63 Best Family Christmas Movies to Watch with Your Kids This Holiday Season
Considering we’ve been listening to Christmas music for weeks (mainly “All I Want for Christmas Is You”), we feel it’s only appropriate to start watching some of our most beloved family Christmas movies as well. And since there are so many—everything from classics to newer releases to animated films—we’ve put together a list of some of our favorites, including Elf, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Arthur Christmas and more that kids, teens and adults will all enjoy. Bring on the holiday snacks and get cozy with one of these 63 family Christmas movies—all streaming on platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+—the whole gang can watch together.
1. ‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town’ (1970)
Who’s in it? Fred Astaire, Mickey Rooney, Keenan Wynn (voices)
What’s it about? Through the narration of a mailman, this film tells the story of how Santa Claus and several Claus-related Christmas traditions came to be. He tells the tale of a small baby named Kris who was left on the doorstep of the Kringle family (yes, those Kringles). When Kris grows up, he wants to deliver toys to the children of Sombertown, but is faced with obstacles that make the task (almost) impossible.
2. ‘Home Alone’ (1990)
Who’s in it? Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Catherine O'Hara
What’s it about? After 8-year-old Kevin acts out the night before a family vacation to Paris, his mother makes him sleep in the attic. When he’s accidentally left (you guessed it) home alone by his family the next day, he’s happy to have the house to himself. However, it’s not long before he must protect his family’s house from a pair of evil (and clumsy) burglars.
3. ‘Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey’ (2020)
Who’s in it? Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, Anika Noni Rose
What's it about? Sing and dance along to this fun musical, which tells the tale of a talented toymaker and his delightful granddaughter, who helps him find joy again after a heartbreaking betrayal.
4. ‘The Preacher’s Wife’ (1996)
Who’s in it? Whitney Houston, Denzel Washington
What’s it about? A neglected preacher’s wife gets spiritual guidance from the most charming guardian angel of all time.
5. ‘RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER’ (1964)
Who’s in it? Burl Ives, Billie Mae Richards, Stan Francis, Janis Orenstein (voices)
What’s it about? Sam the Snowman narrates a tale of a young red-nosed reindeer who, after being cast out for being different, teams up with Hermey (an elf who wants to be a dentist), to look for a place that will accept them. After a scary encounter with the Abominable Snowman, they stumble upon a whole island of misfit toys and need to ask Santa for help.
6. ‘JACK FROST’ (1998)
Who’s in it? Michael Keaton, Kelly Preston, Joseph Cross, Mark Addy
What’s it about? A father who can't keep his promises to his son dies in a car accident. But one year later, he's back as, um, a snowman. Now that they can do all the things they've missed when Jack was human, can he make things right with his son before he's gone forever?
7. ‘CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS’ (2004)
Who’s in it? Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd
What’s it about? With their daughter away, the Krank family decides to opt out of Christmas altogether (to their neighbor’s dismay). But when she decides to come home, chaos ensues as they try to figure out how to celebrate the holiday at the last minute.
8. ‘ELF’ (2003)
Who’s in it? Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Zooey Deschanel
What’s it about? As a toddler, Buddy was mysteriously transported to the North Pole and raised by Santa’s elves. Now, he’s on a mission to find his real dad—Walter Hobbs—in New York City. (Did we mention Walter is on the naughty list?) As you can imagine, things don’t go well.
9. ‘THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS’ (1993)
Who’s in it? Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara, William Hickey (voices)
What’s it about? Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, has become bored with the spooky holiday (we can’t relate). One day he stumbles into Christmas Town, and becomes so infatuated with the idea of Christmas that he decides to try and create his own version.
10. ‘THE SANTA CLAUSE’ (1994)
Who’s in it? Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Eric Lloyd
What’s it about? It’s Tim Allen (again) at his finest. When he accidentally kills a man in a Santa suit, he’s transported to the North Pole to assume the role before the following Christmas arrives, much to the delight of his son.
11. ‘MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET’ (1947)
Who’s in it? Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, Gene Lockhart
What’s it about? Kris Kringle steps in to replace a drunken Santa Claus in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and people love him—that is, until he starts going around town claiming to be the real deal. Once institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is, in fact, real.
