I’ve had a strong affinity for Christmas flicks ever since I was a little girl. My brother and I never missed a year of the Muppet Family Christmas. I think we discovered some of the best Christmas movies for families in our early years and somehow, our VHS tapes were able to keep up with the wear and tear of annual movie nights.
While I still enjoy many of the same films from the eighties and nineties, my own family: my parents, my brother, my own husband and children, and my nieces and nephews have found a few favorites, as well.
I consider the following Christmas movies to be among the most family-friendly and wholesome of the season. These are a few of our family’s favorites:
1) The Nativity Story
This is an annual *must-watch* at our house, but we fast forward through a few frightening scenes. A few of our children sleep best if we stick to the happy storylines.Be prepared to fast forward.
2) Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown
3) The Star
4) A Muppet Christmas Carol
5) How The Grinch Stole Christmas
6) Miracle on 34th Street
7) The Homecoming
8) Mickey’s Christmas Carol
9) The Santa Clause
10) Christmas on the Banks of Plum Creek
11) The Preacher’s Wife
12) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
13) The Polar Express
14) Boz: A Wowie Bozowie Christmas
15) Meet Me in St. Louis
And finally, my own personal favorite…
16) Little Women
Fun Fact: In my high school and early college years, I was in local stage productions of five of these favorite films: Miracle on 34th Street, The Homecoming, Meet Me in St. Louis, Little Women, and A Christmas Carol. When I began dating my husband, he joked that I couldn’t listen to Christmas music without exclaiming, “I sang this song in a musical, once!” Almost two decades later, I still get rather sentimental about Judy Garland singing, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
In addition to the above titles, I love several traditional Christmas movies that may be a bit less child-friendly, depending on your own values and convictions. Like you, I enjoy some of the funny ones for Christmas movie nights with my husband, our siblings and their spouses, my adult cousins, and friends. I’m not necessarily recommending them as wholesome, family-friendly movies with the above list.To be completely transparent, my own children have seen the first two on this list. They have not seen the others, but my oldest son is probably ready for the third film.
2) Home Alone and Home Alone 2
3) A Christmas Story
In my personal (and professional) opinion, the following title is for a much more mature audience. This one is designated for my cousins.
4) The National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
I’m including the above list for the sake of keeping it real. In that same spirit, I should tell you about my very favorite retro Christmas specials. Did anyone else record these on VHS in the late 80s/early 90s and watch them year after year? I wore these tapes out. I may even still own them and watch them, friends.
I am bearing my soul to you at this point, dear readers.
1) Kenny Rogers: Keep Christmas with You (1993)
2) Dolly Parton: Christmas at Home in Pigeon Forge (1990)
3) Barbara Mandrell’s Christmas: A Family Reunion (1986)
4) Amy Grant: A Christmas to Remember (1999)
5) Kathie Lee: Home for Christmas (1995)
The above five titles explain so much about the person I have become as an adult and the way I imagine the perfect Christmas. Can we not just sit around the fire, holding cups of cocoa, singing Christmas carols with a few of the current top recording artists from Nashville? How is this not a reality? Sidenote: To the cousins who share Christmas with me, thank you for singing Christmas songs at our grandparents’ farm or Christmas caroling to the neighbors at Christmas Eve. Dolly Parton and Barbara Mandrell gave me a lot of elaborate ideas about the season. This could be an entire post in itself.
Readers, what are your favorite Christmas movies? Which do you share with your children? Do you have favorites from your own childhood? And please, please tell me if you also recorded the above TV specials on VHS and still watch them from time to time. I need to know this about my readers, I tell you.
Christmas is here, sweet friends!
From my nostalgic heart to yours,