The Christmas season brings a special magic to families worldwide every year. That magic is always amplified when watching a beloved movie classic around the television. From timeless romance to hilarious comedies, it’s no secret that Christmas films bring an extra dose of cheer and nostalgia. But with so many movies, how can you narrow it down to find the perfect ones to watch with your entire family? Here is a list of the best family Christmas movies that will bring joy to viewers of any age. With titles ranging from heartwarming to hilarious, you’ll soon be ready to relax and have a merry family Christmas movie night.
My all-time favourite Christmas movie has to be Miracle on 34th Street, with Richard Attenborough, a remake of the 1947 feel-good classic, telling the heart-warming story of a young girl’s desire for a fully functional family, complete with a father and a baby brother. The girl, Susan, confides in Kris Kringle, the kind old man acting as the Grotto Santa in the department store managed by her mother. Kris Kringle, however, believes he is the genuine Santa Claus, and this devotion to the cause makes him very popular, leading to record profits for the store. This annoys rival retailers so much that they try to discredit the so-called Santa, leading eventually to a court case in which Kringle and his lawyer try to prove that he is the real thing.
Two talented song-and-dance men team up after the war to become one of the hottest acts in show business. One winter, they join forces with a sister act and trek to Vermont for a white Christmas. Of course, there’s the requisite fun with the ladies, but the real adventure starts when song-and-dance men discover that the inn is run by their old army general, who’s now in financial trouble. The result is the stuff dreams are made of.
With her husband off at war, Marmee is left alone to raise their four daughters, her little women. There is the spirited Jo, conservative Meg, fragile Beth and romantic Amy. As the years pass, the sisters share some of the most cherished and painful memories of self-discovery as Marmee and Aunt March guide them through issues of independence, romance and virtue.
Chicago subway worker Lucy is fascinated with businessman Peter, a commuter who regularly uses her station and who she only ever sees from a distance. One day, Peter is almost hit by a train, but Lucy manages to save him at the last moment; then, as she sits by his side while he lies unconscious in a hospital bed, his family arrive and mistakes her for his new girlfriend. Happy to be welcomed into the home of her dream partner, Lucy tries to gather the strength to set the record straight, but the situation becomes more complicated when she starts falling in love with Peter’s brother, Jack.
George Bailey has spent his entire life in the small town of Bedford Falls. Despite his yearning to see the world, George has always sacrificed his ambitions for the sake of his family and the local community, settling down to marry his childhood sweetheart, Mary, and raise a family. However, when a huge amount of money goes missing from his savings and loans company, he panics and finds himself preparing to commit suicide. Clarence shows him the error of this idea: an angel sent to Earth to earn his wings. To this end, Clarence shows George how badly Bedford Falls and its residents would have turned out had he never been born.
Starring Jim Carrey, the Grinch is a moody green monster who lives high up on a mountain overlooking the town of Whoville. The Grinch hates happiness, hates merriment, and, most of all, hates Christmas. So, one year, as the festive season approaches, he decides that enough is enough and draws up plans to steal all of the Christmas decorations and presents from the poor, unsuspecting citizens below. Does this mean the residents of Whoville won’t be celebrating this year? Not if little Cindy Lou has anything to do with it.
The film follows Santa Claus as he sets off to New York to help out a little elf named Patch. However, having been made redundant, Patch decides to get his own back and sells all the toy secrets to an evil toy manufacturer. Will Santa be able to save the day?
Join Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and all the hilarious Muppets in this merry, magical version of Charles Dickens’ classic tale. The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future visit one fateful Christmas Eve, Scrooge (Michael Caine). With kind, humble Kermit the Frog and his family, the Spirits open Scrooge’s eyes and heart to Christmas’s true meaning.
It features young Kevin, who finds that his family have gone on holiday without him and is left alone in the house. To make matters worse, some local crooks have their beady eyes on the seemingly empty property. Kevin must find a way to stop his home from being robbed.
In the sequel, Kevin gets lost in New York and, in this city of millions of people, comes across the same two crooks vanquished in the first film. Will the dumb, clumsy thieves never learn?
