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Best Holiday Movies to Watch With Kids This Season

Festive movies for the family to enjoy over the holiday season

Author Kari Hanson

Published on: December 14, 2023

kids watching a holiday movie

It seems like there are endless activities during the holiday season. From parties to crafts to baking to shopping, it can feel like a lot. Sometimes the best thing to do is take a night off and curl up with some hot chocolate, popcorn and a feel-good holiday movie.

From new releases to classics, our list of family-friendly holiday movies will leave you feeling festive. So, kick off those holiday party shoes, put on some comfy clothes, snuggle with the kids and enjoy a movie (or two or three) tonight.

New(ish) movies

  • Family Switch” (2023): An entire family trades places with one another (“Freaky Friday” style) and has to experience life though another’s shoes. Netflix, rated PG. 
  • Candy Cane Lane” (2023): Neighbors compete for best decorated house on the block. Determined to win, one man makes a pact with an Elf that brings unexpected chaos to town. Amazon prime, rated PG
  • The Bad Guys: A Very Bad Holiday” (2023): In an unexpected twist, it’s up to the Bad Guys to save Christmas for everyone! Netflix, rated TV-Y7
  • A Christmas Story Christmas” (2022): Ralphie is all grown up and returns to his childhood home to give his kids a magical Christmas. Max, Amazon Prime, rated PG
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special” (2022): Your favorite guardians are back and this time they are on a mission to cheer up Star-Lord. Disney+, rated TV-14
  • A Boy Called Christmas”: (2021): Join Nikolas (and his loyal pet mouse) on an epic adventure to find his father and the village of Elfhelm in this Father Christmas origin story. Netflix, rated PG 
  • Robin Robin” (2021): Follow the adventures of the bird who wants to be a mouse in this sweet stop-motion animated film. Netflix, rated G
  • Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (2020): Filled with incredible music and dancing, this story of a brilliant toy maker and his granddaughter is sure to become a classic, and will get the whole family in the holiday spirit. Netflix, rated PG
  • The Christmas Chronicles” (2018) and “The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two” (2020): A brother and sister plan to catch Santa in the act. Their plans take an unexpected turn and they find themselves on the adventure of a lifetime. In the sequel, Mrs. Claus and some new friends join the cast as the kids find themselves in an epic battle to save Christmas. Netflix, rated PG
  • Klaus” (2019): This award-winning (and Oscar nominee) animated movie follows the story of a postman and Klaus who deliver toys and kindness. Netflix, rated PG
  • Elf” (2003): Buddy is a human raised by elves. He travels to New York to meet his father and silly adventures ensue. (Note: While this movie is a favorite for many, the adoption storyline can be tough. Buddy’s initial rejection by his biological father can be hard to watch for kids dealing with their own issues and feelings surrounding adoption.) Hulu, Max, Amazon Prime Video, rated PG

Can’t miss classics

These movies have been around for years — decades even — and need no introduction. Settle in with a few of these classics and you’ll find the holiday spirit in no time. As a bonus, several of the cartoons are less than 30 minutes long. Watch them all back-to-back for a Christmas movie marathon!

  • It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946): Is there a more quintessential Christmas movie? We don’t think so. Amazon Prime Video, rated PG
  • Miracle on 34th Street” (1947): Enjoy the magic of the holidays in this classic. There also is a newer version for those who like their movies in color. Disney+, hulu, Amazon Prime Video, not rated (the updated version is rated PG)
  • White Christmas” (1954): Admit it, you started singing the song the moment you read this movie’s title. So did we! Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, not rated
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965): Charlie Brown and his pals find the true meaning of Christmas. Apple TV, rated TV-G
  • Frosty the Snowman” (1969): Sing your way through this classic cartoon about the magical snowman who comes to life. Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, rated TV-G
  • A Christmas Story” (1983): You’ll never say the word “fragile,” or look at a frozen flagpole the same way again. Max, Amazon Prime Video, rated PG
  • Home Alone” (1990): Watching a young Macaulay Culkin set up traps that entangle “Sticky Bandits” Harry and Marv will never get old. Disney +, Amazon Prime Video, rated PG
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993): Enter Tim Burton’s magical (and sort of scary) world as Jack Skellington, King of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town. Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, rated PG

Christmas carols

  • Mickey’s Christmas Carol” (1983): The classic cartoon starring all your favorite Disney characters. Disney+, rated G
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol” (1992): A mix of puppets and human actors, this fun spin on the classic holiday tale is filled with laughs. Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, rated G
  • Scrooge: A Christmas Carol” (2022): This newer animated version tells the classic tale yet again. Netflix rated TV-Y

Grinch movies:

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1966): A true classic, and the one we recommend, hands down. Amazon Prime Video, not rated
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000): This live-action version stars Jim Carrey. It’s fun and silly, but many also find it a bit creepy. You be the judge! Apple TV, Amazon Prime, rated PG
  • Dr. Seuss, ‘The Grinch’” (2018): This updated animated version of the classic features the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch, and offers a longer version with a slightly less grouchy Grinch. Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, rated PG

Happy holidays!

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