10 Christmas Movies to Watch With Kids

multi-generation family watching Christmas movie

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Trimming the tree, baking cookies, and caroling are classic Christmas traditions we all know and love. But nothing will put your family in the Christmas spirit quite like cuddling up to watch a classic holiday movie. Plus, it is the one family bonding experience that takes very little planning.

The challenge is selecting just the right Christmas movie. After all, everyone has their favorites. Whether it’s "Miracle on 34th Street," "It’s a Wonderful Life," "The Nutcracker," "Frosty the Snowman," or even "Elf," there are hundreds of Christmas movies to choose from. (Some would even argue that "Die Hard" is a Christmas movie!)

So, if you’re having a hard time choosing this holiday season, we have curated a list of our top 10 picks. From sweet specials for toddlers to classics that have been around for decades, these are the best Christmas movies to watch with your kids this season.

Some are adorable, some will have you rolling with laughter, and some will tug on your heartstrings, so you will surely find one that fits your mood. All you need to do is don your comfy PJs, grab some popcorn, and maybe even whip up some hot cocoa and you are ready for a Christmas-infused family movie night.

Klaus

Movie Stats

  • This movie is rated PG.
  • The run time for this film is 1 hour and 36 min.
  • Stream the movie on Netflix.

Why It's a Winning Pick

This animated Netflix original movie provides an innovative and whimsical story about the origin of Santa Claus. "Klaus" takes place on an isolated island in the far northern reaches of a kingdom, where a mysterious woodsman—who is a little rough around the edges—brings joy into people's lives through gifts.

The movie follows the adventures of a postal worker as he befriends the gruff and lonely toymaker. Together they set off on an adventure to show people that selfless acts have a way of spreading kindness. This movie is sure to become a family favorite. Plus, it was so well-liked after its debut in 2019 that it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

The Snowy Day

Movie Stats

  • This movie is rated TV-Y.
  • The run time for this film is 38 minutes
  • Stream the movie on Amazon Prime or Google Play.

Why It's a Winning Pick

This short, simple, and endearing film is a perfect pick for families with toddlers. Based on Ezra Jack Keat's Caldecott Medal-winning picture book, "The Snowy Day" is about a boy walking to his grandmother's house and passing by all types of Christmas fun and decor along the way.

With a simple storyline and beautiful animations, this film features an impressive cast including Laurence Fishburne, Regina King, and Angela Bassett—and even an appearance from Boyz II Men. Yet, it's Peter's magical, snowy walk to Nana's house that will captivate the youngest of viewers in your family.

Home Alone

Movie Stats

  • This movie is rated PG.
  • The run time for this film is 1 hour and 43 minutes.
  • Stream the movie on Disney+, Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, or Vudu.

Why It's a Winning Pick

For more than 30 years, "Home Alone" has been a favorite among families. After all, Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) and his crazy ideas never get old. It's why people tune in every year! For those who have never seen "Home Alone," the movie is about a young boy who is accidentally left home alone while his family heads to Paris for a Christmas vacation.

Throughout his time alone, he learns to live on his own while defending his house from two bumbling burglars, Marv and Harry (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern), who continually fall into his traps. Throughout his adventures, though, he comes to realize how much he misses his family—even his annoying brother Buzz.

Once the movie is over, you may decide to have a "Home Alone" movie marathon and follow the original up with "Home Alone 2", "Home Alone 3," and "Home Alone 4."

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Movie Stats

  • This movie is rated G.
  • The run time for this film is 25 minutes.
  • Stream the movie on Apple TV.

Why It's a Winning Pick

What's Christmas without Charlie Brown? This perennial family favorite—"A Charlie Brown Christmas"—addresses both the material and the spiritual aspects of the holiday season and is sure to give your family plenty of talking points.

Plus, this Christmas classic will surely tug at your family's heartstrings as you watch the ups and downs of a melancholy Charlie Brown. Bothered by the commercialism of Christmas, he dutifully seeks out the true meaning of Christmas. Even with a spindly Christmas tree and the meddling Lucy, Charlie Brown still discovers the spirit of Christmas—and that he has some pretty good friends after all.

Dr. Seuss: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Movie Stats

  • This movie is rated G.
  • The run time for this film is 26 minutes.
  • Stream the movie on Netflix, HBO Max, Apple TV, Google Play, Amazon, and Vudu.

