Christmas movies are a wonderful, family friendly way to get in the Christmas spirit. Throughout the year, we have family movie night once a week. However, during the holiday season, we up our movie viewing considerably. I grew up watching Christmas movies with my grandmother and I have such fond memories of cuddling up on the couch with hot cocoa watching our favorite movies. These are memories I want to give my kids as well. Here are our favorite family Christmas movies!
This past year, during the 2020 pandemic, we went a little crazy on the Christmas movies. I let my kids go above and beyond their normal movie watching. For example, they watched all FIVE Home Alones this past month. I told them that they should pick out their favorites, because next year, when life goes back to normal, we are going to need to be a little more selective in what we watch.
We have narrowed it down to our family’s collective Top 10 family Christmas movies, including some of all of our favorites, while not letting my kids hijack this list with all the Home Alone sequels.
Everyone in my family loves the animated film, Klaus. Even though it is fairly new, it is sure to become a classic. With humor, character growth, and a heartwarming story, this one has universal appeal. I will definitely sit down with my hot chocolate and watch this one with my kids. [Available on Netflix.]
If you are looking for another animated movie to get you in the Christmas spirit, Polar Express is a good option. [Available to rent on Amazon (affiliate link).]
The Muppet Christmas Carol
In my family’s opinion, Charles Dicken’s classic tale is best retold by the Muppets. The narration by Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat had all my kids, including my four year old, laughing out loud. Michael Kaine makes a perfect Ebenezer Scrooge. [Available on Disney+.]
If you have older kids who are put off by the idea of a Muppet movie, the Jim Carrey 2009 version is not bad. For a family with just little kids, Mickey’s Christmas Carol might be a good fit. Both are also available on Disney+.
I’ll be honest…Elf is not anyone in my family’s absolute favorite Christmas movie, but it has become a modern day classic. I don’t think my kids have EVER gone a Christmas season without watching Elf at least once. It is a funny, feel-good, family-friendly movie that is worth watching. [Available to rent on Amazon (affiliate link) or on Hulu with a premium subscription.]
Jingle All the Way
You know how some movies are so bad, they are good? Well, this is one of those movies. Watching Arnold Schwarzenneger and Sinbad duke it out over a toy in a completely ridiculous, over the top plot gets my kids laughing every year. It might have terrible reviews, but honestly, I don’t mind watching this one with them! [Available to rent on Amazon (affiliate link) or on Hulu with a premium subscription.]
I seriously thought about giving The Santa Clause this slot as my kids enjoy that series as well. [Available on Disney+.] However, honestly, if we had to choose just one to watch, for our family it would be Jingle All the Way.
The Princess Switch
My daughter and I love The Princess Switch. And even though they won’t admit enjoying it, my boys always stick around when we are watching it as well. This movie about a princess and a baker that switch places and find true love is sweet and satisfying. [Available on Netflix.]
If you are looking for other chick flick Christmas movies to watch with the girls if you life, The Princess Switch now has a sequel which is equally cute. Also, Noelle on Disney+ is an adorable take on the Santa mythology.
Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas
My siblings and I will disagree over which Grinch movie is the best. Since I am considerably older than they are, I think it’s hands down the original animated version. I like to put this on when we have breakfast on Christmas morning after my kids open their stockings. Narrated by Boris Karloff, with one of the most memorable Christmas songs of all time, You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch, this feel-good movie is on my must-watch list every year. [Available to rent on YouTube.]
However, the Jim Carrey version is also fantastic. If you have more time, don’t miss that hilarious, heart-warming rendition either. [Available on Netflix or to rent on Amazon (affiliate link).] I personally have not seen the most recent Grinch as it is not available on our subscription services, but my kids watched it last year and tell me they liked it. Though my 10 year old said the Grinch was not mean enough for his taste, LOL.
The Christmas Chronicles
The Christmas Chronicles is my 6 year old’s favorite Christmas movie. He likes it so much that when it’s his turn to pick a family movie, he will sometimes pick that one, even if it’s the middle of July. While it is not the sort of movie I need to see every year, it is cute enough to sit and watch with my kids once in awhile. [Available on Netflix.]
Not that it now also has a sequel also available on Netflix. While I didn’t watch it, my 6 year old tells me it is equally good.
No Christmas movie list would be completely without Home Alone. If I want to take a picture of my family enjoying a Christmas movie (big smiles and laughter all around), it is ALWAYS Home Alone I choose. There’s nothing quite like physical violence and slapstick comedy to get my kids laughing so hard they forget to breathe. [Available on Disney+.]
My kids like Home Alone so much, I bought the 5 pack off Amazon a few years back, which is no longer available. They like them all, but seem to agree that the original and number 3 are their favorites.
For our family, it is always important to remember the reason for the season. The Star tells kids the story of Jesus’s birth in a way that is fun and memorable. My kids ask to watch this movie every year and it is one of the few movies I am willing to rent. This year, I finally broke down and just bought a digital copy as I know it has made it onto our yearly watch list. [Available to rent or buy on Amazon (affiliate link).]
Miracle on 34th Street
I can’t let the Christmas season pass without having my kids watch at least one true Christmas classic. On Christmas day, I love to watch one of these old school films. Miracle on 34th Street has been my favorite since I was a kid. Personally, I am a fan of the original, not the remake. [Available on Disney+.]
We don’t watch this Miracle on 34th Street every single year. Some years we watch A Christmas Story instead, which is another one of mine and my husband’s favorites. It might not be my kid’s favorite, but they think it’s funny too. [Available to rent on Amazon (affiliate link) or on Hulu with a premium subscription.]
I have yet to introduce my kids to It’s a Wonderful Life, but one day for sure when they are older!
What do you think? Are there any I forgot to mention? What Christmas movies can your family not live without? I will add them to our list for next year!
My favorite is White Christmas. I have watched it enough I can quote it as they go throughout the movie. I love it! I also love the original B&W version of Miracle on 34th Street. Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas is a family favorite.
We just finished watching the original Miracle on 34th Street. :) It’s been so long since I’ve seen White Christmas! My kids have never seen it. And I’ve never heard of Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas. We’ll have to add those to our list for next year!