12. ‘Snowglobe’ (2007)
Who’s in it? Jason Schombing, Hilda Doherty, Christina Milian
What’s it about? Milian stars as Angela Moreno, a Christmas fanatic who gets transported into the world of a literal snow globe after receiving it as a gift at the mall.
13. ‘A CHRISTMAS STORY’ (1983)
Who’s in it? Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Peter Billingsley
What’s it about? A young boy named Ralphie attempts (and fails numerous times) to convince his parents, his teacher and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect Christmas gift. Heartwarmingly nostalgic and seriously funny, there’s a reason TBS plays this film commercial-free for 24 hours straight every Christmas.
14. ‘Santa Hunters’ (2014)
Who's in it? Benjamin Flores Jr., Breanna Yde, Mace Coronel
What's it about? In an effort to prove to the world that Santa Claus is real, Alex teams up with his sister and cousins to try and capture new footage of Santa. However, he quickly discovers that finding Santa comes at a price.
15. ‘Jingle All the Way’ (1996)
Who’s in it? Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Phil Hartman, Rita Wilson
What’s it about? A father vows to get his son a Turbo Man action figure for Christmas. However, every store is sold out of them (of course), and he must travel all over town and compete with everybody else in order to find one. A friendly reminder to get your shopping done early.
16. ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ (2018)
Who’s in it? Mackenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, Kiera Knightly, Helen Mirren
What’s it about? In the newest version of The Nutcracker, Clara is transported into a magical world of gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice. This thrilling adventure follows Clara as she tries to defend the Land of Sweets from the evil Mother Ginger.
17. ‘ARTHUR CHRISTMAS’ (2011)
Who’s in it? James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent (voices)
What’s it about? Ever wonder how Santa deliver presents to every single child in just one night? According to this film, he does so with a high-tech operation in the North Pole. Unfortunately, this year, Santa missed one child (yikes) and he enlists the help of his clumsy son Arthur to make things right.
18. ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ (1992)
Who’s in it? Michael Caine, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire (voices)
What’s it about? Another adaptation of A Christmas Carol, this time reimagined by a set of beloved characters—aka the Muppets. This feature-length film also includes original songs, so be prepared for them to be stuck in your (and your family’s) head all day.
19. ‘The Snowman’ (1982)
Who’s in it? Raymond Briggs (voice)
What’s it about? No, Frosty isn’t the only snowman in town. This gentle adventure tale is based on the book by Raymond Briggs, and follows a boy who builds a snowman—that comes to life—after the family pet passes away. This one has very little dialogue and a short running time (just 26 minutes), which makes it ideal to watch with the younger kiddies.
20. ‘ERNEST SAVES CHRISTMAS’ (1988)
Who’s in it: Jim Varney, Douglas Seale, Oliver Clark
What’s it about: It’s a Christmas emergency: Santa Claus needs a successor and the accident-prone Ernest (Jim Varney) is just the man to help him out. Or not.
21. ‘It’s a wonderful life’ (1946)
Who’s in it: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
What’s it about: When George Bailey wishes aloud that he had never been born, an angel appears to show him exactly how life would be without him.
22. ‘NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION’ (1989)
Who’s in it: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Juliette Lewis
What’s it about: In the third edition of the National Lampoon series, the Griswold family’s plan for a Christmas vacation quickly turn into a chaotic disaster. This one's worth a watch for the barrel of laughs, plus in order to inspire us to go all out with the Christmas decorations.
23. ‘A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS’ (1965)
Who’s in it: Ann Altieri, Chris Doran, Sally Dryer (voices)
What’s it about: Teach your kids about the true meaning of Christmas with this animated classic that follows Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang who are upset by the commercialization of Christmas. Can they figure out a way to get to the holiday’s deeper meaning?
24. ‘Let it Snow’ (2019)
Who’s in it: Isabela Merced, Shameik Moore, Kerinan Shipka
What’s it about: Based on the young adult novel of the same name, a huge snowstorm hits a small Midwestern town on Christmas Eve, bringing a group of high school students closer than ever.
25. ‘A CHRISTMAS PRINCE’ (2017)
Who’s in it: Rose McIver, Ben Lamb, Alice Krige
What’s it about: An aspiring journalist goes abroad and sneaks her way into a castle to get the inside scoop for a story on a prince who's poised to be king. And if you like it (as we know you will), the sequel A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, is also available.
