21 of the best family Christmas films to watch with your children – as recommended by parents


Ever since our trip to Bluestone Kingdom of the Elves we have been embracing all things Christmassy in our house. I don’t care that it’s only November; it won’t always be this magical so I am making the most of it while I can.

One of our favourite things to at this time of year, when the weather is wet and cold, is to snuggle up on the sofa with a family Christmas movie. We have so many that we love – Elf is an absolute classic and a real favourite of everyone in this house. Arthur Christmas was the first film we went to see in the cinema as a family when Miss E was just turned two and Little Man a baby. It started our annual Christmas tradition of a family cinema trip in the run up to the big day. We also love some of the old classics such as Frosty The Snowman and Santa Claus is Coming to Town; not to mention all the Raymond Briggs’ classics The Snowman, Father Christmas and The Snowman and The Snowdog. Last year my children watched Home Alone for the first time… and it’s now a firm favourite. I could go on but instead I’ve asked my fellow parent bloggers for their recommendations of festive family films.

Here are 21 family Christmas films to enjoy with your children as recommended by other parents.

Are any of your favourites on your list? What else would you recommend? Do let me know in the comments below on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or by tweeting me on @cardiffmummy 

If you’re excited about the festive season then check out all my other Christmas posts here.

Santa Claus: The Movie

As recommended by Hayley, mum of two, age 4 and 3, from near Llanelli

Blogs at www.wingingitwithtwoboys.com

“I watched this as a child with my brother and it was a tradition that every Christmas Eve we’d watch it, and now every year I watch it with my two boys. Sadly my brother died so he’s not here to share this with me and my boys – but I know he’d be happy I’m keeping the tradition going. I absolutely love this movie, as it tells the story of how Santa Claus came to be, lollipops that make you fly, and how the toys are made in the North Pole – as a child I wanted to be transported there as it looked so awesome!”


The Snowman

As recommended by Lianne, mum of two, age 2 and 3, from Pontypool

Blogs at www.anklebitersadventures.co.uk

“It’s so magical. We like to watch it on Christmas Eve with treats from our Christmas Eve Box. My children get mesmerised by it. I love the animation in the film and the fact that it’s silent too as even though there are not many words my two still know what’s going on.



As recommended by Kelly, mum of two age 8 and 7, from Cardiff

Blogs at www.kellyallenwriter.com

“Our favourite is always Elf. We all sit together in our PJs with snacks and giggle, sing and cry along. It always marks the beginning of Christmas for us. I love the mixture of comedy, fun and sentimentality running through it, plus the realisation that you are never too old to believe.”


Home Alone

As recommended by Jess, mum of two, age 7 and 4, from Cardiff

Blogs at http://www.mrshelicopter.com/

“I love Home Alone so much. It came out when my little brother Sam was the same age as Kevin and he looked so much like him… cute and funny. And my son reminds me of Sam so much already that now when we all watch it together it feels like history repeating itself. I love that this film shows a totally chaotic family at Christmas, it’s funny for adults but is also full of loads of visual comedy which the kids love too.”


Miracle on 34th Street

As recommended by Rebecca mum of two age 6 and 4 from near Swansea

Blogs at www.munchiesandmunchkins.com

“Miracle On 34th Street is my absolute favourite and I’m planning to introduce the girls to it this week. There is something a little magical about it even for grown-ups. I love both versions of the film but I’m going to watch the modern one with my daughters.”


The Muppets Christmas Carol

As recommended by Cath mum of one age 3 from Tredegar but living in Portugal

Blogs at https://passportsandadventures.com

“I absolutely love The Muppets Christmas Carol. Of all the Christmas movies it’s long been my favourite. We’ve watched it with our son before but he was too little to really appreciate it. Now that he’s almost 4 I’m hoping this is the year he will enjoy it with us. We watch it every Christmas and I love the Mr Scrooge song the most.”


The Polar Express

As recommended by Claire, mum of four age 5, 9, 11 and 14, from Pembrokeshire

Blogs at http://www.evans-crittens.com/

“As soon as advent begins we love cwtching and watching Christmas films together. As well as our festive DVDs we even love the cheesy “made for TV” Christmas films. One of our all-time favourite films however is The Polar Express as it’s so magical and really gets us in the mood for Christmas and helps us find our Christmas spirit (“(it) lies in your heart”). “The bell still rings for me as it does for those who truly believe.”


Jack Frost

As recommended by Bread mum of one aged 1 from Cerdigion

Blogs at Queerlittlefamily.co.uk

We like all the Rankin Bass films like Jack Frost (1979) and A Year Without a Santa. The Rankin Bass films are really funny and sweet, and good for both my 15 month old son and my seven year old niece. Hogfather is good for older kids and us mummies. We’re big Terry Pratchett fans and this is a really good adaptation.


Stick Man

As recommended by Alina mum of three, aged 10, 6 and 3, from Barry

Blogs at Http://wemadethislife.com

“We watch Stick Man now every year since it came out. It’s only short so perfect for younger children and I love the little family coming back together for Christmas! It gets me every time – especially as there are three children.”



It’s A Wonderful Life

As recommended by Georgina, mum of two, age 3, and 3 months, from Caerphilly

Blogs at http://www.pixiedoes.com/

“One of the big Christmas films for me is It’s a Wonderful Life – it was made in 1946 and is about a man called George who wishes he had never been born. An angle comes to earth to show him all the lives he has impacted and how they would have been different if he had not been born. I’ve already watched it twice in the last couple weeks. I love it, it’s funny, gives a lovely message and is very Christmassy.”


