The Best Family-Friendly Christmas Movies

Family, Featured Article, Holidays
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There is no better way to celebrate the season than with your family and a heart-warming Christmas movie. However, sometimes it can be hard to sift through the classics for age-appropriate crowd pleasers. We’ve chosen our favorite Christmas movies and categorized them by age. Now pop some popcorn, rally the troops, grab a warm blanket and hit play!

AGES 4 AND OLDER

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Year: 1964

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This seasonal favorite features everyone’s favorite reindeer, Rudolph (and his famous shiny nose), as he meets an abominable snowman and discovers an island of misfit toys. When he returns to the North Pole to alert Santa to his findings, he discovers Santa’s sleigh is fogged in, and Christmas present delivery is on the line. Rudolph’s shiny red nose saves the day, and they all live happily ever after. This movie represents dedication and the desire to do right boy others, and the fun claymation genre evokes fond thoughts from your own childhood.

The Polar Express
Year: 2004

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Based on the Caldecott award-winning book of the same name, “The Polar Express” story begins with main character Billy doubting the existence of Santa. But on Christmas Eve, the North Pole-bound train, the Polar Express, arrives at his front door to take him to meet Old St. Nick. Little does Billy know that this is a journey to not only see Santa, but also to reignite his belief in him. A heart-warming tale that exemplifies the joy and innocence of the Christmas season.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Year: 1966

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The Grinch may steal Christmas, but he also steals the hearts of everyone who watches this cartoon. We watch as the Grinch and his dog, Max, take the Christmas presents from the members of Whoville only to learn that Christmas is not about presents at all. It’s about the joy of being with one another. This animated classic continues to inspire laughs and lessons for people of all ages.

Muppet Christmas Carol
Year: 1992

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The Muppet universe is intertwined with classic literature in “Muppet Christmas Carol.” In this Muppet adventure, we follow miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve when he is encountered by chained spirit Marley. The ghost takes Scrooge on a journey through the past, present, and Scrooge’s grim future if he doesn’t shape up. This is a great way to introduce younger children to a classic tale and the path to happiness when you have a giving heart.

AGES 6 AND OLDER

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Year: 2000

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This millennium update has the same story as the original Grinch tale, but the live-action version offers Jim Carrey humor and laughs galore. Watch as the real-life (and fuzzy!) Grinch reminisces about old times, befriends Cindy-Lou Who, and the steals gifts from Whoville. Just be sure to limit this one to slightly older kids due to humor and realistic Grinch features.

Elf
Year: 2003

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Candy connoisseur and lovable human-sized elf Buddy goes on a journey from the North Pole to New York City to meet his estranged father. During his time there, Buddy takes part in day-to-day city life in Manhattan, spreading Christmas cheer and brightening the lives of everyone he meets. Don’t be a cotton-headed-ninny-muggins! Make sure this is on your Christmas movie watchlist!

The Santa Clause
Year 1994:

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A holiday mistake makes a Christmas classic. After Scott Calvin accidentally kills Santa from startling him on the roof, he has to take on the role of the bearded gift giver. He gains weight, grows a beard and changes the heart of Santa-doubter son, Charlie. This movie has a plot to keep kids and adults entertained.

Miracle on 34th Street (New)
Year: 1994

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Santa Skeptic Susan Walker meets the Macy’s Santa so aptly named Kris Kringle. After proving to be a good Santa double, Kris reveals that he thinks he is the real Santa Claus. Doubtful Susan and Kris end up developing a heartfelt friendship where she learns about the importance of faith.

AGES 8 AND OLDER

Home Alone
Year: 1990

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The importance of family is redefined in this movie. The youngest McCallister son, Kevin, is accidentally left behind by his family when they hustle off to Paris in a frenzy. Kevin, often resentful of his family status, enjoys his time away from the chaos of a large family, but when robbers try to break in while he’s home alone, he is left to his own devices in order to fend them off. Thanks to his clever traps, he staves them off simultaneously providing hilarious entertainment for your family. This movie is full to the brim of holiday fun!

A Christmas Story
Year: 1983

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This is a narrative tale as told by adult Ralphie Parker as he recounts the Christmas that all he wanted was a Red Ryder BB gun. The quirky antics that the Parker parents deliver makes for a most hilarious, tradition-worthy viewing experience that will make even the most dysfunctional of families feel a little more “normal.”

It’s a Wonderful Life
Year: 1946

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It’s A Wonderful Life? Sure. But it’s an even more wonderful movie! This black and white classic centers on do-gooder George who just can’t catch a break. Down on his luck, he declares he wishes he had never been born causing angel Clarence to show him what the world would be like without him. It’s a sweet and sentimental film to play again and again.

Jingle All the way
Year: 1996

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Before he was the “Governator,” Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in this holiday comedy as Howard Langston. A father on a mission to get the season’s hot toy—Turbo Man—for his son, Howard runs into trouble when postal worker Myron Larabee needs one too. Their scrambling competition entertains viewers and strikes a chord with every parent who ever just wanted to make Christmas perfect for their kid.

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