I included the times for each movie in case you want to put something on for the kiddos but you only have a limited amount of time. Leave a comment if you’ve seen any of these and let us all know what you thought!
It’s a Wonderful Life (PG) – 2 hours, 10 minutes
THE BEST CHRISTMAS MOVIE OF ALL TIME. I stinkin’ love this movie (one of my daughters is nicknamed “Zuzu” because of this movie). Of course, I already own the movie on Blu-ray, but it’s nice to know there’s a streaming version available, too. This is a must-see for me every Christmas season.
The Snowy Day (TV-Y) – 38 minutes
Based on the award-winning book by Ezra Jack Keats. Peter goes on a magical, snowy walk to his Nana’s house to bring home their Christmas Eve dinner.
A Child’s Christmas in Wales (NR) – 55 minutes
This is a visual adaptation of the poem by Dylan Thomas that gets excellent reviews.
Doctor Who – Christmas Specials (TV-PG) – roughly 1 hour each
These are three specials in which the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) continues his thrilling adventures through time and space, beginning with 2010’s “A Christmas Carol.” Other episodes include “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe” (2011) and “The Snowmen” (2012).
Classic Christmas Favorites (NR) – 1 hour, 2 minutes
Yay! We always seem to miss Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas when it’s on TV, so now we can stream it through Prime Video! Other classics in this collection include The Year Without a Santa Claus, Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July, and more.
The Snowman (G) – 27 minutes
This is a kids’ movie without words – perfect for the littlest viewers as well as the whole family. It’s based on the book of the same name. In this movie, a boy builds a snowman which comes to life, and together they embark on a magical adventure of discovery, including a trip to the North Pole.
The Man Who Invented Christmas (PG) – 1 hour, 44 minutes
This is a newer one starring Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer. It tells the “magical journey” that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol. The film shows how Charles Dickens mixed real-life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale.
Arthur’s Perfect Christmas (G) – 56 minutes
My kids love Arthur, so we’ll definitely be checking this one out! In this PBS special, Arthur shows children many ways to celebrate “the holidays.”
The Perfect Gift (NR) – 1 hour, 28 minutes
Description from Amazon: “‘THE PERFECT GIFT’ is a heartwarming holiday tale of a spoiled schoolgirl, her overworked executive mother, and a disillusioned young minister, and how each learns a valuable lesson about Christmas from a friendly, but mysterious drifter named Jess.
Christmas for a Dollar (PG) – 1 hour, 41 minutes
Description from Amazon: “As all of America is caught in the grip of the Great Depression, the Kamp family is struggling to get by, especially after Mrs. Kamp’s untimely death. Now little Ruthie, with her mother gone and her father overwhelmed by doctor bills resulting from her brother’s polio, expects another Christmas without presents or festivities. But when her father brings home one dollar in change and lets the children use it to buy special gifts for each other, the Kamps come to find that money isn’t what fills Christmas with joy, love, and miracles.”
Borrowed Hearts (NR) – 1 hour, 31 minutes
Description from Amazon: “Sam Field, a single, powerful businessman is about to close the biggest deal of his career with industrialist Javier Del Campo, a self-proclaimed family man. Problem is, Sam prefers freedom to fatherhood. To impress Javier during his holiday visit, Sam convinces single mom Kathleen and her daughter, Zoey, to pose as his family for cash Kathleen desperately needs. With a little Christmas magic, Sam learns to open his heart to the best gifts of all: love and family.”
A Heartland Christmas Special (NR) – 1 hour, 30 minutes
Description from Amazon: “It’s a week before Christmas and holiday preparations are in high gear at Heartland with Lou determined to make everything perfect, but when an avalanche traps a herd of horses, Amy, Ty, Jack and Tim band together to lead the rescue mission.” (I’m assuming this is from a TV show?)
Christmas Comes to Willow Creek (NR) – 1 hour, 30 minutes
This movie stars the lead actors from Dukes of Hazzard. Description from Amazon: “When the local cannery in Willow Creek, Alaska shuts down putting many of the residents out of work and throwing the town into a depression, one wealthy ex-resident comes up with a plan to revive the community. He hires two of his oldest friends, feuding brothers Ray and Pete, to drive a semi-truck full of Christmas presents and one huge surprise from sunny California up to his hometown. Along the way, the estranged brothers will need to work out their differences in order to escape a massive blizzard and get their cargo to the distressed people of Willow Creek.”
Unlikely Angel (NR) – 1 hour, 31 minutes
Heeeere’s Dolly! Dolly Parton stars as Ruby Diamond, a brassy and sassy lounge singer. When she meets an untimely demise, she is denied entrance into heaven by Saint Peter. To earn her wings, she must find a mother for a widowed father and his family. Questionable theology aside, this movie gets solid reviews. 🙂
I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown (NR) – 1 hour, 5 minutes
Furry fun and friendship are unleashed in this yuletide Peanuts perennial. Also included is another holiday tale – Happy New Year, Charlie Brown.
