As a parent, finding Christmas movies that are both entertaining and appropriate for young children can be a real challenge.
Despite the festive themes and colorful decorations, many holiday movies include content that is too mature or inappropriate for really little kids.
(I’m looking at you, Christmas Vacation & Home Alone!)
I’ve personally experienced the struggle of trying to find G-rated holiday movies for my own young kids, and I understand the importance of having a list of options that are both wholesome and enjoyable.
That’s why I’ve compiled this list of the 25 Best G-Rated Christmas Movies for Kids.
Whether you’re looking for classics like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman,” or more modern films like “The Polar Express” and “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure,” this list has something for everyone.
So, sit back, grab some popcorn, brew some hot chocolate, and get ready for a festive and family-friendly movie night!
Release Date: November 10, 2004
This beloved Christmas movie follows a young boy who is skeptical about the existence of Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, he boards a magical train called the Polar Express, which takes him on an extraordinary journey to the North Pole.
Along the way, he encounters a cast of memorable characters, including a know-it-all kid, a lonely girl, and a mysterious hobo. When his train ride finally reaches the North Pole, he meets Santa Claus himself and is given the first gift of Christmas. With stunning visuals and a touching storyline, “The Polar Express” is a heartwarming and magical Christmas movie that has become a holiday classic for families around the world.
Release Date: December 9, 1965
“A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a beloved holiday classic that follows the story of Charlie Brown, a melancholic and disillusioned boy who is searching for the true meaning of Christmas. With the help of his loyal dog Snoopy, Charlie Brown directs the school Christmas play and tries to find the perfect Christmas tree.
Along the way, he discovers the commercialization of the holiday and feels discouraged by the lack of festive spirit around him. However, with the guidance of his friend Linus, he learns the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of goodwill towards others. With its iconic soundtrack and heartwarming message, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” has become a cherished holiday tradition for families everywhere.
Release Date: May 2, 1947
Rating: Not Rated (originally rated G)
“Miracle on 34th Street” is a Christmas classic that tells the story of a kind and gentle old man named Kris Kringle who believes he is the real Santa Claus. When Kris is hired as a last-minute replacement for the drunk Santa in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, he surprises everyone by directing parents to other stores where they can find the toys their children want, rather than trying to sell Macy’s merchandise.
When Kris is declared insane and put on trial, a young lawyer takes up his case and sets out to prove that Kris is, in fact, the real Santa Claus. With heartwarming performances by Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, and Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle, “Miracle on 34th Street” is a timeless classic that celebrates the true spirit of Christmas and the power of belief.
Release Date: November 22, 2017
“Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” is a short film spin-off of the blockbuster Disney movie, “Frozen”. The film follows everyone’s favorite snowman, Olaf, as he embarks on a quest to find holiday traditions for Anna and Elsa to celebrate, after they reveal that they have no holiday traditions of their own.
Along with Sven the reindeer, Olaf sets out on a journey to explore the kingdom and discover the many unique holiday customs that different families celebrate. The film features original songs and charming animation that captures the magic and spirit of the holiday season. With a runtime of just over 20 minutes, “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” is a heartwarming addition to the “Frozen” franchise that is perfect for families to enjoy during the holiday season.
Release Date: December 11, 1992
This classic Christmas movie is a retelling of the Charles Dickens novel “A Christmas Carol” with a Muppet twist. Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy and bitter businessman, is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, who show him the errors of his ways and teach him the true meaning of Christmas.
With the help of Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit and Miss Piggy as Emily Cratchit, this heartwarming story is brought to life in a delightful and comedic way. The movie features a mix of classic Christmas songs and original tunes, making it a fun and festive addition to any holiday movie lineup.
Release date: November 6, 2007
The movie follows the mischievous Dennis Mitchell, who is determined to get his hands on a rare, authentic dinosaur bone for his neighbor Mr. Wilson, whom he has accidentally caused to fall and injure himself.
With Christmas approaching, Dennis embarks on a wild adventure to find the bone, encountering many challenges and obstacles along the way. Along the journey, Dennis learns valuable lessons about friendship, family, and the true meaning of Christmas.
Release date: 2002
A Very Merry Pooh Year is a direct-to-video Winnie the Pooh movie that combines two stories: “Happy Pooh Year” and “Groundpiglet Day”. In “Happy Pooh Year,” Pooh and his friends prepare to celebrate the New Year in Hundred Acre Wood, but Rabbit decides to cancel the festivities because he believes that it’s just another day.