Buddy is a human being who has spent his whole life believing himself to be an elf. Brought up by Santa and his elves at the North Pole, Buddy has spent the last 30 years happily working in Santa’s toy workshop. But when his ungainly size becomes a liability in the elf-sized working environment, Santa suggests that Buddy heads to New York City to find his biological father. The unlikely spectacle of a 6’5′ man dressed from head to foot in bright green stands out a mile on the streets of the Big Apple, and the good-natured Buddy finds himself in all sorts of scrapes as he gets used to his new family and surroundings – and they get used to him.
The Griswolds decide to spend the Christmas season at home. It is not as quiet as they had planned.
Good neighbours can be hard to come by, and when the flighty Buddy Hall moves in across the street from the conservative Dr Steve Finch, it quickly becomes apparent that the two men are complete opposites. While Finch methodically plans out every minute of the coming Christmas season for his family, Buddy craves freshness and excitement and is seized by an impulsive desire to decorate his house so brightly that it can be seen from space. While the men’s wives, Kelly and Tia and their children revel in one another’s differences and form solid friendships, a rivalry of personalities and Christmas spirit ensues between the two men that will wind up testing the patience and love of every member of both families.
Upon his 1600th birthday, Santa Claus is given a very special gift: a white, fluffy, stuffed toy puppy brought to life by the Great Christmas Icicle (turning him into Santa Paws). When Santa loses his memory and becomes lost in New York, Paws and his new friends must find him and his magic crystal to restore Christmas. Along the way, they try to brighten the lives of Quinn and Will, a couple of orphans whose only wish is to have a family.
A jobless, happy-go-lucky slob of an uncle, is asked to babysit his niece and nephew at short notice. His hidden flair for childcare soon emerges, even as his relationship with his long-suffering girlfriend, Chanice, takes a turn for the worse.
After promising his young son that Santa will get him the number one item on the boy’s wish list, a well-meaning workaholic father’s Christmas Eve turns into a hilariously nightmarish madcap scramble across the city to find the much sought-after and, therefore, virtually impossible to find toy.
Late on Christmas Eve night, a boy lies in bed, hoping to hear the sound of reindeer bells from Santa’s sleigh. Then, to his surprise, a steam engine’s roar and whistle can be heard outside his window. The conductor invites him on board to take an extraordinary journey to the North Pole with many other pyjama-clad children. There, he receives an extraordinary gift only those who still believe in Santa can experience
The film explores the ups and downs of relationships in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives, fathers and sons, rock stars and managers combine to make Love Actually not just one story but ten very different ones. Because if you look hard enough, you will find that love actually is all around.
Iris is in love with a man about to marry another woman. Across the globe, Amanda realises the man she lives with has been unfaithful. Two women who have never met and live 6000 miles apart find themselves in the same place. They meet online at a home exchange website and impulsively switch homes for the holiday. Iris moves into Amanda’s L.A. house in sunny California as Amanda arrives in the snow-covered English countryside. Shortly after arriving at their destinations, both women find the last thing they want or expect a new romance. Amanda is charmed by Iris’ handsome brother Graham, and Iris, with inspiration provided by legendary screenwriter Arthur, mends her heart when she meets film composer Miles.
On Christmas Eve, New York cop John McClane is visiting his estranged wife, Holly, in Los Angeles, where she works. They are attending a party at Holly’s high-rise office block when terrorists, led by the suave Hans Gruber, break-in, taking everyone hostage. However, McClane manages to evade capture and sets out to rescue his wife and the other prisoners. Not long before, he runs barefoot over the shattered glass in a sweaty vest, muttering ‘Yippy kay aye’ as he dispatches the baddies with bullets and a certain earthy wit.
Anna Scott is the world’s most famous movie star, whilst divorcee William Thacker owns an ailing travel bookstore in his local neighbourhood of Notting Hill. One day, Anna buys a book from William’s shop and collides messily with him on a street corner. She accompanies him home to clean herself up and springs an unlikely romance from there. However, the path to true love is littered with obstacles, not least the media, the adoring fans and the differences in their lifestyles.
Scott Calvin (Tim Allen), a cynical toy company executive, is forced to take over the job of Santa Claus when he and his son Charlie witness the previous incumbent falling off a roof. Soon, Scott puts on weight, growing a white beard and fulfilling his obligation to deliver presents to all the children worldwide. He even finds himself reluctantly getting into the spirit of things!
