Christmas Movies To Watch With Your Child
Wondering which holiday-themed movie to watch with your family this Christmas? Look no further. Here is a list of age-appropriate Christmas movies for you to enjoy with your kids.
By Amrita Gracias
The Christmas season is a time when families come together to celebrate this joyous festival. It’s when family bonds are renewed over fun and laughter, and embracing the very values of joy, love, peace that strengthen these ties. Every family has their own holiday traditions – spending time together and ringing in the festive spirit with renewed love and joyfulness.
Watching a Christmas movie together is one such tradition that is common across several households. There’s something special about these movies owing to their feel-good factor and the fact that they uphold and reassert the very spirit of this wonderful festival.
There are several holiday movies to choose from. In fact, with entertainment services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, there’s no dearth of Christmas-themed movies. But choosing the right one – especially one that is age-appropriate and entertaining for the entire family – has indeed become a bit of a challenge.
But, worry not! ParentCircle breaks it down for you. Here is a list of some of the best Christmas movies that you can choose from to watch with your family.
Age-wise Christmas movies to watch
Age Group 4 – 6 years
1. Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (2017)
If your child is a Frozen fan, then this short movie is a must watch. The movie is set during the first Christmas season after Anna and Elsa have opened the gates of the castle in Arendelle. When the townspeople leave early to celebrate Christmas traditions with their loved ones, the sisters realise they have none of their own and are visibly upset. Seeing their plight, Olaf, with Sven’s help, decides to find some traditions that they can celebrate. On his little adventure, he encounters traditions of Christmas, Hanukkah and the Winter Solstice!
The kids are bound to enjoy Olaf’s fun antics and there’s plenty of humour for adults too. The movie comes with four new soundtracks that are catchy and merry in keeping with the Christmas season. And, your children can learn a little something about different holiday traditions from around the world. The movie also reiterates the special bond between the two sisters.
2. Frosty the Snowman (1969)
This 1969 classic is another popular watch. A favourite among children, this simple animated movie tells the story of how Frosty the Snowman comes to life when the children, who made him, place a magic top hat on his head. Watch what happens when a professor – and magician – who owns the hat wants it back, and the weather begins to get warmer, which means Frosty might melt. See what the children do to save Frosty and keep him cold until he reaches the North Pole!
This simple and charming movie will help your kids understand the joy of Christmas and the importance of friendship and kindness. And, that Christmas is incomplete without Santa Claus! The film also features classic Christmas songs that you all can sing along to.
3. Arthur Christmas (2011)
The story begins with Santa doing what he does best – delivering gifts to children all over on Christmas eve. But what happens when the elves find one undelivered gift after Santa returns to the North Pole? Arthur, Santa’s good-hearted younger son takes it upon himself to make sure a little girl gets her pink bicycle on Christmas morning. Watch Arthur and his grandfather (Grandsanta) embark on the fun and bumpy adventure on an ancient sleigh and some rusty reindeer.
A fun holiday movie that reiterates the true spirit of Christmas. It is entertaining for both adults and kids, and you are all sure to enjoy quite a few laughs. Another special element of the film is the amusing relationship that Arthur has with his grandpa. The take away from the movie is certainly the importance of family, sharing and caring.
4. The Star (2017)
This animated movie tells the nativity story from the point of view of animals. It portrays the events leading up to the birth of Jesus. The lead character is Bo the donkey who’s bored of working at the village mill. One day he runs away and befriends a sheep named Ruth, a dove named Dave, three camels and some other farm animals. On there adventurous journey they decide to follow a star and by chance befriend two unassumingly important people and become part of one of the most celebrated events – the very first Christmas!
This movie is a very creative narrative of the nativity story, and it’s a nice way for your child to get familiar with the actual story of the birth of Jesus. The fun animal characters will definitely keep the kids’ attention throughout. The movie also has underlying lessons of caring, staying together and helping your friends. All in all, it’s a good watch for the holiday season.
5. Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas (2009)
Everyone’s favourite monkey is excited for the Christmas season. Along with his friend, the man with the yellow hat, they prepare for the festival. But they both can’t decide what to gift each other. And, George’s usual antics result in a series of mishaps. Through all this, however, they learn about the meaning of Christmas and ultimately come to realise that the best gift they have is each other.
The movie brings up the subject of gifts in a subtle way, portraying that you do not necessarily have to give someone a gift to express your love for them. It also conveys the importance of friends and family and how much they mean to us all.
Age Group: 7 – 10 years
1. The Polar Express (2004)
This computer-animated movie is based on the book of the same name. It is the story of a boy who is doubtful about Santa Claus’ existence. And so, he is invited on Christmas Eve on an adventurous train ride to the North Pole to visit Santa! What follows is a memorable journey on which he meets some extraordinary characters.
