Favorite Christmas Movies for Families

Christmas Movies

‘Tis the season for snuggling up with your favorite tribe and some favorite Christmas movies. It’s a regular weekend activity at our house during the holiday season, to dust off a favorite Christmas flick, pop some popcorn, and get all comfy cozy on the couch or the bed. Flannel pajamas are optional but strongly recommended.  We’ve assembled a small collection of our family favorites to share with you, so put on your fuzzy slippers and get ready for a holiday movie night.

Disclaimer: I know, Die Hard isn’t on the list. It was a matter of some debate at my house, so feel free to use your own discretion in putting it on your own list of family Christmas movies. I did try to stick with those of our favorites that have the most universal appeal and broad window of age-appropriateness. So now, in no particular order, our own list of quintessential holiday films.

Family Christmas Movies

1. If you don’t like Home Alone, I’m not sure we can be friends. I mean, we can, but maybe not besties. We love it not just for it’s great quote-able lines like “Keep the change, ya filthy animal!” but because it’s just right for all ages and not too saccharine. My kids never ever tire of it.

2. White Christmas + Holiday Inn. I’m putting these both under one listing because of their similarities: great musicality and Bing Crosby and the titular song “White Christmas.” One features the amazing Danny Kaye, the other the amazing Fred Astaire and both are classics in our book.

3. A Christmas Carol. Choose whichever version you like, as there are several good ones. From Alastair Simm to Disney to the Muppets, each offer something a bit different, but the story is timeless and timely all the same. You can trust me on this one–we’ve seen nearly every possible adaptation.  Our boys love it through and through, and sometime even request the old black and white versions.

Christmas Movies4. Miracle on 34th Street. I maintain that the original with Maureen O’Hara and little Natalie Wood is the best of the available versions out there, and I’ve loved it since I was a little girl myself! I especially love the scene with Santa singing in Dutch (or is it Danish?) and when he tries bubble gum for the first time. It’s everything that makes the old classics, well, classics.

5. Prep and Landing. These short films, the original and the follow up, Naughty vs. Nice, are clever and delightful and blessedly short so that family movie night doesn’t keep your little ones up too late. They are lighthearted, cutesy enough for kiddos and witty enough for grown ups. Both are a refreshing change of pace from those old school (yet still beloved) Rudolph, Frosty, and Grinch shows.Christmas Movies

I have a few honorable mentions to offer up, starting with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Now, this was not the kind of movie my family watched while I was growing up, but my husband’s family is crazy about it. It took some time, but I’ve come to see it’s merits and actually look forward to watching it each year. And I laugh. A lot.  Not for young kids, due to some suggestive subject matter and a bit of language, so use your own judgment for your audience.  The same is true for Love Actually and also The Holiday–both are are great, but definitely contain more adult subject matter, romance, and language than is appropriate for children, so save these for the older teens and grown ups in your family.  And, if you really need to add Die Hard to the list, I’m not going to judge you.

Christmas Movies

Now let’s pop some popcorn and make family movie nights a Christmas tradition. I’d love to know what your favorites are!


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...by day, making a home where the buffalo roam. By night, pretty much the same thing, punctuated by the occasional fantasies of sunny beaches, italian movies and sparkling lemonade.


  1. Randi :

    Totally agree with you about Home Alone. The holidays don’t start until Home Alone comes on! Great blog, btw. Glad I found you.

    • Kimberly :

      It’s kindof the best. It felt like a rite of passage to share it with our son when he was 8. Both my boys are crazy about it and it doesn’t grate on my nerves at all!

  2. Ula :

    Lovely idea! Like it a lot!

    • Kimberly :

      It’s one of our favorite things to do at Christmas time. Every weekend!