Where to Find the Best Christmas Movies for Families


The largest category here––classics––is at the bottom and does not have explanations, since most people are familiar with the movies. And please add any of your favorites that I've missed in the comments below!

*Note: Please make sure to check times with your local listings, as some time zones may air shows an hour earlier or later. I've done my best to list all airtimes, but this is not an exhaustive list.

Personal Picks:
Perks of the author: because I'm the one compiling this, I get to give priority to my favorites. :)


Elf: It makes me laugh. And Buddy's affinity for syrup reminds me of my son. Where you can find it: STARZ appears to be having an Elf marathon starting 12:00 p.m. on Dec. 24 and ending 10:15 a.m. on Dec. 25.


George C. Scott's Christmas Carol (1984 version): This is my all-time favorite Christmas movie. It's the movie my family has watched every Christmas Eve since my earliest memory. George C. Scott, with his gravely voice, is Scrooge, in my mind, and the eternal message of Dickens' Christmas classic is perfectly communicated in his change from curmudgeon to Christ-like friend. If you haven't seen it, I can't recommend it enough. (Ghost scenes may be scary for children under 8 or so.) Where you can find it: YouTube--Full movie and a better quality version in parts


The Nativity (LDS Church Film): My family never actually knew what this movie was called when I was growing up. It's just under six minutes and doesn't contain any discernible dialogue, but it packs a powerful punch with its faithful depiction of what it would have been like when the Savior was born. Where you can find it: YouTube


The Muppet Christmas Carol: I really like A Christmas Carol, obviously. This one is a fun version, complete with humor and music from those wonderful Muppets. It still makes me laugh as an adult. Where you can find it: ABCFAM Dec, 23 (8 p.m.), Dec. 24 (3 p.m.), Dec. 25 (11 a.m.)

New LDS Favorites:
These newer movies are not available on TV or online yet, but their stories are priceless and they give wonderful testimonies of the true meaning of Christmas. Check out the trailers below.

Christmas for a Dollar
A tender-hearted story of one family at Christmas during the Great Depression and their struggle to find the Christmas spirit amid doctor's bills for one child's polio and in the wake of the mother's death. Learn more.

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Christmas for a Dollar - Trailer HD

Christmas Oranges
Retells the classic story of an orphan at Christmastime, with Emmy-nominated actor Edward Herrmann. It's sweet and endearing and pays homage to the 1995 classic A Little Princess. Learn more.

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Christmas Oranges Movie Trailer

Silent Night
This tells the inspiring story behind Franz Gruber and Joseph Mohr's beautiful Christmas carol. Filmed quite stunningly on location in Austria. Learn more.

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Silent Night Movie.mov

Christ-centered Favorites:
Joy to the World: Produced by the Church. This is a wonderful, short film about the Nativity set to music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Where you can find it: Not free online yet, but only $1.50 through Distribution Services

Mr. Krueger's Christmas: An LDS classic that's brief enough for even a Family Home Evening activity. Where you can find it: YouTube

The Nativity Story: A big-budget Hollywood film that tells a fairly faithful version of the Biblical account.  Where you can find it: in Spanish on Telemundo Dec. 24 (9 p.m.) and 25 (3 p.m.)

Family Classics:

A Charlie Brown Christmas: ABC Dec. 19 (8 p.m.)

A Christmas Carol (1938): TCM Dec. 24 (1:15 p.m.)

A Christmas Carol (1999): TNT Dec. 20 (9 p.m.)

A Christmas Story: TBS Dec. 24 (8 p.m.), Dec. 25 (all-day marathon)

Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales: Streaming on Netflix

Christmas Carol: The Movie (animated version): Streaming on Netflix

Disney's A Christmas Carol (Robert Zemekis film): ABCFAM Dec. 23 (3 p.m.)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000): ABCFAM Dec. 24 (8:30 p.m.)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated): ABCFAM Dec. 19 (8:30 p.m.), Dec. 20 (6:30 p.m.), Dec. 22 (7 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.), Dec. 24 (8 p.m.)

It's a Wonderful Life: NBC Dec. 24 (8 p.m.)

Life and Adventures of Santa Claus: ABCFAM Dec. 21 (9 a.m.)

Mickey's Christmas Carol: ABCFAM Dec. 18 (7:30 p.m.)

Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse: Streaming on Netflix

Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas: Streaming on Netflix

Nutcracker: The Motion Picture: Streaming on Netflix

Polar Express: Streaming on Netflix; ABCFAM Dec. 23 (10 p.m.), Dec. 24 (1 p.m.)

Prancer: ABCFAM Dec. 23 (10 p.m.), Dec. 24 (1 p.m.)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys: ABCFAM Dec. 19 (7 p.m.), Dec. 20 (4 p.m.)

Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town: ABCFAM Dec. 23 (6 p.m.), Dec. 25 (8:30 a.m.)

Scrooge: TCM Dec. 19 (8 p.m.), Dec. 23 (6 p.m.)

The Santa Clause: ABCFAM Dec. 21 (6 p.m.), Dec. 22 (1 p.m.), Dec. 24 (5 p.m.), Dec. 25 (3 p.m.)

The Santa Clause 2: ABCFAM Dec. 21 (8 p.m.), Dec. 22 (3 p.m.), Dec. 24 (7 p.m.), Dec. 25 (5 p.m.)

The Santa Clause 3: ABCFAM Dec. 21 (10 p.m.), Dec. 22 (5 p.m.), Dec. 24 (9 p.m.), Dec. 25 (7 p.m.)

The Search for Santa Paws: Streaming on Netflix

White Christmas: Streaming on Netflix

For more movies and broadcast times, visit the WashFM Holiday TV Guide for 2013

And for more Christ-centered Christmas Movies, visit Mormon Movie Guy's list

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