If you are looking for a wholesome movie for a family night during the Christmas season, I have five great choices for you to consider.
These films all provide different contexts with which to discuss and process many topics together without compromising hearts. The conversations that can come from a few well-chosen stories can open wonderful doors of communication and, in our home, they often carried over to mealtimes and still do.
Taking the time to explore attitudes and different cultures gives you, the parent, a powerful opportunity of guide the character development of your children and instill biblical values while they are bonding with you at the same time. You can decide whether these movies are for your family or not.
1.) The Christmas Miracle Of Jonathan Toomey, 2007
The tale revolves around two lonely, broken people. Jonathan Toomey is a woodcutter who loses his ability to love when he lost his wife and child in a horrid accident, and thus earned the nickname Gloomy at the hands of misunderstanding town children. Thomas McDowell watched quietly as the death of his father ripped away his childhood innocence – and destroyed his young world. Now, Thomas’s single mother, Susan must sell their urban home and move, son-in-tow, into the countryside to live with her sister. When Thomas grows virtually inconsolable over the loss of a wooden nativity of the Christ child bequeathed to him by his dad, Susan asks Jonathan to carve a new one for the young boy. A most unexpected friendship blossoms between Thomas and the old woodcutter which heals the wounds and melts the heart of each hurting soul.
Here is a trailer:
We love the book The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by
Susan Wojciechowski, and the movie follows the book fairly closely.
2.) A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965
My husband loves this simple and poignant story because this captures his philosophy on so much of life. Winsome and endearing, this will soften all but the hardest of hearts.
Repelled by the commercialism he sees around him, Charlie Brown tries to find the true meaning of Christmas and serves to remind others of the true meaning of Christmas -the birth of Jesus Christ.
3.) The Christmas Candle, 2013
Our son took our daughter (and his twin) to see this on a ‘date’ this week; loving all things English, they enjoyed the simple story, costuming, and the setting in the Cotswalds. After I wrote the following about the movie, I realize that it hasn’t been released in DVD format yet. The Christmas Candle opened in theaters nationwide November 22 and may be playing in your area.
From bestselling author Max Lucado comes The Christmas Candle. Here is the trailer.
Deep in the heart of the English countryside lies the enchanting village of Gladbury. Legend has it every 25 years an angel visits the village candlemaker and touches a single candle. Whoever lights this candle receives a miracle on Christmas Eve. But in 1890, at the dawn of the electric age, this centuries-old legend may come to an end.
The fiery candlemaker must fight to preserve the legacy of the Christmas Candle. But when the candle goes missing, the miraculous and human collide in the most astonishing Christmas the village of Gladbury has ever seen.
A review: New Film Puts Christ Back into Christmas.
Anglophiles will appreciate The Christmas Candle’s look back at Christmas in the England of days gone by. It was filmed mostly on the Isle of Man. This movie for all ages marks the feature-film debut for British singing sensation Susan Boyle, whose original single, “Miracle Hymn,” serves as the ‘anthem’ for the movie.
4.) The Nativity Story, 2006
The Nativity Story is set in the cruelest of times under Herod’s torturous reign. This offers an excellent teaching opportunity (before viewing and after) to give a real context to this vital part of God’s Word, the birth of Jesus Christ. It is rich in historical significance, and the music is excellent.
An ancient prophecy regarding the arrival of a new Messiah, the King of Kings, is well known. Understandably, King Herod is concerned about the threat to his power…
Wise men also know of the prophecy, and having followed the alignment of the stars, they believe the Messiah will be coming soon…
Here is a review that offers insight, focusing on the nativity (as shown in the movie), the events surrounding Jesus’ birth, and how the film develops the characters “fleshing them out.”
Another review says: “You know the plot: After young Mary is betrothed to an older man, she is told by an angel that she will bear God’s son. She could be stoned for this pregnancy, but Joseph has a dream explaining the situation, and he takes her as his wife. They must then make the difficult journey to Bethlehem for the census, and they arrive just in time for the baby’s birth in a stable.
“It is a lovely story, told quite simply and tastefully. The costumes and village sets are rough-hewn and authentic-looking in earth-tones. The international cast features Keisha Castle-Hughes as a straightforward and uncomplaining Mary, used to hard work and Roman tyranny. Oscar Isaac is a warm and protective Joseph. Shohreh Aghdashloo is wonderful as Mary’s cousin Elizabeth; in fact, the entire cast is excellent.
“The movie is suitable for all ages, and I hope it becomes a tradition to show it on television every Christmas. It sticks to the Bible story and is happily lacking in Hollywood razzle-dazzle. The photography is beautiful and it is respectfully directed.”
It is along the lines of the The Ten Commandments in its cinematic scope, and follows biblical history closely (except for the number of wise men).
Note: You may wish to preview it (on YouTube) it to determine appropriate age for your children: the killing of the male children under the age of 2 years (2:00-2:47) and the birth scene (1:18:00-1:20:00).
It is also available on Amazon.com.
5.) Scrooge~A Christmas Carol, 1951
Watching this together has been one of our favorite family traditions! In fact, our children have much of it memorized by now.
First off, the 1951 British version, starring Alastair Sim, is simply the BEST of many, many out there (in our opinion). Dicken’s wonderful old story is so well-known that the actors really have to step up their game, and thankfully, Alastair Sim is a phenomenal Ebenezer Scrooge. He’s as genuine in his disdain as he is in his joy at the end.
“It was for your welfare that I made this visit, Ebenezer Scrooge…”
Jacob Marley’s ghost appears to Ebenezer Scrooge
It’s nearly impossible to make a bad movie out of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella A Christmas Carol. A bona fide classic, Dickens’ story is equipped with rich characters, an evocative setting, valuable messages, and wonderful sentiment.
“The lion’s share of entertainment is produced by unbelievers, promoting all kinds of unbiblical lifestyles. Soap operas and sitcoms are training the minds and hearts of parents, and animated movies ”babysit” and are training the hearts and minds of children. Jesus personally “entertained” by telling stories with biblical themes, and grounding His followers in the gospel. He warned them about false philosophies. Place your television in a public area. Carefully select videos and movies. Point out false philosophies and unbiblical lifestyles.” ~Inspire: Rediscovering Classic Family Films
”I will walk in my house with blameless heart. I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.”
~Psalm 101: 2b-3
What are your favorite Christmas movies?
Thanks for reading!