What to Watch :: Holiday Family Movie Night Favorites

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READING TIME: 3 min.

stocking filled with holiday family movies next to a small Christmas tree

I grew up in a time before streaming services when we had to be home on the right date at the right time in order to catch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or A Charlie Brown Christmas. While those hold a special place in my heart, neither has been a particular favorite for my children.

When they were younger, we watched the film version of Raymond Briggs’ children’s book The Snowman, which is so sweet. And then it was all about Frozen and all things Olaf. (Forget Frosty! Who’s he?) But for the last couple years, we have had four holiday family movie night favorites that we watch again and again.

The first one is, I admit, a little bit controversial. Do you consider The Nightmare Before Christmas a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? In our house, it is both.

We usually start watching the 1993 film in September and then just keep watching it through the end of the year. The songs tend to get stuck in my head. I love how it gets us ready for fall and winter every year.

Home Alone is now a holiday classic in many households, I’m sure. It has been so much fun seeing our children fall in love with the slapstick shenanigans of Kevin McCallister and the would-be burglars of the McCallister home.

The PG-rated movie was released in 1990 and you can stream it on Disney+ or rent it from other streaming services if you don’t already own a well-worn copy. Freeform will also show it a bunch in December for their 25 Days of Christmas programming. There are several sequels and even a 2021 film from Disney+ titled Home Sweet Home Alone. I’m not sure you can improve upon the original Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

We were all blown away a few years ago when Netflix released The Christmas Chronicles. The 2018 film was an instant hit with our kids. And I love it too. Kurt Russell is hilarious and charming as Santa Claus. It’s a very sweet, family-friendly movie that parents will enjoy too. I’m pretty sure our kids watched this at least three times a week the year it came out.

If you’re looking for some serious screen time, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a longer watch with a running time over two hours. It may not hold the attention of younger viewers, but our children love the magic of it. The young actors in the 2005 film are so talented. You can stream the whole Narnia series of films on Disney+ or rent the movies on Prime Video.

December in Texas may not mean snow but for us, but it does mean more cozy movie nights. I can’t wait to see which new movies become part of our winter watching tradition this year.

After the kids go to bed, I’m sure my husband and I will be watching some of our favorites like Almost Christmas, Die Hard, and With Honors.

What are your favorite winter holiday movies?
Are there any films you will only watch in the winter?

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