town she nearly crashes into a colony of Puffins. She warns them by exclaiming, “Puffins, scatter!”

So my kids wanted to know if there were really puffins in the North Pole. There are, indeed, puffins in the Arctic Circle. According to the National Audubon Society puffins are about the height of a quart jug of milk and weigh as much as a can of soda.

Reindeer Food: When Noelle and company arrive in Phoenix they cause quite a stir at the shopping mall where they land. People flock to Petco to buy bird seed so they can feed the team of reindeer. Noelle comments that they love birdseed! But is that what they eat at home in the North Pole? My research shows that their diet should be made up mainly of grasses, herbs and moss.

Noelle-inspired activity

When we first meet Noelle she is known for spreading joy with her beautiful handmade cards. So be like Noelle and spread joy. Empty out those craft drawers and make holiday cards. Sending loved ones a specially handcrafted card will give them an unexpected surprise.

Or make cards to send to local senior homes, where visitors are restricted in most areas right now. Call facilities in your area to find out where to mail them. Or read this article for ideas of organizations that can advise you.

You can also make cards for our troops. Make a batch and leave them in unopened envelopes (to pass inspection). Do not include last name or any contact info and send them to:

Support Our Troops®

13791 N. Nebraska Avenue

Tampa, FL 33613


In the movie, Noelle and Nick both love signature smells of the season, and we have taste tested snacks that represent them each.

Noelle seems to have a liking for Gingerbread. When her pet reindeer tracks her halfway across the globe, she marvels at his scenting skills. To which her nanny and travel companion replies, "How many people wear gingerbread deodorant?"

So in honor of Noelle we present to you:

Noelle’s Gingerbread Chex™ Mix


6 C. Rice or Corn Chex™ Cereal

12 broken up ginger snaps

1/2 C. butter melted

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. molasses

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

pinch cloves

11 oz bag of white chocolate melting wafers

1. Add cereal to a large bowl and mix in ginger snaps.

2. In a small saucepan, over medium melt butter stirring constantly. Add remaining spices. Or microwave on medium for 1 minute at a time. Stir and repeat until butter is fully melted.

3. Pour the butter mixture over the cereal and mix.

4. Spread out onto a cookie sheet with wax paper.

5. Melt white chocolate wafers according to package instructions.

6. Drizzle chocolate over the cereal mixture and refrigerate for 15 minutes before serving.

Nick’s flavor of the season is chocolate and peppermint. After a stressful week training to take over Santa duties, Nick grabs a hot cocoa with extra whipped cream and candy cane. He remarks to his sister, “Thank garland for hot chocolate and peppermint! ” Later on this scent will help Noelle figure out where her brother went after leaving the North Pole.

 So here in honor of Nick we have:

 Nicks Chocolate Candy Cane Chex™ Mix

5 cups Chocolate Chex® cereal

1 cup pretzel twists

11 oz bag of dark chocolate melting wafers

⅓ cup crushed candy canes


  1. Add cereal and pretzels to a large bowl and mix.
  2. Melt chocolate wafers according to package instructions.
  3. When chocolate is smooth, add half of the crushed candy cane.
  4. Our chocolate mixture over the cereal mixture and mix.
  5. Pour on to a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
  6. Add remaining candy cane on top and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

For proof that Santa is real, pick up one of our magical Santa Proof Kits.