We’re at the tail end of November now. You know what that means: The Holidays are just around the corner. (According to shopping malls and pure-bred Christmas freaks, at least.)
Because of this, we thought we’d get ahead of the game. These are our picks for the best Christmas movies for kids.
A few points before we get stuck in: I absolutely hate when these lists feature incredibly old Christmas movies. Let’s be realistic here: Most young kids aren’t making it through the 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street. I don’t care how good that movie is or how important, it’s just not happening, regardless of how much you want to force it. I also want this to be curated. This is a short list of movies, but they’re all good movies — bearable for you the adult, but fun enough for kids to enjoy.
With that said, let’s start with the GOAT.
Look, I’m of the firm belief that Home Alone is the greatest Christmas movie of all time. I watched this with my kids and all their cousins last year. They were obsessed. This movie is over 30 years old now, and it’s aged like a fine wine. Children never tire of watching adults endure copious amounts of pain at the hands of an obnoxious child genius, and to be honest, neither do I.
Klaus is a triumph. It’s almost too good to be a Christmas movie. Written and directed by Sergio Pablos, it’s something of a Santa Claus origin story. Beautifully animated and expertly produced, Klaus won multiple awards and was even nominated for an Oscar.
You may remember Elf as being a pretty adult Christmas movie. I reckon you’re wrong. Most kids should be able to watch and laugh out loud at Elf, which served as a global coming out party for Will Ferrell. It was an instant classic upon release. I love it.
I feel like I’m breaking my own rule here. The Snowman is the oldest movie on this list — and I’m not sure it’s even technically a movie — but it is a masterpiece. There’s a haunting nostalgia to The Snowman, which is amplified by my growing up in the UK and therefore being forced to watch this over and over at school in the lead-up to Christmas holidays. I think it rules though, and I believe children should experience it. At least once.
I went back and forth on this choice, because it’s on the extreme end of movies for kids. But ultimately I think kids aged roughly 9 and above should be able to watch Gremlins. There are a few violent scenes, so your mileage (and child) may vary. It’s also a stone-cold classic.
This is a relatively new one, but it’s a banger and has immediately been added to the rotation in my house. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey tells the tale of a once legendary toymaker, broken after being betrayed by his apprentice, finding hope (and inspiration) through his granddaughter. It’s a musical, and the songs rule.
I feel like any “best Christmas movies” list should have at least one Christmas Carol movie in it. If this was an adult list, I’d put Scrooged, but since this is for kids I’d say the best choice is The Muppet Christmas Carol. Mainly because Michael Caine plays Ebenezer Scrooge.
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