The 20 Best Kids' Christmas Movies for Family Movie Nights

Christmas movies for kids are a great way for the family to get into the holiday spirit together.
profile picture of Celia Shatzman
ByCelia Shatzman
Contributing Writer
Updated
Dec 2019
Will Ferrell in the kids Christmas movie Elf
Photo: Everett Digital

‘Tis the season to bust out the popcorn maker! There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than by cozying up with loved ones and watching some great family Christmas movies. After all, it’s the perfect way to unwind and get in some fun bonding time too. Good news: Planning an epic movie night is easy during the merriest time of year, because there are so many great Christmas movies for kids to choose from! From old school classics to modern favorites, we’ve rounded up some of the best kids’ Christmas movies that the whole family can enjoy.

A Christmas Carol (1951)

You can have your pick of Scrooge flicks, but this black and white version tops critics’ list of best kids’ Christmas movies. Showing your kids the Charles Dicken tale brought to life will give them an unforgettable lesson in the holiday spirit.

Rated: Not rated, but friendly for all ages
Run time: 1 hour 26 minutes
Where to watch: Rent on Amazon.com, $2

It’s A SpongeBob Christmas! (2012)

For a more modern take on kids’ Christmas movies, the SpongeBob Christmas Movie is a guaranteed kid-pleaser. Nautical nonsense ensues as Plankton tries to steal the secret Krabby Patty formula with a jerktonium-laced fruitcake in this funny Christmas kids movie.

Rated: PG
Run time: 47 minutes
Where to watch: Rent on Amazon.com, $5

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

It just wouldn’t be the holidays without the beloved Charlie Brown Christmas movie. Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang will teach your kids the true meaning of Christmas, with a few laughs along the way.

Rated: G
Run time: 25 minutes
Where to watch: Stream on ABC Go

A Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Perhaps one of the most classic kids’ Christmas movies, this iconic film will have even the most skeptical of children convinced that Santa Claus is real. Just press play and watch the magic happen.

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Rated: Not rated, but friendly for all ages
Run time: 1 hour 36 minutes
Where to watch: Rent on Amazon.com, $4

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Christmas with the Chipmunks (2005)

Alvin, Simon and Theodore get the chipmunks Christmas movie treatment, and of course it spotlights their funny takes on favorite holiday songs. Your kids might just start singing along.

Rated: G
Run time: 88 minutes
Where to watch: Rent on Google Play, $4

Elf (2003)

Will Ferrell steals everyone’s hearts as Buddy the accidental elf from the North Pole. Your family will crack up as he finds himself in New York City in a hilarious attempt to track down his real dad.

Rated: PG
Run time: 1 hour 37 minutes
Where to watch: Rent on Amazon.com, $4

A Christmas Story (1983)

In this kids’ Christmas movie classic set in the 1940’s, a little boy named Ralphie tries to convince his parents to buy him the perfect Christmas present.

Rated: PG
Run time: 1 hour 34 minutes
Where to watch: Rent on Amazon.com, $4

The Santa Clause (1994)

Who knew that Tim Allen Christmas movies would become a signature of the season? In the first flick of the kids’ Christmas movie trio, Allen unexpectedly takes over for Santa Claus.

Rated: PG
Run time: 1 hour 37 minutes
Where to watch: Rent on Amazon.com, $4

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

This kooky but cute kids’ Christmas movie about Santa’s most famous reindeer is one of the most endearing claymation Christmas movies of the season.

Rated: G
Run time: 47 minutes
Where to watch: Watch it on YouTube.com

Home Alone (1990)

Hasn’t every kid wanted to be 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) after watching this perennial favorite? When he’s accidentally left behind from his family’s Christmas vacation, he has to defend his home from burglars and (of course) high jinks ensue. Hands down, one of the best kids’ Christmas movies around.

Rated: PG
Run time: 1 hour 43 minutes
Where to watch: Rent on Amazon.com, $4

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Here’s hoping your kids enjoy watching the wacky Griswold family as much as you did when you were their age. This funny Christmas movie for kids is a great introduction to the film series.

Rated: PG-13
Run time: 1 hour 37 minutes
Where to watch: Rent on Amazon.com, $4

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

There’s a reason why families have had this classic Christmas movie on their list for generations—it’s heartwarming and sentimental, just like holiday season itself.

Rated: PG
Run time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Where to watch: Buy on Amazon.com, $14

Frosty the Snowman (1969)

Everyone’s favorite snowman comes to life in this enchanting cartoon Christmas movie. What’s more, the whole family will find themselves singing along with the classic Christmas song.

Rated: G
Run time: 25 minutes
Where to watch: Rent on Amazon.com, $4

A Muppet Family Christmas (1987)

From the Fraggles to Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, the gang is all here in this classic kids’ Christmas movie that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Rated: Not rated, but friendly for all ages
Run time: 47 minutes
Where to watch: Watch it on YouTube.com

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999)

It wouldn’t be the happiest time of year without a Mickey Mouse Christmas movie. The three-parter puts a Disney Christmas movie spin on a trio of tales: The Gift of the Magi, Duck Tales and A Very Goofy Christmas.

Rated: Not rated, but friendly for all ages
Run time: 1 hour 6 minutes
Where to watch: Buy on Amazon.com, $10

White Christmas (1954)

The ultimate Christmas classic from yesteryear, this film stars old Hollywood giants Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney, who perform a Christmas show in rural Vermont. It’s the perfect choice to introduce your kids to the golden era of silver screen musicals as well as its beloved stars.

Rated: Not rated, but friendly for all ages
Run time: 2 hours
Where to watch: Rent on Amazon.com, $2

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

While you probably watched the original animated version as a child, your kids will dig the new family Christmas movie starring Jim Carrey. Either way, you can never go wrong with Dr. Seuss.

Rated: PG
Run time: 1 hour 44 minutes
Where to watch: Rent on Amazon.com, $4

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

This isn’t your average kids’ Christmas movie, and the striking animation and earworm of a soundtrack are proof. In this unique dark comedy, when Jack Skellington, the king of HalloweenTown, discovers Christmas Town, he tries to bring back some of that holiday magic.

Rated: PG
Run time: 1 hour 16 minutes
Where to watch: Rent on Amazon.com, $4

Casper’s Haunted Christmas (2000)

Talk about spooktacular fun. The friendly ghost has to scare at least one person before Christmas Day, or else he’s in big trouble with the king of the ghosts.

Rated: G
Run time: 1 hour 24 minutes
Where to watch: Buy the DVD on Amazon.com, $5

Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mickey Mouse (2001) You can never have enough Mickey Mouse family Christmas movies. This time, Donald Duck can’t get in the holiday spirit, so when Mickey and his friends get snowed in, they throw a party at Mickey’s house to spread Christmas cheer.

Rated: G
Run time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Where to watch: Buy on Amazon.com, $10

Updated December 2019

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