Best Christmas Movies for Families

Christmas is the perfect time for family time. Grab a cup of hot cocoa, a bowl of popcorn and a blanket, and enjoy the magic of these 12 Christmas movies for families.


Elf (2003)

If you’re looking for some laughs, this is the movie for you. Comedian Will Ferrell stars as Buddy, a human raised by elves in the North Pole. When he starts to realize he is different than all of the other elves, his “Papa Elf” and Santa send him to New York City to find his birth father. While he tries to adjust to human culture, Buddy’s extreme Christmas spirit brings laughter, adventure, mild romance, family and Christmas magic to screen. Rated: PG


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

This animated holiday tale brings the classic song to life. When Rudolph is born, efforts are made to conceal his nose after disapproval from Santa. When his disguises don’t work, he runs away to the Island of Misfit Toys with his new friends, and elf named Hermey and Yukon Cornelius, the prospector. Hermey dreams of being a dentist and the misfit toys dream of being presents for children. Watch as Rudolph and friends face an abominable snowman, a blizzard and feelings of being an outcast before finding their happiness. Rated: G


Frosty the Snowman (1969)

A classroom of children build a snowman and name him Frosty after Karen, one of the classmates, suggest it. The children put a failed magician’s thrown-out hat on Frosty and he magically comes to life. Once the magician see this, he wants his hat back due to its magic powers. With the help of Santa, Karen, the other children and Professor Hinkle’s rabbit, they race to bring Frosty to the North Pole before he melts all while trying to outrun Professor Hinkle and the heat of the sun. Rated: G


The Santa Clause (1994)

Tim Allen stars as Scott, a cynical, divorced dad to young Charlie. When Charlie is staying at Scott’s house on Christmas Eve, Scott hears commotion on the roof of their home. When Scott goes out to confront what he thinks is an intruder, Santa accidentally falls off of the roof and vanishes. After investigating Santa’s belongings and finishing his deliveries, Scott is told he is the new Santa by the head elf and he has until Thanksgiving to get everything settled before returning. Scott is in denial until he slowly transforms into Santa, then he and Charlie must struggle to convince his ex-wife and her husband that he is in fact Santa Clause. Rated: PG


Jingle All the Way (1996)

Holiday shopping becomes a crazy adventure for this workaholic dad. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Howard, a father who wants to win his son over for Christmas with the impossible to find Turbo Man action figure. When he sets out to purchase one, he gets into trouble with a counterfeit toy maker, the neighbors, another determined dad and even the police! Watch to find out if Howard can escape all of the obstacles and make his son’s Christmas dreams come true! Rated: PG


Miracle on 34th Street (1947 & 1994 versions)

When a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Santa shows up intoxicated, a man named Kris Kringle is so upset that he takes the man’s place after the event director, Doris, persuades him to. Kris does such a good job as Santa that he continues the job at the Macy’s store on 34th Street in New York City. When Doris’s daughter comes to visit, she asks Kris to tell her daughter that he’s not really Santa Clause, but Kris insists he truly is Santa. Doris is worried about Kris’ mental health and wants to fire him. Kris is put through psychological evaluations and court while trying to prove to the non-believers that he really is Santa Clause. Rated: G (1947)/PG (1994)

A Christmas Story (1983)

All that Ralphie truly wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. After telling his mother, teacher and a department store Santa, they all tell him “you’ll shoot your eye out.” Despite these warnings, Ralphie still hopes to open his dream present on Christmas morning. Besides wishing for his rifle, Ralphie plays with friends, deals with bullies and listens to his parent’s antics. With memorable lines and scenes, this movie will always be a Christmas classic. Rated: PG/ May be more suitable for older children.


Home Alone (1990)

Young Kevin is left home alone after his family forgets to bring him on their Christmas trip to Pairs. Kevin is thrilled to have the house all to himself. Meanwhile, his parents panic on their airborne flight. Soon, Kevin is frightened by his neighbor, Old Man Marley, and two burglars. When the burglars notice Kevin is home alone, he decides to rig the house with intricate traps for them. As his mother races home, Kevin does his best to get rid of the intruders and starts to miss his family. While this doesn’t sound like an ideal Christmas situation, it’s sure to bring laughs and adventure for families. Rated: PG


The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Tim Burton and Disney create magical worlds with Christmastown and Halloweentown. This stop-motion animated film tells us the tale of Jack Skellington, The Pumpkin King who is tired of Halloween and wishes for something different. He stumbles into Christmastown and is thrilled by this new holiday. When he returns to Halloweentown he tells everyone in the town of what he saw and his plans for Christmas. Things may not go according to plan in this brilliantly animated, musical film. Rated: PG


Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! (2000)

Everyone in Whoville loves Christmas ... except The Grinch. The mean Grinch hides away on Mt. Crumpit with his only companion, Max the dog. He enjoys pulling pranks on the residents of Whoville. He decides for his ultimate prank, he will steal all of the Christmas presents. When the town realizes the presents are stolen, Cindy Lou Who and the rest of the Whos will shock the Grinch. He will finally discover what the true meaning of Christmas is. You can also enjoy the classic television, cartoon version from 1966. Rated: PG


The Polar Express (2004)

Based on the classic book, The Polar Express tells the story of a young boy who awakens in the night to board the Polar Express en route to the North Pole. On the train he encounters new friends, a hobo, adventure, music and mischief. This beautifully animated film brings the spirit of Christmas to life and teaches us to believe. Rated: G


A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

In this television short, Charlie Brown is upset during the Christmas season as he is sick of the over-commercialization. Everyone in the neighborhood and his sister get him more and more worked up so he decides to visit Lucy’s psychiatry booth. Lucy suggests that he directs a Christmas play. He is quickly frustrated by the other children and their lack of focus. He sets off with Linus to find a Christmas tree and when that goes awry, he decides to give up and go home. The rest of the gang tries to help Charlie feel the spirit of Christmas when they surprise him with his decorated tree. Rated: G

Put the kids to bed and watch these films for teen and parents. Click here.

Jennifer Hanrahan was an intern with Boston Parents Paper

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