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Honest Reviews of Christmas Movies, By Kids

Turns out, kids know a festively contrived plot hole when they see one. But they're willing to forgive a lot in the name of Christmas magic.

Nicole Kear


Nothing says "it's finally winter break" like a non-stop lineup of family holiday movies. From the black-and-white classics (we see you, Miracle on 34th Street) to the groovy 1960’s stop action animations (hello, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) to the treasured comedies (Elf, anyone?) there’s something for everyone who loves the holidays. 

To get kid-approved movie recs, we asked – you guessed it – kids! Here’s what ten discerning moviegoers told us about their favorite holiday flicks:

Best Holiday Movie If You Like to Laugh So Hard You Short Hot Chocolate Out Your Nose


Elf, as reviewed by Liam, age 13, whose favorite part of the holidays is “when I am able to play sports with my family.”

What’s It About? “A kid-like grownup who goes to New York for Christmas and loves Santa.”.

My Favorite Scene: “It’s hard to pick one moment. I like the scene where he’s at the department store and he goes, “I know that guy!” about Santa Claus.”

Best For:  “Anyone who needs a laugh.”

Holiday Cheer-Meter: 6 out of 10 hot chocolates.

Best Christmas Movie Which Is Equally About Halloween


The Nightmare Before Christmas, as reviewed by Holden, 3 years old, whose favorite part of the holidays is “only Hanukkah because it’s my favorite thing in my whole life because it came right now and we light up the candles.”

What’s It About: “I don’t remember.” 

My Favorite Scene: “I like Jack the Pumpkin King because he has a lot of good songs.”

Best For: “It’s very scary. It gave me goosebumps. There’s a vampire and a zombie also. Dogs should not watch that movie.”

Holiday Cheer Level: ”This much Christmasy” (arms outstretched to the fullest potential)

Best Holiday Movie Doubling As a PSA About Gun Safety


A Christmas Story, as reviewed by Kate, age 11, whose favorite part of the holidays is “giving gifts to people and seeing their reactions.”

What’s It About? “A boy and a Christmas.” 

My Favorite Scene: “When he wears the bunny costume on Christmas morning and when he shoots his BB gun.”

Best For: “Grandpas because it reminds them of themselves.”

Holiday Cheer: 3.75 out of 5 Santa Clauses

Best Iconic Facial Expression in a Holiday Movie


Home Alone, as reviewed by Valentina, age 9, whose favorite part of the holidays is “hot cocoa and playing in the snow.”

What’s It About? “Home Alone is an action-packed story about a clever, sly 8-year-old who knows how to defeat the bad guys. And the lesson in this story is be careful what you wish for because he wished for his family to disappear and they left him HOME ALONE!!!”  

My Favorite Scene: “When he sets all the traps for the villains.” 

Best For: “I recommend it to everybody because it’s such a great movie.”

Holiday Cheer Level: 4 out of 5 ugly sweaters

Best Light Show in a Holiday Movie


National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, as reviewed by Stella, age 14, whose favorite part of the holidays is “being with my grandma in Tennessee.”

What’s It About: “Basically these people have Christmas at their house and they invite their in-laws and stuff — what could go wrong?”

My Favorite Scene: “I like when they cut into the turkey and it’s like dust, because it’s so dry.” 

Best For: “Probably tweens and teens, someone who is looking to laugh a little bit.”

Holiday Cheer Level: 3 out of 5 Christmas trees you can see from outer space

Best Holiday Movie Theme Song

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, as reviewed by Emma, age 15, whose favorite part of the holidays is “decorating the Christmas tree. The joy and happiness that is in the air is just so amazing!”

What’s It About? “It’s a funny holiday classic about a scrooge who decides to steal all of the gifts from Whoville.” 

My Favorite Scene: “When the Grinch’s heart grows, because it’s always nice to see a happy ending.”

Best For: “Families of preteens for a good laugh.”

Holiday Cheer: 5 out of 5 roast beasts, “Because it reminds you to look at life positively.”

Best Super-Old-School Stop-Motion Animation Holiday Movie


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, as reviewed by Lilly, age 11, whose favorite part of the holidays is “being with family.”

What’s It About? ”A misfit reindeer who runs away and then has to get back to the North Pole to save Christmas.” 

Favorite Scene: “When Rudolph goes with Santa to save the misfit toys.” 

Best For: “Kids.”

Holiday Cheer: 4 out of 5 magic sleighs

Best Girl Power Holiday Movie


Noelle, as reviewed by Anika, age 9, whose favorite part of the holidays is “being with family, opening the presents and putting the ornaments on her Christmas tree.”

What’s It About: “It’s about Noelle becoming Santa when she is a girl because her brother doesn’t like being Santa and her dad passed away.”

My Favorite Scene: “My favorite scene was probably when this little reindeer named Snowcone was gonna lead the sleigh when it was her first Christmas to bring the presents.”

Best For: Val, Coco, Livia, Lola my dog, and my parents 

Holiday Cheer: 5 out of 5 Santa hats, ”Because it’s just so cheery,”

Best Holiday Movie Involving School Invasion and a Heroic Dog


Christmas Break-In, as reviewed by Julia, age 10, whose favorite part of the holidays is “trying to catch Santa and then realizing I should not try to catch Santa.”

What’s It About? “A nine-year-old girl named Izzy wants to get a guitar at a guitar sale and her parents forget to pick her up. Then she fights criminals at her school, with a dog.”

My Favorite Scene: “When the dog helps Izzy out with capturing the bad guys so she can get to her friend.”

Best For: “People who like Christmas movies about ways to fight a criminal in your school.”

Holiday Cheer Level: A 3 and a half, “because it doesn’t mention Christmas that much but you can see it’s snowing out and it’s the day before break.”

Best Feel-Good Holiday Movie


The Christmas Chronicles, as reviewed by Verusca, age 7 but almost 8, whose favorite part of the holidays is “the snow!”

What’s It About: “Two kids save Christmas with Santa.”

My Favorite Scene: “That Katie and her brother want to find Santa so they put on a little tiny bell that’s attached to the chimney so when it rings it will wake them up and they’ll see Santa,”

Best For: “Everybody in the whole world because it’s so magical and good.”

Holiday Cheer: 5 out of 5 Tiny Tims. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good family movie night!