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7 best kids Christmas movies ever, ranked

Christmas is a wonderful time for people of all ages, but let’s face it, kids bring an entirely new level of joy to the occasion. It’s in children that the magic of the holiday is most alive, so if you’re looking for ways to get into the holiday season, there’s often nothing better than finding a great kids Christmas movie to enjoy.

Some of these movies may also be some of the funniest Christmas movies, but what these movies really do well is capture the spirit of a holiday that kids around the world love to celebrate.

7. The Polar Express (2004)

The Polar Express (2004) Official Trailer - Tom Hanks, Robert Zemeckis Movie HD

Although the motion-capture animation hasn’t held up perfectly, The Polar Express‘s story of a young boy who goes on a journey of self-discovery remains just as magical as it did in 2004. Ultimately, The Polar Express is a movie about what it means to believe in something greater than yourself.

If you’re someone who can feel the magic of Christmas fading, or you see that in your kids, The Polar Express may be just what you need to revitalize your belief in the magic that comes with the holiday.

6. Klaus (2019)

Klaus | Official Trailer | Netflix

An unlikely Christmas tale that features some incredible animation, Netflix‘s Klaus follows a postman who discovers a reclusive toymaker named Klaus in a small village in the North. Together, the two of them find ways to bring joy to their community through the toys the man can build.

In reworking the original mythos around Santa Claus, Klaus finds fresh ways to get at the spirit of joy and giving that is supposed to come with the holiday season and manages to feel like something completely new as a result.

5. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Official Trailer #1 - Animated Movie

If you’ve got a kid who is fairly nightmare-resistant and into spooky-adjacent movies, then The Nightmare Before Christmas might be right up their alley.

The debate about whether this movie is a Halloween or Christmas movie will rage forever (that’s because it’s both), but the story of Jack Skellington’s discovery of Christmas and his attempt to run it himself has endured for 30 years for a reason. The movie features vibrant, astounding stop-motion animation and several classic songs to boot.

4. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

A Charlie Brown Christmas - Clip

Perhaps the craziest thing about A Charlie Brown Christmas is that it was released more than 50 years ago, and its message has only gotten more true in the decades since. The movie, which features some delightful animation, is surprisingly adult in its themes. It follows Charlie Brown as he deals with depression over Christmas’s increasing commercialization.

As his friends begin to pick on him for being such a downer, Charlie ultimately discovers that there are still ways to be less cynical about his favorite holiday. Christmas may have gotten even more commercial in the years since, but Charlie Brown is still here to remind us what matters.

3. Home Alone (1990)

Home Alone (1990) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

After Kevin McCallister is inadvertently left home alone for Christmas, Home Alone follows Kevin as he initially revels in his time alone and eventually must ward off a pair of bandits who want to rob his home.

While Home Alone is mostly a wacky comedy and is sure to keep your kids engaged on that level, it’s also surprisingly thoughtful about the holiday season, and about recognizing that your neighbors might not be as scary as they seem. Home Alone is an urging not to judge one another, and it’s one worth returning to every holiday season.

2. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) Original Trailer

A Christmas Carol is a tale as old as time, but it’s never been told in a more kid-friendly, accessible way than in A Muppet Christmas Carol. The story’s core themes, which are about learning to love those around you and care less for your personal possessions, are great lessons to instill early in a child’s life.

Michael Caine delivers a genuinely committed performance in the central role, too, and he’s surrounded by some of the best puppeteering your kid is ever likely to see.

1. A Christmas Story (1983)

A Christmas Story (1983) Official Trailer #1 - Family Comedy

Telling the story of one kid’s quest for a Red Rider Bee Bee Gun from the perspective of that kid, A Christmas Story has become a holiday classic for a reason.

The movie’s focus on the perspective of a child, and its reliance on narration for some genuinely great jokes, make this a perfect movie for both kids and parents to enjoy. Every kid can relate to wanting something for Christmas that their parents refuse to give them, and every parent can relate to raising their children amidst the mayhem of the holiday season.

Editors' Recommendations

Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance writer based in upstate New York focused on movies and TV.
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