The Nightmare Before Christmas

As recommended by Ayse, mum of one aged 3, from Caerphilly

Blogs at Www.Arepops.com

“I love The Nightmare Before Christmas – a lot of people watch it at Halloween – which I understand as it’s a bit spooky – but for me it’ll always remind me of the Christmas we went away, all sitting down my nan’s watching it. I haven’t tried my daughter with it yet but may do this year… if she’s not scared!”



Father Christmas

As recommended by Jo, mum of three age 7, 5 and 3, from Warwickshire

Blogs at http://cupoftoast.co.uk

“We love Raymond Briggs’ animated short film Father Christmas. It makes all of us chuckle as we imagine what Santa might be up to and where! They love watching him on his travels: diving into freezing water in Scotland; eating too much in France; having his reindeer parked in Las Vegas. They also love when he gets home again and picks up his pets and sees all the post.”


Mickey Mouse Once Upon A Christmas Time  Arthur Christmas

As recommended by Helen, mum of three age 10, 7 and 2, from Corntown in the Vale of Glamorgan

Blogs at Www.welshcakesandwellies.com

“There are so many great heart-warming and funny Christmas films it’s hard to choose a favourite. Mickey Mouse Once Upon a Christmas is lovely for little ones as there’s lots of short stories so they don’t have to watch it all in one go. We’ve watched it with all three of ours since the eldest was about two, so it’s been a tradition now for the last eight years. My boys also love Arthur Christmas. They find it really funny and even though it’s a cartoon it brings a tear to my eye at the end. I love the message that no child gets left out.”


Christmas Angel

As recommended by Sarah, mum of two age 3½ and 1, from Pontypridd

Blogs at www.thehernimanhouse.co.uk

“I absolutely love watching this and talking about giving to those in need at Christmas. I found it on the Christmas 24 channel years ago. It’s about a lonely woman who finds out her neighbour is secretly rich and doing good deeds for homeless shelters, children’s hospitals, families in need etc and they do it together. It’s such a lovely feel good film! We’re talking a lot with our eldest about giving to those in need this year.”


Look Who’s Talking Now

As recommended by Marilyn, mum of two age 12 and 10, from Perthshire Scotland

Blogs at https://softthistle.net

“It’s the run up to Christmas and the kids want a dog… They end up with two! Mum has been laid off work, Dad is working away and the dogs end up being what brings them all together again just in time for Christmas. It’s the one where the pets talk. Possibly not for little ears though as there are a couple swear words here and there. I’d recommend it for children age 8+. It’s been a firm favourite here for many years, and who doesn’t love a bit of John Travolta?”


Fred Claus

As recommended by Jennifer, mum of three age 8, 6 and 3, from Greater Manchester

Blogs at Www.mightymamabear.com

“We watch it every year and it never fails to make the kids giggle. It’s a different take on your usual Santa films with it focusing on his grumpy younger brother. And it has Vince Vaughn in it. What’s not to love?! I also love the idea that there’s no such thing as a naughty child. It addresses the notion that sometimes children are just having a tough time. It’s light hearted but a nice message that reminds us that life isn’t just black and white.”



As recommended by Nellie, mum of three age 13 16, and 19, from Wokingham

Blogs at www.nelliepompoms.co.uk

“It has a really good cast, is utterly bonkers, with a daft yet heart-warming plot, subtle messages and a beautiful soundtrack. My girls are now 13, 16 and 19 but we have watched it every year (sometimes more than once). It’s a real family sit down and watch ahhhhh film. I’ve also got the soundtrack and will happily sing along, even in a traffic jam!”


The Snowman and the Snowdog

As recommended by Sally, mum of two age 5 and 1, from Yorkshire
Blogs at http://www.hellolittlelovely.com/

“The Snowman and the Snowdog is basically the sequel to The Snowman (1982) a new little boy discovers the magic of the snowman and makes his own snowdog after his dog dies. The snowman is one of the first Christmas movies I remember watching as a small child so it always makes me a tad emotional watching The Snowdog with my own little ones and seeing the references to the original. It’s a really beautiful little movie for everyone.”


A Charlie Brown Christmas

As recommended by Pete dad of two from Kent

Blogs at  www.householdmoneysaving.com

“Who doesn’t like Snoopy and Woodstock? My eldest loves all things Peanuts. Charlie Brown directs a Christmas play and everybody takes the mick out of him for the tree he chooses. But there is some real festive spirit in the film.”


Shrek The Halls

As recommended by Kelly-Anne, mum of one age 3, from Norfolk

Blogs at http://mimiroseandme.com

“Shrek the Halls is a tradition for me and my daughter. We watch it on Christmas Eve whilst we are enjoying all the goodies and treats from our Christmas Eve basket. We like to have cuddles on the sofa in our new Christmas PJs with hot chocolates and watch it. My daughter gets so excited every time.”


Deck The Halls

As recommended by Emma, mum of two age 7 and 10, from Northampton

Blogs at Www.Lifeinthemumslane.co.uk

“I love Deck the Halls – partly because I’m obsessed with fairy lights & partly because it’s just good family fun. Steve (Matthew Broderick) meets new neighbour Danny (Danny DeVito). Danny wants to light up his house so it’s visible from space. There’s lots of comedy and one-upmanship. I think it’s quite an old one but I love it. It has good cast and no swearing so the whole family can watch.”


Are any of your favourites on your list? What else would you recommend? Do let me know in the comments below on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or by tweeting me on @cardiffmummy 

If you’re excited about the festive season then check out all my other Christmas posts here.


4 Comments to 21 of the best family Christmas films to watch with your children – as recommended by parents

  1. A great selection of Christmas films… I will admit I have begun the festive viewing in our household; you’ve got to start it early in order to enjoy all the greats. The Santa Clause, Home Alone, A Christmas Carol (the 2009 Disney animated one) and also The Polar Express are the go to ones.

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