Underrated Family-Friendly Christmas Movies You've Probably Never Seen
Need a break from the old standbys? Here are a few underrated options to add to your family's must-watch holiday movie list.
Movies like A Christmas Carol, Home Alone, Elf, and A Charlie Brown Christmas are as Christmas as stockings by the fireplace, presents under the tree, and snow falling outside.
But much like Santa’s reindeer, there are some wonderful movies that always seem to fly under the radar around Christmas time that you may have never seen (or heard of)! Let us share some of our favorites with you and your family and you may just have a new movie to add to your must-watch list during the holidays.
1. “Jingle All The Way”
Year: 1996 Rating: PG Run Time: 1 hr 29 min
What happens when a workaholic Dad makes a promise to his son to get him the only toy he wants for Christmas, only to realize it’s sold out everywhere? Absolutely absurd Austrian-accented antics occur, that’s what! Filled with laughs and heartwarming moments, this is a personal favorite — and shows what happens when you don’t shop at CAMP (just sayin’)!
2. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”
Year: 1998 Rating: PG Run Time: 1 hr 26 min
For all the kids out there who can’t wait to grow up, go away to college, and get away from their parents — this movie is a great reminder that the holiday season really isn’t special at all without family. The endearing message comes through a genuine and heartfelt story that includes one boy wearing a glued-on Santa suit, a bunch of Santas running a 5k, and a ton of other laugh-worthy moments.
3. “Call Me Claus”
Year: 2001 Rating: PG Run Time: 1 hr 30 min
Here at Camp, we love toys so much that this movie had to make an appearance on our list. According to this film’s magic system, the mantle of Santa Claus must be passed down to someone new every 200 years — and the time has finally arrived for Santa to find his replacement. To his surprise, he finds success in a toy-selling shopping executive, played by Whoopi Goldberg, who needs to rediscover her Christmas spirit.
4. “Fred Claus”
Year: 2007 Rating: PG Run Time: 1 hr 56 min
Nothing says “fully functioning family” more than a little bit of sibling rivalry and parents playing favorites amongst their children. In this movie, when Santa Claus’s younger (and way more carefree) brother, Fred, comes to the North Pole, he ends up stirring up trouble, saving Christmas, and bringing his family closer together in the process.
Year: 2009 Rating: PG Run Time: 1 hr 45 min
After grade school teacher Paul’s girlfriend breaks up with him right before Christmas, he has no interest in joy or holiday spirit. But when he learns that a rival from drama school is staging a Nativity play at a rival school, Paul plans his own show, and lies about a famous Hollywood producer who is going to turn his Nativity show into a feature film. When the lie gets out of hand so does, well, everything. Hilarity and musical numbers abound!
6. “Arthur Christmas”
Year: 2011 Rating: PG Run Time: 1 hr 37 min
The animated film Arthur Christmas pulls back the curtain on how exactly Santa is able to deliver presents to every child in the world on Christmas Eve with the help of his sons, elves, and some fancy technology. When Santa’s operation slips up and one child in the world is left without presents, it’s up to Santa’s goofy and kindhearted son Arthur to save Christmas!
7. “Get Santa”
Year: 2014 Rating: PG Run Time: 1 hr 42 min
After a freak accident causes Santa to crash his sleigh, he gets taken in by the local police while trying to wrangle his reindeer. Santa Claus is sent away to prison with only days remaining before Christmas, so he’s forced to enlist the help of a son and his father (who refuses to believe Santa is real) to save the season!
8. “The Man Who Invented Christmas”
Year: 2017 Rating: PG Run Time: 1 hr 44 min
What would Christmas be without Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the famous tale that introduced us to cultural icons like Scrooge, the term “humbug,” and ghosts that scare us into appreciating the holidays? This movie tells the tale of Charles Dickens himself and how he came to write the story that would move hearts for generations to come.
9. "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms"
Year: 2018 Run Time: 1 hour 40 min
This enchanting film follows the main protagonist, Clara, as she ventures into and explores a strange and mysterious world where elements from the classic Nutcracker ballet are brought to life in unexpected, colorful, and musical ways. If you're not sure your kids would sit through the actual Nutcracker ballet, this is a way into the story that's kid-friendly and full of surprises.
Year: 2019 Rating: PG Run Time: 1 hr 40 min
After Santa Claus passes away, his son Nick struggles to fill his father’s shoes — and actually runs away because of all the pressure! It's then up to Santa’s daughter, Noelle, to find Nick and save the holiday. She may even need to suit up herself to get the job done right.
Year: 2019 Run Time: 1 hr 37 min
Klaus is a beautifully animated film that tells the story of an unlikely partnership that develops between down-and-out postman Jasper Johannson, and a reclusive toymaker named Klaus. As their friendship grows, they work together to deliver presents and fill Christmas with love.
12. "Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey"
Year: 2020 Run Time: 2 hr 2 min
Renowned for his amazing and innovative toy inventions, toymaker Jeronicus Jangle suddenly finds himself in trouble when his apprentice returns to steal the one-of-a-kind toy that he has been working on for the past 30 years! Jangle’s granddaughter steps in with an idea to save the day. Oh, and did I mention that this movie is also a musical?!
13. "The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special"
Year: 2020 Run Time: 44 min
With the evil Empire no more, everyone across the Star Wars galaxy is able to once again celebrate Life Day, a holiday of friendship, family, and connection. The film goes on to show how other Star Wars fan favorites like Yoda, Chewie, Rey, and yes, even Darth Vader, prepare to celebrate with a joyous feast all with classic LEGO movie humor.