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We have so many favorite Christmas movies in our house that we try to watch every year, so this year I thought I’d make a list for you.
Some of these just take place during Christmas, but they are still great movies to get you in the holiday spirit.
A Classic we all know and love. As a parent this is a clean, fun movie that will have the whole family singing and humming for days. Younger kids may find this boring, my girls started to enjoy it around age 7.
Christmas in Connecticut
This is my idea of the real life behind Martha Stewart and other DIY moguls. The main character tries to lie about her life and ends up falling in love. It’s based around the holiday’s. For younger audiences it makes for a good lesson in why you shouldn’t lie as you watch her snowball trying to keep her facade up.
It Happened on 5th Avenue
This is my all time favorite movie! It’s sweet and funny and leaves you feeling wonderful. Centered around the post war depression times, you see hardship turned into new friendships.
A Christmas Carol
There are probably at least 10 different renditions of the Dickens classic story. Whether you choose Disney with Jiminy Cricket, Mickey, or the old school classic you will enjoy remembering the tale. For younger kids make sure to pick a happier version because the final ghost is scary in a number of versions.
Don’t forget about the newest version, The Man Who Invented Christmas. It’s the back story of the Christmas Carol, and mostly doesn’t take place during Christmas… but it’s a good movie!
Shop Around the Corner
This is the original version that “You’ve Got Mail” is based on. There is no evil big bookstore though, just a sweet romantic, Christmas timed, comedy. This is another older film that will probably be boring for kids less than 7.
While it’s not entirely Christmas, this is a fun romantic comedy/musical film that brings all the holidays together. It culminates over Christmas and will get you in the holiday mood.
Muppets Christmas Carol
I know I already mentioned the Christmas Carol, but this version is a must on top of any others you watch. You will love all the songs (and possibly sing them throughout the year).
The Bishop’s Wife
Carey Grant stars in this classic as an angel that has come to earth to answer the prayers of a young bishop. This movie takes place over Christmas and gives you that holiday feeling. May bore children under 7. This has been remade a few times, but the original is always the best.
It’s a Wonderful Life
How you could you miss a Christmas without watching this? This is the first year we are introducing our kids to this James Stewart classic. We also enjoy the Veggietales remake of this story for younger kids.
Charlie Brown Christmas
No Christmas can be complete without watching this classic! The music and the story will get you and your entire family in the Christmas spirit with the lovable Peanut characters.
The Little Drummer Boy
This holiday classic helps demonstrate the true meaning of christmas, as a little orphan boy stumbles upon the birth of baby Jesus. Great for all ages. The death of the parents in the first scene is sad, but handled well.
Jesus of Nazereth (1977)
This legendary, star-studded movie walk you through the gospels portraying the life of Jesus, beginning before the Nativity and going through to the Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Adventures in Odyssey – A Christmas Odyssey
This is not a video, but instead radio theater. So turn off the TV and sit around the fire listening to what it would be like to be in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. This is a favorite in our house and one we listen to every year on the road traveling to family.
Babes in Toy Land
This is Walt Disney’s first live-action musical fantasy into the world of Mother Goose. It is a delightful experience for the entire family. Though it is not overtly Christmas, it holds a special place in my family’s holiday experience.
The Nativity Story
A beautifully mastered rendition of the Nativity story. It takes you deep into the life of Mary as she struggles with the destiny that God has chosen for her, to give birth to the Savior of the world! May be too much for children under 7.
A 1940 classic romantic comedy, where elderly ghosts help young lovers at Christmas time. A not so common, enjoyable holiday movie that I encourage you to check out this Christmas. May bore children under 7. My husband would warn you that the end theology of heaven is a bit off… but just enjoy the romantic comedy.
Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas
Jim Henson’s favorite Christmas classic where Emmet Otter and his Ma risk everything for a chance to with the prize at a Christmas talent contest. A fun movie for the whole family. This is based on the O’ Henry Gift of the Magi story and is a good way to show kids what sacrificial giving should look like.
The Desk Set
This classic romantic comedy gives you that warm holiday spirit as it takes place over the Christmas season. Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy make a dynamic duo in this fun story. Not good for children under 7. We just watched this over the weekend and laughed into the night! There is one scene with drinking at a Christmas party where they get very silly.
The following are favorites that were recommended by friends. We don’t watch these regularly mostly because of two reasons, some aren’t suitable for younger kids and we don’t do Santa. Call us crazy, but we don’t.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
A comedy favorite for the holidays! Laugh along as Chevy Chase and others strive to gift-wrap the “perfect Christmas” for the Griswold family. Rated PG-13.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas!
A Dr. Seuss classic in which the grumpy Grinch tries to stop Christmas from happening, but ends up learning a valuable lesson. This adventurous story is fun for the whole family.
Jack Frost (1979)
This stop-motion animated movie is a classic winter tale of good and evil, hope and despair, and love and sacrifice. Great for ages 5 and up.
I can’t imagine you grew up without watching or hearing about this one. It gives my mama heart great anxiety to watch it… but for most it is a Christmas favorite. Tweens and teenagers would love this movie, but it may go over the heads of younger kids.
A story of a young boy who takes a wild ride on a magical train. A journey of self-discovery unfolds and show the boy the importance of wonder in life. Appropriate for the whole family.
Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
It’s a remake of a classic. A skeptical six-year-old slowly begins to believe in Santa after her mother hires Kriss Kringle as the Santa for a toy store. Susan, the six-year-old then goes on to try to convince everyone around her that Santa is real. We don’t watch this one in our house because we don’t celebrate Santa, but I’d say any kids over the age of 5 would enjoy it.
The Santa Clause
After Scott Calvin accidentally kills Santa, all of Santa’s “powers” transfer to him. Scott has to navigate control over his son while undergoing all of the bizarre physical changes and responsibilities that go along with being Santa. Any kids younger than tween age may not be interested in this, but it’s appropriate for the whole family.
Jingle All The Way
Jingle All The Way depicts the crazy lengths parents go to in order to get their kids the “it” toy and it’s pretty hilarious. When a movie stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad, how could it not be funny? Kids around the age of 7 will start to enjoy this movie.
Buddy is an orphan who accidentally stows away in Santa’s sack and is raised with all of the elves. When he’s an adult, he’s reunited with his birth dad and is left navigating New York City. Kids start to really enjoy this movie around the age of 7.
I’ll Be Home For Christmas
After being hazed by by classmates, a college student has difficulties getting home for Christmas. He learns a lot about himself while hitchhiking across the country. This movie is appropriate for middle school age and up.
Christmas With The Kranks
With an empty house, the Kranks decide they’re going on vacation for Christmas instead of celebrating at home. When their daughter decides last minute to come home, they scramble to decorate and give her the Christmas she grew up knowing. High school kids and up will enjoy watching this one with you. Rated PG.
Two women, one in the US and one in England decide to swap homes for Christmastime after they both go through bad breakups. Each one finds romance with a local guy but they have to decide what to do when the end of their trip approaches. The Holiday is more of a chick flick for mom instead of a movie for the whole family. Rated PG-13