Children’s Christmas movies! You can’t avoid them over the festive season and why would you want to? They’re not just for the kids, and they’re an essential part of the season.
So we’ve created a viewing list just for you!
With golden oldies and new kids on the block… grab your popcorn, hot chocolate along with any passing children and settle down for some holiday entertainment that can’t fail to raise some comfy Christmas cheer.
let’s start with the classics.
1. The Polar Express.
2004 Rated PG
From the enchanting book by Chris Van Allsburg (with a Tom Hanks voiceover), this animated film is set on Christmas Eve and follows a young boy’s magical journey to the North Pole on the Polar Express! There are twists and turns on a rollercoaster ride and powerful lessons to be learnt.
Watch it to learn the value of belief, the beauty of friendship and the importance of being kind.
2. A boy called Christmas.
2021 Rated PG
This British film (based on the book by Matt Haig) features heavyweight actors such as Dame Maggie Smith. It shows a young boy named Nikolas who travels north with his pet mouse Miika through harsh snowy lands. His quest? To find a magical world known as Elfhelm, where he hopes to find something that will bring happiness back to the kingdom where he lives. It’s a big-hearted movie, with adventure, talking animals and elves…
Watch it to learn the origins of Father Christmas!
2003 Rated PG
A fabulous Christmas comedy starring Will Ferrell as Buddy, a human raised by Santa's elves in the North Pole. When he learns he is NOT an elf and has a real-life-father (who’s on the naughty list!) living in New York City, Buddy sets off to meet him. As we watch a grown man-elf navigate his way through the Big Apple (with hilarious consequences) we learn the importance of doing what you love and being true to yourself.
Watch it to learn the value of kindness and realise it's never too late to get off the naughty list!
2013 Rated PG
If you’re hoping for a white Christmas but the weather isn’t playing ball, Frozen is the next best thing PLUS you get to sing ‘Let it Go’. This Disney classic follows the fearless Anna as she journeys to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped their home in everlasting winter. There’s much adventure along the way and of course, the hilarious snowman Olaf.
Watch it to learn about putting others first and how we all have our own unique gifts… which should never be hidden away!
5.The Nightmare before Christmas.
1993 Rated PG
This Tim Burton film proves you CAN do dark and spooky at Christmas. Jack Skellington is the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, but he’s bored with the same old stuff. So when he finds himself in Christmas Town his whole world expands in ways he didn’t know it could. Falling in love with Christmas, he brings it home to the goblins and ghouls… but things don’t quite go to plan.
Watch it for its positive role models and to learn how to appreciate what we already have.
6. Arthur Christmas.
2011 Rated PG
Arthur Christmas (son of Father Christmas) is here to save the day in this British animated comedy. It seems Santa’s high-tech operation beneath the North Pole is not without its faults when one poor unsuspecting child gets missed from the list. Arthur must somehow deliver a present before Christmas morning, so he’s going to have to dust off the reindeer and sleigh and do things the old fashioned way! Hold on for some mishaps!
Watch it to discover how Father Christmas gets to so many homes in one night and how old fashioned values can outweigh modern efficiency.
7. The Santa Clause.
1994 Rated PG
When Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) accidentally makes Santa fall off his roof he finds himself forced to take his place with the help of his own son Charlie. They spend the night giving out presents before returning to the North Pole where Scott learns he must now carry out Santa’s duties for the foreseeable future. Could it be true? Perhaps not… and they return home. But why is he putting on weight and growing a big bushy beard? Could this really be happening?
Watch it to witness what can happen when you embrace the spirit of Christmas.
8. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.
2022 Rated PG
In this beautifully animated short film (based on the book by Charlie Mackesy) a young boy searches for home, along the way meeting a brave and friendly mole, a hungry and ill-tempered fox and a wise horse. Each new friend helps answer the boy’s questions about the important things in life. It’s certainly not short on pearls of wisdom and is a great film for even the youngest family members.
Watch it to enjoy the everlasting power of friendship.
2019 Rated PG
Jesper is the postal academy's worst student so is sent to a frozen island above the Arctic Circle. It’s a miserable place but he finds one friend (Alva) and together they discover Klaus, a mysterious carpenter who lives on his own in a cabin full of toys. Their friendship brings laughter back to the island and slowly the spirit of Christmas spreads its warmth to all the villagers.
Watch it for its beautiful music, its atmosphere and for a story about loss, forgiveness and determination.
10. The Muppet Christmas Carol.
1992 Rated PG
Jim Henson’s Muppets should need no introduction and their take on this Dickens classic is sure to put you in a festive mood. With Michael Caine playing an epic Scrooge who won’t have a bah humbug of Christmas (until he is visited by 3 spirits); there’s catchy songs, general Muppet madness along with Kermit, Miss Piggy and all the usual suspects.
Watch it for a wonderful introduction to this classic Victorian tale.
and new this year…
11. Dashing through the snow.
Releases 17/11/2023 on Disney. Rated PG
Divorced social worker Eddie does NOT like Christmas and now he must take his daughter Charlotte to work with him on Christmas Eve. They meet a mysterious man in a red suit named Nick, who Eddie thinks is delusional and needs help. But as events unfold, he and his daughter are taken on a magical adventure that just might restore his faith in Christmas.
Watch it to remember the joy and magic of the holidays.
12. The Naughty Nine.
Releases 22/11/2023 on Disney. Rated PG
When Andy awakes to no presents from Santa on Christmas morning he realises he’s on the "naughty list". So he collects eight other "naughty listers" to help him reach the North Pole to take what he feels they deserve. With twists and turns along the way, Andy soon realises that perhaps the best way off the naughty list is to use his talents for good!
Watch it to remember that Christmas is more about giving than taking.
13. The Bad Guys: A Very Bad Holiday.
Releases 30/11/2023 on Netflix. Rated PG.
There’s nothing the Bad Guys (Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Ms. Tarantula, Mr. Shark and Mr. Piranha) love more than Christmas morning — because while everyone is busy at home opening presents, it’s the perfect time to execute their holiday heist. But when Christmas is unexpectedly cancelled, they must do the unthinkable: reignite the city’s holiday spirit by giving instead of taking.
Watch this half hour special to giggle at the team becoming stand-in Santas!
14. Candy Cane Lane.
Releases 01/12/2023 on Amazon. Rated PG.
Chris Carver (Eddie Murphy) is so determined to win his neighbourhood Christmas decorating contest that he foolishly makes a deal with an elf. The elf casts a spell to bring the 12 days of Christmas to life, causing chaos. Chris and his family must now race against time to break the elf’s spell, battle deviously magical characters, and save Christmas for everyone. Expect complete mayhem.
Watch it for giggles and the magic of Christmas.
15. Merry Little Batman.
Releases 08/12/2023 on Amazon. Rated PG.
Merry Little Batman is an animated family action comedy and could be a Christmas-must for DC fans. Young Damian Wayne (Batman’s son) finds himself alone in Wayne Manor on Christmas Eve defending his home and Gotham City from villains who are intent on destroying Christmas. Time for him to become “Little Batman.” We hope there’s a Christmas Robin ;)
Watch it as an animated alternative to the Home Alone franchise!
Read More: 10 best Christmas activities for kids