30 Best Kids Christmas Movies for Families This Holiday Season
Our list of the kid-friendly Christmas movies is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit with your family.
Whether you're looking for a classic Christmas movie you remember from your childhood or a funny new holiday tradition that will have your family in stitches, you can stream these favorite flicks for free from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or the brand-new Disney+ streaming service. Unlike the naughty list, this Christmas movie list is filled with positive messages, twinkling tales, and just the right amount of seasonal cheer. So, pop some popcorn and enjoy a family movie night with one of these Christmas classics perfect for kids.
Buddy the Elf will keep the whole family in stitches. Photo courtesy of New Line Cinema
1. Elf (PG)
Buddy the Elf never quite fit in at the North Pole as a human raised as one of Santa’s elves. When he discovers that his real, human father is on the naughty list, Buddy heads to New York City to set things right. Everyone will laugh their way through this 2003 family Christmas movie starring Will Ferrell.
Older tweens and teens will love this Chevy Chase, 1980s classic story of the Griswold family trying to throw a picture-perfect Christmas. With tons of slapstick humor, 25,000 Christmas lights, and a few surprise guests, nothing seems to be going the right way for poor Clark Griswold.
This 1940s feel-good flick has a love story, redemption, angels, and a bowl full of life lessons that will make your whole crew feel warm and fuzzy. Watch as George Bailey and Mary Hatch fall in love, raise a family, and then face down financial hardship before the community comes together to help each other. A classic among the classic Christmas movies!
Filled with positive messages that focus on the religious story of Christmas, this 25-minute TV flick is perfect for the youngest celebrants in your home. Charlie Brown is sad that people have made Christmas too commercial. So, when Lucy asks him to direct the holiday pageant, Charlie Brown seizes the opportunity.
Go on a magical adventure with a boy and a snowman in The Snowman. Photo courtesy of Snowman Enterprises
This nearly wordless animated film is based on Raymond Briggs’ classic picture book of the same name, The Snowman. At just 26 minutes, it's a visual delight. The snowman comes to life and takes a young boy on a magical adventure up to the North Pole for a party.
Yes, Virginia. There IS a Santa Claus!” When an 8-year-old little girl goes on a quest to prove Santa’s existence, she is inspired by small acts of kindness from the most unlikely of places. Kids will delight in the 2009 version of this animated Christmas movie voiced by the likes of Neil Patrick Harris, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Bea Miller.
Danced by the New York City Ballet, this televised production of the world-renowned George Balanchine’s Nutcracker production is a perfect way to introduce a younger audience to the world of dance. The narration makes it easy to follow along with this dazzling production.
Curl up with your little ones for The Muppet Christmas Carol. Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures and Jim Henson Productions
This preschooler's retelling of the Dickens’ classic tale about redemption features the whole Muppets gang: Gonzo, Kermit the Frog, and Miss Piggy. Of course, there are a few Christmas Carol remakes on this list, but this is the only one that features your fuzzy Muppet friends.
Your whole family will enjoy this classic MGM Musical. The movie depicts all four seasons in the life of the Smith family living in turn of the century St Louis. It is filled with several catchy tunes; however, none as memorable as Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
When little Susan doesn’t believe in the existence of Santa, it takes a very special Santa at Macy’s to change her mind. Although your kids may be turned off by the lack of color and flashy special effects in the circa 1947 flick, this movie is the quintessential family Christmas movie that will likely win over even the youngest of hearts with its seasonal sweetness.
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Take a wondrous trip to the North Pole with The Polar Express. Photo courtesy Warner Brothers/ABC Family
“Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.” Based on the book by the same name, The Polar Express movie, starring Tom Hanks, depicts the pure magic of Christmas. When a young boy questions the existence of Santa, the Polar Express roars onto his street and whisks him away to the North Pole for a night filled with wonder.
12. Scrooged (PG-13)
Tweens and teens may get a kick out of this throw-back from the 1980s starring Bill Murray as a workaholic who has put his job in television above everything else. Striving for perfect ratings, he neglects his family, friends, and loved ones earning him a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past.
Cheer on Kevin as he takes on robbers and wins in Home Alone. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox
14. Home Alone (PG)
Watch this short to see Olaf search for a new holiday tradition in Olaf's Frozen Adventure. Photo courtesy Walt Disney Animation and Pixar
20. Prancer (G)
This triple dog dare will keep you on the edge of your seat in A Christmas Story. Photo courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
We all know that Mr. Grinch can be a mean one, but that doesn’t stop Cindy-Lou Who from trying to melt his heart. Among the Christmas movies on Netflix, this is one of the kids' favorites, playing year-round on a loop!
Take an amazing adventure with Clara as she travels through the Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers, and the Land of Sweets. This visually appealing film may not be a traditional retelling of the beloved Nutcracker, but it is packed with adventure, which appeals to children.
Have you ever had a dream that was so crazy, it couldn’t possibly come true? Well, Elliott always dreamed about joining all the other reindeer on Santa’s ride. When Blitzen unexpectedly retires, he just may get his chance, but first there's a mystery to solve in this kids animated Christmas movie.
The Christmas Chronicles will make a believer out of just about anyone. Kurt Russel portrays a pretty up-to-date Santa who takes a brother and sister duo on an unexpected adventure in another new favorite among the Christmas movies on Netflix. Kids love watching the kids take charge in this comedy.
30. Noelle (G)
Find out what happens when Santa’s daughter, Noelle, has to take over the family business. Centered around the village at the North Pole, kids will love the magic in this new Christmas movie comedy on Disney+.
A version of this article first ran in 2018.