There’s a fine balance when it comes to holiday movies. You want to find something that entertains all ages but doesn’t instill terror in your younger viewers (I’m looking at you, Abominable Snowmonster of the North, Bumble!).
So I’ve gone through and found family-friendly movies you can watch together that won’t scare kids. Some of them will go over the heads of younger viewers, but all of these can even be on in the background while they’re toddling around if you’re trying to please a broader audience.
I've also linked each movie to Commonsense Media. This is a fantastic resource for parents and has the most recent streaming sources.
Pooh and his lovable friends celebrate Christmas and the New Year in a delightful tale about spending special moments with those you care about most. Whether it’s Pooh’s charm or good ole nostalgia, this one will appeal to most ages. Age 3+
Grover is bringing the latkes and all is well until Anneliese gets caught in a game of tag with a chicken and loses her special menorah. Can her friends find the missing menorah in time to celebrate Chanukah? Age 3+
Mickey, Minnie, and their famous friends Goofy, Donald, Daisy, and Pluto gather to reminisce about love, magic, and surprises in three wonder-filled stories of Christmas past. Age 3+
When Gonzo forgets to mail three letters to Santa, he convinces Kermit and the gang to help him deliver the notes to the North Pole. Along the way, they discover that Christmas is the time to be with those you care about most, as they dash home to make a friend's Christmas wish come true. The Muppets are always a good time! Age 4+
A musical event for the holidays, featuring star-studded performances and animated on-screen lyrics. Singalongs are often a safe bet when you’re trying to entertain a wide audience. Age 4+
The previously untold origins of Olaf follows his first steps as he comes to life and searches for his identity in the snowy mountains outside Arendelle. While this isn’t necessarily holiday it is winter and appeals to the Frozen fans who don’t want to watch Frozen AGAIN. Age 5+
This one is a bit of a stretch, but evil cats destroy Fievel's village on Hanukkah, so I'm including it. This is the heartwarming tale of an immigrant mouse with plenty of songs and showcases an important part of history. The scary scenes include a village burning, cat chasing and a near drowning at sea (this is a big one), so use your discretion if your audience can handle this classic movie. Age 5+
This is one of the TV specials that the Jim Henson Company made before The Muppet Show. As Christmas approaches Frogtown Hollow, Emmet Otter and his Ma can only dream of buying each othergifts with the little money they make Ma doing laundry and Emmet doing odd jobs! So, when a Christmas Eve talent contest is announced, Emmet joins a jug band and Ma decides to sing a song. But Emmet will have to put a hole in Ma's washtub to make a bass! And Ma will have to hock Emmet's tool chest to buy herself a costume! Should Emmet and Ma risk all they have to make each other's dreams come true? Age 5+
A heart-warming tale about a young boy and his loveable calf Annabelle and their extraordinary adventures leading up to Christmas. It's narrated by Randy Travis so you know it will be a calm ride. Age 5+
Santa's youngest son Arthur embarks on a magical adventure to deliver the final gift to a child to save Christmas. There is one part where an angry homeowner is wielding a gun, but generally speaking, most kids should be fine with the movie. Age 6+
Santa's daughter must take over the family business when her father retires and her brother, who is supposed to inherit the Santa role, gets cold feet. It’s a fun movie that will appeal to a broad audience without anything traumatic. Age 6+
I had a hard time finding a movie featuring Kwanzaa, but this Rugrats episode does a nice job of explaining the celebration when Aunt T. visits the Carmichaels and tells Susie the holiday is a time to honor the legacy of our great people. Age 6+
This one might not be for little, little kids but it’s a family-friendly, non-holiday-specific special where key Star Wars characters interact. Kids (big and small) who are fans of Lego and Star Wars should appreciate this one. Age 6+
One of Santa's elves, Buddy, travels to New York in full elf uniform in search of his real father. It’s a sweet, funny movie that appeals to a lot of people. There is some mild swearing like “pissed," "hell," and "damn," so keep that in mind if you’re catering to a very sensitive audience, but it’s a cotton ball eating good time. Age 7+
After a disastrous celebration, 12-year-old Rowena makes a wish and unexpectedly finds herself reliving Christmas Day over and over again. If you’re a fan of Groundhog Day, Parent Trap, Scrooge, etc., this one might be a good fit. Age 8+
What holiday movies should I add?
What family-friendly movies are popular in your home? I'd love to hear your recommendations in the comments!
Also check out: 12 Meaningful Traditions to Start on Baby’s First Christmas