There are lots of family Christmas traditions, but one of the many (at least for most families) is watching Christmas movies together. Whether you already have your favorites and want another to add to the list, or if you’re looking for films to start your own traditions, there are plenty of movies out there to help inspire the season. As always, though, there is the problem of knowing which movies are appropriate for the whole family and which ones to avoid – even if they claim to be Christmas-centered, it’s still hard to trust modern Hollywood. For everyone looking for clean, Christmassy, family-friendly movies to watch this Advent season, here is our list of 14 wholesome Christmas movies.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is an absolute must for Christmas. However, when it comes to family movie night and an original adaptation such as the one featuring Alastair Sim, the movie can be a bit long. Luckily, The Muppets have a version that is a little shorter, and just as entertaining! Older children might appreciate the Alastair Sim or George C. Scott version as well, though.
A Child’s Christmas in Wales
This sweet little tale is a nostalgic trip down memory lane for a grandfather who is describing his Christmas experience as a child at the turn of the century in Wales. Though it’s a little more obscure in America, A Child’s Christmas in Wales will still strike a chord and is a great, shorter movie night option.
The Christmas Candle
Another obscure option, The Christmas Candle is a lovely, Christian film about a small town far too dependent on the Christmas magic of a single, blessed candle. A newly-assigned priest tries his best to transform this small parish and town by showing them that they have the power to enact Christmas miracles all year long.
It’s A Wonderful Life
Though It’s A Wonderful Life might be lost on younger children, it’s a fantastic, classic story with a very good life lesson. This feel-good movie is a great way to kick off the Advent season, or settle in for Christmas Eve night.
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
This stop-motion, made-for-TV movie from 1970 is absolutely meant for children of all ages. A classic story peeking behind the curtain of Santa Claus’s origins, Santa Claus is Coming to Town shows the power of giving and love over all adversary powers.
Frosty the Snowman
Another animated classic, Frosty the Snowman is the beloved story of the snowman who came to life. This 1969 movie is just 25 minutes long and features the voices of Jackie Vernon and Jimmy Durante.
The Little Drummer Boy
The Little Drummer Boy follows a young boy who travels far to play for our Savior at His birth. Another beloved tale that is adapted into a short and sweet movie perfect for young children!
Klaus (on Netflix)
For anyone with Netflix, Klaus is a Christmas must! A wonderfully clean story with amazing artwork and animation, as well as a fantastic moral lesson, Klaus is a Santa Claus origin story for the whole family. The story follows Jesper, the spoiled son of a postmaster who is sent to the desolate edge of the world to grow up and learn responsibility. In a town inhabited by warring families, and a woodsman named Klaus with a special talent for making wood toys, Jesper is determined to meet his goal of 6,000 letters so he can leave this cold and chaotic place for good.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Who doesn’t love The Peanuts? All the favorite characters are in this adorable story following Charlie Brown as he learns the real meaning and purpose of Christmas.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Definitely one of the most iconic Christmas movies out there, Miracle on 34th Street is the perfect start to the Christmas movie season as it starts with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and follows skeptical Susan Walker and her mother as they learn to have faith and believe.
One of the most loved musicals of all time, and featuring an all-star cast, White Christmas is a wonderful post-WWII story following four performers and their bid to revitalize an inn owned by a much-loved General.
Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire star in this wonderful classic movie about an inn that is only open on holidays. Full of music and dancing, Holiday Inn is the perfect Christmas tradition – and a great film to watch year-round.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)
Another short and sweet story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is the animated adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s classic. Follow the Grinch as his heart grows and is transformed by a town of Whos with a greater grasp than most on what Christmas is all about.
The Nutcracker (1993)
For the whole family, but little girls who love to dance especially, The Nutcracker ballet is a magical Christmas tradition. If you are not able to attend a live stage performance, The Nutcracker film from 1993 is a great alternative. Featuring Macaulay Culkin and the New York City Ballet, The Nutcracker faithfully follows the story and has some amazing choreography.