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The Best Christmas Movies For Kids and Family

Updated on September 3, 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is approaching us soon. That means the television will be filled with a TON of Holiday movies. When my kids were smaller, I remember struggling with trying to decide which movies would be suitable for them to watch and which movies they would like. Of course, two girls equals two different personalities. But I have compiled some of the best Christmas movies there is out there so there is something for every child!


A Christmas Story

You're going to shoot your eye out! This classic film from 1983 you will have no problem finding on the television during Christmas time. It plays in constant rerun every Christmas Day! As a child, I loved this movie. It stars two children eager for Christmas and a Red Ryder BB Gun that can relate to our own children and enough comedy to keep the adults entertained. Remember the leg lamp anyone? Or the pink bunny pajamas? Sit down with the whole family and a bowl of popcorn on this one and enjoy this classic Christmas movie sure to please all ages.

Did You Know?

- This film was so popular, it's listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the highest grossing live-action comedy ever!

- The film also spent 12 straight weeks at the box office at No.1!


Home Alone

Rated PG. Here is another classic Christmas movie that I thought would relate more to my eldest child but indeed is well-loved by my youngest. She loves this film so much that we have it on DVR, DVD, and she watches it all year round! Premiering in 1990, it stars Macaulay Caulkin as main star child Kevin McCallister and his large, and crazy family. The McCallisters are going away on vacation for the holidays to visit family in Paris, France. But, when Kevin gets into what seems like an all too common fight with his older brother Buzz, Kevin gets sent up to the scary 3rd floor bedroom/attic to sleep and think about his actions. The next morning the family finds themselves rushing to get to the airport on time, that they forgot to wake up the youngest family member, Kevin! What follows is non-stop comedy of a family stuck in Paris trying to get back to a child home alone, a child way more happier then he should be to be free of his crazy family, and two burglars, Harry and Marv, desperate to get their theiving hands on the McCallister home. Sit down and buckle up for a comedic ride the whole family will enjoy!


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Home Alone 2: Lost In New York

Rated PG. They're back! There are not many movies out there that can follow up with a sequel that is just as good as the first one. Home Alone is the rare exception. Being another family favorite, this film has the same cast as the first with the same enjoyable laughs. This time, the McCallisters are trying to enjoy a nice family holiday vacation in Miami, Florida. Only they don't forget Kevin, he gets lost in the airport and winds up on the wrong plane! A small child lost in the biggest city there is, New York City that is. Smart enough to land an exquisite room at the prestigious Plaza hotel and armed with his fathers carry-on bag with credit cards, what could possibly go wrong? Of all coincidences there is, who might Kevin see on the streets of the Big Apple? Harry and Marv, the burglars he sent away freshly escaped from prison! We are in it again for some great laughs an booby traps in this equally hilarious film!

It's a Wonderful Life Trailer (1946)

It's a Wonderful Life

NR Christmas is absolutely not Christmas until you have watched this critically acclaimed film. Try researching the top Christmas movies and I will guarantee most will have this movie as it's top choice. Why? It's a Wonderful Life (1946) is considered one of the most loved films in American Cinema and reasonably so. It's amazing! This film is tradition, an absolute Christmas staple in our home and I suspect in many other homes as well.

The movie stars James Stewart as George Bailey. George is a man who has given up on his dreams and spends his life helping other people. However, he becomes severely depressed and decides to end his life by jumping off of a bridge. Then enters his guardian angel Clarence who ultimately saves George's life by taking him into a series of flashbacks showing him what life would be like in his hometown of Bedford Falls, New York had George never existed. Get the tissues ready for this tearjerker ending. Will George realize that he indeed has a wonderful life?

Best Family Christmas movies. The Santa Clause
Best Family Christmas movies. The Santa Clause | Source

The Santa Clause

Rated PG There's no way I could not add this laugh until my stomach hurt Christmas movie. It was my favorite as a kid! I remember begging my parents constantly for the VHS tape and when I finally got it, I watched it over and over while pretending I was an elf working at the North Pole making toys. Oh to be a kid again. Now, it has become a family favorite in my home. I have always been a big fan of Tim Allen but the thing about this movie that differentiates it from others, is the child doesn't steal the show, Tim Allen does with his hilarious antics!

