Note: Most of the movies below are based on classic literary
works, so they’re perfect for educators looking to create lesson
plans related to the holiday season.
Christmas is one of our favorite times of the year, and one of the most popular ways of enjoying the holiday for many people is to
watch Christmas movies with their kids. Our “ultimate guide to Christmas movies for kids” provides a list of some of our favorite
Christmas movies, along with reasons why we think they’re such good choices for families to watch each year.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
won both an Emmy AND a Peabody Award. It’s worth watching for just the wonderful music, but there is more value to be had in the story as well.
Charles Schulz revolutionized what a comic strip could do and be, and he peppered his comics with Christian messages that were so subtle that
even the most secular audience didn’t seem to mind.
A Christmas Carol – The 1984 version, starring George C. Scott as Scrooge, is our favorite film version of this classic Charles Dickens work. A Christmas Carol is faithful to the original literary work and the performances are outstanding. George C. Scott is a master at work.
A Christmas Story – This 1983 comedy was directed by Bob Clark, and it was based on Jean Shepherd‘s book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash. It’s the tale of nine year old Ralphie Parker, and all Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun. The movie is set in the 1940’s, so it’s a great opportunity to discuss the differences between how we live now contrasted to how we lived then.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – In 2005, C.S. Lewis‘ masterpiece was brought to the big screen. The movie
is a great way to get children interested in reading C.S. Lewis’ series of fantasy books set in the magical land of Narnia.
Elf – Jon Favreau’s 2003 comedy is one of the few movies that made our list that wasn’t based on a classic literary work, but it’s so good and so charming that we couldn’t stand not including it here. Elf has a rock solid cast, too, including Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, Ed Asner, Bob Newhart, and James Caan.
Frosty the Snowman – This movie was inspired by the 1950 song that was originally recorded by Gene Autry. The legendary Jimmy
Durante is the narrator for this 1969 film, and it’s well worth watching even today. We doubt that anyone could possibly be too old
The Gift of the Magi – This is the 2004 movie version of the classic O. Henry story. It’s only 16 minutes long, but it captures the theme of the story perfectly. The Gift of the Magi won several awards, including the 2002 Parents’ Choice Approved Award, the 2002 Kids First! Award, and the Bronze Award at the Houston International Film Festival.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Don’t bother with the 2000 live action version starring Jim Carrey. Watch the original 1966 cartoon
starring Boris Karloff as the grumpy monster who has plans to steal Christmas from the residents of Whoville. Another animated classic
that is as fresh today as it was three decades ago.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – This animated Ranking Bass adaptation of the poem is 25 minutes long, and it plays fast
and loose with the source material, but it’s charming and entertaining at the same time. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
originally aired in 1974, but it’s aged well. It’s not dated at all.