Top 10 Christmas Movies and Specials for Kids

Enjoy the Family Tradition of Watching Classic Christmas Movies and Specials

Christmastime is a time of wonder, of family and togetherness, of sharing and giving selflessly, and, of course, for Christians, the birth of Jesus Christ. Over the years, a number of classic kids' movies and TV specials have featured the secular story of Christmas or plots that revolve around that most wonderful time of the year. 

The following list contains 10 of the greatest Christmas movies and specials ever made, sure to entertain and delight the whole family and get everyone into that spirit of Christmas giving and joy. 

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'Mickey's Christmas Carol'

Disney's Mickey's Christmas Carol


There will never be another adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" that will compare to Mickey Mouse's. In this delightful version of the story, Scrooge McDuck learns about the meaning of Christmas from the three Christmas Spirits and makes Bob Cratchit (Mickey) his partner.

Just a half-hour long, the film is the perfect length for families, without leaving out any of the important elements of the story. Recommended for all ages, it puts classic Mickey Mouse characters in all of the roles. 

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'The Polar Express' (2004)

The Polar Express


When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. Based on the beloved children's book by Chris Van Allsburg, "The Polar Express" is full of Christmas joy. Many elementary schools host an annual "slumber party day" and screen the film for their students. 

This heartwarming tale is definitely highly recommended, and although not many words are spoken in it, the beautiful imagery and gripping plot carry the film. 

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'Miracle on 34th Street' (1947)

Miracle on 34th Street


In this fun 1947 classic, Kris Kringle (unbeknownst to cynical, market-minded adults, the real Santa Claus) is hired to play himself at the world's largest Macy's Department Store in New York City. Here he finds himself in a situation where he must convince an unbelieving little girl—and a handful of colorful characters—that he is the real Santa. 

Still a hit 60 years later, "Miracle on 34th Street" delights viewers, restoring that magic of believing in Santa Claus, even if just for the duration of the film. Invite your children along to experience the gift that keeps on giving.

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'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' (1964)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)


The 1964 claymation "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is narrated by Burl Ives and airs every year on network television. The show uses innovative puppetry and stop-motion animation to tell the story of an outcast reindeer, an aspiring dentist elf, and an island of misfit toys who help Santa save Christmas.

Appropriate and beloved by audiences of all ages, the DVD version of this film also contains two additional Christmas classics: "Frosty the Snowman" and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town."

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'Frosty the Snowman' (1969)

Frosty the Snowman (1969)


We all know the song, "Frosty the Snowman," and the upbeat wintery feeling it brings. This special is an animated cartoon about Frosty, a snowman who springs to life when the children place a magic hat upon his head. The wonderful favorite is available on the same DVD as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

The original song was written by Walter "Jack" Rollins and Steve Nelson and first released in 1950 by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys following the success of his single "Rudolf the Red-Nose Reindeer" the year before. Still a classic aired every year on TV, this film is a must-have for your family Christmas collection.

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'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' (1966)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (DVD) (1966)


The familiar prose of the great Dr. Seuss comes to life in the Christmas story "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," the tale of how one hermetic old Grinch grew his heart three sizes in a day. 

The Grinch had a terrible, awful plan to steal all of the presents from the Whos down in Whoville, but he is surprised to learn that Christmas is more than he thought. Sure to bring a smile and get the Whos' song stuck in your head, this animated special is another annual must-see. 

Beloved by all and adapted by Jim Carrey in a 2000 live-action movie as well as a computer-animated feature voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch in 2018, the version that belongs on this list of the best of the best is the original cartoon from 1966. 

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'Elf' (2003)

Will Farrell will forever be enshrined in Christmas movie canon through the heartwarming, silly "Elf," which also stars James Caan and Bob Newhart. The story is one of Buddy, a human raised as an elf at the North Pole who searches for his true identity and birth family in New York City.

His naivete gets him into some awkward situations, but those who meet him end up better for it in the end, as he restores people's childhood faith in the magic of Christmas.

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'Home Alone' (1990)

Home Alone (1990)


Do you ever go to the airport, board the plane, then feel like you've forgotten something? Well, in this 1990 film, 8-year-old Kevin McCallister is accidentally left home alone by his family while they fly off to France for Christmas vacation.

Kevin, however, is ecstatic and loves his freedom, delightedly gorging himself on sweets and staying up late. That is until he is forced to defend his home from a team of burglars. But Kevin learns that self-defense can be fun, too, as he goes about trying to defeat the bumbling thieves.

This movie is recommended for kids 8 years and over because there are a couple of instances of bad language and several scenes involving slapstick violence. It might not be suited for all young kids, in any case.

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'A Charlie Brown Christmas' (1965)

Charlie Brown Christmas


One of the most endearing of all "Peanuts'" specials finds Charlie Brown nurturing the thinnest, scraggliest Christmas tree ever. At first, the gang makes fun of Charlie for choosing such an ugly tree for the holiday, but a timely assist from Linus makes the true message of the season come shining through.

In the end, everyone realizes that a little affection can make all the difference in the world...even to a tree. This story is available on DVD individually or as part of a box set with all of the "Peanuts'" holiday specials.

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'A Christmas Story' (1983)

A Christmas Story (1983)


Ralphie, a young boy growing up in the 1940s, has his little heart set on getting a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas, but all he hears from adults everywhere is "You'll shoot your eye out!"

A Christmas Story portrays hilarious examples of the era's version of an all-American Christmas. Remember to preview first if you are going to watch with kids, because although there are some scenes in this movie that we found hilarious as children, they could be considered very irreverent by today's standards. There is a lot of strong language, kids getting into fights, and other such controversial depictions inherent to the time. It's not recommended to watch with any child under 10.

The "Ultimate Collector's Edition" includes the two-disc special edition DVD, plus a cookbook, apron, and cookie cutters packaged in a collectible retro holiday cookie tin.