Holiday Movies the Whole Family Can Enjoy

By Tracey Dowdy

If the prospect of watching Frozen for the eleventeenth time makes you want to shed bitter tears and curse Disney, these holiday movies are a welcome break and may end up being new family favorites.

I’m pretty sure an angel gets its wings every time you watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. When he and the rest of the Peanuts characters participate in Lucy’s Christmas pageant, Charlie chooses a bare, pitiful tree to decorate and ultimately finds the true meaning of Christmas. Kids will love the humor, adults will love the message; and as well as being a nostalgic look at Christmas, it’s a great opportunity to talk to your kids about gratitude and being thankful for what’s really important at a time of year that can be very challenging for some families. (Ages 3+)

Yes, Virginia is based on the real life story of a New York Times editorial from 1897. Little Virginia’s belief in Santa is shaken when a playground bully tells her she’s “infantile” for believing. She and her friend Ollie set out to find the truth and ask everyone from her dad to a sidewalk Santa. Unsatisfied with the responses, she turns to none other than The New York Times, the most reliable source she knows. The paper’s response is sweet and may make your little ones think twice before they give up believing. (Ages 4+)

The same animation studio that brought Wallace and Grommit and Chicken Run to life also created Arthur Christmas, so you know there’s plenty of humor that will appeal to adults as well as children. The story focuses on Santa’s son Arthur and his Grandsanta and their mission to bring a present to a little girl before she wakes up on Christmas morning. It also answers that age-old question, “How does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?” It’s silly, sweet, and a lot of fun. (Ages 4+)

The Muppet Christmas Carol is a perfect introduction to the Dickens’ classic for your kids. The cast consists of all the familiar Muppets, so kids will be engaged immediately, plus the story is narrated by Gonzo the Great and Rizzo the Rat. Rizzo acts as a stand in for your children and often says what they’re thinking, especially at times when the story gets dark. When the Ghost of Christmas Future appears, Rizzo says, “This is too scary. I don’t think I want to see any more,” and he and Gonzo leave until the next scene. Cues like this are scattered throughout the movie and are perfect if your kids are sensitive to the elements that might frighten them. (Ages 5+)

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.


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