23 Christmas Movie Favorites for the Whole Family (2018)

Christmas Movies that are Family Friendly!

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This is our updated list of 23 Christmas Movies that are Family Favorites. They are appropriate for children, some are animated, and some will make you laugh out loud they are that funny! And remember that almost all of these are available at your public library for free! We have an online account with our city library where we put items on hold. We just go in and pick them up when they email us and notify us that they have been pulled and are on the “hold” shelf. So easy to run in and check them out!

Do you have some family favorite Christmas movies that you watch every year? We do – some of our favorite Christmas movies are the result of fond memories from our childhoods and others have grown to be Christmas favorites in recent years as they have touched our hearts. Many of you have shared movies we should watch and we try to add to this list each year!

We have a wooden crate near the hearth of our fireplace where we store all of our most favorite Christmas movies. Steve just went over and pulled a bunch out and created this list of the ones we love the most. Some are deep, some are moving and some are just plain silly and fun. Here are our top Family Friendly Christmas Movie favorites in no particular order – it was just how they came to mind.

If you have a family favorite Christmas Movie that isn’t listed, please share it in the comments so we all can enjoy it!

Christmas Movies – Classic Black & White Versions

  1. Holiday Inn  Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby fight for the girls in this song-filled Irving Berlin film. Lots of memorable melodies like White Christmas, Abraham (Lincoln) and many other holiday centered songs. Jim (Bing Crosby) and Lila work as part of a performing trio. They’re tired of the nightclub life and want to quit to run a country inn. There are many twists and turns with Ted (Fred Astaire) and others involved in trying to win the girl.
  2. It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Steward and Donna Reed. We watch this movie two or three times each year and it always makes us cry. 
  3. March of the Wooden Soldiers (Laurel and Hardy), slapstick, good wins over evil, nursery rhymes, and great singing.
  4. Miracle on 34th Street with Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, John Payne and Natalie Wood. We think the old black and white version is best. We watch this a couple of times each year. it’s a story of how love wins over a wounded heart at Christmas.Great historic scenes of New York City in the 1930’s.

Christmas Movies – Animated Favorites

  1. Arthur Christmas – this is a hilarious, yet a very touching movie about the Claus family and how much one of the youngest members of the family cares about every child being remembered at Christmas-time. The role of Santa has been handed down in this family for generations. They take their job very seriously and are constantly developing new technology to make present delivery more certain and quick. But there are still some vestiges of antiquity that play a role in the story and one of them actually saves Christmas. It’s heartwarming, funny and just a great Christmas movie for the whole family. Thanks to our MoneySmart Friend Erin for suggesting we watch it. We found DVDs on sale on Black Friday and bought copies for every family member!  You’ve got to see this movie!
  2. A Charlie Brown Christmas— This has to be one of our all-time favorite Christmas Movies. The story behind Charles Shultz’s creation of this masterpiece is fantastic. We absolutely love Linus’ recitation of the Christmas story from the book of Luke.
  3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas — we love the original animated version. Boris Karloff’s narration really makes this a classic Christmas movie.
  4. The Polar Express – We loved the book and read it to our kids regularly. The movie is just fun – sometimes a little like riding a roller coaster.
  5. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Burl Ives) the Rankin and Bass original claymation – is a classic Christmas movie and an annual must see at our house.
  6. The Little Drummer Boy – We love this touching story about an Aaron who’s loving parents gave him a drum for his birthday. One night soon afterward, his parents were killed and his home burned. Aaron hates humanity as a result but has three animals whom he loves. The donkey, sheep, and lamb love to listen to his drum and dance to its beat. Eventually, Aaron and his animals are kidnapped and forced to perform. In the end, he escapes and finds peace and help through meeting a baby lying in a manger.

Christmas Movies – Color Family Favorites

  1. All I Want for Christmas with Lauren Bacall. A Charming story of how 2 siblings get their parents back together.
  2. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever — Loretta Swit (from MASH). This is a great kid Christmas movie with a lesson in discrimination, and an awesome children’s play about the real Christmas story.
  3. The Christmas Box with Richard Thomas (John-Boy from the Waltons) and Maureen O’Hara. Heartwarming story, grieving old woman, a young family with workaholic dad, and why Christmas is for families.
  4. Christmas with the Kranks – Tim Allen and lots of silly fun – the book “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham is better, but this Christmas movie is pretty good.
  5. A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott. One of the deepest most profound movies out there. Be prepared and have a box of tissues nearby.
  6. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey – excellent cinematography and a heart wrenching / heartwarming story of a Civil War widow and a little boy looking for a new life. The picture book is good, but honestly, the movie is much better.
  7. Home Alone (silly and fun) Hard to watch some parts of this family’s dysfunction. But there are many LOL funny scenes in this classic Christmas movie.
  8. Jingle All the Way (silly and fun, but not a true meaning of Christmas flick) with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad.
  9. The Nativity Story – Deep, biblically pretty accurate and moving. A must see Christmas movie to get back to the real reason for the season.
  10. The Santa Clause 1,2, and 3 — Tim Allen. Great family fun to watch, all 3 Christmas movies are excellent! We’re especially liking the storyline of #3 with Jack Frost.
  11. The Ultimate Gift (we just watched this one and it’s great – got it from the library, then ordered it from Amazon). A story about a wealthy grandfather who leaves his entitled grandson a series of challenges to help him develop his character and generosity.
  12. While You Were Sleeping with Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman. Sweet story of how valuable family really is to a young lady who has lost both of her parents.
  13. White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. Classic story, great songs, amazing dancing and a little bit of silliness too.

For other great Christmas Ideas see our blog about Christmas Traditions.
Also, see our blog about making Christmas Magical on a Small Budget.
And finally, see our Christmas Crafts and Decor Page.

Please Share If This Helped You!

10 thoughts on “23 Christmas Movie Favorites for the Whole Family (2018)

  1. Heather Thomas

    I love Christmas movies! There were a couple on your list that I haven’t seen, so thanks for the ideas. I second “Muppet Christmas Carol,” and would add the musical “Scrooge” with Albert Finney. “The Homecoming” the original Walton’s movie, “The House Without a Christmas Tree” and “Prancer” are great appreciating your blessings movies. I would also recommend “The Christmas Card” and we love “Elf.”

  2. Jenny Galanek

    Many of our faves are on your list. I’d add A Christmas Story, Christmas in Connecticut, and A Muppets Christmas Carol.
    We watch the Nativity Story every Christmas Eve, and with our vast collection to watch we now have made watching Its a Wonderful Life on New Year’s Eve. It’s one of our all time favorite movies!

    1. Steve Economides Post author

      Jenny! Thanks for sharing your Favorite Christmas Movies. It’s a Wonderful Life for New Years is a GREAT Idea – perfect way to start the year focused on giving to and caring for others. Christmas in Connecticut looks like a hoot – we just watched the trailer . . . yet another movie to get. Thanks for suggesting it.

  3. Kelly Corey Post author

    Hi – since you like ideas I can’t believe you do not have Christmas Shoes as one of your top 20 movies. If you have not seen it, please watch it and let me know what you think!

    1. Steve Economides Post author

      Erin, we’d never heard of the 2011 movie Arthur Christmas until you mentioned it. We just watched the trailer and are going to check it out of the library. Thanks for sharing your Christmas Favorite Movie with us!

    1. Steve Economides Post author

      Joanie – we totally forgot about this A Christmas Story — definitely a Christmas favorite movie. Honestly, it’s not one of our favorite movies, but it is popular, thanks for sharing. BTW, we did give our kids BB guns for Christmas!

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