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Classic Holiday Movies for the Family

By Edited Sep 20, 2016 2 5

Enjoy the Favorite Family Christmas Movies

For Young and Old

One fun way to spend family time together during the holidays is to get cozy on the sofa with the whole family and a bowl of popcorn, while watching a delightful holiday film together. If this is your idea of a good time, too, you may want to know about these classic holiday movies that are appropriate for all ages and that everyone will enjoy. Most of them are available for rent and many of them will even be telecast on television during the holiday season.  There are choices here from the "Grinch" to "It's a Wonderful Life."

Grinch Sand Sculpture

"It's a Wonderful Life" with James Steward, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore

This movie was made in 1946, and is still popular with families today. It is a 20th century version of "The Christmas Carol." "It's a Wonderful Life" tells the story of George Bailey, an honest, reliable man who is depressed because he has sacrificed his own dreams in order to help others. Just as he is ready to give up and jump off a bridge, a guardian angel named Clarence comes to his rescue by showing him what life would have been like for others if George had never lived. This feel-good movie makes all of us realize how important we are to others, even when we don't always feel recognized or appreciated.

"Miracle on 34th Street" with Richard Attenborough, Elizabeth Perkins and Mara Wilson

The first version of "Miracle on 34th Street" was originally filmed in 1947, and is still a delightful holiday movie. However, an excellent remake was completed in 1994 and this updated version is modern and in color. It is the story of a little girl, Susan, and her mother, Dorey Walker. Neither of them believes in Santa Claus, or any other "imaginary" holiday stories. However, a department store Santa named Kris Kringle turns their ideas about reality upside down. This is a sweet, sentimental story that our family has watched over and over.

Use this link to check out the selection of holiday movies from Amazon.com.

"The Polar Express" with Tom Hanks, Chris Coppola, Michael Jeter and Leslie Zemeckis

Tom Hanks stars in this imaginative movie that was made in 2004. Our family saw it in 3-D in the theaters when it first came out, and we have watched it on television several times since. It is the charming story of a trainload of children going to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. The movie is based on a children's book by the same name, written by Chris Van Allsburg. If you have young children in the house, you may want to get the book and the movie. Read them the book first, and then watch the movie together. In the weeks that follow, your children will have fun reliving the movie as they look through the book on their own again and again.

Disney's "A Christmas Carol" with Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Steve Valentine

There are several movie versions of Charles Dicken's holiday story "A Christmas Carol" on the market, including one from 1938 starring Edwin L. Marin, and one from 1984 starring George C. Scott. However, the one that is ideal for the whole family is the Disney version that was made in 2009 and uses Jim Carrey's voice for miserly Ebenezer Scrooge. This inspiring, computer-animated version is true to the original story of how the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come are able to help Scrooge face his own mortality and realize that he can make a real difference in the life of Tiny Tim (and in his own life). Every child should see at least one version of "A Christmas Carol" sometime in their life, since the word "Scrooge" has come to almost be a part of our everyday language. This Disney version is a bit less dour than some of the previous productions.

"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" with Henry Winkler and Brooke Burns

Are you looking for a little cheerful holiday romance? "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" is a sweet story made in 2008 that brings a little love and Christmas spirit into the life of a single mom, Jen, who has almost blocked the holidays from her mind ... until a kind, warm-hearted man named Morgan shows up in her life. This movie is a great way to brighten your holidays with a little romantic comedy.

Use this link to check out the selection of holiday movies from Amazon.com.

"How the Grinch Stole Christmas" with the voices of Jim Carrey and Taylor Momsen

This animated movie is also based on a beloved children's book by the same name. Dr. Seuss's story of the true meaning of Christmas has been delightfully reproduced for the big screen. The music alone makes it a must-see movie for any child who loves the book. Just like "The Polar Express," if you don't already own the book, you'll want to be sure to get a copy for any young children in your family. Read the book to your children first, follow up with the movie, and then let the children relive the experience on their own as they read through the book and look at Dr. Seuss's delightful drawings. Jim Carrey has proven himself to be an incredibly versatile actor, providing the voice for both the Grinch in this movie, and Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol." Heart-warming fun for the entire family.

A Charlie Brown Christmas with Charlie Brown and Lucy

Have your children ever participated in a Christmas pageant that seemed to fall a little flat? Or, have you ever purchased a Christmas tree that looked a little sad and pathetic once you had it set up in your living room? If so, you can sympathize with Charlie Brown in this animated children's classic about the true meaning of Christmas. Just as Charlie Brown discovers that the holiday is about much more than presents and tinsel, your children will, too.

The movies listed here are some of the favorite ones that our family has enjoyed year after year. In addition, we always look forward to new movies that are released every year around the holidays. So, curl up on the sofa together for some good, wholesome family time together, and discover how great your family holidays can be, too!

If you are looking for other holiday activities, you may want to read some of these articles, too:

Host a Christmas Ornament Exchange

The Newport Beach Boat Parade

Scrapbooking with Personal Holiday Photo Cards

Jigsaw Puzzles: Cheap Family Fun

Fun Games for Kids: Cheap

Last Minute Gifts: Cheap but Thoughtful

Avoid Holiday Alcohol Abuse

"The Grinch" Is One of our Favorite Family Holiday Movies

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Deluxe Edition)
Amazon Price: $19.97 $5.94 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 20, 2016)
Funny, charming and it teaches some worthwhile values ... it's not about the presents.


Nov 1, 2011 10:18pm
Good list Deborah-Diane. I'll add Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as a personal favorite. You have listed some all time greats. One of the great things about the Holidays is the classic movies that are aired.
Nov 1, 2011 11:32pm
"Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" is an excellent suggestion. I may add it the next time I revise the article. I appreciate you for reading and commenting on the article. Thanks!
Nov 3, 2011 12:29am
As a filmmaker I'm envious that you thought to do this article before I did!!! Wonderful collection here. I love every film you've listed and watch them almost every year. But as a screenwriter I have to say that one of the best family Christmas films in recent years (and there have been some stinkers!) is Polar Express. I'll never forget the first time I saw it. I was so in awe of the artwork and special effects. Thanks for giving us a wonderful stash of films to look forward to for the holidays.
Nov 28, 2011 9:01pm
some tried and true holiday movies here! i'm a fan of all of them except polar express (and that's mostly because i don't like the animation). i think a "new" holiday favorite is A Christmas Story ('you'll shoot your eye out, kid!'). my kids and i always look for it to watch. great article!
Dec 1, 2011 11:27pm
I love those movies and the festive Christmas colors. My favorites are How The Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas.
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