Best Christmas Movies for Kids – Big and Small

posted in: Christmas, Life | 0

Who doesn’t love a good Christmas movie to watch with the family? Below are our top picks – in no particular order, complete with the Common Sense Media ( ) recommended viewing age and the Internet Movie Database (IMDb ) rating.


Release date: 2019

Starring: Anna Kendrick,  Bill Hader

Classification: G

Length: 1 hour, 40 mins

Synopsis: Kris Kringle’s daughter is full of Christmas spirit and holiday fun, but wishes she could do something “important” like her beloved brother Nick, who will take over for their father this Christmas. Nick is training to be Santa, but is failing miserably. When Nick is about to crumble like a gingerbread cookie from all the pressure, Noelle suggests he take a break and get away to clear his head…but then he doesn’t return. Will she be able to find him in time and get him back to the North Pole in time to save Christmas?

Common Sense Media age: 6+

IMBd rating: 6.3/10


Release date: 2003

Starring: Will Farrell, James Caan

Classification: G

Length: 96 minutes

Synopsis: Silly but funny story about a human brought up thinking he was an elf working for Santa Claus. He travels to New York to find his real father and ends up bringing Christmas spirit to everyone!

Common Sense Media age: 7+

IMBd rating: 7.7/10


The Christmas Chronicles

Release date: 2018

Starring: Kurt Russell, Judah Lewis, Darby Camp.

Classification: PG

Length: 1 hour, 3 mins

Synopsis: Siblings Kate and Teddy Pierce hatch a scheme to capture Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. When the plan goes awry, the kids join forces with a somewhat jolly Saint Nick and his loyal elves to save the holiday before it’s too late. There is also The Christmas Chronicles 2 which was realeased just recently in 2020!

Common Sense Media age: 10+

IMBd rating: 7.1/10

The Polar Express

Release date: 2004

Starring: Tom Hanks

Classification: G

Length: 100 minutes

Synopsis: Magical animation about a boy who travels to the North Pole on the Polar Express to meet Santa Claus along with other children. A lovely, feel-good story about friendships, bravery and the spirit of Christmas. This is our go-to movie for Christmas Eve.

Common Sense Media age: 6+

IMBd rating: 6.6/10



Release date: 2013

Starring: Idina Mensel, Kristen Bell

Classification: PG

Length: 102 minutes

Synopsis: Whilst not specifically about Christmas, the wintry feel of Disney’s Frozen makes it an ideal holiday watch. The traditional Disney approach to princesses and knights in shiny armour is turned on its head as the story depicts a strong sisterly bond and the message of being true to yourself.

Common Sense Media age: 5+

IMBd rating: 7.6/10



Arthur Christmas

Release date: 2011

Starring: James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent

Classification: G

Length: 97 minutes

Synopsis: Arthur is Santa’s clumsy son who, in this funny animation, is tasked with a mission to sort out a misplaced present given to a young girl. A great family movie about holiday spirit, family unity and generosity.

Common Sense Media age: 5+

IMBd rating: 7.1/10


The Muppet Christmas Carol

Release date: 1992

Starring: Michael Caine

Classification: G

Length: 86 minutes

Synopsis: The classic Dickens story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his ghostly visitors reworked by the infamous cast of the Muppets with Michael Caine as Scrooge.

Common Sense Media age: 5+

IMBd rating: 7.7/10



How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Release date: 2000

Starring: Jim Carrey

Classification: PG

Length: 104 minutes

Synopsis: The Grinch is determined to ruin Christmas for all the residents of the town of Whoville. This is a version of the Dr Seuss classic story which leads to the Grinch understanding his misdeeds through the warming of his heart.

Common Sense Media age: 6+

IMBd rating: 6/10


The Nightmare Before Christmas

Release date: 1993

Starring: Danny Elfman

Classification: PG

Length: 76 minutes

Synopsis: Tim Burton’s skeletal animation based on when Jack Skellington stumbles upon Christmastown and decides to kidnap Santa. Unfortunately, his plans for Christmas domination do not go to plan…

Common Sense Media age: 7+

IMBd rating: 8/10



The Snowman

Release date: 1982

Starring: n/a

Classification: Not rated

Length: 26 minutes

Synopsis: Beautiful, wordless animation adaptation of the Raymond Briggs picture book. A tale of friendship, curiosity, and joy set alongside an excellent musical score.

Common Sense Media age: 3+

IMBd rating: 8.2/10


The Santa Clause

Release date: 1994

Starring: Tim Allen

Classification: PG

Length: 95 minutes

Synopsis: Tim Allen plays a toy industry executive who transforms into Santa after the original has a fatal accident. It is heartwarming, funny and, in parts, addresses grown-up issues (divorce).

Common Sense Media age: 9+

IMBd rating: 6.4/10



There are plenty more holiday movie options to choose, including other Raymond Briggs inspired stories, the Home Alone series, animated shorts of Julia Donaldson’s imaginative stories and the older classics such as It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street.

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