With so many Christmas movie options out there it can often be challenging to decide what to watch. To try and help you through the annual family debate over the TV here’s a few films that should help you narrow things down.
1. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018) PG
A gorgeously re-imagined epic fairytale follows Clara as she journeys to an unknown realm. All in the hope of collecting a golden key to unlock a priceless gift from her late mother. Clara must undergo a long journey to retrieve the key and return harmony to the realms.
If you are looking for a magical tale with something for every member of the family, then look no further. The makeup, special effects and setting throughout the film truly will transport you to another world.
2. Arthur Christmas (2011) U
Follow Santa’s brother Arthur as he sets out on a mission to make sure every child gets a gift at Christmas. So Arthur sets out with Grandsanta to get a misplaced present to a young girl in less than 2 hours.
If you are in the mood for a giggle, this film will hit the spot. Full of clumsy shenanigans that’ll have the whole family smiling from ear to ear.
3. Dr Suess’ The Grinch (2018) U / How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) PG
Both versions of the film tell the tale of The Grinch. A cynical grump who lives in a cave above the town of Whoville. Throughout the movie, The Grinch is on a mission to steal Christmas. He tries to ruin everything he can all to stop the Whos celebrations only to find it is not as easy as he thought.
The more recent (2018) version is more suitable for younger children with the animation, making it a little less scary in parts. The classic Jim Carrey Version is great for slightly older children and teens as the realism factor is less likely to scare them. Similarly, the use of humour is somewhat different in the Jim Carrey film, making it potentially more appropriate for tweens and teens.
4. Nativity! (2009) U
A recently heartbroken primary school teacher is assigned to direct the school nativity play. For a teacher who hates Christmas, this is the ultimate punishment. One night he boasts to another teacher at a rival school that his ex-girlfriend, Jennifer, a Hollywood producer, is coming to the show. The lie blossoms until its uncontrollable and his only hope is to go through with putting on a nativity of epic proportions.
Full of silly family fun that’ll fill everyone with Christmas joy this is a crowd-pleaser. When all this is added to songs you can’t help but sing along to it is not a film to miss.
5. Frozen (2013) PG
The Disney smash hit Frozen is an excellent winter warmer. Follow Anna’s journey to save her sister Queen Elsa not only from herself but also to save the people from an eternal winter. Friends join Anna along the way to help her find her way to her sister. Its an adventure of a lifetime with the songs to match!
6. Home Alone (1990) PG
Its Christmas in the McCallister house and everyone is getting ready to go on holiday. But unfortunately, they leave their youngest child, Kevin, behind. With the house to himself, Kevin creates a whole world of fun. Until he discovers that two burglars are trying to rob the house, so he puts into place an action plan to defeat the burglars and bring them to justice.
7. The Polar Express (2004) U
On Christmas Eve a young boy boards a magical train headed to the North Pole. On the way, the young boy makes friends and goes on an extraordinary adventure. Through the journey, he discovers things that will keep wonder in his life forever.
If you are in the mood for lots of magic and a dash of adventure, this is a great option. This is more of a child’s film as it is singularly focused on the experience of children over Christmas and lacks some of the family fun moments some of the other films on this list have.
8. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)
In the town of Cobbleton, legendary toymaker Jeronicus Jangle a toymaker invents marvellous toys. Toys that create wonder and joy for children. Jangle’s trusted apprentice steals his most prized creation it’s up to his granddaughter to get it back. With the help of a long-forgotten invention, she reawakens the magic to save her grandfather’s business and takes back all that was lost.
If you are in the mood for a Christmas musical, this is a great option. Full of all-new songs that will spark the Christmas spirit. Full of fabulously quirky characters that will make you smile from ear to ear. If the old classics are not hitting the spot, this is the film for you.
9. Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009) PG or The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) U
Both of these films follow the same storyline but differ in some key ways.
The films tell the tale of Scrooge, an old moneylender who hates Christmas. Over one Christmas Eve night Scrooge is visited by three ghosts. They tell him the secrets of his past and present. Finally showing the future he is headed towards unless he changes his ways.
The major difference between these two films is their style. The Muppets version is definitely less spooky with the ghosts taking on a more humorous representation. But in the 2009 animation, these ghosts take on a more ghostly and spooky appearance.
Both versions are great Christmas movies. However, the 2009 version may be more suitable for slightly older children. Equally, for younger children, the 1992 version may be more appropriate. But both are very similar so go with your gut.
10. The Search for Santa Paws (2010) U
A spin-off of the buddies series. The pups team up with Santa’s Elves to rescue Santa after he loses all his memories. On a mission to save Christmas, the pups go above and beyond to retrieve all that was lost.
This is the perfect film for young children. There is a couple of sad moments but nothing that should prove too upsetting for children. Of course, if you are worried about this or any of these films, please do pre-screen the movie before watching. Or have a look at the parental guides section on IMDB.com for more information.
11. The Santa Clause
Recently divorced Scott Calvin is horrified to learn his ex-wife has tried and failed to break it to their young son, Charle that Santa isn’t real. On Christmas, Eve Scott reads Charlie the Night Before Christmas and receives a visitor on his roof. After an untimely accident, Scott finds himself in the Santa suit delivering presents and eventually being escorted to the North Pole. Find out what happens when an ordinary dad inadvertently becomes Santa and still wants to have a normal life.
This is another great family film with something for all ages. Humour, silly slapstick fun and good old Christmas spirit are all abundant in this film. Plus if you enjoy the film, there is a couple more in the series you could try out too.
12. Miracle on 34th Street (1994) U
A New York 6-year-old, Susan Walker, has doubts that Santa Clause does exist. Especially after her mother told her the ‘secret’ about him a long time ago. Susan doesn’t expect to receive the most important gift on her Christmas list. But when a department store Santa claims he’s the real thing she may find out she is wrong.
If you like your Christmas films filled with nostalgia and magic, then look no further. Not only will Susan and the rest of the cast capture your heart, but they will also make you believe in the power of Christmas spirit.