Our Top 10 Favourite Modern Holiday Films

There are so many classic holiday films for kids, but we think these 10 titles are set to be classics

When you think “Christmas favourites,” your mind often goes back to the claymation Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown or even as far as It’s A Wonderful Life! Of course these are all Christmas classics, but the truth is that the past 15 years have seen number of wonderful holiday movies that kids can enjoy — from original stories to book adaptations to specials with familiar film faces. Here is a list of the top 10 modern Christmas favourites for you and your kids to enjoy!

Polar Express

This visually stunning motion capture animation adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg’s classic story follows a little boy who doubts the power of Christmas as he takes a magical, action-packed ride aboard a train headed to the North Pole. Fun, thrilling, and full of holiday spirit, this is the definition of the modern Christmas classic.

Shrek the Halls

In this funnyTV special, Shrek, who has never celebrated Christmas before, tries to plan the perfect Christmas for Fiona but is interrupted by the arrival of the chaotic Donkey family. Exasperated at first, Shrek eventually leans that Christmas isn’t about everything being perfect, but about being surrounded by the ones you love - something we all need to be reminded of from time to time!’

Rise of the Guardians

This film unites all mythical children’s “guardians” - Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy - in a battle against the mysterious villain Pitch. A good choice for older kids, this film’s mix of the sweet and spooky is in keeping with classics like A Christmas Carol.

Elmo’s Christmas Countdown

With the help of Stiller the elf (Ben Stiller), Elmo has to save Christmas when the magical blocks that help countdown to Christmas disappear! Little ones will absolutely love this TV special with tons of Christmas sprit, songs, and heart, while parents will get a kick out of seeing celebrity guests from Brad Paisley to Jennifer Hudson.

Olive the Other Reindeer

When eccentric Jack Russell terrier Olive mishears the lyrics to “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” she becomes convinced that Santa needs her to help guide his sleigh on Christmas eve. This is a sweet, silly Christmas film celebrates the spirit and contributions of everyone who feels just a little bit “different.”


Older kids will love this whimsical romp starring Will Ferrell at his sweetest as Buddy, a human raised by elves in the North Pole. When Buddy (indomitable Christmas spirit in tow) heads to New York to meet his father, a slick and cynical publisher, wacky family hijinks ensue.

Merry Madagascar

When Santa’s sleigh crash-lands in Madagascar, it’s up to Alex, Marty, Gloria, Melvin, and, of course, the beloved penguin gang, to save Christmas. Kids will love seeing their favourite animal characters get festive in this wild TV special!

Arthur Christmas

This new entry in the hall of Christmas classics follows Santa’s hapless younger son, Arthur, who proves his mettle along with a rag-tag band of elves, reindeer and a retired former Santa(!), when he saves Christmas for the one child whose gifts have been left behind in the North Pole.

A Christmas Carol

Everyone has a favourite version of A Christmas Carol (mine is the Muppets!) and this new entry might be your kids’ It is definitely a worthy iteration of this classic yuletide tale: Jim Carrey is the perfect choice for over-the-top miser, Scrooge, and the film’s animation perfectly recreates Dickens’ alternately grim and cheery world.


Okay, okay, it’s not a Christmas film, it’s a winter film. But let’s consider it a day-after-Christmas film: once the excitement of Christmas is over, the weeks following can seem awfully anti-climactic, especially with the bulk of a long water staring you in the face. Frozen is the perfect film to keep your kids enthused about winter. Plus, let’s be honest - it’s not like you’ve stopped watching it since last winter, anyway.

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