Watching some of the classic Christmas movies for kids is a great way to get into the Holiday spirit!
Real talk, is there anything more festive and magical than watching holiday movies while wearing warm PJs curled up in a soft blanket?
I think not.
But where do you start? What are some age-appropriate movies the whole family can enjoy together?
Fear not, we have you covered.
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The Ultimate List of Christmas Movies for Kids:
Here are some of our absolute favorite Christmas movies for kids to get your family in a festive, holiday mood!
This award-winning movie is one of the latest Christmas must-sees as it only came out in 2019. It answers some of the classic Santa-questions: about the flying sled, the reindeer, and the chimney.
Currently available on Netflix, it tells the story of a spoiled postal employee who gets assigned to a remote town with the job of posting at least 6,000 letters. Along the way, he discovers a woodsman (Klaus) who has a house filled with handmade toys. Together, they secretly deliver a toy and word starts to spread.
As the rating of this one is PG, we’d recommend it for the school-age crowd. The first 30 minutes or so of the movie can be scary for younger viewers.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
This iconic, classic Christmas tale has been remade a couple times so you have options.
Our favorite is, hands down, the original 1966 version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. It’s short, true to the story, and a clear winner in our house.
And if you don’t already have it, be sure to grab a copy of the classic ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ book! Our kids love to follow along with the story by turning the pages.
That said, the remakes also hold a special place in our Christmas collection. Both the 2000 live action remake and The Grinch from 2018 offer longer feature lengths with some new twists and back story. The live action version may be a little intense for the youngest holiday viewers (My toddler finds Jim Carrey’s grinch scary).
Related 25 of the Best Christmas Books for Toddlers
A Charlie Brown Christmas
An absolute classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas is a great movie for the whole family to enjoy sharing the true meaning of Christmas.
Interesting fact for 2020: for the first time in 55 years, the Peanuts holiday specials won’t be shown on Network TV.
Apple bought the rights to air these classics exclusively on their platform. But don’t worry, even if you don’t have an Apple TV+ subscription, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will apparently by shown for free from November 25 through November 27, while A Charlie Brown Christmas will be available from December 11 through December 13.
This means you won’t even be able to pay to stream it off sites like YouTube or Amazon. Just saying, it might be a good idea to go ahead and make the small investment to get A Charlie Brown Christmas on Blu-Ray so you can enjoy it for years to come without worrying about who decides to purchase the rights in a given year.
Just a quick heads up – I was a bit surprised at some of the language I hadn’t noticed before while watching with my own toddler, words like ‘stupid’ and ‘blockhead’. I know some families will not care at all while others may want to avoid that for younger kids.
Fans of the classic book will love this visually stunning movie version of the story. The movie graphics are beautiful and the songs are great too.
So real talk, it can be a little bit creepy… yeah, it’s a bit dark for a kid’s Christmas movie. Since it’s kind of intense and casts some doubt in the belief in Santa, this may not be the best choice for toddlers and true believers.
Read Is it Wrong to Teach Your Kids to Believe in Santa?
This is a super fun movie showcasing Santa’s family dynamics and a positive message as Santa’s son Arthur tries to deliver a forgotten gift.
While the whole family can enjoy this movie, some of the humor may go over little heads and the youngest viewers might not really “get it” all.
Santa Buddies/Santa Paws
So I must admit I lumped all of the talking dogs movies together here because it is hard to tell them apart.
But kids LOVE them.
There is the original Santa Buddies (of the Air Buddies series), the prequel, The Search for Santa Paws, and it’s sequel Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups (this is my kids’ favorite and I have no clue where it fits in between the other two). They are not the same dogs in all of them, though you probably won’t notice, your kids will.
Anyway, the dogs are adorable, the songs get stuck in your head, and young kids seem to go nuts for these. They just drive me nuts.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
This version of the classic Dickens story has all of your favorite Muppet friends! It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, and the music slaps.
This is probably the least scary version of A Christmas Carol, but the story and especially the ghost of Christmas future can be intense for the youngest viewers.
I find the movie adorable and hilarious as it follows the story of Buddy, a human raised by elves from a young age, as he attempts to find himself in New York City.
While Elf does contain some mild language, my bigger concern is that at one moment a child implies that Santa isn’t real. So if your kids are young and impressionable you might want to look for other Christmas movies for kids.
Original Christmas Specials
What’s Christmas without these classic movies?
This set comes with 5(!) amazing tales from your childhood: Rudolph, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, The Little Drummer Boy, Frosty the Snowman, and Cricket on the Hearth.
Honestly though, we usually watch Rudolph and Frosty.
My kids are obsessed with the ‘Holly Jolly’ song from Rudolph- it’s their favorite carol. I find the movie slightly slow, but my 4 and 6 year old love the adventures with the misfit toys, Hermey the Elf, and the abominable snow monster.
Frosty the Snowman is also a wonderful classic, although my kids tend to get really emotional when he melts away at the end.
Oh wow, this one takes me back. Home Alone tells the story of a boy who gets left during a family vacation and has to defend his home from burglars during Christmas.
However even though it’s a Christmas classic, you may want to re-think showing it to very young children.
Between those hilarious Macaulay Culkin moments, there are some questionable language and violence choices.
The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas
My kids LOVE this Christmas special. And as a parent, I love that it has both a positive and educational message.
Follow the Cat as he explores different animals and traditions. This one is approved for even the youngest of audiences.
Our Top Picks for Mom’s Favorite Christmas Movie
If we’re being honest, some of our personal favorite Christmas classics aren’t exactly kid-friendly.
Here are Jo and Rachel’s top picks for after the kids go to bed. Pour yourself a glass of boozy eggnog, snuggle up in a warm blanket, and enjoy these holiday flicks.
Rachel’s Pick: My favorite Christmas movie for after the kids are in bed is Christmas Vacation. Though this movie is not exactly kid-friendly due to some colorful language, it is absolutely hilarious. We quote this movie all year long.
Jo’s Pick: One of my favorite holiday traditions is watching Love Actually while enjoying an adult beverage and wrapping presents. It’s a non-traditional Christmas movie but is truly an absolute gem.
It’s definitely not kid-friendly with the colorful language and sexual content. I find that it checks every box in my book: romance, cute actors (with British accents!), lovable characters, hilarious, heart-warming and emotional.
What are some of your family’s favorites? Let us know in the comments below!