Top Ten Christmas Movies For Kids

Sure, this time of year, everyone goes on and on about The Christmas Story and “you’ll shoot your eye out”, but I’m not sure that younger kids really get that movie.  Die Hard and Lethal Weapon are far too violent and The Ref, while one of my favorite holiday films, is certainly not suitable for kids unless you want them to be able to hold their own with Uncle “Foul-Mouth” Phil.  So what are good movies for kids this time of year?  Here are the ones I came up with:

  1. I’ve written about Santa Claus Conquers the Martians before.  It is, perhaps, a fine example of Art Dreco — art so bad it becomes good.  If your kids haven’t seen this, you owe it to them to show it to them.  After all, they must have done something naughty at some point during the year.
  2. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas — the original, of course, — is a classic and loads of fun.  And, you can’t do much better than Boris Karloff at Christmas!
  3. Arnold Schwarzenegger has had many jobs in his life — body builder, actor, politician — but his best work, in my opinion, is clearly as a comedic actor, especially when unintentionally so.  In Jingle All The Way, he doesn’t have that accidental edge, but he does manage to come up with a fun little movie.
  4. Despite the odd flavor to the animation and the questionable moral, The Polar Express, based on the book of the same name, has become a classic.  It doesn’t hurt to have Tom Hanks’ considerable talent behind the microphone and, of course, a pretty cool train to boot.
  5. For some reason, I can’t get myself to say I like Tim Allen, even though he did a great job in the Toy Story movies.  He also did a great job in The Santa Clause as a reluctant Santa.  So I guess I do like him.  Hey, it’s Christmas.
  6. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has been done, literally, many times, many ways.  For kids, I’d have to go with the Muppet Christmas Carol because, after all, it’s got Kermit the Frog.
  7. With an all-star cast, that includes Steve Martin, Rob Reiner, Madeline Kahn, Adam Sandler and even a young Jon Stewart, Mixed Nuts is a great holiday film for older kids.  Don’t miss the hilarious Steven Wright as the man at the pay phone.
  8. Although it has no dialogue, The Snowman, based on Raymond Briggs’ wonderful book, seems to captivate children and draw them in.  If you’re looking for a little peace and quiet on Christmas Eve, this might just do the trick.
  9. For quite a while, my plan was to be a trial lawyer, almost entirely because of Miracle on 34th Street.  Although I’m not big on the whole faith thing, there are certainly worse deities one could believe in and at the very least, there does seem to be evidence of Santa Claus each Christmas morning.  Stay away from the 1994 remake — it replaces a great legal argument with a logical fallacy.
  10. Simply the best Christmas movie of all time, and one of the best films period, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life is not so much about Christmas or Angels as it is about the value of a man as measured by the most important scale of all — friendship.  Yeah, I cry every time.  So sue me.

So there you go.  If that doesn’t give you something to keep the kids out of your hair while you wrap presents (or guzzle spiked eggnog), I don’t know what will.

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