34 Best Family Christmas Movie Favorites of All Time

Christmas Movies that are Family Friendly!

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This is our updated (December 2023) list of 34 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 many of these are available at your public library or on Amazon Prime or Netflix for “free!” 

Do you have some family favorite Christmas movies that you watch every year?

We do! Some of our favorite family 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 cabinet in our family room where we store all of our favorite family Christmas movies.

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

One of our many Family Christmas Traditions is to start watching Christmas movies early in the fall so we can get through our list of favorites by the time Christmas is over.

Family Christmas Movies – Classic Black & White Versions

It's a wonderful life movie screen shot
  1. 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.  Watch It’s a Wonderful Life for Free here
  2. 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. Watch “Holiday Inn” for Free Here!
  3. March of the Wooden Soldiers (Laurel and Hardy), slapstick, good wins over evil, nursery rhymes, and great singing. Watch “March of the Wooden Soldiers” for free here.
  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. This is a movie we watch a couple of times each year. it’s a story of how love wins over a wounded heart at Christmas. It also has some great historical scenes of New York City in the 1930s.
  5. The Shop Around the Corner (Jimmy Stewart) is a 1940 romantic comedy-drama. The movie follows the story of two pen pals, who have never met but end up as employees of a gift shop in Budapest. They find themselves in a romantic entanglement, despite not being able to stand each other in the workplace.

    Starring Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart, the film explores the nature of love, friendship, and the power of serendipity. Written and directed by Ernst Lubitsch, the film was nominated for three Academy Awards and is considered a classic of the romantic comedy genre.
  6. It Happened on 5th Avenue is a fun classic holiday movie from 1947. It tells the story of a homeless man, Aloysius T. McKeever, who finds shelter for the winter in the vacant mansion of a millionaire on Manhattan’s 5th Avenue.

    As McKeever and his new friends, unemployed WWII army veterans and a run-away girl, make themselves at home, they soon discover the mansion is not as vacant as it first seemed. With a little luck and a lot of Christmas spirit, they discover the meaning of friendship and the power of giving.
  7. Christmas In Connecticut: When it comes to Christmas, there’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than by watching the classic romantic comedy, “Christmas in Connecticut.” Starring the incomparable Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan, this charming and heartwarming film follows the story of Elizabeth Lane, a food columnist for a home magazine, who is forced to feed and entertain a returning war hero.

    The problem is that she can’t cook and she doesn’t own a farm in Connecticut like she says she does in her popular magazine column. With plenty of mistaken identities, romance, comedy, and holiday cheer, there’s something for everyone in this heartwarming classic.

Family Christmas Movies – Animated Favorites

How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Favorite christmas movie
  1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas — we love the original animated version. Boris Karloff’s narration really makes this a classic Christmas movie.
  2. Arthur Christmas – this is a hilarious, yet 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!
  3. 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.
  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 a young boy named Aaron whose 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.

Family Christmas Movies – Color Family Favorites

The Santa Clause a Christmas movie tradition
  1. 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.
  2. All I Want for Christmas with Lauren Bacall. A Charming story of how 2 siblings get their parents back together.
  3. 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.
  4. The Christmas Box with Richard Thomas (John-Boy from the Waltons) and Maureen O’Hara. Heartwarming story, grieving old woman, a young family with a workaholic dad, and why Christmas is for families.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Jingle All the Way (silly and fun, but not a true meaning of Christmas flick) with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad.
  10. The Nativity Story – This is a deep, biblically accurate and moving movie. A must-see Christmas movie to get back to the real reason for the season.
  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. A 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.
  14. The Man Who Invented Christmas  We discovered this movie starring Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey and Beauty and the Beast) with Christopher Plummer. This is a heartwarming and fun story that recounts how Charles Dickens discovered the characters and wrote the story, “A Christmas Carol.” We don’t know if it is 100 percent accurate in the biographical facts about Dickens, but it truly sheds a light on what his life might have been like.
  15. The Christmas Choir – “The Christmas Choir” is a heartwarming holiday film based on the true story of the Montreal Accueil Bonneau Choir (also known as the Montreal Homeless Choir), and its founder and director Pierre Anthian.

    The movie follows the transformative journey of Peter, a workaholic businessman played by Jason Gedrick. Peter experiences a life-changing event when he stumbles upon a homeless choir singing Christmas carols in a park. Touched by their plight and inspired by their resilience, Peter decides to volunteer his time and musical expertise to help the choir members rebuild their lives.

