One festive job I like to get done nice and early is to compile a list of the best Christmas films for children.
It’s become one of our family traditions to binge watch Christmas movies.
I really enjoy spending time with my nieces and nephews in front of festive flicks both old and new – and they love it!
I’ve a feeling it’s going to be a challenge to persuade the kids to wait until December to watch them all…they’re already asking to see the first one!
Children are often obsessed with watching their favourite films over and over again, but I also try to introduce them to one or two new ones each year.
To save you coming up with a list of your own, here’s my top ten Christmas movies for children – we’ll be watching all of them this year (and more)!
This animated fairytale musical animated feature is classic Disney and is just right for kids (and adults) of all ages to enjoy.
Frozen isn’t really anything to do with Christmas, but the story is a bit of a twist on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen.
Plus there is, as the title suggests, lots of ice and snow – so to my mind it counts as a festive film.
The musical numbers are just brilliant and you’ll be in the midst of a family sing-a-long before you know it!
It’s full of really likeable characters, the story’s meaningful and heartwarming, so it’s perfect for cosy, family viewing.
If the original film isn’t enough for you, you could also watch the Olaf’s Frozen Adventure short film in which the beloved snowman goes on a quest to learn about holiday traditions so he can make Christmas extra special for Anna and Elsa.
When eight-year-old Kevin is left, well, home alone, at first he’s delighted and gets up to lots of mischief, watches gangster films, eats ice cream for dinner and generally creates chaos.
But things take a turn for the worse when burglars Harry and Marv turn up and try to invade the house and he has to come up with ingenious tricks to protect his family home.
Home Alone was a massive hit in the 1990s and is now a Christmas classic – I dread to think how many times I watched this when I was a teenager.
But it’s quite a few years since I last saw it, and my nieces and nephews are about the right age to watch it, so it’s on the list for a revisit this year!
It’s a brilliant comedic romp with some unforgettably hilarious moments. A fun film for all – and if you love it, don’t forget there’s also Home Alone 2!
Stick Man came to our screens for the first time on Christmas Day 2015 and was a massive hit.
My nieces and nephews love watching Stick Man’s incredible adventure as he runs from a playful dog, gets thrown in a river, escapes from a swan’s nest and even ends up on top of a fire.
But will he get back to his family in time for Christmas?
Martin Freeman, Hugh Bonneville, Jennifer Saunders, Russell Tovey, Rob Brydon and Sally Hawkins are just some of the well-known voices in this animated version of Julia Donaldson’s much-loved, charming tale.
It’s beautifully done.
If you’re looking for a film that oozes Christmas, Nativity! is the perfect film for you.
Martin Freeman plays failed actor and now primary school teacher Paul Maddens, who’s given the task of directing the school’s nativity play.
To increase enthusiasm for the project, he implies that a Hollywood producer may jet in and sign them all up.
Of course it’s not long before this misinformation makes the local news and Paul realises he’s created a monster.
This super film is stuffed full of seasonal cheer and good-heartedness, and that’s why it’s on our watch list every year. Wonderful!
The Muppet Christmas Carol
One of my absolute favourites, this is such an excellent film. It’s beautifully made, hilarious, and the puppeteering is amazing!
The Muppets perform the classic Dickens holiday tale with Kermit the Frog playing Bob Cratchit, the put-upon clerk of stingy Ebeneezer Scrooge (brilliantly played by Michael Caine).
Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear and Sam the Eagle weave in and out of the story while Scrooge receives visits from spirits of three Christmases – past present and future.
They show him the error of his self-serving ways, but the miserable old man seems to be past any hope of redemption and happiness.
The Muppet Christmas Carol doesn’t have a bad bone in its body, is massively entertaining and tells a delightful story about how it is better to be kind.
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
Although there’s debate over whether this is a Christmas film or not (some argue it’s more of a Halloween movie), I still count this picture as one of the best Christmas films for children.
The story follows Halloweentown’s Pumpkin King who has become bored with the same annual routine of frightening people in the ‘real world.
So when he accidentally discovers the bright colours and warm spirits of Christmastown, he plots to bring Christmas under control by kidnapping Santa Claus and taking over his role.
Of course things don’t go quite to plan…
A bit different from the average Christmas flick, for The Nightmare Before Christmas is a macabrely touching festive fable.
A Boy called Christmas
A new addition to the family Christmas films canon in 2021, A Boy Called Christmas is a charming festive flick, adapted from a book for children written by Matt Haig.
The story begins in modern-day London where a great-aunt is telling three children whose mother has recently died a bedtime story.
Her tale is about the origins of Santa about a boy called Nikolas who lives in a forest in Finland.
Nickolas heads to the dangerous snowbound north to find his missing dad, taking with him his talking pet mouse, Miika.
On his adventure, there are even more hints about what his future career might be: he acquires a red hat, and a reindeer called Blitzen.
With a stellar cast including Maggie Smith, Sally Hawkins, Jim Broadbent, Stephen Merchant and Kristen Wii, I’m willing to bet this will become a Christmas favourite for years to come.
This smart and very British animation from Aardman raises a very important Christmas-related question: how does Santa visit so many homes so quickly?
The answer, it seems, is a high-tech army of elves dispatched, SAS-style, from a silent spaceship disguised as a cluster of stars.
But it never used to be like this, not before Santa’s eldest son, Steve (voiced by Hugh Laurie), modernised the operation.
Nevertheless, one parcel slips through the net, so it’s left to Santa’s sensitive younger son, Arthur and the retired, grumpy Grandsanta to deliver the package the old fashioned way: using reindeer and a sleigh.
The superb script is wrapped in many layers of meaning – family disagreements, complacency and competitiveness.
But above all Arthur Christmas is great fun: a joyful Christmas movie with a heartfelt message.
Nutcracker and the Four Realms
This is Disney’s sumptuous live action retelling of The Nutcracker.
Clara, the heroine, is fiercely independent and wants nothing more than to be able to open the mechanical silver egg she received as a final gift from her late mother.
Her inventor godfather helps Clara find the key and she finds new magical realms including the Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and the Land of Sweets!
Nutcracker and the Four Realms is totally enchanting – and the cast (including Keira Knightley and Helen Mirren) and costumes are just to die for.
Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas
In this 30-minute animated special from Aardman, the world’s favourite sheep stars in his very own winter’s tale.
Shaun’s seasonal excitement turns to dismay when a farmhouse raid to get bigger stockings for the flock inadvertently leads to Timmy the lamb going missing.
Can Shaun and the gang get Timmy back?
The flock’s adventures include piling themselves up into a multi-sheep snowman and engaging in a brilliant, Home Alone-style battle with a young girl who thought Timmy was her Christmas present.
Kids will love the hilarious visual humour and grown ups will enjoy the clever nods to other family faves like The Snowman, Back to the Future and Arthur Christmas.
The Flight Before Christmas is top notch festive fun.
I hope you enjoy my 10 best Christmas films for children!
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