Christmas is the season for celebrating the greatest birth of all time, the birth of Jesus! While many Christmas movies may focus on Santa, reindeer, or other cultural icons of Christmas, these will remind you and your family about the value of abundant life! Some can offer great conversation starters with your children . . .while others more explicitly spell out the true meaning of Christmas and the new life Jesus’ birth offers for all of us. Check out this list of some of the best family Christmas movies.

Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Of course, this iconic film is always on the list of best Christmas movies! You can find a variety of movie versions based on the Charles Dickens classic””from vintage 1950s movies, to the Mickey Mouse version, to updated twists on the story like, The Man Who Invented Christmas, a story about Charles Dickens penning his Christmas novel. If you’re not familiar with the story, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge has three spirits visit him””the ghosts of Christmas present, past, and future. They show him what his life has been like and what it will become if he remains cold-hearted and greedy.

This story is a wonderful opportunity to start a conversation with your children about priorities and what is truly most important in life. Tiny Tim’s important role in the story also offers us a chance to talk about how God created every life and how those with disabilities are worthy of our protection, respect, and love.

It’s a Wonderful Life

If you’ve ever felt low and had the thought, “I wish I were never born,” this movie will clarify just how important we all are and how God has a tremendous purpose for each of us””even when we feel like we’re failing or not living the life we thought we’d live. This iconic Christmas film may be a little heavy for the youngest viewers, but should probably be required viewing for ages 13 or above. The film offers a great reminder that every life has a purpose, which is perfect for the holiday season and any time of year!

Elf

This may be an unexpected addition to this list of best family Christmas movies, but if you get past Will Farrell’s silly outfit, and his character, Buddy’s, sometimes goofy antics, what you’ll find is the story of an overgrown boy trying to reconnect with a father he never knew. Though a lot of credit is given to Santa and “Christmas magic,” the movie could be a conversation starter with pre-teens or teens about the longing in the heart that every child has for their father or how important fathers are in the lives of their children. Though Buddy’s dad resists his son’s attempts to get close at first, in the end, they connect.

The Grinch

Here’s another classic you can find multiple versions of, but my family’s favorite is the 2018 animated version available this season on Netflix. If you know the story, the Grinch wants to ruin Christmas for everyone by stealing all the Christmas “things”””but eventually comes around to realize that Christmas isn’t about the “stuff” at all. This funny and heart-warming tale offers a great chance to talk to children about the true meaning of Christmas and how the birth of Jesus is more than enough reason to celebrate with or without the extra tinsel and wrapping.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

This 1965 animated cartoon is usually televised at least once every holiday season. Beyond “Chuck” choosing the most pathetic tree on the lot, or Snoopy engaging in his usual antics, there’s a deeper story here that your children may miss unless you point it out to them. Pay special attention to Linus””the character who always has a “blankie”””and listen as he recites the Christmas story from the book of Luke. If you watch carefully, you’ll see that as Linus explains Jesus’ birth his confidence grows and his blanket even drops””right in the middle””as he says the words, “Fear not.” The movie offers a great reminder of how Christ’s birth should give us confidence to face any obstacle. It can also offer a special reminder to moms or dads facing an unplanned pregnancy who feel afraid or uncertain about their future.

Christmas with the Kranks

Based on the John Grisham novel, “Skipping Christmas,” this comedic film starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Tim Allen has a humorous point to make about the meaning of Christmas. When lead characters, Luther and Nora Krank, learn their daughter isn’t coming home for Christmas, they decide to go on a cruise instead of celebrating the way they always do. This ruffles the feathers of their friends and neighbors. But, in the end, the Kranks learn that Christmas is not just about decorations and cards, but is about loving our neighbors and the spirit of giving. After the laughs, it could be a fun way to start a conversation about what the Bible means when it says it’s better to give than to receive, what it means to sacrifice for the ones we love, and why it’s not our stuff that makes life rich””but the people we share it with. Watching Luther’s heart soften towards his ailing, elderly neighbor could also offer a chance to talk about the value of every life””young and old.

What about you? What are your favorite Christmas movies? Let me know in the comments!