Christmastime is here. Happiness and cheer. And for Peanuts fans everywhere, it wouldn’t be Christmas without this classic holiday delight. Christmas lights may be twinkling red and green, but Charlie Brown has the Yuletide blues. He takes Lucy’s advice and directs the Christmas play to get in the holiday spirit. And what’s a Christmas play without a Christmas tree? But everyone makes fun of the short, spindly nevergreen Charlie Brown brings back – until the real meaning of Christmas works its magic once again.
Aspiring rock singer Jack Frost has struggled for years to make it big, often missing out on time with wife Gabby and son Charlie. While driving to a music mogul’s party one wintry evening, Jack realises that his family is more important than his career and turns his car around – only to plunge to his death when he swerves off the road in a blizzard! One year on, an angry and depressed Charlie is still mourning for his father. Deciding to make a snowman in the garden (one of the few activities Jack always found time for), Charlie gives it his dad’s old scarf – only for the snowman to come to life as a reincarnated Jack. Determined to compensate for the mistakes he made in his lifetime, the new, snow-based Jack sets out to be the kind of father Charlie always wanted.
Animated musical fantasy set in a parallel world where different lands represent different holiday periods. Our hero is Jack Skellington, a man from Halloween who becomes converted to Christmas and sets out to spread joy in the world. However, when Jack’s new mission leads him to kidnap Santa, it becomes clear that he is not in tune with the Yuletide spirit. Produced and visualised by Tim Burton, this was the first full-length feature to use stop-motion animation throughout.
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a Christmas musical found on Netflix. An imaginary world comes to life in a holiday tale of an eccentric toymaker, his adventurous granddaughter, and a magical invention that can change their lives forever.
Sometimes it is said that there is a strong woman behind every strong man. And there is Mrs Santa Claus, who is not content to remain in the background. She is always at the forefront and uses her unique talents to support Santa Claus … In Jerry Herman’s delightful musical, Angela Lansbury plays a woman who proves Father Christmas needs help to make Christmas run smoothly.
Enchanting musical fantasy comedy that won the Prime Time Emmy!
Make the season merry as Mickey, Goofy, Donald and all their pals star in a heartwarming retelling of Dickens’ unforgettable holiday tale. Ebenezer Scrooge (Scrooge McDuck) is far too greedy to understand that Christmas is a time for kindness and generosity. But with the guidance of some wise ghosts (Goofy and Jiminy Cricket) and a bunch of newfound friends, Scrooge learns to embrace the spirit of the season.
On her way to a new job as a teacher, Lauren stops in Grandon Falls, where she meets and befriends single handyman Travis, his foster kid and many other locals in the weeks up to Christmas. It’s a classic Hallmark holiday special.
Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson star in this contemporary adaptation of Langston Hughes’s acclaimed play, an inspiring story of faith, family and forgiveness. A street-wise teen from Baltimore raised by a single mother travels to New York City to spend Christmas with his estranged relatives, where he embarks on a surprising and inspirational journey.
The story of sister and brother, Kate and Teddy Pierce, whose Christmas Eve plan to catch Santa Claus (Kurt Russell) on camera turns into an unexpected journey that most kids could only dream about. After finishing that, move on to The Christmas Chronicles 2, which stars Goldie Hawn as Mrs Claus.
The origin story of Father Christmas is re-imagined in Gil Keenan’s live action A Boy Called Christmas. An Ordinary young boy called Nikolas sets out on an extraordinary adventure into the snowy north in search of his father who is on a quest to discover the fabled village of the elves. Taking with him a headstrong reindeer called Blitzen and a loyal pet mouse, Nikolas soon meets his destiny in this magical, comic and endearing story that proves nothing is impossible…
Christmas movies bring us together as a family and have the power to create special memories. From Miracle on 34th Street to Deck The Halls and The Santa Clause, these films allow us to escape into whimsically festive worlds. As the holiday season approaches, these top Christmas movies are the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit and create magical moments with your whole family. So, whether you’re looking for a funny festive classic or a timeless romantic adventure, please close your eyes, choose one off our list and let the Christmas magic unfold on your family movie night. Have a merry little Christmas!
You might also like my post on Halloween family movies
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