The Heart of Christmas (NR) – 1 hour, 26 minutes
Description from Amazon: “Austin and Julie Locke are devastated when they learn that their young son, Dax, has been diagnosed with cancer. But with courage, determination, and faith, they decide to give Dax a one last Christmas, even if it has to be in October. When the community sees the holiday decorations and learns the heartbreaking truth, what happens next is a miraculous outpouring of caring and support.” Tearjerker alert!
Holiday Inn (NR) – 1 hour, 41 minutes
Description from Amazon: “Screen legends Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire sing and dance their way into your heart in one of the most timeless holiday classics ever, Holiday Inn. Featuring the Academy Award-winning song, ‘White Christmas,’ Crosby plays a song-and-dance man who leaves showbiz to run an inn that is open only on holidays. Astaire plays his former partner and rival in love. Follow the two talented pals as they find themselves competing for the affections of the same lovely lady (Marjorie Reynolds).” (PS – If you’ve seen “White Christmas,” the plot of this movie may seem…vaguely familiar…but this one came first.)
A Christmas Tree Miracle (TV-G) – 1 hour, 42 minutes
Description from Amazon: “A dysfunctional family is reminded of the true meaning of Christmas as they learn that miracles do come true…if you believe! A warm-hearted holiday tale for the whole family.”
Rick Steves’ European Christmas (NR) – 56 minutes
Description from Amazon: “After producing more than 100 travel shows, Rick Steves and his film crew finally celebrate Christmas in Europe. The result: a picturesque snapshot of the European holiday spirit in a colorful, musical, one-hour special.”
Elmo’s Christmas Countdown (G) – 44 minutes
Countdown to Christmas with Elmo, Abby Cadabby, and the rest of the Sesame Street gang in this 2007 special. Great reviews!
Getting to the Nutcracker (NR) – 1 hour, 40 minutes
If you’re looking for a different genre, this one is a documentary which covers young dancers’ progression from auditioning for to performing in the famous Nutcracker ballet. It’s got an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
By God’s Grace (NR) – 1 hour, 26 minutes
Description from Amazon: “In the tradition of a classic ‘A Christmas Carol,’ this film offers many lessons on the importance of giving and the cause and effect our choices have on others.”
Elmo Saves Christmas (G) – 56 minutes
Description from Amazon: “Can there be such a thing as too much Christmas? Find out…when a magical Christmas wish is granted and Elmo gets to see what the world would be like if every day were Christmas!”
A Christmas Snow (NR) – 1 hour, 25 minutes
Description from Amazon: “For the past 30 years, Kathleen has carried around the haunting memory of her father abandoning her and her mother on Christmas Eve. She blames her mother for that night and now refuses to celebrate Christmas at all. Although she tries to forget her past, it has not forgotten her. Because of a blizzard, Kathleen finds herself stuck in her home with two strangers during the days leading up to Christmas. Sam, a gentle older man Kathleen took in for the night, and Lucy, the daughter of her soon to be fiancé, bring her face to face with the hurts of her past. She has to choose between letting go and grabbing hold of a life-changing forgiveness, or continuing to carry her pain and bitterness.”
Christmas Bunny (PG) – 1 hour, 39 minutes
Description from Amazon: “An instant holiday classic for the whole family, The Christmas Bunny is a heartwarming adventure bursting with the joy of the season. When Julia, a lonely foster child, discovers an injured rabbit on Christmas Eve, she forms an unlikely friendship with an eccentric farm woman who vows to nurse the bunny back to health. In the process, Julia s own heart is healed and she forges a bond with her adoptive family that makes her holidays one she and you will never forget.”
Christmas Miracle (NR) – 1 hour, 31 minutes
Description from Amazon: “A group of strangers is forced to seek refuge in an abandoned church after a major snowstorm hits. Over the course of the evening, these strangers rely on one another to make do during these very difficult times.”
Love at the Christmas Table (NR) – 1 hour, 29 minutes
Gotta love those romantic Christmas movies. Here’s a description from Amazon: “For thirty years, Sam and Katherine have spent Christmas Eve at the Children’s Table. When Sam learns she is moving away, he has one night to tell her he loves her.”
Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You (G) – 1 hour, 30 minutes
A new Christmas movie for kids! This one is based on the iconic Christmas song and tells the tale of little Mariah (of course) who wishes for a little puppy for Christmas. Before her Christmas wish can come true, she must prove that she can dog-sit her uncle’s dog, Jack, a “scraggly rascal.” Hijinks ensue.