Meanwhile, in “Groundpiglet Day,” Piglet is chosen to determine how long winter will last by predicting the weather on Groundhog Day. The two stories come together as Rabbit realizes the importance of celebrating special moments with friends, and Piglet’s efforts to find his friends to celebrate the new year lead him to experience his own special moment. The movie features beloved characters such as Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Rabbit, Kanga, and Roo.
Release Date: December 7, 1969
Rating: Not Rated (originally rated G)
“Frosty the Snowman” is a classic Christmas special that tells the story of a snowman that comes to life when a magical hat is placed on his head. With the help of some children, Frosty sets out on an adventure to the North Pole to avoid melting and find a place where he can live forever.
However, they face obstacles along the way, including an evil magician who wants the hat for himself. With charming animation and the iconic voice of Jimmy Durante as the narrator, “Frosty the Snowman” has become a beloved holiday tradition that captures the magic and joy of the season.
Release date: November 14, 2017
The movie is based on Mariah Carey’s popular Christmas song “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” The story follows a young girl named Mariah, who desperately wants a puppy for Christmas. In order to prove to her parents that she’s responsible enough to care for a pet, Mariah takes on the challenge of dog-sitting her uncle’s mischievous dog Jack.
Along the way, Mariah learns the importance of hard work, responsibility, and the true meaning of Christmas. The movie features original songs by Mariah Carey, as well as classic Christmas tunes.
Release Date: December 16, 1983
“Mickey’s Christmas Carol” is a heartwarming retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, “A Christmas Carol,” with a cast of beloved Disney characters. In this version, Scrooge McDuck takes on the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future on Christmas Eve.
Through their visits, Scrooge is forced to confront the selfishness and greed that have consumed him and to realize the importance of kindness and generosity. With delightful animation and classic Disney charm, “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” is a holiday treat that appeals to all ages and has become a cherished part of many families’ Christmas traditions.
Release Date: November 9, 1999
“Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas” is a collection of three heartwarming holiday tales featuring beloved Disney characters. The first story, “Donald Duck: Stuck On Christmas,” follows Donald and his nephews as they experience Christmas day over and over again.
The second story, “A Very Goofy Christmas,” follows Goofy and his son Max as they try to create the perfect Christmas for their family. The final story, “Mickey & Minnie’s Gift of The Magi,” tells the classic story of a young couple who sacrifice their most prized possessions to buy gifts for each other. With charming animation and a cast of lovable characters, “Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas” is a heartwarming celebration of the joys of the holiday season.
Release Date: November 9, 2004
“Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas” is a festive animated film featuring some of Disney’s most beloved characters. The movie consists of five short stories, each showcasing the spirit of Christmas in different ways. The stories include Mickey and Minnie Mouse hosting a Christmas party, Goofy and his son Max enjoying a snow day, Donald Duck discovering the true meaning of Christmas, Daisy Duck and her nieces creating the perfect Christmas pageant, and finally, Pluto learning the joys of giving.
The stories are tied together by a narrator, voiced by Kelsey Grammer, who teaches the characters the importance of the Christmas spirit. With its lovable characters and heartwarming stories, “Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas” is a great film for the entire family to enjoy together during the holiday season.
Release date: November 12, 2019
“Noelle” is a modern Christmas tale that follows Kris Kringle’s daughter, Noelle (played by Anna Kendrick), who has always wished to do something important like her brother Nick, who is next in line to become Santa Claus.
When Nick disappears just before Christmas, Noelle goes on a funny and heartfelt adventure to find him and save the holiday. Along the way, she teams up with a private investigator named Jake (played by Bill Hader) and discovers the true meaning of Christmas.
Release Date: 1986
Based on the classic Christmas story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by E.T.A. Hoffmann and featuring music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the plot follows a young girl named Clara who receives a magical nutcracker as a Christmas gift from her godfather. That night, she falls asleep and dreams of a battle between the nutcracker and the evil Mouse King.
After the nutcracker emerges victorious, he transforms into a handsome prince and takes Clara on a journey through a magical world filled with dancing snowflakes, sugarplum fairies, and other enchanting creatures. Along the way, they must overcome obstacles and confront the wicked Mouse King once again. The film is known for its stunning ballet sequences and elaborate costumes, and is a beloved holiday classic for many.