Why It's a Winning Pick

When it comes to movies featuring the Grinch, there are multiple versions to choose from. But the most family-friendly version is the original by Dr. Seuss. Other versions include "The Grinch," which is rated PG, and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" starring Jim Carrey. Carrey's version of the Grinch, although rated PG and insanely funny, can be a little scary at times for the littlest ones.

If you decide on this original version of the Grinch by Dr. Seuss, your heart is sure to grow three sizes as you watch the grouchy character discover the holiday really isn't about presents, baubles, and bows but is instead about love and family.

Overall, the cranky, cynical grump has his mission to steal Christmas turned upside down by a young girl's generous holiday spirit. Funny and heartwarming, this is a universal story about the spirit of Christmas—and one that families look forward to year after year.

Black Nativity

Movie Stats

  • This movie is rated PG.
  • The run time for this film is 1 hour and 29 minutes.
  • Stream the movie on HBO Max, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play or Vudu.

Why It's a Winning Pick

Based on Langston Hughes' 1961 play of the same name, "Black Nativity" is about a boy whose mom—in danger of losing their home—sends him to stay at his estranged grandparents' home. Once there, the street-wise teen initially chafes under their strict rules but eventually learns the importance of community, family, and faith.

Featuring an all-star cast, which includes Mary J. Blige, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Jennifer Hudson, this tear-jerker is a drama-filled musical set in Harlem that is sure to become a family favorite.

The Polar Express

Movie Stats

  • This movie is rated G.
  • The run time for this film is 1 hour and 40 minutes.
  • Stream the movie on HBO Max.

Why It's a Winning Pick

Based on Chris Van Allsburg's Caldecott Award-winning book, "The Polar Express" is a film about a boy who takes a magical train that leads him to Santa Claus’ home. Throughout the movie, his journey of self-discovery is designed to demonstrate that wonder does not have to disappear for those who truly believe.

Tom Hanks provides voices for multiple roles in this memorable tale that is seen through the eyes of a young boy. Widely considered a classic Christmas story for kids, this movie delivers messages about the value of friendship and courage along with the beauty of being kind to others.

Keep in mind, though, that the movie contains a train that roars, speeds, and skids its way to the North Pole, along with some frightening characters. This might be too intense or scary for the youngest kids.

Angela's Christmas

Movie Stats

  • This movie is rated G.
  • The run time for this film is 30 minutes.
  • Stream the movie on Apple TV, Netflix, Amazon or Google Play.

Why It's a Winning Pick

"Angela's Christmas" is based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt's children's story. Featuring the poignant story McCourt's mother Angela told him as a child, this heartwarming film centers around the power of family.

Set in the 1910s, this short film is a funny tale about how Angela sought to bring Christmas to everyone in turn-of-the-century Ireland. It was her heart's desire that everyone be safe, warm, and loved at Christmas time.

If your family has fallen in love with Angela at the end of the movie—as most families do—be sure to check out "Angela's Christmas Wish," also on Netflix.

Albert

Movie Stats

  • This movie is rated G.
  • The run time for this film is 42 minutes long.
  • Stream the movie on Paramount+ or Amazon Prime.

Why It's a Winning Pick

Originally airing on Nickelodeon, this short film is about a tiny Douglas fir named Albert who has big dreams of becoming New York City's most famous Christmas tree where he can stand proudly in Rockefeller Center. There is just one problem—Albert is a fraction of the required height.

Despite his small size, he is not deterred. So, when the search for this year's tree is announced, Albert believes he has found his calling and hits the road. Joined by his best friends, Maisie the optimistic palm tree, and Gene the annoyingly honest weed, Albert sets out to fulfill his destiny. As he navigates a few tricky situations along the way—including Cactus Pete trying to stop him—Albert learns the true meaning of Christmas.

Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer

Movie Stats

  • This movie is rated PG.
  • The run time for this film is 1 hour and 29 minutes.
  • Stream the movie on Fubo TV, Apple TV, Google Play, or Vudu.

Why It's a Winning Pick

When Blitzen announces his retirement just before Christmas, it's Elliot's chance to get noticed. This little guy has three days to fulfill his lifelong dream of earning a spot on Santa's team at the North Pole try-outs.

Despite his small size—and the fact that he is a miniature horse—Elliot is determined to work hard and help guide Santa's sleigh one day. With his optimism (and the support of his friends) he just might have what it takes to make it! You and your kids will be cheering Elliot on as he works to make his Christmas dreams come true.

By Sherri Gordon
Sherri Gordon is a published author and a bullying prevention expert.