The movie portrays friendship and the importance of being supportive of one another. Courage, care and kindness are the other positive elements that are depicted through the script. Santa also emphasises the importance of patience and humility and encourages celebrating the true spirit of the festival.
2. A Christmas Carol (2009)
Based on the well-known book of the same name by Charles Dickens, this film has various versions – both animated and feature films – that have been released over the decades. This one is a computer animated version. It narrates the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly and ill-natured old man who is unavoidably bitter even through the joyous Christmas season. He is visited by the ghost of his former business partner and urged to change his selfish ways. Then, the ghosts of Christmas past, present and the ones yet to come also pay him a visit and explain to him how his cruel ways affect everyone around him. They give him the chance to redeem himself and be more caring and giving.
The main emphasis here is how one’s ill-nature unfairly affects others for no fault of theirs. Children can understand that it doesn’t cost anything to be kind and caring towards others. This popular holiday movie is an enjoyable watch for the entire family.
3. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) / The Grinch (2018)
The movies are animated adaptations of Dr. Seuss’ classic book. The story is about a Grinch who hates Christmas and lives in the jolly town of Whoville, whose mayor has announced that celebrations for the festival are going to be bigger than previous years. So the Grinch decides to ruin the season for everyone by pretending to be Santa and stealing their gifts. But a little girl comes up with a plan to stop ‘Santa’ by asking for a selfless gift.
These are also movies that are all about love and kindness, and of course the importance of selflessness. They’re captivating enough for children to enjoy with comic relief from some characters while also rendering an important Christmas message.
4. Home Alone (1990)
Kevin McCallister, a feisty eight-year-old, is left back home alone accidentally by the rest of his family who are off to Paris to celebrate Christmas. At first Kevin is glad his ‘wish’ to make his family disappear has come true. But soon he realises there isn’t much to celebrate all alone. And his happiness is short lived when he learns that two thieves plan to burgle his house. Kevin must fight his fears and defend his family home.
The movie is about overcoming superfluous fears that we all tend to have. While there is lots of humour, the movie also focuses on courage and confidence. It’s a feel-good movie to watch and enjoy with the family as the main focus is about family ties and values. The sequels to this movie also focus on similar themes.
5. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
This black-and-white classic is about a man, Kris Kringle, hired to play Santa at a department store for the season. He begins to convince people that he is the real Santa, especially a little girl Susan who has been raised not to believe in Santa but somehow longs to. Kris’ popularity grows when he assists customers at the store in an unlikely manner. But Kris’s insistence that he is the real Santa unfortunately results in some people questioning his mental competency. It’s now up to Susan and some other kids to prove the cynics wrong.
The movie focuses on character strengths such as integrity and courage. The black and white version adds to the innocence and charm of the movie as a whole. This is a classic feel-good holiday movie that takes you back in time, which is what makes it interesting to watch together as a family.
Age Group: 11 – 13 years
1. Jingle All The Way (1996)
In this comedy, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a hassled father who promises to get his son the latest toy, Turbo-Man, on Christmas Eve even though the toy is practically sold out. On his last-minute shopping quest, he meets another father who’s looking for the same toy. A rivalry ensues and each tries to outdo the other to get the toy.
The comedy can at times be slapstick, but the movie somehow brings out the commercialisation of gifting during the festival season. Is Christmas really about getting the perfect gift or can families still show their love for each other without fancy or expensive gifts? So, this can definitely be a movie that you might want to watch with your family to reiterate this message.
2. The Santa Clause (1994)
A divorced father, Scott, has custody of his son on Christmas Eve. The boy is doubtful about the existence of Santa Claus. When they hear footsteps on the roof, Scott thinks its an intruder and rushes to check but accidentally knocks down Santa who is delivering gifts. He must now put on Santa’s suit and take over his role. After they finish delivering the rest of the gifts, they are taken to the North Pole. There Scott is informed that because he put on Santa’s suit, he is bound to the ‘Santa Clause’ and therefore has unintendedly accepted all of Santa’s duties and responsibilities. When he wakes up in his bedroom the next morning, he thinks it’s a dream. But when mysterious things begin happening to him over the next year, he realises that he must in fact be the actual Santa Claus!
Although the movie deals with divorce, it’s fun and entertaining with a mix of sentimentality. Light-hearted and full of the holiday spirit, this film is sure to appeal to both adults and tweens. There are several scenes that are sure to make you laugh; this is a good Christmas flick to watch with the family.
3. The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
Siblings Kate and Teddy are always quarrelling. When their mother has to work on Christmas eve, they are left home alone. Katie comes up with a plan and somehow convinces Teddy to help her capture Santa on camera. But when their plan goes amiss, they must help Santa and his elves save Christmas before it’s too late. With several mishaps and gambles through the night, the siblings go on an adventure that they could have only dreamt of!
