10 Best Family Holiday Movies

Wednesday, February 9 by Wendy Adams

Nothing says the holidays like settling in to watch some of the 10 best family holiday movies. Holiday family movies are filled with music, dancing, a little fantasy and a lot of fun. The best family holiday movies begin with vintage classics and move into the delights of animation to bring holiday joy to all ages.

  1. “A Christmas Carol” (1938, 1951, 1971, 2009) It doesn’t matter which version of the classic Dickens tale you watch because they are all a wonderful adaptation of the classic Christmas story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his return to a joyous generous life on Christmas morning.
  2. It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) Disillusioned and desperate George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) is shown by a visiting angel (Henry Travers) how different life would be for his wife (Donna Reed), family and his hometown had he never lived. The all-star cast included Beulah Bondi as Mrs. Bailey, Lionel Barrymore as the mean old Henry F. Potter, Ward Bond as Bert, and Gloria Grahame as Violet Bick.
  3. Miracle on 34th Street” (1947) Edmund Gwenn stars as Kris Kringle, the Macy’s Santa Claus, who makes believers out mother Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara) and daughter Susan (Natalie Wood) at Christmas. The supporting cast includes Gene Lockhart, William Frawley and Thelma Ritter.
  4. The Bishop’s Wife” (1947) A wonderful Christmas classic about a bishop receiving a visit from an unusual angel who pays attention to the wife and daughter the he ignores in his quest to build a cathedral. Starring Cary Grant as Dudley the angel, Loretta Young as the Bishop’s Wife, and David Niven and the Bishop. Monty Woolley, Elsa Lanchester and Gladys Cooper make an outstanding supporting cast.
  5.  “White Christmas” (1954) This Classic musical Christmas movie stars the song and dance team of Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Davis (Danny Kaye), the sister act of Judy (Vera Ellen) and Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney) who combine talents in this spectacular musical extravaganza to rescue a struggling retired General (Dean Jagger) from financial ruin. A wonderful example of a movie filmed in Technicolor.
  6. A Christmas Story” (1983) “You’ll shoot your eye out kid” is the only comment Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) hears after saying he wants an air rifle for Christmas. This classic holiday film recreates life as a kid growing up in the Midwest in the 1940s complete with a gentle housewife mother (Melinda Dillon), eccentric father (Darren McGavin) and life on the school yard.
  7. Scrooged” (1988) A comedic interpretation with none of the usual sentimentality of the classic Dicken’s tale as only Bill Murray can deliver. Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a narcissistic land shark television executive who is visited by three angels on Christmas Eve. The supporting cast includes Karen Allen, John Forsythe, Bobcat Goldthwait and Robert Mitchum. Great twisted holiday fun.
  8. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989) A Christmas installment from the Griswold family in the typical style of National Lampoon. Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) on a quest to create a perfect Griswold Christmas creates disaster and chaos while being completely oblivious to the cause. This movie stars Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid and E.G. Marshall. Great fun.
  9. The Polar Express” (2004) Spectacular computer animation gives a unique look to this holiday classic story about a devastated boy learning there is no Santa Clause. A train named The Polar Express arrives at his house and takes him on an adventure to the North Pole to meet Santa.
  10. How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000) The classic Dr. Seuss Christmas story comes to life with Jim Carrey who makes a sensational Grinch. The Grinch sets out to keep Christmas from coming to Whoville until little Who Cindy Lou (Taylor Momsen) changes his mind.