Best Christmas Movies to Distract Your Kids

We have officially entered the busiest time of year for most of us! No matter what or how we celebrate, the holidays are a time for hosting parties, baking, shopping the sales, sprucing up the house, and maybe even a visit from our in-laws. And short of hiring a babysitter to entertain the kids, how are we supposed to get all that work done?

On those days when we just have to scrub those baseboards, or find that last-minute gift online, it can really help to have the kids quiet and peaceful for an hour or two. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best Christmas movies to distract your kids. We have some traditional favorites, and some less famous suggestions as well. Let the kids watch something wholesome, while you google for gifts.

Most of these movies are available on Amazon Prime. We’ve provided links. Or you can rent the DVD from your local library, or even consider buying for those kids who like to watch a movie over, and over, and over. That’s most kids, right?

Best G-Rated Christmas Movies

The Muppet Christmas Carol

This is a kid-friendly version of the classic Charles Dickens tale is a good introduction for the younger crowd. Ebenezer Scrooge is an elderly miser who is transformed into a kinder, more generous man through visits from the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come. The Muppets bring a humor and zaniness that make the story accessible to young children. And there are some good lessons about generosity and kindness.

While rated G, the ghosts can be a bit scary for very young children – so you can fast forward through those parts. Or snuggle up with your kids to provide added security and explanation where needed.

Available to rent on Amazon Prime

The Polar Express

This story of a boy who travels on a magical train to the North Pole is loved by many, loathed by others. Some appreciate the thrills and emotions of the boy’s adventure, and the emphasis on friendship and bravery. Others dislike that the story introduces the idea Santa may not be real. Some consider it a little too dark and scary for the littlest viewers. Our advice is to read some reviews and make a judgment based on the age and maturity of your kids.

Rent or buy on Amazon Prime

Blizzard

Blizzard is the story of a young girl named Katie, whose family has to move, leaving her sad and lonely. A baby reindeer named Blizzard, with special powers,  comes from the North Pole to help Katie understand the true meaning of friendship. This under-appreciated movie is entertaining for children and the whole family.

Free on Amazon Prime

Frosty the Snowman

This is the classic tale of children deciding to send Frosty back to the North Pole to prevent him from melting. Madcap adventures lead to the children to learn that Frosty will melt, but he’ll always return next winter. Even the littlest ones should enjoy this entertaining cartoon.

Rent on Amazon Prime

A Charlie Brown Christmas (not rated)

So many of us have grown up watching the 1965 Charlie Brown Christmas classic! No Christmas movie list would be complete without this heartwarming tale of a disillusioned Charlie Brown and the Christmas pageant he tries to direct. The musical score by Vince Guaraldi adds depth and humor to the story.

Purchase DVD or buy on Amazon Prime

Santa Buddies

This movie is part of the Air Bud puppy franchise. The bottom line: Puppies save Christmas. It will keep the little ones entertained with puppy antics. It’s a cheerful and worry-free movie for the youngest set.

Rent or buy on Amazon Prime

Best PG-Rated Christmas Movies

The Grinch

This 2000 movie version of the Dr. Seuss tale is scarier than the cartoon version. Children over 8 or so will most likely delight in the crazy antics of Jim Carrey as the Grinch, and his sidekick dog, Max. Ultimately heartwarming, the Grinch movie is fun for the entire family.

Available on Netflix and for rent on Amazon Prime

Elf

Elf is another movie that is fun for kids as well as grown-ups. This hilarious fish-out-of-water tale is family-friendly and heartwarming. This is the story of Buddy, a human raised by elves who goes to New York City in search of his birth father. The movie’s overall message is one of honesty and acceptance. Elf will definitely keep the kids entertained for an hour and a half.

Rent or buy on Amazon Prime

Home Alone

Love it or hate it, the kids love this one! Some might want to limit this movie to tweens or even young teens and up due to the central theme of parents (inadvertently) leaving a child at home alone. There is also some name-calling and quite a bit of slap-stick humor. Nevertheless, this one is a favorite of kids. You might want to put aside the holiday prep and watch it with your younger kids, though.

Rent or buy on Amazon Prime

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas

This stop-action fantasy film is family-friendly and beloved by many. In it, Jack Skellington, the King of Halloween, stumbles through a portal to Christmas Town. Tired of Halloween, Jack decides to celebrate Christmas. There is singing, skeletons, nasty toys, and a creepy villain. Some younger children may be scared by some of the antics of these characters. Hugely popular, The Nightmare Before Christmas is magical and entertaining for most tweens and older kids.

Rent or buy on Amazon Prime

Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the Guardians tells the story of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman banding together with Jack Frost to fight evil. This evil is in the form of a bad guy named Pitch Black, who turns children’s dreams into nightmares. All but the youngest children (under 7 or so) will find this adventure movie exciting and entertaining.

Rent or buy on Amazon Prime

Abominable

This 2019 movie is a heart-warming computer-animated adventure tale about Yi, an introverted Shanghai teen. Yi discovers a yeti on the roof of her apartment building and decides to bring him home to Mount Everest. Some elements may be scary for the youngest kids, but there are many positive messages about teamwork, honor, family, friendship, and the environment.

Rent or buy on Amazon Prime

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

Let us know your favorites – we’ll publish the names of any that weren’t on our list. After all, at this time of year, we parents can use all the help we can find!

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