Top 20 Family Christmas Movies to Watch With Your Kids


Top Christmas Movies to Watch With Your Kids this holiday season. A family-friendly Christmas movie list to make some memories at home this year.

Family watching Christmas movies together with Santa behind them

I love snuggling up with my children in December to enjoy a Christmas movie together. It somehow brings an extra measure of wonder, delight, and magic to the season.

Here are our favorite family Christmas movies to watch each year as a family. This post contains affiliate links.

One note, if you ever wonder if a movie, tv show, book, app, or game will be appropriate for your child or not, consult the website Common Sense Media. This site offers information on what might be inappropriate and typical age ranges for the item. It is super helpful!

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

This is fun for all ages, but ideal for your toddlers, preschoolers, and younger children. It isn’t super long, so you can fit it in your evening and still make bedtime.

It is cartoon-ish (not the dreaded “real people”), so that makes it more popular for the younger crowd. It also has fun singing and a great message of accepting others as they are.

Frosty The Snowman

Frosty is again fun for all ages, but the same target age range as Rudolph. This is another short movie. It has the same benefits as Rudolf does. 

The Polar Express

The Polar Express is our one must-see movie each December. Young children like it, and the adults still fully enjoy it.

It is a cartoon. It has fun music. It brings the feeling of magic at Christmas with it. It is a longer movie, so I recommend this be a fun weekend event.

We love to pop popcorn, print off some Polar Express tickets (just google it and print the images you find), and get some movie theater candy. We all get in our pajamas, sunggle in, and enjoy the show!

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol is one of the best Christmas stories ever. Next to the original Christmas story, it is my favorite.

We love to go to the musical when it is being performed in our area. When it isn’t, watching a movie is the next best thing.

Because it is such a great story, there are a lot of versions to watch. A Muppet Christmas Carol is a great version for children. 

Charlie Brown Christmas

A classic! Sometimes kids in our modern day of fast-moving shows get bored watching the Charlie Brown shows. They are a fun way to bring back some of your childhood, though, and are worth a shot to see if they can hold interest.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

This is the cartoon version of the classic Dr. Seuss story. It is another great all-around movie for the family. The little ones like it and it is a fun story-line even for adults. It is short enough to do on a weeknight and make bedtime.

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch

How many versions of one movie can you have? A lot.

This newer version of The Grinch has been a fast favorite for people. It is a nice in between of the old cartoon and the “real people” movie version. This is a version that kids, tweens, teens, and adults will all enjoy.

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas

This is a cute one with three different Christmas stories with beloved Disney characters. A great thing is you could just watch just one of them if time is short! This is a fun Disney Christmas movie.

Favorite Show Christmas Special

There are so many Christmas specials featuring favorite characters. Madagascar, Ice Age, Shrek…there are a lot of fun ones. Whatever movie your child is loving these days, search and see if there is a Christmas version of the show you can watch together. These can make good Christmas movies for toddlers.


This is a great show for the animal lover in your home. It has “real people” in it, so it is better for the elementary-aged and up crowd. 

Miracle on 34th Street

This is a classic Christmas movie. Again, live people, so usually preferred by elementary-aged children.

There are several versions of this film, so if you have a certain one in mind that you want to watch, be sure you pay close attention to which one you are buying/renting/streaming. 


Elf is one that my children have liked even as older preschoolers even though it has live people. There is so much silliness going on that they get a kick out of it. This is a fun comedy Christmas movie.

The Santa Clause

This is better suited for children more 8 and older. This can be a fun show, but I would recommend you preview it before watching it with your kids.

There is a rough divorce highlighted in the movie, and that can be sensitive for kids. Even kids whose parents aren’t divorced can get stressed out seeing the conflict divorce can bring. So if you have a super sensitive child, be aware of that. 

It also is heavy on the “Santa isn’t real” angle.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

This is one of my favorite Christmas movies to watch. The story of the Grinch has always been a favorite of mine and I love this more elaborate telling of the story.

Some of my children have found the Grinch to be scary, however, so if your little one scares easily in shows, wait a while before watching this. If you aren’t sure how your child will react, just be mentally prepared to turn it off and try something different. I prefer this for elementary-aged children. 

Home Alone

This and Home Alone 2 are my kids’ favorite Christmas movies. The slapstick humor amuses them to the fullest. This is a Christmas tale they want to watch year-round. This is good for older preschoolers through childhood (and adulthood). This is a great comedy family Christmas movie.

A Christmas Story

I mean, a classic. I find children don’t really enjoy or appreciate this movie until they are in the older half of elementary school, though. Don’t be surprised if your child is not impressed yet.

I distinctly remember a time of my childhood when I thought this was soooo boring and couldn’t understand why my dad laughed so hard during this show. Give the kids time.

White Christmas

This is a fun, yet old, musical. Your child might not be up for sitting through old musicals, but if so, it is a fun show to watch with them. This would be for elementary-aged children and older. 

Christmas With the Kranks

This is a movie we have owned for a long time, but didn’t watch for a lot of years. I always assumed it would be too “adult” for the kids. When we watched it, I realized it would be fine for my older kids.

It has a lot of slapstick humor, but nothing inappropriate other than the two parents wearing speedo/bikini at one point. It is another story about not being a scrooge and finding the Christmas spirit.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

This movie is a fun substitute for attending the Nutcracker ballet (or a great addition!). This is inspired by the classic tale of the Nutcracker and is a fun Disney Christmas movie.

It’s A Wonderful Life

This is a super classic Christmas movie. It has a great message.

Related Christmas Posts on this blog:


This post originally appeared on this blog December 2017

20 Christmas movies to watch with kids

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