Release date: 1985
“One Magic Christmas” is a heartwarming Christmas film about a struggling family that loses their faith in Christmas. Ginny Grainger, a mother of two, is working as a grocery store clerk and her husband Jack is unemployed.
They have lost all their hope and joy for the holiday season, until an angel comes to visit them. The angel takes Ginny on a journey that helps her rediscover the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of having faith. This film is a wonderful reminder of the power of belief and the spirit of Christmas.
Release Date: November 17, 1989
“Prancer” is a heartwarming Christmas film that tells the story of a young girl named Jessica, who believes in the magic of Christmas and the existence of Santa Claus. One day, Jessica discovers an injured reindeer in the forest and believes it to be one of Santa’s reindeer, Prancer. She takes it upon herself to care for the injured animal and tries to nurse him back to health in time for Christmas Eve.
As she cares for Prancer, Jessica’s belief in the magic of Christmas is strengthened and she becomes determined to return the reindeer to Santa. Along the way, she faces obstacles from skeptical adults and learns the true meaning of Christmas. “Prancer” is a timeless tale of the power of belief and the magic of Christmas, and is sure to capture the hearts of viewers of all ages.
Release Date: December 6, 1964
Rating: Not Rated (originally rated G)
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is a beloved Christmas special that follows the story of Rudolph, a young reindeer with a bright red nose that makes him an outcast among his peers. Feeling rejected and alone, Rudolph sets out on a journey to find a place where he belongs.
Along the way, he meets new friends, including Hermey the elf who dreams of becoming a dentist, and together they face various challenges and obstacles. When Santa’s sleigh is grounded on Christmas Eve due to bad weather, Rudolph’s red nose comes in handy and he leads the way to save Christmas. With charming stop-motion animation, memorable characters, and catchy songs, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” has become a timeless classic that has been cherished by generations of families.
19. Santa Buddies
Release Date: November 2, 2009
“Santa Buddies” is a family-friendly holiday movie that follows a group of talking puppies on a magical adventure to save Christmas. When the Christmas spirit begins to disappear around the world, the puppies travel to the North Pole to help Santa Claus and his loyal dog, Santa Paws, save the day.
Along the way, they learn the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of friendship and teamwork. With its adorable cast of talking puppies and heartwarming storyline, “Santa Buddies” is a great film for families to watch together during the holiday season.
Release Date: December 14, 1970
“Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” is a classic stop-motion animated Christmas special that tells the origin story of Santa Claus. The story follows a mailman named Kris Kringle, who decides to bring toys to the children of Sombertown, which is ruled by the mean-spirited Burgermeister Meisterburger. Kris is joined on his journey by the enchanting Winter Warlock and a group of magical elves.
Along the way, Kris learns valuable lessons about giving, friendship, and love. The movie features catchy songs and memorable characters, including the lovable penguin Topper and the feisty schoolteacher, Miss Jessica. “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” has become a beloved holiday classic and is sure to delight viewers of all ages.
Release Date: November 1, 2002
In “The Santa Clause 2“, Scott Calvin (played by Tim Allen) has been Santa Claus for eight years and is now facing a new challenge – he must find a Mrs. Claus before the upcoming Christmas Eve or else he will stop being Santa. Meanwhile, back at the North Pole, there is a new rule stating that if a child is on the naughty list twice, they will be removed from Santa’s list permanently.
When Scott discovers that his own son, Charlie, is on the naughty list, he decides to go back to the real world to set things right. He must also balance his new responsibilities with finding a wife, and faces challenges when he realizes that he is falling in love with his son’s principal, who is also a divorced mother. “The Santa Clause 2” is a heartwarming and humorous sequel to the original film, and continues to capture the magic and joy of Christmas.
Release date: 2006
In this third installment of the “Santa Clause” movie series, Scott Calvin (played by Tim Allen) is enjoying being Santa Claus and getting ready for Christmas. However, his plans are interrupted when he discovers that Jack Frost (played by Martin Short) is trying to take over Christmas.
In order to stop Jack Frost, Scott must use the “Escape Clause” in his Santa contract to go back in time and prevent his own past mistakes. Along the way, he encounters younger versions of himself and learns important lessons about the true meaning of Christmas. This movie is a fun adventure for the whole family, with plenty of humor and heartwarming moments.
