23 Best Christmas Movies to Watch With Your Teens

The winter holidays are all about family time. Whether playing games, enjoying sports (both the doing and the watching), sharing great meals, or settling down to watch a movie, this is our favorite time of year. With the dark coming early, nothing is better than gathering to watch a Christmas movie together.

We have compiled a list of our favorite classic and contemporary movies for your family and shared a clip of each. We used a cut-off of 6.5 IMDb (The Internet Movie Database) rating to offer you some of the most engaging movies we could find. 

Now, all we can say is grab the throw blanket and the popcorn, and enjoy!

Modern Holiday Classics

Home Alone (1990) 

We had to start with this classic. Sure, you might have watched it twenty times before, but this is at the top of our rewatch list. IMDb rating: 7.7/10

Elf (2003)  

We have no trouble believing that a baby stowed away with Santa, was raised with elves, and came back to NYC to meet his human father, who never knew he existed, and neither will you. IMDb rating: 7.1/10

Holiday Movies with Romance

Love Actually (2003) 

We love a good romance even though we know exactly how it will end. It’s worth watching just for Hugh Grant’s dance scene alone. (Note: This one may be best for your older kids. Rated R for some language, nudity.) IMDb rating: 7.6/10

The Holiday ( 2006 ) 

Sticking with British love stories, we fall in love with Jude Law each time we watch this. The casting could not be better, and Shere, the beautiful English village where the movie is set, could not be more beautiful. IMDb rating: 6.9/10 

Holiday Classics We Hope To Watch With Our Grandchildren (someday)

These will take you and your teen back to your respective childhoods in all the best ways and remind us why we love the Christmas holidays so much. They are those treasured classics that need to be watched annually and with every generation. 

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) 

Based on the children’s book of the same name by Dr. Seuss. This classic tells the story of the Grinch, who tries to ruin Christmas for the townsfolk of Whoville below his mountain hideaway. Who doesn’t love this one? IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

Frosty the Snowman (TV Short 1969) 

Twenty-five minutes of fun with a living snowman and a little girl. IMDb Rating: 7.3/10 

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)  

Another classic take on the original. No one does it like the Muppets. IMDb Rating: 7.7/10

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) 

Join Charlie Brown as he tries to find the deeper meaning of Christmas. IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

The Polar Express (2004)  

Tom Hanks is amazing in this animated tale. IMDb Rating: 6.6/10

Holiday Movies That Take Us Back, Way Back 

We’ve been watching these classics since we were little kids, and although we may get old, these classics never do. We can pull out quotes from them at the drop of a hat. 

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) 

How many times have we all seen this one? It doesn’t matter because its timeless message never gets old: “RememberNo Man is a Failure who has Friends.” IMDb Rating: 8.7/10

White Christmas (1954) 

Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney make this a classic. IMDb Rating: 7.5/10

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) 

Who among us can’t relate to Rudolph? IMDb Rating: 8.0/10 

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) 

As he claims, is Kris Kringle, the Santa at Macy’s, the real Santa? At first, it seems impossible, but what is impossible in a Christmas movie? IMDb Rating: 7.9/10

The Snowman (1982) 

An adaptation of the classic book. IMDb Rating: 8.2/10

A Christmas Carol (1951) 

Adapted from the classic Charles Dickens tale of Scrooge and Christmases past, present, and future. Take a trip to Victorian London with Ebenezer Scrooge.  IMDb Rating: 8.1/10. If your family hates black and white like ours, the 1984 remake was well done. IMDb Rating: 7.8/10

It’s All About Friends and Family

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)  

The Griswolds plan on having a wonderful family holiday, but families are families, and in true National Lampoon form, it doesn’t all go as planned. IMDb Rating: 7.5/10

Die Hard (1988) 

A different type of Christmas movie with a cult following. A New York City policeman is invited to a Christmas party in LA by his estranged wife when a hostage situation ensues. (Rated R). IMDb Rating: 8.2/10

The Best Man Holiday (2013)

College friends reunite over the Christmas holidays and discover how easy old feelings can be dredged up. (Rated R) IMDb rating: 6.6

War movies 

Joyeux Noel (2005) 

Poignant and deep with an underlying message about the foolishness of war. “In December 1914, an unofficial Christmas truce on the Western Front allowed soldiers from opposing sides of the First World War to gain insight into each other’s way of life.” IMDb rating: 7.7​​

Silent Night (2002 TV Movie) 

Starring Linda Hamilton, this movie is based on a true story in which a German mom mediates a truce between 3 German and 3 American soldiers so they can all celebrate Christmas Eve 1944 together. Based on a true story. IMDb rating: 7.5


The Santa Clause (1994)

Tim Allen becomes the new Santa Claus after accidentally causing the previous Santa’s demise. His journey to becoming the jolly old St. Nick is full of laughs. IMDb rating: 6.5

Arthur Christmas (2011)

Explore the high-tech operations at the North Pole as Santa’s youngest son, Arthur, embarks on a mission to deliver a forgotten gift to a child on Christmas Eve in this Christmas comedy. IMDb rating: 7.1

A Christmas Story (1983)

In the 1940s, a young boy named Ralphie Parker attempts to convince his parents, teacher, and Santa Claus that a BB gun is the perfect Christmas gift. IMDb rating: 7.6

More Great Reading:

100+ Best Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Teens and College Students (2023)

About Lisa Endlich Heffernan

Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan is the co-founder of Grown and Flown, the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author.
She started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and is co-author of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

Read more posts by Lisa

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