Our Family’s Favorite Christmas Movies

It’s that time of year again, and our house is full of twinkling Christmas lights, nativity scenes, and friendly snowmen. We take Christmas seriously in the Spencer family. We also get watch our Christmas movie collection, which we only watch during the month of December. The kids get so excited to watch their favorite Christmas movies, and we have a few adult movies too that Travis and I enjoy watching every year together.

I was looking for a list of family friendly Christmas movies online, but I couldn’t find one that actually had reviews or reasons why they have the movies on the list. It seems like people are making lists that have Christmas movies, listing them simply because they are winter or holiday related, not taking into account whether they are actually worthy of watching or not. Well I plan to put an end to that foolishness right now. Whether you are staying home for the holidays or traveling to a loved one’s house, I am putting together a list of our favorite Christmas movies. All of these movies have been tested by my family, and are family friendly, and fun to watch. If you decide to purchase any of these movies, click on the title and it will take you straight to Amazon (yes they are affiliate links, hey, every little bit helps during the holidays, right?).

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For Christian Families

Small One

This Disney classic is about a little boy and his donkey, Small One, as they take an adventure that is full of endings and beginnings. It makes me cry every time (yes me, the grown adult woman). I could only find it as part of the Disney Animation Collection 7, which is a bit pricey on Amazon, but it has some of the best Disney Christmas cartoons including, “Mickey’s Christmas Carol,” and “Pluto’s Christmas.”

VeggieTales: St. Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving

You can get this on instant download which means you can play it on your various digital devices. This is a cute and funny story that includes Greece, which makes me very happy. We love this movie and it’s message. Jesus is the reason!


The Original Christmas Classics Gift Set

This set has 7 classic cartoons/claymation films. It includes Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and The Little Drummer Boy among others. These are definitely some of our favorite movies to watch together as a family. Just make sure you are with your little ones while you watch Rudolph because the Snow Bumble can be a bit scary.

It’s A Wonderful Life (Black & White Version)

You can also download this film for your digital devices. This classic film makes the entire family happy and thoughtful. We watch it while making Christmas cookies every year. It is iconic, appropriate for the entire family, and has many great points for holiday lessons that your family can discuss.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

This classic tale told through the lens of Jim Henson’s Muppets is creative, touching, and also hilarious. The songs are guaranteed to get stuck in your head. Our kids walk around the house singing “We’re Marley and Marley,” all through the Christmas season. It also stars Michael Caine, and he is as stupendous in this as he is in everything else.

Mickey’s Christmas Carol

This DVD & Digital Copy combo pack is perfect for any modern family. It a great version of the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and it is short, which is better for families with small children. My son loves seeing all his favorite classic Disney characters playing different parts in this wonderful and thrilling tale.

favorite family christmas movies

A Garfield Christmas

This fun film from the 1980’s has an amazing sound track, is great for a few laughs, and also very heart warming. I would probably watch this even if I didn’t have any kids. Jon and his brother Doc Boy are hilarious, behaving as children even though they are now grown men. Grandma is also a feisty and lovable character.

Modern Christmas Movies


We quote this movie all throughout the year, but sitting together and watching it as a family is a special occasion that warrants popcorn, hot chocolate, and various other holiday goodies. I remember seeing it in the movie theater with my friends before I met my husband, or had any children of my own, and even back then I knew this film was special. Buddy the elf is a human that has been raised in the North Pole as one of Santa’s elves. Once he finally figures out that he isn’t actually an elf, he embarks on a quest to find his father, on a road to self discovery. This movie has many funny parts, and your entire family will laugh the entire way through. Innocent enough for kids (with a few references that will fly over their heads like a negligee as a gift for his father, and “syrup” aka alcohol in a friend’s coffee), and entertaining for adults as well. Buddy the elf has an innocence we all wish for as we head into another holiday season. He is unspoiled.

“Not now arctic puffin.”

Arthur Christmas

This is by far my favorite modern Christmas movie. It is full of good holiday themed lessons for the kids, and has an interesting plot. Plus Hugh Laurie and James McAvoy are the voices of two main characters. A family in the Santa business must decide who will be the next Santa, and what to do about a child that didn’t get their present delivered.

“Arthur! Do you really think you can row the Atlantic Ocean in the next thirty-seven minutes?”

Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas

Can you tell my kids love Mickey yet? This is a modern collection of new stories with our favorite classic Disney characters. The 3D animation is actually pretty impressive and the stories are exciting and have good lessons and excitement all in one.

There is also the original Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas that is done in traditional 2D animation. It also has some interesting fun and new stories.

The Santa Clause Trilogy

What happens when Santa has an accident and doesn’t recover? These three films staring Tim Allen are very entertaining. Even though my children don’t believe in Santa, they still have fun watching these intelligent and funny films. When Scott, an ambitious business man that doesn’t make enough time for his son, accidentally scares Santa off of his roof, an adventure unfolds about how Santa must be replaced. My kids particularly like the second film, where Santa must find a wife in order to fulfill the Mrs. Clause.

“Mother Nature: Jack Frost, You are hereby charged with 273 counts of attempted upstaging of Santa Claus. You froze a volcano in Hawaii. You made it snow in the Amazon. And you frosted Mexico, sending all of the geese north for the winter. You have violated the Legendary Figures Code of Conduct in a manner that is both willful and malicious.

Jack Frost: Excuse me… Did you just accuse me of being skillful and delicious.”


Ok, it’s not actually about Christmas, but it is wintery and wonderlandy (yes I made that word up). There is a reason this film is so popular. It is a story about two sisters that must find a way to counter act supernatural powers that has one sister fleeing to live in solitude. I don’t want to give away anything, but the music and fun characters makes this movie unique and inspiring. It is adapted from a book, The Snow Queen, written by the master fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen.

I hope you have many warm nights by the fire (or the heater if you are like me and don’t have a fireplace) this Christmas.

Happy travels,