Tim Allen stars as a divorced father Scott Calvin. Coincidentally, the same initials as Santa Claus. Wink. His son, Charlie, reluctantly comes to stay with his father on Christmas Eve. Charlie wakes up in the middle of the night to some very strange noises on the roof. Scott runs outside in his underwear to see what's going on and startles Santa leading him to falling off the roof and then disappearing leaving only his suit behind for Scott to put on and finish up Santa's trip. Scott, not believing in the whole Santa Claus thing, annoyingly puts on the suit to allevitate Charlie's whining. But after they finish delivering toys, the reindeer take them back to the North Pole where Scott comes to realize that in putting on the suit, he has now accepted the CLAUSE. To be Santa Claus of course!

What follows is a comedic ride but also a heart- warming one. Sit down with the whole family and enjoy this box-office hit!

Best family Christmas movies. Miracle on 34th Street
Best family Christmas movies. Miracle on 34th Street | Source

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Here's to yet another Academy Award Winner and a classic, traditional family favorite. It's a classic that seems to always appeal to kids from generation to generation. The film was also considered the best film in 1947!

Edward Gwenn stars is this magical film as a man named Kris Kringle who sets out to find the man who is supposed to star as Santa in the Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. But when Kris finds him, he is completely drunk! Doris, played by Maureen O'Hara, is the director of the parade and asks Kris to take his place. Come parade time, Kris Kringle does such a fantastic job that he is hired on as Santa! He eventually comes to love his role as Santa before believing that he actually is Santa! Follow along in this film through a memorable look into an older, more classic New York City at a popular department store and a man many want evaluated for his mental health. Is Kris Kringle indeed Santa Claus?

Best kids Christmas films. The Polar Express
Best kids Christmas films. The Polar Express | Source

The Polar Express

Rated G. I remember the first time I watched this film, I was completely blown away by the graphics. They're amazing! That's because they used real human characters and made a live action performance capture into animation. As a matter of fact, The Polar Express is yet another Christmas film to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records, this time as the first all-digital capture film. And also, Tom Hanks plays 6 fantastic roles in this movie. Who doesn't love Tom Hanks?!

The story takes place in the 1950s on Christmas Eve. A young boy is at that age where he is questioning his belief in Santa Claus. But as he is asleep in his bed that night, he is awaken by the sound of The Polar Express train stopping right outside his house! Fascinated by the train, the conductor(Tom Hanks) informs him that they are headed to the North Pole and let's the boy on. On the train, he encounters other young children there to take the journey as well. This is a magical, yet deeper story about truly believing. Even tough critic Robert Ebert had given it his highest score and noting the films "haunting, magical quality." This is a film I see far into the future becoming a Christmas classic.

Check Out A Preview for Yourself!

Best kids Christmas Movies. The Grinch
Best kids Christmas Movies. The Grinch | Source

Dr. Suess' How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Rated PG. This one is for my oldest daughter. Her and I have to sit down every year with a big bowl of popcorn or a cozy warm mug of hot chocolate and get this movie under our belt. It's her favorite! This is a movie, though, that may not be suitable for a younger audience because my youngest(who is 4 currently) is terrified of the Grinch! So, please keep that in mind. This is Dr. Seuss's first film to be adapted into a full length feature film. Also, it is the second highest grossing Christmas film of all time behind who? Home Alone nonetheless!

The movie stars Jim Carey as the Grinch and he plays the role perfectly! The Grinch is definitely a role made for the ever so hilarious comedian. Everyone in the town of Whoville absolutely loves Christmas and pulls out all the stops at making it a cheerful and glorious celebration. The Grinch, however, hates Christmas due to some horrendous bullying as a child. After a rather embarrassing event at school one day, the Grinch swears off Christmas and the town of Whoville before escaping to a cave on top of a mountain never to be seen or heard of since. Over the years, that lead to him not being particularly liked for his outlandish pranks, or an urban legend made up by the younger generation that terrifies them.

Cindy Lou(played by Taylor Momsen) is a bit different however. What a curious, brave soul. After spotting the Grinch and not convinced he is the sadistic creature everyone says he is, nominates him for the Cheermeister Award at the annual Christmas Whobilation celebration. The older kids and the adults will love this one for the humor. So sit down and get ready to laugh. I do every time!

Best Children Christmas Films. Elf
Best Children Christmas Films. Elf | Source


Rated PG. Buddy the Elf. Need I say more? This 2000 Christmas comedy starring Will Ferrell, James Caan, and Zooey Deschanel seems to be another funny family favorite. This film may not be suitable for younger children also, however.

