20 best holiday movies for kids

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20 best Christmas movies to watch with kids and teens - have festive family fun this Christmas

Is there anything better than snuggling up together as a family to watch a Christmas movie (or two)?

Make steaming mugs of hot chocolate, fill bowls with popcorn, turn on the tree lights and sit back to enjoy a festive film.

Here’s our pick of the best holiday movies for kids. Which one is your favourite?

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For little kids (and big kids who will still love them anyway)

All U or PG rated and suitable for the very young. Spread a little Christmas magic with these fabulous festive films.

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Arthur Christmas (PG)

When things go wrong at Santa HQ, Arthur (Santa’s youngest son) makes it his mission to make sure a little girl gets her Christmas gift on time.

An utterly charming, heartwarming animated film that you and your family will never get tired of watching.

Arthur Christmas on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/2nAXnKO

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Polar Express (U)

A magical and epic animated Christmas adventure.

One boy sees a mysterious train bound for the North Pole stop outside his window and is invited aboard by its conductor. He steps on board the Polar Express to join several other children as they embark on a journey to visit Santa Claus preparing for Christmas.

Polar Express on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/32a1cG1

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The Muppet Christmas Carol (U)

Who doesn’t love the Muppets? And they don’t disappoint in their Christmas movie, which is a unique retelling of Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’.

It’s a great way of introducing your kids to a classic festive tale, but with all the joy of the muppets to make it that much more fun.

The Muppet Christmas Carol on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/317yXGK

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The Snowman (U)

It’s a short animated film that lasts only half an hour and has no words spoken – and yet what a magical half an hour it is.

You probably curled up on the sofa to watch it as a child yourself, when it came on TV every Christmas Eve. And now you want your own children to experience the magic too.

Completely charming and with music that makes your heart swell. The Snowman is a Christmas classic that will never lose its appeal.

The Snowman on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/2OJV1o7

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Father Christmas (Raymond Briggs) (U)

It’s not as famous as The Snowman but Father Christmas is just as much of a Christmas classic that your kids will adore.

Raymond Brigg’s Father Christmas is charming and hilarious. Your kids will love watching what Santa gets up to over the year, leading up to his big Christmas day.

And they’ll giggle at Father Christmas’ singing ‘Another bloomin’ Christmas’.

Snowman and Father Christmas bundle DVD on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2OHWDi8

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The Search for Santa Paws (U)

If you’re kids love dogs then this sweet (and quite silly) Christmas film will delight them.

There are a few (slightly) sad bits and tense bits though, so it’s not one for more sensitive kids.

Santa Paws on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/314lu2g

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Miracle on 34th Street (U)

If there’s ever a time to believe that miracles really do exist then this is it. And this classic Christmas film makes you want to believe all over again – whatever your age. 

Miracle on 34th Street on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/2nDx6eU

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A Charlie Brown Christmas (U)

Charlie Brown finds out the true meaning of Christmas in this charming animation.

Of course, his trusted friend Snoopy is by his side to join in his adventure.

A Charlie Brown Christmas on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/2oqYugR

For bigger kids

There are some great PG rated films that are perfect for bigger kids to enjoy this festive season.

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Elf (PG)

Possibly one of the funniest and most loved Christmas movies of all time.

Little kids will giggle at Elf’s funny antics. Bigger kids and adults will crease up and learn every catchphrase.

Every member of the family will feel happier and more festive watching the film’s final scene.

Elf on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/2OIOf1N

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas (PG)

Another family favourite. Jim Carrey voices The Grinch who hates Christmas and wants to destroy it for all the residents of Whoville.

It’s an exciting mad-cap adventure that little kids (and big kids) will love.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/2MxSs64

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Shrek the Halls (PG)

Everyone’s favourite big green ogre (Shrek) is back in this Christmas special. And all your favourite characters join him too in this fun festive adventure.

It’s as funny and silly as the other Shrek films. There are a few slightly scary bits though so best for kids aged 6 and upwards.

Shrek the Halls on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/35xOXoX

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Home Alone (PG)

There’s a remake on the cards but it can never eclipse this classic film, where a family forget their kid at home when they leave for Christmas holidays. 

He’s left at home alone. Your kids will laugh and gasp at the lengths he goes to to defend his family home against inept burglars.

Home Alone on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/32bFukO

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Nativity (PG)

Sparkle and Shine…It’s the ultimate feel good family festive film. It will make you smile from ear to ear.

But have hankies at the ready – we can’t watch it without sobbing big heartfelt snottery tears too.

Nativity on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/33lbweg

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A Christmas Carol (PG)

An animated version of Dickens’ classic novel with Jim Carrey narrating Scrooge.

There are some scary bits with the ghosts included, so it’s definitely one for older kids.

Disney’s A Christmas Carol on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/314puzO

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Jingle all the way (PG)

An older film but kids will still love this action packed mad-cap adventure as Arnold Schwarzannger fights to get his son a Turbo Man action figure to open on Christmas day.

It has a lovely message at the end where the dad learns the real meaning of Christmas.

Jingle All The Way on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/35qmMbe

For tweens and teens

Films rated 12a or above that will get older children in the festive spirit.

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Gremlins (12a)

Gremlins are super cute but when they turn they are a bit scary for little ones. Which is why this one is for older kids.

It’s a classic and everyone who watches will fall in love with Gizmo.

Gremlins on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/2IJsqeS

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Love Actually (15)

This film is a firm favourite for families across the land, who watch it again and again each December.

It’s heartwarming and heartbreaking, in equal measures. It’s an unforgettable festive film for families. But, be warned, there are a couple of rudey bits so it really is one for older children.

Love Actually on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/329w8WF

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The Holiday (12a)

It’s a sometimes overlooked rom com, but one that is the perfect watch for the festive period. It’s a wonderfully sweet, romantic festive film that pulls at your heart strings and makes you smile.

The Holiday on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/33mLkA4

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Die Hard (15)

A controversial addition to our Christmas list. As you don’t expect action packed movies to make it as a much-watch festive film.

But it’s set at Christmas time and adds a little adrenaline and adventure to the Christmas movie bucket list.

Die Hard on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/35us3OY

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It’s a Wonderful Life (PG)

It’s black and white. It’s old. But it almost always tops the lists of the best ever Christmas films of all time. And quite rightly so.

It’s the ultimate classic festive film. If you’re not weeping at the end – are you even human? It’s a PG rating so suitable for all ages, but it might not hold the interest of tiny tots and little kids.

But it’s one that older kids and adults will come back to again and again.  

As well as making you cry buckets this film restores your faith in humanity. You really can’t help but end it without thinking that – it is indeed – a most wonderful life.

It’s a Wonderful Life on Amazon Prime video: https://amzn.to/33maKOn

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Last Christmas

We can’t leave this list without predicting that Last Christmas, which airs in 2019, will become a much loved and classic festive film.

Written by Emma Thompson and starring Emilia Clark and Henry Golding this new Christmas movie features the music of George Michael. It looks set to be a festive film to remember.