Film & Television | 12.07.2022

Best Holiday Movies to Watch with Family

Family on couch with popcorn to watch their favorite holiday family movies.

By Franki Hanke

There might be too many Christmas movies out there because when it’s time to pick one it feels impossible! This list includes the best classics for the whole family. 

If you don’t want to pick, make it really simple with a random pick from this list. Just click here for a random number from Google that correlates with one of our picks here. If you’re wondering how important a family movie night can be, read The Impact of Family Holiday Traditions.

The Best Christmas Movies for Families

When we think of a family movie on Christmas Eve, we’re picturing some giggles and plenty of cookies. So, if your favorite is George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street enjoy your heart-warming, but sorta sad movie. This list is mostly light-hearted, fun movies that will keep everyone entertained. 

1. Home Alone

After being left behind in his family home when his entire extended family leaves on Christmas vacation, young boy Kevin McCallister (played by Macaulay Culkin) creates a series of intricate traps to fend off a burglary duo. It’s familiar, right? 

Home Alone is a persistent classic with chaos and hijinks galore. 

Where to Watch Home Alone: Stream it on Disney+ with your subscription or rent it on Amazon Prime Video for only $4. 

If you’ve already watched Home Alone this year, watch Home Alone 2: Lost in New York instead. It’s the same madness, but in New York City now. 

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Jim Carrey’s Grinch voice is stuck in everyone’s head, right? I’ll never forget that raspy rascal. Even if you’re a bit grinch-y yourself, a re-watch of this Dr. Seuss story could make your heart grow. 

Where to Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Stream it on HBO Max with your subscription or rent it on Amazon Prime Video for only $4. 

3. Jingle All the Way

Beware, watching this will trigger two things. One, someone will say “Wow, look at young Arnold Schwarzenegger!” Two, Amazon’s two-day shipping will feel extra nice! But, two dads on the hunt for THE toy of the year on Christmas Eve is a bit of chaos you can’t pass up. 

Where to Watch Jingle All the Way: Stream it on Hulu with your STARZ subscription or rent on Amazon Prime Video for only $4. 

4. Elf

Starring Will Ferrell, Elf is a goofy tale with just enough singing to get everyone humming alone. Buddy might be a tad annoying, but he’s a humorous reminder that we can create holiday cheer. 

Where to Watch Elf: Stream it on HBO Max with your subscription or rent it on Amazon Prime Video for only $4. 

5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Centered on Christmas fanatic family man Clark Griswold, Christmas Vacation is a collection of calamities that rivals Home Alone’s silliness. Plus, it’s a good reminder for any family that it could be so much worse than whatever chaos is in your own house. 

Where to Watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: Stream it on HBO Max with your subscription or rent on Amazon Prime Video for only $4. 

6. A Christmas Story | A Christmas Story Christmas 

The source of several persisting holiday icons from the fragile leg lamp to a tongue frozen on a flag pole, A Christmas Story feels as classic as it comes. Plus, the story of Ralphie Parker desperately wishing for something he might not receive on Christmas Morning might ring true with any kiddos (though the movie’s not about AirPods…) 

Where to Watch A Christmas Story: Stream it on HBO Max with your subscription. 

If you’re all too familiar with the original, switch it up and play the brand new for 2022 follow-up A Christmas Story Christmas which follows the contents of the classic with Peter Billingsley. 

7. A Charlie Brown Christmas

Half the length of another movie, A Charlie Brown Christmas is a perfect background movie for decorating sugar cookies. Besides, Charlie’s hunt for the true meaning of Christmas is a good reminder for us all. 

Where to Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas: Stream on Apple TV+. 

8. The Santa Clause | The Santa Clauses 

Starring Tim Allen, The Santa Clause is a three-movie series that features a family drama with a Christmastime twist. 

If you’re not in the mood to re-watch a Christmas classic, Disney+ has a new series The Santa Clauses that continues from the last movie with Scott Calvin as the best-known toymaker Santa Clause thirty years later. It’s a fun call-back to a Christmastime classic without being a real re-watch. 

Where to Watch The Santa Clauses: Stream it on Disney+.

9. The Polar Express

Featuring Tom Hanks in multiple roles, The Polar Express captures the magic of being a child during Christmas. It tells the story of a boy, questioning his belief in Santa Claus, taking a magic ride toward the North Pole on the train, The Polar Express. It’s a unique film created with motion capture and animation for a specific aesthetic that hallmarks back to its origin as a book. 

It’s essential you serve rich, hot chocolate during this holiday film. It wouldn’t be right without it. 

Where to Watch The Polar Express: Stream it on HBO Max with your subscription or rent it on Amazon Prime Video for only $4. 

10. Spirited

Rather than re-watching the classic A Christmas Carol, re-imagine Ebenezer Scrooge’s storyline in this new release. It pairs Will Ferrell with Ryan Reynolds in a musical re-imagining of the classic Charles Dickens tale where misanthropes are visited by ghosts meant to set them on a better path. 

It’s funny and new, perfect for the easily bored. 

Where to Watch Spirited: Stream it on Apple TV+.

11. Klaus

A gorgeous animated film by Sergio Pablos, Klaus is a heavily-awarded film that’s a bit of a breath of fresh air for the mayhem and noise of our other favorites. It tells the story of a rural postman who befriends a reclusive toymaker. 

It’s a re-imaginging of the origins of Kris Kringle with a desperate main character accidentally creating Christmas Spirit in an attempt to save his own hide. 

Where to Watch Klaus: Stream it on Netflix

12. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

Changing the look of the usual Christmas film, Jingle Jangle is steampunk and creative. It tells the story of a toymaker and a curious little girl, his granddaughter embarking on a new inventive journey. 

Where to Watch Jingle Jangle: Stream it on Netflix. 

What did we miss?

There are hundreds of Christmas movies, and everyone has their favorites. Are you a fan of animated classics Mickey’s Christmas Carol, The Muppet Christmas Carol, or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Or maybe the modern (and gorgeous) animation of  A Boy Called Christmas? Or maybe you love seeing celebrities in seasonal roles like Kurt Russel’s Santa Clause in The Christmas Chronicles or Anna Kendrick in Noelle. Of course, there’s the cult-favorite The Nightmare Before Christmas with Jack Skellington. Though really, isn’t that one a Halloween movie? 

Ultimately, everyone has their own favorite movie to feel the holiday spirit. This list represents some of the funniest, most iconic, and newest Christmas films to try for your family. If we listed every movie, it wouldn’t be very easy to pick one! 

So, what are you watching this holiday season? Tag us in your movie night snapshots @FinerThingsLifestyleThe above content may contain affiliate links. When you click and shop, we receive a small commission to support our writers.

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