Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.
Can you feel it? That change in the air? The darkness falls earlier, the temperature drops, and this mama hen likes nothing more than to gather up all of her chicks, tuck them under a blanket beside her on the sofa, and enjoy a quiet evening together.
Lately we’ve been enjoying holiday themed family movie nights. We pop some popcorn or bake some cookies, pour cocoa into our mugs, and the modern day Currier and Ives scene is set.
Tsh is talking about simple holiday traditions on Simple Mom today, and watching holiday movies together is one of our traditions.
While not normally a big TV viewing family, during the holidays the television (and the sweets) monitoring gets a bit more relaxed and watching TV together actually becomes one of our favorite things to do together this time of year.
We pick a movie from our collection or a holiday special we have marked on the calendar. Something tells me we won’t be the only family snuggled up to view A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving this week and we’ll be watching our local coverage of the annual lighting of the Christmas Tree in downtown Indianapolis, too.
Here are a few that are in our holiday movie collection, along with a handful of fun and festive ideas to incorporate into your next holiday themed family movie night:
A little bit silly, a little bit sentimental, my children loved the story line about the child who gets forgotten at Christmas and the efforts of Arthur to deliver the forgotten present.
I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that the super silly Grand Santa is one of my favorite characters.
Some Arthur Christmas fun:
- Arthur Christmas Candy Sleigh ::: Christmas Your Way
The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas
Dr. Seuss is a permanent part of our holiday traditions, as every year we watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas. This year, we will be adding the crazy Cat in the Hat to our line-up after my family received a screener copy of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas. My four and six year olds, already big Cat fans thanks to the show on PBS Kids, really enjoyed this one.
The Cat throws a holiday party and when it is over a poor reindeer has been left behind, far from home. The Cat, Nick, Sally, and the Fish decide to help the little reindeer make his way back home.
This movie will be shown on November 21 (check your local PBS listings).
More The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas:
My favorite groundhog, Pardon-Me Pete, tells the story of how Jack Frost became human, fell in love, saved a town, and helped a knight win his true love in this classic directed by Jules Bass and featuring the voice of Buddy Hacket.
If you have an Amazon Prime account, Jack Frost is currently one of their free offerings.
The Polar Express
It just doesn’t feel like the holidays to me until we’ve watched The Polar Express together. The book is enchanting, and I love giving the book as a gift set with a little sleigh bell, but the movie holds a special place in my heart.
This first time I watched this movie, heart in my throat, was with my then six year old daughter Jillian. A year later we saw the movie for sale and Jillian said to me, “remember when we cried because that boy could hear the bell, mama?” and had one of those parenting moments where the sensitivity and beauty of childhood just totally overwhelms you, right there in the aisle of the store. Yes, Jillian, I certainly remember.
And so the Polar Express has been a special holiday tradition, especially for Jillian and I, one that we share with her brother and sisters and Daddy.
Hot chocolate is must with this movie and I love the creative folks who turn this movie into a family mini-van version of their own Polar Express to see all of the holiday lights, too.
While Home Alone might be just a bit intense for younger kids, my bigger kids love this movie and we giggle through it as a family. I think this movie holds appeal for the “naughty” child and exasperated adult in all of us.
The movie promotes lots of post-viewing screaming and funny faces as we ham it up pretending to be Kevin shaving in the mirror or as we mimic his mom at the airport.
Silliness aside, I always get a little choked up at the end, don’t you?
The soundtrack is one of my very favorites, too. (But the sequels? Nope. Do yourself a favor and skip over them, sticking with the original.)
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Santa Claus is Coming to Town, another favorite from my own childhood, is my fifth grader’s absolute favorite holiday movie.
This movie is another stop-motion class from Rankin-Bass and it tells a version of the story of Santa Claus and how many of the holiday traditions came to be. We love singing along with this one, as well. Put one foot in front of the other …
So there you have it. Six holiday movies approved by my own own SimpleKids.net team of critics.
Now that you know what movies our family loves, I hope we’ve inspired you to pop some popcorn, or bake some cookies, and spend time watching holiday movies with your kids this season.
What are your family’s favorite holiday movies? Do you have any that hold a special sentimental place in your heart? What will you and your kids be watching this holiday season?