DECEMBER is upon us. Soon enough, cinemas up and down the land will be chockablock with reruns of Christmas favourites, crackers and turkeys alike. Each year, we re-watch the same films - from It’s a Wonderful Life to A Muppets Christmas Carol - and, with each re-watch, they bring warmth to our souls.

It’s no mean feat for a festive feature to join this tinsel topped elite. And yet, each year, newcomers do their best. Whether A Boy Called Christmas will succeed in be in becoming a perennial classic is a question for the years to come. Critical acclaim is, as The Holiday attests, hardly the deciding factor.

From Monster House director Gil Kenan, A Boy Called Christmas comes from the quirky imagination of bestselling wordsmith Matt Haig. It’s an alternative origins story for Father Christmas, set in a wintery, eighteenth century Finland. When a young boy is left under the care of his ghastly aunt by his job seeking father, it’s not long before he too embarks into the unknown.

Newcomer Henry Lawfull proves an impish delight in the lead role. He plays Nikolas, occasionally nicknamed ‘Christmas’, son of Michiel Huisman’s Joel. Kristen Wiig is imperiously awful as the child-hating Aunt Carlotta, with Stephen Merchant bringing a pleasingly sharp tongue to Nikolas’ miniature companion Miika the mouse.

It’s a tale of seeing and believing and as strewn with festive iconography as a department store’s Christmas advert when it lands in early November. There are bears, elves and trolls, not to mention enough snow to cancel every train between Skipton and Carlisle for a year.

The film’s all star credentials are rounded off by turns from Jim Broadbent, Sally Hawkins and Toby Jones, while screenwriter Ol Parker succeeds in gifting a small role to Dame Maggie Smith, thanks to the addition of a modern day bookend.

All told, A Boy Called Christmas is really rather lovely. Diabetics ought take caution but Parker and Kenan succeed in circumnavigating an excess of saccharine sweetness thanks to some pleasingly earthbound sincerity.

Also out this week: Aml Ameen’s Boxing Day. Inspired by true events from Ameen’s own life, the film sees a British author return to London from stateside success to introduce his fiancé to his eccentric family.

Little Mix star Leigh-Ann Pinnock co-stars here, alongside Ameen himself and Yasmin Monet Prince. It plays as expected.