It’s that time of year again when the heartwarming Christmas classics and legends get turned on! Most families have a time-honored tradition of watching Christmas movies. I mean you can’t have Christmas without a good movie to go along with it. Am I right?!
What if traditional Christmas movies aren’t your thing? As a parent, I’ve learned that just because a movie is animated or geared towards children and families, doesn’t automatically mean that I should feed it to my kids. Kids are sponges. We are shaping their world view with each event that we bring into view for them. Part of becoming a spiritually healthy family in our home means being fun and intentional with our kids without being so cold and rigid in the process.
We have chosen to limit which Christmas movies we are going to watch at home in order to minimize the Gimmies and attitudes self entitlement that usually creep in during the holidays, and we’ve decided to reserve some of the original Christmas-classic watching until our kids have a solid grasp on the true meaning of Christmas. Peanut, our 11 year old, is a tween now, so watching Elf and a few others with her has been fun to watch in moderation!
This movie list makes for great conversation starters, life lessons, and topics to include in with your Christmas devotions. Whether you’re making room for Santa or saying no to Ho! Ho! Ho!, these movies will bring a renewed sense of Christmas wonder to your December days, and also a sense of purpose and intentionality when watching them.
So, cuddle up. It’s Christmas movie night!
This is a beautiful portrayal of the biblical nativity. The acting and filmmaking is very realistic and not cheesy at all. We cuddle up to watch this every year on Christmas Eve while eating Chinese takeout after attending our church’s Christmas Eve service. This movie is definitely age appropriate for everyone in your home. If this is not a part of your Christmas traditions, you need to start this year! Watch it for free on Prime or rent from your local library.
This is a 19th century fictional movie set in an old English village. A pastor moves to a tiny town who struggles with his faith during the Christmas season. I love this message of healing during a time of sorrow and suffering. Christmas isn’t always an easy holiday to enjoy, and this shares both beauty and pain of the season with a healthy dose of hope and reconciliation with God himself. Singer, Susan Boyle is also featured if you remember her!
If you’re looking for Advent ideas to do with your family, this movie is great to watch along with a candle-making craft or unit study with your kids. We made simple Christmas lanterns one year and lit candles around our home.
Our kids beg me to watch this movie even when it’s not the Christmas season! I think it’s because they enjoy laughing at all of the mischievous things that the two orphan boys do throughout the entire movie. Ahem, the oatmeal food fight scene! Here’s a story about an orphan girl that is forced out of her loving children’s home into a cruel orphanage after tragedy strikes her only known family. Lessons of endurance, love, forgiveness and hope are shared through a simple orange. My kids enjoy snacking on a fresh orange while we watch this movie.
There are so many reasons why you want to watch this sincere movie around Christmas! The complexity of characters, the faith, the sheer beauty of writing, growing up with grace, and the mere fact that it’s Christmastime throughout the movie are all perfect reasons to snuggle up and watch this wholesome flick. I also love Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon in this version!
We haven’t seen this yet, but it’s in our shopping cart now!
We just ordered this, and it’s still in the packaging. It may not be Christmas-y, but it has a message of faith and history that caught our eye. It’s on clearance now, so it’s a good time to stock up on the movies that you may not have seen either!
This animated movie is similar to the book, but with a twist. Perfect for little ones!
This comedy cartoon of the nativity story is told from the perspective of a quirky donkey. It’s light-hearted and goofy for all ages. Your family can study the real journey of Mary on the donkey to Bethlehem by mapping her journey on an atlas or globe afterwards. You can also open up your bible to Numbers 22, and tell your kids that a real donkey really spoke in scripture. Eight tiny reindeer may be magical, but a talking donkey is straight up supernatural!
Oh my heart. I love this movie! It’s so funny and engaging with an emotionally deep message that captivates the hearts of everyone who watch it. The Dr. Seuss’ kid-friendly version shares Grinch’s mission to steal Christmas, only to have his heart changed by a community’s generous spirit of love, acceptance, and forgiveness.
I was pleasantly surprised by the number of positive messages woven throughout this movie. In Grinch’s character, you can see how a person’s behavior in life may be due to a silent struggle that was never discussed or resolved. I love how the filmmakers clued viewers in to the real reason for his hardened heart. Portraying such depth in a children’s movie is always a win! This movie has all the Christmas feels without the Jim Carey creepy-ness.
This beautifully hand-drawn animation film has layers of depth and emotion. Here’s Netflix’s summary: A selfish postman and a reclusive toymaker form an unlikely friendship, delivering joy to a cold, dark town that desperately needs it.
I was a little skeptical of this movie at first because I thought that it was going to be a meaningless, surface level Christmas tale about Santa Clause. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. There are so many great life lessons and take-aways that can be discussed during this movie. I love it when a movie has great conversation starters for kids!
I will say that it was a little dark in the beginning. My younger kids were a bit scared of the cruel characters, but I thought that it was a very clever and appropriate way to convey the ways of a heartless community. I think kids need to know that life depicted in movies isn’t always hugs and kisses. Communicating that to a young audience can also be a difficult thing to achieve.
Overall, I would absolutely watch it again. The gradual change from darkness to light is a great message to watch illuminate throughout the movie. And Klaus, he has such a humble and gentle spirit with a beautiful story to tell. How can you not love the guy, and his creative cabin in the woods?!
Little House on the Prairie Christmas
A pioneer, old fashioned Christmas is always a heartwarming addition to the time of year. And if you have kids learning at home, there are so many great unit studies to go along with this!
I found this used at a local thrift store for my eleven year old. I haven’t seen it yet, but it looked like it was worth the $2 that I payed for it!
The Nutcracker Ballet (Live)
I had to add this to my list! Watching the Live Nutcracker performance is just something you have to watch around Christmas. If you cannot watch a live performance, catch it online with your kids. One year we did a Christmas composer unit study, and we studied Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. He has many other famous works along with The Nutcracker that are worth learning about.
Stick Man (Prime)
This animated short film set in winter is so tender and sweet. The music and story line wrapped up in this movie is actually very moving, emotionally. If you only have half of an hour, this is one that you’ll want all of your kids to watch. Again, the beauty in the message is so heartfelt and moving. Golly, I love this one too!
Veggie Tales Christmas Classics
Need something to watch with your tiny tots? Veggie Tales always has something for every holiday!
Buck Denver Asks: Why Do We Call It Christmas?
Okay. This is kinda cute, kinda cheesy, but totally Christmas-movie worthy for littles. My kids don’t watch this anymore, but there is great dialogue about the true meaning of Christmas. Your kids may get a chuckle or two from the quirky puppet characters! We’ve put this on for the kids while we are getting ready for church on Sundays in December.
Non Christmas Faith-filled Movies
Not all of your movies need to be overly Christmas-y to watch during December. Yes, Hallmark may be on 24/7 in your home, but there are many other faith-filled movies to incorporate into your family movie nights during the Advent season.
Kendrick Brother Movies
Great messages in all of these, but check the content before allowing your littles to just jump right in and watch with you.
- Facing the Giants
- Fly Wheel
- War Room
- I still Believe By Jeremy Camp
- I can only imagine by Bart Millard
I hope this list gives you additional options for your family-friendly holiday entertainment. May these draw you closer to Christ and to one another during this holy season. Merry Christmas!