23. Santa Paws
Release date: 2010
Plot: In this heartwarming holiday film, a mischievous little pup named Santa Paws is on a mission to save Christmas. When the Christmas spirit begins to disappear, Santa Paws and his new friends set out to restore the joy of the season.
Along the way, they learn the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of family and friendship. With its lovable characters, (played by Ryan Reynolds and others) catchy songs, and charming storyline, “Santa Paws” is a fun and festive movie that the whole family can enjoy.
Release date: November 20, 2012
In this sequel to the original Santa Paws movie, Santa’s mischievous and curious golden retriever puppies accidentally stow away on Mrs. Claus’s sleigh and end up in the town of Pineville. While there, they befriend a boy named Will who is struggling with the idea of believing in the magic of Christmas.
The Santa Pups must help Will rediscover his Christmas spirit before it’s too late, as an evil dogcatcher named Stan Cruge is threatening to ruin Christmas for everyone. With the help of Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Santa Pups learn the true meaning of Christmas and how to spread love and joy to others.
Release date: 1970
The film follows the life of Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy and miserly businessman, who is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. These ghosts show him his past, present, and future, and make him realize the true meaning of Christmas.
The movie stars Albert Finney as Scrooge and features several memorable musical numbers, including “Thank You Very Much” and “I Hate People.” It is a classic retelling of the beloved Christmas story with a heartwarming message.
26. The Snowman
Release Date: November 26, 1982
“The Snowman” is a classic Christmas story told through stunning hand-drawn animation and the beautiful score of composer Howard Blake. The story follows a young boy who builds a snowman on Christmas Eve that magically comes to life. Together, they embark on a magical adventure, flying through the sky to visit Santa Claus at the North Pole.
Along the way, they encounter dancing animals, snowmen, and a breathtaking Northern Lights display. The film has little dialogue and relies heavily on the enchanting music and animation to tell its story. “The Snowman” has become a beloved holiday classic for its timeless story and captivating visuals, and is sure to be enjoyed by both children and adults alike.
For older kids, here are some good holiday movies that are rated PG:
Release Date: November 11, 2011
“Arthur Christmas” is an animated Christmas movie that follows the story of Santa Claus’s son, Arthur, who works in the mail room at the North Pole. When a child’s present is missed on Christmas Eve, Arthur embarks on a mission to deliver the gift before it’s too late.
Along the way, he teams up with his grandfather, Grandsanta, and an elf named Bryony to save Christmas and restore the belief of a young girl named Gwen. With a star-studded voice cast that includes James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, and Jim Broadbent, “Arthur Christmas” is a heartwarming and humorous take on the classic Santa Claus story that is sure to delight both kids and adults.
Release Date: November 3, 2009
“Disney’s A Christmas Carol” is a movie adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, “A Christmas Carol”. The story follows Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly and cold-hearted businessman who is visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve – the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. Through these visits, Scrooge is forced to confront the mistakes of his past, the realities of the present, and the potential consequences of his future if he does not change his ways.
With stunning animation and an all-star cast that includes Jim Carrey as Scrooge, “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” is a faithful and visually impressive retelling of a beloved holiday story that emphasizes the importance of kindness, generosity, and love.
Release Date: November 7, 2003
“Elf” is a comedy movie that tells the story of Buddy, a human who was raised by elves at the North Pole. After discovering the truth about his identity, Buddy sets out on a journey to New York City to find his real father, a grumpy businessman named Walter Hobbs.
Along the way, Buddy experiences culture shock as he navigates the big city and tries to spread Christmas cheer to those around him. With his childlike innocence and contagious enthusiasm, Buddy helps to bring his estranged family closer together and remind them of the true spirit of Christmas. Starring Will Ferrell in the lead role, “Elf” is a hilarious and heartwarming holiday movie that has become a modern classic. This definitely our family’s favorite christmas movie!
Release Date: 1946
The movie tells the story of George Bailey, a man who has always put his own dreams and desires aside to help others in his community. However, when he faces financial ruin and personal crisis on Christmas Eve, he wishes he had never been born.
An angel named Clarence is sent to show George what life in his town would be like if he had never existed, giving George a new perspective on the value of his life and the love of his family and friends. The film has become a holiday classic and is beloved for its heartwarming message of hope and redemption.
