I’ll be honest, I love Christmas movies if not more than when I was a kid. I’m not sorry, I love to get lost in the magic and joy. Here are some of my faves – but I KNOW I’ll have forgotten loads! Let’s call this our “Family Christmas Movie Starter Pack”. Let’s also not forget there are tons more new releases on the horizon from the start of December across all the streaming platforms – Woohoo!!
1. MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1994)
This is really the gold standard, and it would be rude not to include it. The 1947 version is of course a delight too, but I’m going 90s here. It contains the definitive Father Christmas: Richard Attenborough, and nothing could be lovelier than he as Kris Kringle – a man who believes he is Santa. It tells the story of a young girl and her mother who must prove he’s the real deal, to save him just in time for Christmas. I defy you to watch so much as the trailer without weeping.
Director: Les Mayfield
2. HOME ALONE (1990)
A film that practically needs to introduction, but let me have a go anyway. Kevin McAllister is a cheeky little boy who gets left at home by mistake when his enormous, extended family go on vacation. He’s pretty happy about it, until a couple of nasty criminal bank robbers try to break in. What he does next might be the best slapstick/action sequence ever committed to children movies. Off the back of the equally brilliant Uncle Buck, Home Alone cemented Macauley Culkin’s place as an icon for all ages. Unmissable.
Director: John Hughes
3. ARTHUR CHRISTMAS (2011)
An absolute gem. This animated tale of what happens which you start to believe in yourself. When Santa’s geeky son Arthur finds out that due to a technical glitch a little girl’s Christmas gift has been lost, he sets out on a mission to deliver the present before it is too late. James McAvoy is excellent as awkward Arthur, with all-star support from Bill Nighy, Hugh Laurie and Jim Broadbent. Enormous fun!
Director: Sarah Smith
4. A NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993)
Alternative, yes. Excellent, also yes and has to be on our list of Christmas movies for the whole family. This is the tale of the King of Halloween, Jack Skellington, who discovers Christmas and decides that he and his spooky pals should take it over. Chaos and scares ensue. Tim Burton has rarely been better, as is the delectable soundtrack from Danny Elfman.
Director: Tim Burton
5. JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY (2020)
This was a very welcome addition to Netflix last winter when we were all stuck in our homes during lockdown – an explosion of joy and colour. Toymaker Jeronicus is devastated when his assistant steals his book of ideas and a special doll. He loses his will to create new toys until years later when his granddaughter visits him. Starring Forrest Whittaker and Keegan Michael Key, this is a must-watch modern classic full of song, dance and the most incredible costumes.
Director: David E Talbert
6. THE GRINCH (2018)
This one took me by surprise, I must say. I took the kid to the cinema, hoping to have a cheeky nap…but instead, I was captivated. Benedict Cumberbatch voices the unlikeable character of the Grinch who wants to ruin Christmas but instead discovers the truth about himself and the power of holiday spirit. It’s funny, heartwarming and really moving. Long live Dr Suess!
Director: Yarrow Cheney
7. ELF (2003)
If you haven’t seen this already then where have you been hiding?? It’s possibly the greatest Christmas movie to watch with your family. Ever. It has humour for little ones and adults alike and features a grown man, Buddy, (Will Ferrell) who thinks he is an Elf. And, he kind of is. Of course, New York City and his estranged Dad don’t take too kindly to his exuberant cheer. By the way, it’s also worth checking out the “Movies that Made us” documentary on Netflix and go behind the scenes of this classic.
Director: John Favreau
8. ANGELA’S CHRISTMAS (2017)
This is a really sweet and poignant film which is a good reminder that Christmas is about more than just presents – something most kids (and adults) forget in the mad dash to buy all of the things. This is based on a Frank McCourt story about a little girl who worries that the Baby Jesus in the crib at her church is too cold. She tries to help him and the results are ultimately magical.
Director: Damian O’Connor
9 & 10. FROZEN & FROZEN 2 (2013 & 2019)
If you don’t know the Frozen franchise, you clearly do not have small children. The little movie based on the Ice Queen fairytale, became a juggernaut of songs, stage plays, franchises and little kids wearing flammable princess dresses. Thing is, you can be cynical, but both films are excellent and the songs are brilliant too. Anna and Elsa are two sisters who lost their parents while they were young, and Elsa hides a secret that has kept them apart ever since. Get lost in the movie that became inspirational for a generation of kids, learn all the lyrics and giggle at Olaf the snowman – you deserve it!
Director: Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee
Christmas Movies For The Whole Family
While I’m here, did you know that on Disney Plus, you can find a crackling log fire to put on in the background while you bake cookies, decorate the tree or unwrap gifts? It makes a nice change from the constant noise of the festive period – let’s go ahead and call it meditation for the little ones?!
If you are looking for more Christmas movies to stream and find the best subscription combos for services, then, head on over to and sign up for free on BOB. If you are looking for some non-festive inspiration for what to watch, head on over to our blog.