A Christmas Wish (NR) – 1 hour, 29 minutes
This film from 1950 tells the story of a family who is down on their luck at Christmas time. Rupert the Squirrel (yes, a squirrel) acts as the family’s “guardian angel” and saves Christmas as well as changing their lives forever.
Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales (NR) – 29 minutes
This is a series of Christmas-themed animated stories in which each of the PEANUTS characters stars in his or her own animated vignette.
Christmas with the Kranks (PG) – 1 hour, 39 minutes
This one’s a good pick if you’re in the mood for a silly movie with some classically funny actors. Synopsis: “Finally alone for the holidays, Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Curtis) plan to eschew the Christmas traditions and take a cruise in the Caribbean instead. This doesn’t sit well with their Christmas-obsessed neighbors, who are determined to win the annual “best-decorated street” competition, and the Kranks soon find themselves social outcasts because of their lack of Christmas spirit.”
Falling for Christmas (NR) – 1 hour, 25 minutes
Description from Amazon: When champion figure skater Claire becomes injured she is sent to a rehabilitation center in the snowy mountains where she meets and falls for a local ice fisherman who shows her there is more to life than competition. The reviews say this is very wholesome, family-friendly, and unexpectedly funny!
The Gift of Love: A Christmas Story (NR) – 1 hour, 35 minutes
This movie looks older, but I couldn’t figure out when it came out. Here’s Amazon’s description: “Janet feels she is losing so much…her beloved mother, the family business, maybe even her husband. Janet dreams of Christmas in idyllic Vermont where her parents and spinster aunt may wait in holiday warmth. When more seems lost, with her children in jeopardy, Janet searches for that ‘secret place’ where we find what really matters.”
The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas (NR) – 46 minutes
Description from Amazon: “While the rest of the world is getting ready for Christmas, all the bears in Bearbank are getting ready to sleep… except for Ted E. Bear. Ted gets curious about Christmas so he learns the meaning from Santa Claus himself.”
Holiday Engagement (NR) – 1 hour, 32 minutes
Yaaaaaaaay Hallmark Christmas movies! Description from Amazon: “Hillary Burns is always struggling in life and love while constantly feeling the pressure to marry from her demanding mother, Meredith. This holiday season, she thinks she finally has it right but when Hillary’s fiancé suddenly breaks up with her, she scrambles to find a fake fiancé. After posting an ad online, she hires David, an out-of-work actor to pose as her fiancé in front of her mom, her dad and her snobbish sister Trish. Her fake engagement starts to unravel when she realizes she’s in over her head and begins falling for David.” (Of course.)
The 12 Dogs of Christmas (NR) – 1 hour, 47 minutes
Dog lovers might enjoy this one. Here’s a description from Amazon: “Upon being sent to live with her aunt in the small town of Doverville, 12-year-old Emma O’Conner finds herself in the middle of a dogfight with the Mayor and town dogcatcher. In order to strike down their no-dogs law, Emma must bring together a group of schoolmates, grown-ups and adorable dogs of all shapes and sizes in a spectacular holiday pageant.”
A Country Christmas (NR) – 1 hour, 31 minutes
Description from Amazon: “When a disgruntled politician leads a global campaign to ban the myth of Santa Claus, the world joins his movement, causing Santa Claus to lose his magical powers. Two children from a small farming community learn about Santa’s predicament and attempt to help Chris Cringle regain his powers after he becomes stranded in their barn while making his final rounds around the world.”
Saint Street (NR) – 1 hour, 17 minutes
Description from Amazon: “The story follows Percy who is a good man, but has found himself caught up in the riches of the world and is neglecting his most prized possession: his family. Christmas Eve has arrived and Percy is still hard at work late into the night, once again breaking his promises to his wife and kids that he would leave early so that they could drive to their traditional family Christmas party. After being warned time and again to change his ways from a heavenly being from beyond, Percy is about to experience some grave consequences for his actions.”
Beyond Christmas (NR) – 1 hour, 20 minutes
This movie is from 1940, but this version is in color. Description from Amazon: “This uplifting story begins on Christmas Eve in New York City, as three elderly businessmen prepare to enjoy a festive dinner together. In a show of holiday spirit, they receive visits from two kind-hearted strangers first a young man, then a young woman. Each has come to return a wallet they believe one of the gentlemen has lost. From this humble beginning, friendships are built, and romance ensues.”
Daddy’s Home 2 (PG-13) – 1 hour, 39 minutes
Description from Amazon: “When it comes to raising their kids, Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) and Brad (Will Ferrell) finally have this co-parenting thing down. That is, until their dads come to town, putting their newfound partnership to the ultimate test in this hilarious comedy.” (And yes, it takes place during the holidays, so I’m calling it a Christmas movie.)
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