Nothing is more fun at the holidays than getting the family together to watch classic Christmas movies. While there are Christmas movies for all ages, Christmas movies for kids are a lot of fun for both young and old. These children’s Christmas movies are the best out there, and many have stood the test of time, generation after generation. So get the kids together, pop some popcorn, and watch these classic Christmas movies by the glow of the Christmas tree.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
“Pull up an ice block and lend an ear” to this fantastic tale of how Rudolph became Santa’s most famous and valuable reindeer. Made as a TV special in the 1960s, Rudolph continues to be a classic Christmas movie for kids that each generation falls in love with. More than just a Christmas story, this movie tells the tale of misfits such as an elf who wants to be a dentist, a reindeer with a shiny nose, an explorer who can’t complete his quest, and a snow monster who wants to be loved and how they come together to gain acceptance and find their purposes in life. Lots of memorable music and dialogue make this a movie your kids will want to watch again and again.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
No Christmas is complete without this Charlie Brown holiday classic that started it all. It’s Christmastime, and Charlie Brown is fed up with the commercialization of the holiday and how no one seems to really understand the point. Even the tree he selects for the Christmas play is sad and worn, and it seems that Christmas will simply pass him by. But in a heart-warming scene, Charlie’s best friend, Linus, recites the biblical Christmas story, and all of the kids end up brightening the little tree, and Charlie Brown’s spirits. This is a sweet and simple film that perfectly blends the religious significance of the holiday with the festive side of Christmas, and all kids love it.
The Year Without a Santa Claus
This stop-animation classic from the 1970s is one whose songs get into your head and never quite leave. Santa Claus gets the flu, is discouraged by the lack of Christmas spirit, and decides to take the year off. So it’s up to some of his elves with help from Mrs. Claus to save Christmas and bring back Christmas cheer. But perhaps the most memorable characters are Heat Miser and Cold Miser, Mother Nature’s two sons who control the weather and can’t agree on anything. These characters have become icons over the years, and you’ll be humming their songs long after the movie is over. This children’s Christmas movie is a lot of fun for the whole family.
Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
I can still remember the anticipation of this made-for-television special to come on PBS every year. Made in 1978, this movie combines the best of vintage Sesame Street characters with lots of Christmas celebration. All of the favorites are present, from Big Bird and Bert & Ernie to Gordon, Linda, and Mr. Hooper. (Sorry, kids, Elmo hadn’t been invented yet.) My favorite scene is the opening when all of the characters are ice skating to Feliz Navidad, yet another way that even back then Sesame Street was celebrating cultural diversity. Kids will be glued to this movie as Big Bird tries, with Kermit’s help, to figure out just how Santa Claus will get down everyone’s chimneys. And don’t miss the hilarious antics of Cookie Monster as he eats everything in sight in his attempt to ask for cookies from Santa. Lots of music and humor make this an instant hit with the preschool crowd.
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
This classic Christmas movie is narrated by Fred Astaire, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s an historical, yet fictional account of how Santa Claus came to be. The movie follows Kris Kringle from his childhood to becoming an adult, meeting and falling in love with the future Mrs. Claus, and bringing happiness and joy to children with special gifts and toys. Just like other stop-animation specials from that time, this one is also filled with catchy tunes including the famous title song, sung by Astaire. Couple this movie with Rudolph for an entire history lesson (sort of) on the origins of legendary Christmas characters.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Forget the live action Jim Carrey version, this 1966 children’s Christmas movie animated by Chuck Jones and narrated by Boris Karloff is a classic Christmas movie that shouldn’t be missed! Based on the famous book by the beloved Dr. Seuss, kids will love to hate the mean Grinch who tries to steal Christmas away from everyone, and they’ll be equally delighted when his nasty actions are repaid with kindness that melts his heart and teaches him the true meaning of Christmas. The memorable Seuss meter of the words and catchy soundtrack make this kids’ Christmas movie a family favorite.
Frosty the Snowman
This is a great movie for the whole winter, not just Christmas. Kids will love watching the magic of the first snowfall and how it leads to Frosty’s creation and adventures with his friend, Karen, as she plays with him and tries to save him from melting. When Santa comes to save the day, everyone is given a dose of Christmas magic, making this Christmas movie for children a true delight. Since kids already know the song, they’ll be singing along from the beginning and have a great time.
The Polar Express
The Polar Express is a simple, yet beautiful book, and the movie’s adaptation is a stunning visual delight that’s perfect for the whole family. Join in the adventure of one boy whose belief in the magic of Christmas gets him a ticket on the Polar Express. His Christmas Eve train ride takes him to the North Pole where he receives the first gift of Christmas from Santa himself. The ride itself is an adventure (since details had to be added to stretch the book into a full-length movie), and the beautiful animation of the North Pole makes this Christmas movie for kids a true visual treat.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Who doesn’t love the Muppets? Only they can take a traditional Christmas tale like Dicken’s A Christmas Carol and turn it into a humorous holiday tale. In true Muppet fashion, this story gets a new life with all sorts of jokes, humorous references, and songs that everyone will enjoy. The message is still the same, but getting there is so much more fun with Kermit, Gonzo, and the whole Muppet gang along for the ride.
Veggie Tales: The Star of Christmas
If you’re looking for a movie that reinforces the biblical Christmas story without simply retelling it, then get this Veggie Tales movie. Favorite characters Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber star as Cavis and Millward, two producers of a huge Christmas musical spectacular with more lights and sparkle than anyone has ever seen. But when the church across town plans a Christmas pageant for the same night, the competition is on. This adventure will teach kids about loving each other and God’s love for us through the gift of His Son, Jesus. Not only is this movie fun to watch, it’s a great introduction for young children to the significance of the Christmas story.