26. ‘I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS’ (1998)
Who’s in it: Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Jessica Biel, Adam Lavorgna
What’s it about: In this delightfully cheesy holiday film, one teenager gets himself into a pickle when he’s kidnapped by some high school bullies while on his way home for Christmas.
27. ‘Gremlins’ (1984)
Who’s in it: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton
What’s it about: OK, this one technically isn’t a Christmas movie, however it does takes place around the holidays. On Christmas Eve, what’s supposed to be a cute present ends up having evil babies that ruin a young boy and his family’s celebration after he inadvertently breaks three important rules.
28. ‘THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS’ (1974)
Who’s in it? Shirley Booth, Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, George S. Irving (voices)
What’s it about? In this holiday classic, a very grumpy (not to mention, tired) Kris Kringle thinks that kids have become too ungrateful and decides to take a year-long vacation from his official duties. Mrs. Claus and the elves do their best to try and change his mind, but there’s a possibility there may be no presents under the tree this year.
29. ‘GRANDMA GOT RUN OVER BY A REINDEER’ (2000)
Who’s in it? Elmo Shropshire, Michele Lee, Susan Blu, Alex Doduk (voices)
What’s it about? Jake is already having a rough Christmas Eve, but when his grandmother gets lost in the cold it takes a turn for the worse. While looking for her, he’s discovered that she’s been the victim of a hit-and-run. Soon enough, he realizes that the one and only Santa Claus might be responsible.
30. ‘FROZEN’ (2013)
Who’s in it? Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad (voices)
What’s it about? Yes, we absolutely consider this a Christmas movie (even though we watch it all year round). The popular Disney flick follows Anna and her pals to save their home from the infinite winter caused by the queen, who just so happens to be her sister. Plus, there’s also a sequel you can watch right after.
31. ‘KLAUS’ (2019)
Who’s in it: Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones (voices)
What’s it about: When postman Jesper is given an ultimatum to either start a post office in the Arctic Circle or be cut off from the family’s fortune, he’s ready to quit. However, after he meets teacher Alva, the duo soon forms an unlike friendship with a mysterious carpenter who lives in a cabin full of handmade toys. Together, they bring the holiday spirit to a dreary town that needs it most.
32. ‘Noelle’ (2019)
Who’s in it: Anna Kendrick, Shirley MacLaine, Bill Hader
What it’s about: Santa's daughter must take over the family business when her father retires and her brother, who is supposed to inherit the Santa role, decides he doesn’t want the job. Who knew Santa had kids?
33. ‘SANTA CLAWS’ (2014)
Who’s in it: Ezra James Colbert, Nicola Lambo, John P. Fowler (voices)
What’s it about: In this silly, yet adorable, film Santa has an allergic reaction to a gift sack of stowaway cats. To save Christmas, the kitties have to figure out a way to deliver all of his presents on their own.
34. ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’ (1944)
Who’s in it: Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Mary Astor
What’s it about: This musical is about four sisters learning about life and love before the 1904 World’s Fair. We guarantee you’ll be listening Garland’s rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” all season long.
35. ‘Prancer’ (1989)
Who’s in it: Sam Elliott, Cloris Leachman, Rutanya Alda
What’s it about: Finally, a film that’s not centered around Rudolph (we still love you Ru). Prancer follows an 8-year-old girl nursing a wounded reindeer (yup, Prancer) back to health and her adventure to get him back to Santa before it’s too late.
36. ‘Last Christmas’ (2019)
Who’s in it: Emma Thompson, Emelia Clarke, Henry Golding
What’s it about: The log line for the Universal Pictures film reads, “As London transforms into the most wonderful time of the year, nothing should work for these two. But sometimes, you gotta let the snow fall where it may, you gotta listen to your heart…and you gotta have faith.” Enough said.
37. ‘Eloise at Christmastime’ (2004)
Who’s in it: Julie Andrews, Sofia Vassilieva, Kenneth Welsh
What’s it about: Andrews stars as the nanny of a spunky 6-year-old named Eloise, who has a mission to reunite young adults in love . The catch? She’s chasing them around the busy streets of NYC.
38. ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’ (1982)
Who’s in it: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern
What’s it about: Set one year after Kevin McCallister was left home alone, he accidentally finds himself stranded in New York City—and the same burglars are still out to get him.
39. ‘Holiday Inn’ (1942)
Who’s in it: Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Virginia Dale
What’s it about: Adults and kids alike will love this musical comedy about a performing trio who plan to quit and run a country hotel. And did we mention it features the first movie version of the hit song "White Christmas?"
40. ‘The Santa Clause 2’ (2002)
Who’s in it: Tim Allen, Spencer Breslin, Elizabeth Mitchell
What’s it about: Yup, there’s a sequel. And this time, Santa is on a quest to find his Mrs. Clause.
41. ‘Scrooged’ (1988)
Who’s it it: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe
What’s it about: Think of it as a modern-day version of A Christmas Carol. Scrooged stars Murray as a grumpy TV executive who takes a trip into his past to learn the true meaning of Christmas. Rated PG-13, this one might be best for older children.
42. ‘The Princess Switch’ (2018)
Who’s in it: Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Palladio, Nick Sagar
What’s it about: A Chicago baker and a soon-to-be princess discover they are practically identical. Naturally, they conduct a plan to trade places. Think of it like the Parent Trap, only with Vanessa Hudsons during Christmas.
43. ‘HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS!’ (1966)
Who’s in it? Boris Karloff (voice)
What’s it about? We all know the story, but there’s nothing quite like this original animated movie which everyone, no matter what age or generation, needs to see.
44. ‘THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES’ (2018)
Who’s in it: Kurt Russell, Darby Camp, Judah Lewis
What’s it about: This Netflix original ticks all the boxes of a Christmas classic: kids up to no good, the threat of a canceled Christmas and a boy who doesn’t believe in Santa. Not to mention, the highly anticipated sequel starts streaming in November.
45. ‘The Search for Santa Paws’ (2010)
Who’s in it: Kaitlyn Maher, Madison Pettis, Richard Riehle
What’s it about: We couldn’t include a movie for the cat lovers and not the dog ones. In this sweet flick, magic dogs, an elf and two children work together to rescue Santa who has lost his memory.
46. ‘While you were sleeping’ (1995)
Who’s in it: Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher
What’s it about: Pretty much all you need to know is that hopeless romantic, Lucy, invents a relationship with a guy she’s been crushing on, Peter, who just so happens to be in a coma. Classic.
47. ‘The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas’ (2012)
Who’s in it: Martin Short, Alexa Torrington, Jacob Ewaniuk
What’s it about: Sure, the Grinch may be the most popular Dr. Seuss character when it comes to Christmas, but, as it turns out, the Cat in the Hat also knows a thing or two (get it?) about the holiday.
48. ‘Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You’ (2017)
Who’s in it: Breanna Yde, Henry Winkler, Mariah Carey
What’s it about: Set to a Mariah Carey soundtrack, of course, the animated flick tells the story of a little girl who wishes for a Christmas puppy. We’ve all been there.
49. ‘Babes in toyland’ (1986)
Who’s in it: Drew Barrymore, Richard Mulligan, Keanu Reeves
What’s it about: A young girl wakes up in the realm of Toyland (pretty much every child’s dream). While there, she must team up with her family and friends to save Christmas from being ruined by the evil Barnaby.
50. ‘A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish’ (2019)
Who’s in it: Laura Marano, Gregg Sulkin, Isabella Gomez
What’s it about: There’s a mean stepmother and a couple of evil stepsisters in this Netflix film about an aspiring singer who works as an elf at a Christmas tree lot. One day, she suddenly has a change of luck.
51. ‘Christmas Cupid’ (2010)
Who’s in it? Christina Milian, Ashley Benson, Chad Michael Murray
What’s it about? A Los Angeles publicist is forced to reconsider her life choices as she gets visited by ghosts of her ex-boyfriends on the eve of Christmas.
52. ‘One Christmas Wish’ (2015)
Who’s it in? Amber Riley, Matreya Fedor, Priscilla Faia
What’s it about? Feeling a bit lonely around the holidays, a young college students places an ad out in the paper to find a family to celebrate Christmas with. Oh, and did we mention it’s also a musical?