    As Peter immerses himself in this newfound mission, he faces various challenges in uniting the diverse group of individuals who make up the choir. Along the way, he forms deep connections with the members, learning about their unique backgrounds and struggles. The film beautifully captures the spirit of community, compassion, and the true meaning of Christmas.

    “The Christmas Choir” is a touching tale that showcases the power of music and human connection in bringing about positive change during the holiday season.
  16. The Christmas Shoes is a Christmas-themed movie that tells the story of a young boy’s attempt to buy a special pair of shoes for his terminally ill mother. It’s a heartwarming story … and a tearjerker. With the help of a work-a-holic lawyer, he is able to make the purchase, and in the process, discovers the true meaning of Christmas. Ultimately, the boy learns that love is the greatest gift of all and even a small act of kindness can make a difference in someone’s life. Consequently, the movie serves as a reminder that no matter what the situation, it is always possible to show love and kindness to those around us. The was created from the well-known song “Christmas Shoes.”
This music video has clips from the movie along with the song.

Family Favorite Christmas Movies on Netflix

The Christmas Candle a Christmas tradition

We have a TMobile Family Plan with a Military discount. Included with our plan (10 people for $210 per month) we receive a Netflix subscription for FREE. We’ve found these amazing Christmas movies on Netflix!

  1. The Christmas Candle – A touching story about a pastor who has had a huge personal loss in his life. He accepts a position in a small town that believes in the miracle of a Christmas candle, blessed by an angel each year.  He works to abolish the heretical belief, but in the process is loved and healed by the people of the town. Susan Boyle (Britain’s Got Talent) has her movie debut in this show and graces the screen with a beautiful song. We liked this movie so much that we bought it from Amazon.
  2. Christmas Chronicles – This is a fun movie that will have you laughing and crying as you watch. It is a bit cliche, drawing on elements from many other Christmas movies, but has a redemptive quality to it. A teen boy has suffered a deep family loss and is heading toward a life of crime. With the help of his sister and Santa (who doesn’t say Ho Ho Ho) he’s given an opportunity to help save Christmas and as a result, find meaning in his own life.

    Kurt Russell plays an amazing Santa with a big heart, but not a big belly. Goldie Hawn makes a cameo appearance as Mrs. Claus. This movie is not available on Amazon. Netflix has announced that a sequel “Christmas Chronicles 2” hit the airways in November of 2020 and was pretty good too!
  3. The Holiday Calendar A struggling but talented photographer inherits an antique holiday advent calendar. The calendar contents seem to predict her future. Will this magical calendar lead her to love this holiday season? It’s a fun and touching story.
  4. A Boy Called Christmas – This is a heartwarming and entertaining movie for both adults and children alike. It’s based on the novel of the same name by Matt Haig, and follows a young boy named Nikolas as he embarks on an adventure to discover his true identity. It was released in 2021.

    The movie deals with loss and grief but it also shows the power of truth, love and hope. It’s a tasteful and moving story that should be watched as a family.

    A Boy Called Christmas is full of whimsical and wonderfully imaginative moments that delight and bring a sense of joy to children and adults alike. The characters are lovable, the visuals are stunning, and the music is beautiful.
Christmas Movies that are Family Friendly!

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.

15 thoughts on “34 Best Family Christmas Movie Favorites of All Time

  1. GwenDeegrl3

    A new Netflix movie for Christmas that we love: Jingle Jangle. The story of a toy maker and his quest to make the ultimate Christmas toy. It is very a very positive story.

  2. TheGeneralStore

    You must see The Year Without a Santa Claus. It’s an animated movie, which I don’t usually like, but Shirley Booth narrates it and plays the part of Mrs. Claus. You remember her from the hit 1960s tv show HAZEL. She has the perfect, warm, grandmotherly voice for this show and it works. I love to watch it every year. You will too. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

  3. TheGeneralStore

    You must see The Year Without a Santa Claus. It’s an animated movie, which I don’t usually like, but Shirley Booth narrates it and plays the part of Mrs. Claus. You remember her from the hit 1960s tv show HAZEL. She has the perfect, warm, grandmotherly voice for this show and it works. I love to watch it every year. You will too. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. Here’s a link to the movie on Amazon:

  4. 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.”

  5. 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.

  6. 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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