This movie gives Santa a rock-star image that is fun and unique, very unlike his usual characterisation. It also deals with the loss of a parent and how it’s often difficult to cope with the void, especially during the festive season. But more interestingly, the film also deals with sibling relationships. And, it’s, therefore, the perfect watch to get into the holiday spirit with its elements of family, love and looking out for each other.
4. A Christmas Story (1983)
Set in the 1940s, the story is about nine-year-old Ralphie who wants nothing but a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. But everyone thinks its too dangerous for him. So, Ralphie plans his campaign to convince his parents to buy him his dream present all while dealing with a troublesome bully.
This movie take you back to a time that might seem strange to our millennials! But the issues it deals with are nonetheless relevant in today’s world as well – bullying, coping with disappointment and often getting caught up in trying to have the perfect Christmas. With wonderful messages about the true meaning of Christmas, this is certainly worth a watch with your kids.
5. The Nutcracker And The Four Realms (2018)
This is a live-action fantasy drama based on Tchaikovsky’s classic Christmas ballet. Clara and her siblings are getting ready to celebrate their first Christmas since their mother’s passing. Each of them receive a gift from their godfather. Clara gets an ornate filigree egg that needs a key to open it. The egg transports her to another world called the Four Realms. On her quest to find the key, she meets the three Regents who claim the fourth Regent plans to take over all the realms. Clara helps her new friends save the realms.
The Narnia-like realms and other fantasy elements are sure to garner your child’s attention. The movie also focuses on lessons of courage and perseverance. Another holiday favourite, the slightly complex plot makes it an interesting choice for you to watch with your tweens.
Age Group: 14 – 17 years
1. The Family Stone (2005)
An uptight business woman, Meredith, goes to meet her boyfriend Everett’s quirky, but loving, family over Christmas. What follows is a series of incidents where she comes to realise that she is rather out of place while Everett begins to wonder if he’s made the right choice after all.
Set over Christmas, the films deals with family relationships and the tension that brews over underlying conflicts when the family comes together to celebrate the holidays. Although it does have some cliched elements, the movie also brings out the importance of family and the intricate relationships that each of them share.
2. Christmas With The Cranks (2004)
A holiday romcom, the movie is based on the best-selling novel ‘Skipping Christmas’ by John Grisham. The Kranks always have grand Christmas celebrations. But when their daughter Blair leaves for Peru, Luther and Nora decide to skip Christmas that year and go on a cruise to the Caribbean instead. Under pressure from their neighbours to conform to the usual Christmas traditions, the Kranks seem like they’re spoiling everyone’s holiday cheer. But what happens when Blair suddenly decides to come back home for Christmas?
The movie has several comic mishaps. It’s mostly cheerful and entertaining while touching upon the importance of family traditions during this season. The film is a light and fun watch for the family.
3. Silent Night (2002)
This Christmas movie is set in World War II. A German mother and her son are taking refuge on Christmas Eve in a forest cabin when it is invaded by three American and three German soldiers. She somehow manages to convince the rivals to forget about the war for one night and share a Christmas dinner instead. The soldiers befriend each other and spend the night preparing a dinner from whatever rations they have while singing some carols.
Not your typical holiday flick, but rather a movie that combines Christmas and war. The essence of the movie is the camaraderie that the soldiers share on that special night and the fact that they put aside their rivalry to celebrate together.
4. Elf (2003)
Buddy has been brought up by elves. But 30 years later, he discovers he’s human and learns his father lives in New York. So he leaves the North Pole to meet his father Walter, who’s job at a publishing company is in jeopardy. When he meets Buddy, he reluctantly invites him into his home. Buddy experiences life in New York, and ultimately on Christmas Eve he must help Santa whose sleigh will not run owing to the shortage of Christmas spirit from the people.
This comedy is just not about Buddy finding his family, but also about faith – believing in something that you can’t necessarily see. It also has other positive elements such as family values, acceptance, gratitude and compassion for all. It’s a fun entertainer with messages of the joyful Christmas spirit.
5. The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)
This is a fictionalised take on how the fabled author Charles Dickens came up with the story ‘A Christmas Carol’. Set in the 1800s, the movie follows Dickens who is in a financial crisis after three of his books fail to bring him success. He then decides to write a Christmas-themed novel based on his encounters with a few strangers who inspire the characters of his book.
Like the book, the film also expresses the classic Christmas sentiments such as compassion, hope and generosity. A biographical drama, the movie can be intense at times but it weaves together some timeless characters who become part of an unforgettable Christmas story as we know today.
We hope that you enjoy watching these movies with your family as you come together to celebrate this wonderful Christmas season.
About the author:
Written by Amrita Gracias on 17 December 2019.
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