family sitting together with a red bowl of popcorn, watching a holiday Christmas movieMy husband and I grew up with different Christmas traditions, but we’ve combined them to get the best of both worlds — we watch “The Santa Clause” on Christmas Eve and “A Muppet Christmas Carol” on Christmas Day while we open presents. There are so many streaming services with family-friendly holiday movies and specials, making it so easy to spend this festive season revisiting the tried-and-true classic holiday movies!

“Home Alone” (plus the many sequels!)

I recently saw a meme that said that Macaulay Culkin is now older than Catherine O’Hara was when she played his mother in the first movie! We love these movies all year round — and finding “traps” around our house for bad guys never gets old!


“Elf” is so fun for adults and kids. Kids love the oversized curly-haired elf who teaches others about the true meaning of Christmas. And parents just plain love Will Ferrell. It’s a good one to watch while you all make paper snowflakes or have an indoor snowball fight with balls of crumpled paper. And afterward, just see if you can get “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” out of your head.

“Babes in Toyland”

This throwback stars Keanu Reeves, Drew Barrymore, and Mr. Miyagi. Not only does Keanu sing, he’ll teach the whole family how to spell Cincinnati!

“The Santa Clause”

Technically, there are three in this series, but my personal opinion is that the first two are better than the third. I can’t take the third off the list, though, because Martin Short as an evil Jack Frost is something you can’t miss!

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

All three versions of this timeless Dr. Seuss tale make the list for my family. The original is a classic, but the remakes are both fun interpretations. And you can’t go wrong with the song “Where Are You Christmas?” on your holiday playlist.

“Frosty the Snowman”

This 1969 animated tale hasn’t really been rebooted, and I hope it stays that way. In this cute vintage film, Frosty gets surprisingly sad when the melting begins. Rising temperatures aside, it’s still a great one to thumpety-thump-thump along with. My suggestion for a post-movie activity? You guessed it: Get outside and make some snowmen. No snow? Use cotton balls or marshmallows to create your Frosty indoors instead.

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”

This claymation special took 18 months to make in Japan according to and was originally made for a department store. This holiday classic is worth watching year after year!

“A Muppet Christmas Carol”

There are many versions of “A Christmas Carol,” but this one is my favorite. Kermit as Bob Cratchet and Gonzo as Charles Dickens? It’s joy on the screen. The heart of the story remains true to the original 1843 Charles Dickens novel, with a quaint Victorian set and costumes.

“The Polar Express”

While this flick pales in comparison to the original Chris Van Allsburg book (and could be seriously edited down), it’s still worth a viewing each holiday season. The beautiful animation alone places it on this holiday movies list. Plus, who doesn’t like Tom Hanks? So read the book, and then watch the movie while setting up your own living-room train track to the North Pole. Or better yet, visit the Museum of Science or one of the other local 4D theaters to feel the polar wind rush through your hair on your way to meet Santa.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas”

The anti-consumerism messages might be lost on the youngest audience members, but they’ll certainly resonate with weary grown-up shoppers. And Charlie Brown’s underdog persona is one that all ages can relate to. Not to mention his actual dog, Snoopy. After your home viewing, take a cue from Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, and the rest of the gang, and go ice skating at Frog Pond or one of the other local rinks we love.

“White Christmas”

There’s singing, there’s dancing, there’s Christmas, and there’s romance! If your family enjoys classic musicals, this sentimental 1954 flick will be a hit.

“The Nutcracker Prince”

I owned this one on VHS! Anne of Greene Gables herself, Megan Follows, voices Clara. And her Nutcracker Prince? None other than Jack Bower, aka Kiefer Sutherland.

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

In a scenario when anything that could go wrong will go wrong, you won’t carve your holiday meal or count your Christmas lights without thinking about Clark Griswold and the holiday movie everyone loves to quote.

Jessie Keppeler contributed to this post.
Courtney Medlin
Courtney was raised a Navy brat, growing up in Washington, South Carolina, and Virginia before her family put their roots down in Florida. She studied at Loyola University New Orleans earning her degree in communications PR with a minor in English, and she earned her master's in marketing from SNHU. She moved to the Boston area in 2008, where she met and married her partner-in-crime, John. Mother of Jackson, 5, and stepmom to two 16-year-olds (boy and girl) and dog mom to Riley. Courtney is raising her family with a love of the outdoors, scary movies, and lots of laughs. Courtney works corporate communications/marketing/pr and lives on the South Shore. She has a passion for cooking and traveling. She volunteers her time as a Gold Award advisor for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts and serves on the planning gala committee for South Shore Health. She loves days that start with a latte and end with champagne.