You don’t have to be Cindy-Lou Who to appreciate a good Christmas tradition, and there comes a point when you need to decide on the best Christmas movies for kids so you can introduce your own little ones to the wonders of a holiday movie marathon.
These are the best Christmas movies for kids:
Depending on your children's ages, you might lean more toward something live-action or opt for an animated movie. Either way, we’ve got you covered so that your kids will know how to function in a world of Home Alone references and Grinch quotes.
You can't introduce your kids to the best of the best when it comes to Christmas movies without Elf. In the 2003 comedy, Will Ferrell plays Buddy the Elf, who is actually a human orphaned as a baby and raised by elves. He makes the trek to New York City to meet his birth father and spreads some serious Christmas cheer along the way.
2. 'Home Alone'
Every '90s kid can still appreciate Home Alone, from the wild storyline of a family actually forgetting their young son at home while they fly across the world on vacation, to the booby traps he sets for a pair of dim-witted burglars. It’s a cautionary tale for busy parents who are frazzled through the holidays, but it’s also a legit classic.
3. 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'
Your kids probably won’t love the graphics of the 1964 holiday TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, since they’re probably used to high definition everything. However, there is something charming about the classic story it tells that every kid should learn at some point. Plus, the entire thing is less than an hour anyway.
4. 'The Santa Clause'
Have you heard about the TikTok fan theory regarding time travel being the link between all three Santa Clause movies? It's a doozy, but it will make you see the movies in a whole new way. Watching the movies with your kids is also sure to make you see why you fell in love with a reluctant Tim Allen Santa in the first place.
5. 'The Polar Express'
The Polar Express tells the story of a boy on the brink of no longer believing in Santa Claus. However, after taking a trip on the Polar Express train to the North Pole, he sees things a bit differently. It's a tearjerker for parents and a ride for little ones. Plus, there’s a book attached to the movie, so you can keep reliving the magic afterward.
6. 'Frosty the Snowman'
Frosty the Snowman is another one of those classics you can't really get around if you want your kids to be on the up and up with the best holiday movies. It’s the story of the snowman who comes to life, but unlike the dated Rudolph movie, it isn't stop motion and is instead animated, which makes it a little more approachable to watch.
7. 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas'
There are multiple renditions of The Grinch out there. However, for the version sure to hold your kids's attention (and entertain you at the same time), go for the 2000 Jim Carrey film. It's the same story, but a little more modern and live-action, which might appeal to a broader range of kids. It also has a fair amount of hidden adult jokes, so there’s that.
Noelle is a recent holiday movie rather than a classic, but it’s still a solid movie for kids to watch to get into the holiday spirit. It follows Santa’s daughter, sent on a mission to find her brother who, unlike her, isn't totally into the holiday spirit. It’s adorable, funny, and it stars Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader.
9. 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'
Is it a Christmas movie? Is it a Halloween movie? That’s the ongoing debate about The Nightmare Before Christmas, but if you are one of many who consider it a Christmas movie, then it’s an obvious addition to your list of Christmas movies for your kids to enjoy. Halloween expert Jack Skellington gets a new zest for life when he discovers Christmas and introduces all of his spooky friends to the holiday.
10. 'The Christmas Chronicles'
This is another one that’s newer in terms of holiday movies. But The Christmas Chronicles is also one that can be enjoyed by parents and kids of varying ages. The plot revolves around a brother and sister who accidentally get taken by Santa on his sleigh on Christmas Eve. After losing the sleigh and Santa’s “magic” hat, they must help him locate both to save Christmas.
11. 'Jack Frost'
If you aren't afraid of a tearjerker, then feel free to watch Jack Frost with your kids. After a father is killed in a car accident, he returns as a snowman to make memories with them one last time. It’s a little heavy at times, but it’s also full of those holiday warm and fuzzies.
Of course, you don't have to watch all of these Christmas movies with your kids, but when you’re ready to introduce them to the wonderful world of holiday movie marathons, these are some of the kid-friendly classics.
12. 'Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey'
Netflix's live-action musical Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey follows the magical story of a toy inventor and his 10-year-old granddaughter who work together to create one last invention to repair relationships and change their life's course.
13. 'A Boy Called Christmas'
A young boy named Nikolas travels to the snowy north with a reindeer and his pet mouse to search for his father who is on a mission to find a village of elves.
14. 'The Princess Switch'
Just one week before Christmas, Margaret Delacourt, the Duchess of Montenaro, switches places with her doppelganger Stacy, an ordinary woman from Chicago. The women eventually end up falling in love with each other's beaus in this heartwarming holiday tale.