Buddy(played by the awesome Will Ferrell) stars as an over sized Elf, whom his fellow elves have convinced him his largeness is due to him being "special". Special he is alright. But one day, he overhears another elf revealing his true identity. Buddy the elf isn't indeed an elf at all, but actually a human! The story goes that Buddy was given up for adoption when he was born, and one night when Santa was visiting his orphanage, Buddy, fascinated by Santa's sleigh, slipped into his bag of toys where he was then taken back to the North Pole. The fellow elves took him under their wing and put Buddy to work in the workshop!

After Buddy realizes his true identity though, he sets off to the Big Apple in search of his biological father. With a whole new world out there, watch Buddy bring Christmas cheer to a city full of skeptics. And watch a man encounter his father for the first time only to realize he is on Santa's naughty list! Get the tissues ready for the tears. Not tears of sadness though, you will laugh so hard you cry!

Get Ready to Laugh!

Best Children's Christmas Films. A Charlie Brown Christmas
Best Children's Christmas Films. A Charlie Brown Christmas | Source

A Charlie Brown Christmas

UR. It just simply cannot be Christmas in our house until we have our musical Charlie Brown Christmas tree over top of our fireplace. That single, weepy tree with one single red bulb placed upon a flimsy branch, makes us all smile during the holidays. There's no other film out there that can really show you a great message than A Charlie Brown Christmas. It doesn't matter if I am watching it with my kids, family or friends, I tell them to take note.

This television special is aired every single year traditionally since it first premiered in 1965. The special is based off of the late Charles M. Shulz's famous comic strip Charlie Brown. Charlie is depressed this Christmas and truly feels alone while it seems like everyone else is celebrating Christmas but in a very materialistic and commercial sort of way. Charlie confides in his friend Linus about his depression before somberly heading over to Lucy's famous psychiatric booth. Lucy tells him that he should direct a Christmas play in hopes of bringing his spirit up. Charlie goes forth with the idea, but when things head in a very frustrating and embarrassing way for Charlie, he walks away from the play. Will his friends finally discover the true meaning of Christmas and help brighten Charlie's Christmas? This is a great one for the kids folks!

Best Christmas Movies for the family. The Muppet Christmas Carol
Best Christmas Movies for the family. The Muppet Christmas Carol | Source

The Muppet Christmas Carol

NR. There a few films out there with adaptions to Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol, and I love just about every one of them. However in my experience, the kids seem to gravitate towards this one and that is perfectly fine with me because I love A Christmas Carol and I love The Muppets! The Muppet Christmas Carol does follow Charles Dickens story very closely. This film was also the first muppet film since Muppets creator Jim Henson died and also fellow puppeteer Richard Hunt. This film is dedicated to their memory.

Gonzo stars as Charles Dickens himself in this movie and narrates as him throughout the film while Michael Caine stars as Ebenezer Scrooge. We have all heard the saying "Don't be a Scrooge!" and this story is where it comes from. Scrooge is a grouchy old man who cares about nothing else but himself and money. Even the poor get no sympathy from him as he believes the world would be better off without their existence all together. He especially hates Christmas. But when Scrooge is visited by the ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of Christmas present, and the ghost of Christmas yet-to-come, Scrooge comes to see life and the spirit of Christmas in a whole new way. Spend some time with the family on this classic sprinkled with the comedic relief of The Muppets!

Happy Holidays!

Do you have a favorite family Christmas movie that is not on the list that you feel should be? Please let me know in the comments below! And I wish you a very Happy Holiday from my home to yours.

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    • bwhite062007 profile image

      Brianna 3 years ago from East Coast

      Thank you billybuc! That was part of my intention

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love them all except for A Christmas Story. For whatever reason, I have never liked that movie, and I know I am in a very small minority. What I like most about this article is the fact that you wrote it early for the holiday season. That gives it a chance to circulate on the internet so that by December it will do well with the search engines. Nice job, Brianna!

    • bwhite062007 profile image

      Brianna 3 years ago from East Coast

      Thank you so much Carolann! I'm glad you enjoyed.

    • nurse240 profile image

      Carol Ann Sherwood 3 years ago from Jackson, Mi.

      My goodness, I can see you worked long and hard on this article and what a nice article. Thank you for your hard work and I may refer to this article come Christmas. Have a blessed day.