During the holiday season, nothing is more relaxing than curling up on the couch with your family and enjoying a classic holiday film together.
Taking refuge from the cold and getting comfy with some hot cocoa is great, but what exactly will you watch? When you have family over for the holidays, it can be difficult to find a movie that will please you, the kids, and the grandparents so we’ve rounded up 10 great family holiday films that you can stream from home and enjoy together.
The Santa Clause (1994)
When Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) accidentally kills Santa, he is transported to the North Pole where he is told that he must take Santa’s place before the next Christmas arrives due to a legal technicality known as “the Santa clause”. This film is full of classic 90’s Tim Allen humor so if you enjoyed watching Home Improvement, you’ll enjoy this film. The Santa Clause and the 2 sequels that came after are all available to stream on The Google Play store this December.
Rotten Tomatoes gives this film a certified fresh rating of 75% and we have to agree. This is a solid, light-hearted Christmas film full of holiday spirit.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Jim Carrey plays the Grinch in this live-action adaptation of the beloved children’s tale by Dr. Seuss. Directed by Ron Howard, this film takes a 22-minute cartoon classic and transforms it into a feature-length film with stunning visuals. How the Grinch Stole Christmas has been a holiday classic for generations; every member of your family can enjoy this film together.
Rotten Tomatoes only gives this film a 53% rating, but we feel it deserves a rating of around 80%. This timeless Dr. Seuss classic is brought to life in an entirely unique way by Jim Carrey who delivers an exceptional performance as the Grinch. You can watch this film on Netflix this December.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Tim Burton’s animated classic is the story of Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of “Halloween Town”, plotting to kidnap Santa Claus and take over the role himself. Disney’s sophisticated stop-motion animation creates a breathtaking visual landscape never before seen in this medium. As with many Tim Burton films, the music of Danny Elfman truly shines creating a fun and mischievous tone.
Rotten Tomatoes gives this enchanting film a 94% rating, and we completely agree. This is a Christmas film unlike any other Christmas film and it is a joy for people of all ages. You can watch this film on Netflix this December.
Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special (1988)
If you were a fan of Pee-wee’s Playhouse as a child, here is your opportunity to introduce your own children to the weird and wacky shows of the 1980’s. While this isn’t technically a movie, it is a TV movie-style Christmas special where Pee-wee and his housemates celebrate Christmas with a host of special guests and friends that you’ll remember as being famous at the time, but you’ll probably have to explain who they are to your kids.
Rotten Tomatoes gives this special an 81% and, maybe it’s the nostalgia factor, but it’s more like 90% for us. This special is a fun, zany ride through the 80’s. You can watch this Christmas special, along with the rest of the Pee-wee’s Playhouse series and the movies, on Netflix.
When you think of Gremlins, you may not remember that it does, in fact, take place over the holidays and they are a central part of the movie. In this film, a father is looking for a special gift for his son and finds one at a store in Chinatown. The shopkeeper sells him the “mogwai” but sells it to him with the warning to never expose him to bright light, water, or to feed him after midnight. All of this happens and the result is a horde of gremlins that decide to tear up the town on Christmas Eve.
Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates star in this non-cliche Christmas film–and who doesn’t love the adorable little Gizmo? If you haven’t seen the film, you may want to see if it is suitable for the children in your life because there is some comedic horror to it.
Rotten Tomatoes gives this film an 84% rating and we’d lean more toward 90% because it is such a beloved classic. You can watch Gremlins on Netflix.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
In this Dickens classic, Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Michael Caine, gets a lesson in Christmas spirit from the Muppets. Bob Cratchit (Kermit the Frog) begs Scrooge for a day off for Christmas. Scrooge reluctantly agrees and goes home on Christmas Eve only to be visited by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. After revisiting his sorrowful past, hate-filled present, and doomed future, Scrooge turns over a new leaf and becomes the most generous and cheerful person in town.
Rotten Tomatoes gives The Muppet Christmas Carol a 69% rating, but we’d give it 75% because who doesn’t love the Muppets? This is a fun-filled movie that is available to stream on HBO GO.
Buddy the elf (played by Will Ferrell) was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa’s elves. Buddy decides to travel to New York as an adult, in full elf uniform, in search of his real father. The film follows Buddy as he forges a relationship with his cynical businessman father with increasingly chaotic results.
Rotten Tomatoes gives this film an 84% rating but we give it a 90% because it’s an almost perfect holiday film for the entire family. You can rent Elf on Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, and Amazon Video.
Home Alone (1990)
A young Macaulay Culkin plays 8-year-old, Kevin McCallister who is mistakenly left behind when his family goes on vacation for the holidays. When Kevin awakens to an empty house and assumes his wish to have no family has come true, he enjoys his new, parent-less lifestyle…but has to take things much more seriously when he realizes that two con men (Joe Pesci & Daniel Stern) plan to rob the McCallister residence and that he must protect his family home.
Rotten Tomatoes gives this film a 62% rating which we think is way off. We give this film a 90% as it is an excellent, classic holiday film for the whole family. Both Home Alone, and the sequel, Home Alone 2, are available to rent on Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, and Amazon Video.
A Christmas Story (1983)
Set in the 1950’s, this unique Christmas film is based on the humorous writings of author Jean Shepherd and is undeniably one of the must-watch holiday classics. This movie follows the adventures of young Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), who spends most of his time dodging a bully, listening to the Little Orphan Annie radio show, and dreaming of his ideal Christmas gift, a Red Ryder BB gun. Ralphie struggles to convince his parents that he is responsible enough for a BB gun and that he won’t “shoot his eye out” if he gets one.
Rotten Tomatoes gives this film a 89% rating, but our rating is 95%. You can rent A Christmas Story on Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, and Amazon Video. You can also catch this classic on TBS during their annual Christmas Eve marathon as well.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants to have a perfect family Christmas, so he pesters his wife, Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), and children, as he tries to make sure everything is just perfect, including the tree and house decorations. As with any ‘National Lampoon’ film, things go awry quickly in a comical fashion.
Rotten Tomatoes gives this film a 64% rating, but we give it a 70%. This movie is full of laughs and good cheer and packs the nostalgia factor for anyone who grew up loving the National Lampoon movies. You can rent National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, and Amazon Video.