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Christmas TV and movies: Ten of the best for families to stream

There’s plenty of festive streaming fare for kids and families, from Bluey and Charlie Brown to the Minions

It’s a familiar scene. It’s the day after Christmas. The odour of sprouts has attached itself permanently to every soft furnishing in the house. The selection boxes have been pilfered, someone is snoring loudly in the corner and the kids are fighting over the remote control. Even worse – The Snowman is on. Again.

The 1982 adaptation of Raymond Briggs’s book is magical – of course it is. But when you’ve watched it every year for the past 40, the angelic tones of Aled Jones are enough to drive you to violence.

You’ve exhausted The Muppet Christmas Carol and Pinkfong Christmas Carols are sending you doolally (if you know, you know). It’s time for something new.

So, here are 10 family-friendly Christmas-themed TV shows and films that will keep the smallest members of the family happy without driving the bigger ones bonkers.


The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

(Apple TV)

Charlie Mackesy’s gorgeous 2019 book was brought to life last Christmas in an animation that remained faithful to the illustrator’s distinctive style. Mackesy’s tale of friendship – and the sometimes profound life lessons shared between its four unlikely protagonists as they search for a home – features the voices of Gabriel Byrne and Idris Elba. Everyone in the family will take something different from this.

Stick Man

(Prime Video/Google Play/YouTube)

If you’re a parent, chances are you’ll have encountered a Julia Donaldson story at some point. The recent TV adaptations of the likes of Room on the Broom and The Smeds and the Smoos have been enormous successes but Stick Man is a truly heartwarming, festive-themed tale.

Martin Freeman voices the titular Stick Man, who becomes separated from his loved ones and embarks on an epic adventure to get back to his ‘family tree’ in time for Christmas.

Bluey: Christmas Swim


By now Bluey has been rightly established as one of the best children’s animation series ever. The Australian show about a family of Blue Heeler dogs balances humour and sweetness with a deftness of touch rarely seen in children’s television.

The Christmas Swim episode explores family dynamics in a brilliant, subtle and realistic way as Bluey’s new toy, Bartleby, is introduced to the extended family on Christmas Day.

Hey Duggee: The Christmas Badge


There are few children’s TV shows as wholesome, sweet and witty as Hey Dugeee. The big, friendly dog, a camp leader of sorts, helps his charges, aka the Squirrels, learn a new skill (ie badge) in every episode – with a healthy smattering of in-jokes for parents, too.

This time, the Squirrels must help Duggee’s friend Clarence regain his Christmas cheer. There’s a short version on YouTube, but keep an eye on CBeebies over the festive period for the whole episode.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

(Apple TV)

Sometimes you can’t beat the classics – and the likes of Charlie Brown are all-too-often overlooked at the expense of the aforementioned Snowman. This debuted on US TV in 1965 and has held up well over the decades, as Charlie embarks on a mission to cure his low mood by directing a Christmas play.

When his friends mock his choice of Christmas tree, however, it takes a group effort to save the festive season for everyone’s favourite misanthrope. If you don’t get all warm and fuzzy watching this, well, bah humbug to you.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1988 miniseries)


It’s not strictly Christmas-themed but there’s no question that the BBC’s six-part miniseries adaptation of CS Lewis’s timeless novel is associated with the festive period for many – and not just because of its setting, where the White Witch has held Narnia in an eternal winter that’s less ‘snowy wonderland’ and more ‘Siberian Gulag’.

Despite the many adaptations over the years – including a solid 2005 version – this is undoubtedly the most authentic. The teens and tweens in the family will love it.

Angela’s Christmas


It wouldn’t be an Irish Christmas without a tale of hardship and, more importantly, family. This animated short film, based on Frank McCourt’s short story about a Christmas during his mother’s own childhood in Limerick in 1910 (and made by Dublin-based studio Brown Bag Films) will gladden the heart and warm the cockles.

Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas


As far as animated spin-offs go, Shaun the Sheep has to be one of the best. What started out as an incidental character in Wallace and Gromit has grown into an expansive series of stop-motion TV shows and films based around the ovine hero. This time a mishap on the farm leads to Shaun’s cousin Timmy going missing – and a suitably exciting rescue mission to find him in time for Christmas ensues.

Robin Robin


There’s something especially comforting about stop-motion animations based on Christmas themes; perhaps it’s the home-made charm of them. This fabulous short film (which was nominated for an Oscar) tells the story of a little robin who was raised by mice, who embarks upon a quest to find where she really belongs – and with whom. You may shed a tear.

Minions Holiday Special


Look, Minions are not for everyone. But there is something about those silly little banana-loving fellas that is like catnip for kids of a certain age. If nothing else, this collection of four mini-movies set around the holiday season will keep the youngsters entertained and (hopefully) quiet, for 20 minutes at least.