10 Must-See Family Holiday Movies

family holiday movies

Holiday movies abound, but here are 10 family holiday movies that everyone in your house can enjoy!

It’s a Wonderful Life

The king of Christmas movies, Frank Capra’s poignant story stars Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, a frustrated businessman with big ambitions and a big heart who defers his dream of leaving small-town Bedford Falls to see the world. When events take a turn for the worse, George considers suicide but his guardian angel Clarence steps in to show him how bleak life would be without him and all of his good deeds.

The Santa Clause

Scott Calvin (Tim Allen), a divorced toy company executive, is upset when he finds that his ex wife and her new husband have told their son that Santa isn’t real. The fun starts when Santa takes a fatal fall off Scott’s roof and Scott takes over his rounds. Scott thinks it’s only a one night job, but finds out that he is subject to the Santa Clause and must become the new Santa, with belly, beard and suit—all of which creates amusing chaos in his regular life.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

In this animated film, restless ghoul Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween, discovers Christmas Town and becomes so enchanted with the holiday that he abducts Santa and delivers presents himself—spooky gifts for every girl and boy, whether they want them or not. This shrewd combo of Halloween and Christmas is an out of the ordinary delight, complete with numerous musical numbers.

The Polar Express

Chris Van Allsburg’s charming picture book about a train headed for Santa’s workshop comes to life in this animated movie. Tom Hanks does voice overs for multiple roles in this memorable tale about the wonder of Christmas as seen through a young boy’s eyes.

Home Alone

Accidentally left at home when his family heads out for a Christmas trip to Paris, Macaulay Culkin holds down the fort against bumbling burglars. The laughs happen again and again as imaginative (and adorable) Culkin invents Rube Goldberg booby traps while expressing his fear in Edvard Munch inspired faces. But there are warm moments as well, making this more than just a simple holiday comedy.


In this delightful comedy, Buddy (Will Ferrell) plays a human raised among elves who journeys to New York City to find his biological father and live with his own kind after discovering that he is not actually a vastly over-sized elf. Buddy’s naivete, his silliness in exploring human culture and his wonder at enjoying the Christmas season in New York will have the whole family smiling.

Miracle on 34th St

In this heartwarming, classic story, Macy’s hires kind Kris Kringle to be its department store St. Nick. His stellar commitment to the job and his insistence that he is the real deal has all the kids in awe and sets off a media firestorm that ends up in a court of law. Kris, meanwhile, sets his sights on convincing six-year-old Susan and her mother that there really is a Santa Claus. And, yes, miracles do happen in the end.

Scrooge “A Christmas Carol”

Bah humbug! Ebenezer Scrooge is a grouchy miser who doesn’t believe in Christmas or anything else fun for that matter. In contrast, his overworked and underpaid employee, Bob Cratchit, makes the most of Christmas for his impoverished family, including his cripple son Tiny Tim. But things take a turn as Scrooge endures various visions of Christmases Past, Present and Future during one long night of soul searching.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Jim Henson’s lovable menagerie takes on Charles Dickens’ timeless tale, casting Michael Caine as the crotchety Ebenezer Scrooge amid the slapstick charm of the puppets. Kermit stars as Bob Cratchit, his nephew Robin plays Tiny Tim and Miss Piggy plays his wife. Musical numbers abound. God bless them, everyone!

Mixed Nuts

An all-star cast of comedians (including Steve Martin, Madelehn Kahn, and Adam Sandler) makes this holiday movie both side-splittingly funny and warm. Combine a suicide prevention line that is threatened with closure, a serial killer on the loose, romance, friendship, and a recurring mishap with roller bladders carrying a Christmas tree and you certainly have a lovable, and very nutty, night.

 Photo Credit:  istockphoto.com

Which is your favorite family holiday movie?