53. ‘HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS’ (2000)
Who’s in it? Jim Carrey, Molly Shannon, Anthony Hopkins
What’s it about? Dr. Seuss’s Christmas tale comes to life with an all-star cast, special effects and laugh-out-loud comedy. A bitter and hateful Grinch becomes increasingly irritated at the thought of the nearby village planning their big Christmas celebrations. To ruin their holiday, he disguises himself as Santa Claus (and his dog to look like a reindeer) and travels to the village to raid it of all of the presents, trees and decorations.
54. ‘Northpole’ (2014)
Who’s in it? Tiffani Thiessen, Josh Hopkins, Bailee Madison
What’s it about? Northpole, a magical city that's powered by everyone's holiday spirit, is suddenly in trouble when people start to skip their festive traditions and get caught up in their busy schedules. However, thanks to Kevin, his mom Chelsea, his teacher Ryan and the mysterious Clementine, there just might be hope for the home of Santa and Mrs. Claus.
55. ‘Northpole 2: Open for Christmas’ (2015)
Who’s in it? Lori Loughlin, Dermot Mulroney, Bailee Madison
What’s it about? When Mackenzie becomes the new owner of Vermont's Northern Lights Mountain Inn, she decides to do a few renovations—but she's got her work cut out for her. Thankfully, Mackenzie gets some help from Santa himself, who sends his elf, Clementine, to help her out.
56. ‘The Christmas Candle’ (2013)
Who’s in it? Hans Matheson, Samantha Barks, Lesley Manville
What’s it about? Based on Max Lucado's novel of the same name, the movie tells the story of a magical candle that gives a special, Christmas Eve miracle to anyone who lights it. But when a new minister refuses to buy into the famous legend of the Christmas candle, people worry that it will affect the story's legacy.
57. ‘Elliot the Littlest Reindeer’ (2018)
Who’s in it? Morena Baccarin, Josh Hutcherson, Martin Short, Samantha Bee
What’s it about? A small horse named Elliot and his good friend, Hazel, embark on a fun adventure to the North Pole. Elliot is determined to land a spot in Santa's famous team of reindeers—even despite his miniature size.
58. ‘WHITE CHRISTMAS’ (1954)
Who’s in it? Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen
What’s it about? For a real-deal Christmas classic, look no further than the one filmed specifically around Bing Crosby’s hall-of-fame holiday tune. It’s about a song-and-dance duo that takes their show on the road to Vermont. Plus, it stars George Clooney’s aunt.
59. 'The Magic Snowflake' (2013)
Who's in it? Vincent Grass, Natan Simony (voices)
What's it about? Nicholas is more than happy to fill Santa Claus's shoes for an entire year. However, his excitement wears down after he realizes how stressful the job is.
60. ‘A CHRISTMAS CAROL’ (2009)
Who’s in it? Jim Carrey, Steve Valentine, Daryl Sabara (voices)
What’s it about? A grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge is not happy when he is awakened on Christmas Eve by spirits who take him through his past to reveal that his miserable way of living is, in fact, no way to live at all.
61. ‘THE POLAR EXPRESS’ (2004)
Who’s in it? Tom Hanks, Leslie Zemeckis, Eddie Deezen, Nona Gaye (voices)
What’s it about? Based on Chris Van Allsburg’s children’s book, a young boy with little belief in Santa Claus takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole. After meeting some friends along the way (and the big man himself), he quickly learns that the magic of Christmas comes to those who believe.
62. ‘Just Another Christmas’ (2020)
Who’s in it? Leandro Hassum, Elisa Pinheiro, Danielle Winits
What’s it about? If it were up to us, we’d love to celebrate Christmas every day of the year. However, for Jorge, a family man who was born on December 25, living (and reliving) the holiday is possibly the worst thing he can imagine.
63. ‘Christmas in the Heartland’ (2017)
Who's in it? Sierra McCormick, Brighton Sharbino, Bo Derek
What’s it about? Two girls from totally different backgrounds find out they have more in common than they thought (and look practically identical). In true Parent Trap-fashion, they decide to switch places to see each other's lives.
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