Tis the season to cozy up under a big blanket and watch a festive movie. But you’ve got a tiny person running around your house, and so Die Hard is not on the list of options. Love Actually probably wouldn’t hold their attention, and even Elf has those scary Central Park Rangers (it also presents the idea that some kids don’t believe in Santa, and you may not want to open that whole can of worms). Maybe your kid is a little older than a toddler, but you’ve noticed they’re pretty sensitive to movies and TV shows with themes that are even a little bit scary or unnerving.
Nonetheless, it’s cozy Christmas movie season and you’d really like to partake. Here, we’ve rounded up a solid, scare-free list of calm, sweet, soothing Christmas movies for toddlers. We’re using the word “movie” rather loosely — as parents of toddlers will likely understand — and including made-for-TV specials and shorts, too.
Tell your preschooler or little kid to hop into their Christmas jammies, or holiday footies, make a few big mugs of hot cocoa, and get comfy. Read on for a bounty of options for Christmas movie night fun that your littlest kid will truly enjoy. From relaxing, low-stimulation stop motion holiday magic to cartoon classics, your family will enjoy these festive flicks together for years to come.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Little kids, toddlers, babes in arms — since it aired in 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas has been the pinnacle of what a Christmas special can be. With Vince Guaraldi’s gentle and soothing score, and the nice slow pace that Charlie Brown is known for, your whole family can definitely snuggle up and enjoy this one together.
A Charlie Brown Christmas is available to stream on Apple TV+.
Olaf's Frozen Adventure
Sweetly festive, even the kids who are too little for the feature length — and scary parts — of Frozen will love this gentle 21-minute celebration of the joy of the winter holidays. In Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, we watch Arendelle residents prepare for various celebrations — with nods to Hanukkah as well as Christmas and solstice traditions. The music is cheerful, the snow is plentiful, and your toddler or sensitive little kid is sure to enjoy every minute of it.
Olaf’s Frozen Adventure is available to stream on Disney+.
Felt creatures in a British woodland wonderland, what could possibly be cozier? This adorable, 30-minute Christmas short from Aardman, the studio that gave us Wallace & Gromit as well as Shaun the Sheep, is cozy and calm. Gillian Anderson purrs as the voice of the primary antagonist — a not-too-scary cat.
Robin Robin is available to stream on Netflix.
The Snowy Day
Do our toddlers enjoy listening to this book as much as we enjoy reading it? One hopes. This sweet animated version of the beloved book by Ezra Jack Keats is not quite as quietly poetic as the book, but the spirit is still joyful and wintery and of course, there’s nothing to be scared of here, since your child likely already knows this classic wintertime story. At 39 minutes long, this is one worth making an extra large hot cocoa for.
The Snowy Day is available to stream on Prime.
A Trash Truck Christmas
Trash Truck is gentle, sweet, and it definitely qualifies and pretty low-stimulation for the littlest kids. As such, the Trash Truck Christmas special is an easy pick for must-watch Christmas movies for toddlers. No scaries at all — just Santa, Hank, Trash Truck, and the rest of your kids’ favorite neighborhood pals.
A Trash Truck Christmas is available to stream on Netflix.
Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas
Shaun the Sheep is considered by many to be mostly a gentle, not-too-stimulating show for little kids because there’s no talking. It’s definitely soothing (and genuinely enjoyable) for the adults who have to listen to whatever their toddlers are watching, and the Shaun the Sheep Christmas movie is just as delightful as anything Aardman has ever done. Expect typical Shaun goodness, plus snow and festivity.
Shaun The Sheep is available to stream on Netflix.
Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas
Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas was released directly to video back in 1999, which makes it sound a lot less promising than it actually is. It’s a feature-length anthology of three stories featuring the whole classic Mickey crew. It ends with a Minnie and Mickey version of the Gift of the Maji, which is delightful for grown-ups and possibly mildly educational for toddlers. Sweet and calm and safe watching for the whole family, this movie is sure to become a family holiday season tradition.
Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas is available to stream on Disney+.
Winnie The Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year
This hour-long, 2002 Winnie The Pooh special is cozy as they come (as are all Pooh Bear things, right?) and includes (you guessed it) New Year celebrations as well as Christmas. Common Sense Media says this movie is A-OK for kids 3 years old and up, but we think it would pass the toddler test, too.
Winnie The Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year is available to stream on Disney+.
Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas
He’s a good little monkey, and always very curious. And most of all, your kid already adores him so they’ll get nothing but joy from watching George sing and dance and celebrate the season with his friend, The Man in the Yellow Hat.
Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas is available to stream on PBS Kids.
Arthur Christmas is perhaps a more advanced toddler Christmas movie, so let’s call it a good pick for toddlers who are your 2nd child. You know the ones, right? The bulldozers. It’s not scary, but it is a real movie with some moments of real excitement that might be a bit much for the super sensitive ones. Nonetheless, it’s a good starter Christmas movie for a family movie night where you’ve got littles that just aren’t quite ready for Elf.
Arthur Christmas is available to stream on Hulu and Max.
Peppa Pig: Peppa’s Christmas and Other Stories
Your toddler loves Peppa because that’s a rule of toddler-dom, and the folks that make Peppa Pig know that. So, they made a Christmas special for you and for your little kid. Peppa and George send letters to Father Christmas, and enjoy the season with all the trimmings. Nothing to fast-forward through, nothing to stress about — nothing but festive fun here for even the most sensitive of toddlers.
Twelve days of sweet, fun Christmas movies awaits. Settle in, cozy up, and let it snow.
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