Release Date: November 17, 2000
Based on the classic Dr. Seuss book, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” tells the story of the Grinch, a bitter and cynical creature who lives in a cave above the town of Whoville. The Grinch, who hates Christmas and everything it stands for, decides to steal all of the presents and decorations from the Whos on Christmas Eve.
However, a chance encounter with a little girl named Cindy Lou Who helps him see the error of his ways and rediscover the joy of the holiday season. Starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch and featuring elaborate sets and costumes, this live-action adaptation of the beloved story is a visually stunning and entertaining Christmas movie for both kids and adults.
6. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Release date: November 6, 2020
Jingle Jangle is a musical fantasy film that tells the story of Jeronicus Jangle, a toymaker who has lost his belief in magic and himself after his most prized creation is stolen by his apprentice. However, when his granddaughter Journey comes to visit him during the holiday season, she renews his belief in the magic of creativity and imagination.
Together, they work on a new invention that could change their lives forever. The movie features an ensemble cast including Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Anika Noni Rose, Phylicia Rashad, and Ricky Martin, and is filled with catchy original songs and stunning visual effects.
Release Date: October 13, 1993
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a stop-motion animated musical movie directed by Tim Burton that tells the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town. Bored with his annual holiday, Jack stumbles upon Christmas Town and becomes obsessed with the idea of taking over the holiday. With the help of his friends, including Sally, a rag doll who has feelings for Jack, he plans to put his own spin on the festivities.
However, his well-intentioned efforts cause chaos and threaten to ruin Christmas for everyone. With a unique and visually stunning animation style, catchy songs, and an imaginative storyline, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” has become a holiday classic that appeals to both Halloween and Christmas fans alike.
8. The Nutcracker in 3D
Release Date: November 24, 2010
The Nutcracker in 3D is a live-action adaptation of the classic story with a unique twist. It follows nine-year-old Mary, who receives a Nutcracker doll from her Uncle Albert on Christmas Eve.
When the doll comes to life and takes Mary on a magical journey to a land of sugarplums, she discovers that the evil Rat King has a plan to take over the world by turning all humans into toys. With the help of the Nutcracker, Mary must stop the Rat King’s evil scheme and save Christmas.
Release Date: November 11, 1994
“The Santa Clause” is a comedy movie that follows the story of Scott Calvin, a divorced father who accidentally causes Santa Claus to fall from his roof on Christmas Eve. In a strange turn of events, Scott finds himself magically recruited to take Santa’s place and deliver gifts to children all around the world.
Initially skeptical and unsure, Scott eventually embraces his new role as Santa Claus and learns the true meaning of Christmas. However, he faces opposition from those who doubt his sanity and the possibility of Santa Claus being real. With Tim Allen in the lead role, “The Santa Clause” is a heartwarming and humorous holiday movie that has become a staple of the Christmas season.
10. The Star
Release Date: November 17, 2017
“The Star” is a modern retelling of the nativity story, told from the perspective of the animals. The movie follows a brave donkey named Bo, who dreams of a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day, he escapes and sets off on an adventure with a lovable sheep named Ruth and a dove named Dave. Along the way, they encounter Mary and Joseph, who are on their way to Bethlehem, and they decide to help them on their journey.
As they travel, they must overcome many obstacles, including a wicked king and his army of soldiers. With its star-studded cast, including the voices of Steven Yeun, Keegan-Michael Key, and Oprah Winfrey, and its beautiful animation, “The Star” is a heartwarming and entertaining film for the whole family to enjoy during the holiday season.
I hope this list of the best family Christmas movies gets you all into the holiday spirit!
From heartwarming tales of friendship and family, to magical adventures with Santa and his elves, these movies have something for everyone.
They remind us of the importance of love, kindness, and giving during the holiday season.
So, whether you’re watching alone or with loved ones, grab some hot cocoa and let the holiday spirit fill your heart as you enjoy these timeless classics.
Calie Herbst, Editor-in-Chief of Milwaukee With Kids, has spent over a decade combining her experiences as a parent of three to create a hub for Milwaukee’s family adventures.
Her decade-long teaching career in Milwaukee Public Schools and academic background, including a Master’s in Teaching from Marquette University and dual B.A.s in Sociology and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, fuel her passion for inclusive and engaging family content.
Calie is also a recognized voice in local media, contributing to WISN Channel 12 News, WTMJ Wisconsin Morning News, Fox 6’s Real Milwaukee, and B93.3.