How about a little throwback? While watching White Christmas and It’s A Wonderful Life are at the top of my list during this time of year, my tweens and teens aren’t always willing to sit down with me and watch the classic black-and-whites. So, I’ve come up with a short-list of the best Christmas movies for teenagers that should help all of us encourage family time.

[The first three are laced with profanities, suggestive language, and/or violence. Use your discretion in sharing these movies with your teenagers.]

Scrooged (1988)

A selfish and cynical T.V. executive is haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve. Share a bit of history with your cynical teen. How great is Bill Murray in this take on the classic story of Mr. Scrooge? My favorite line: ‘That’s the one good thing about regret: it’s never too late. You can always change tomorrow if you want to.” (Rated PG-13)

Die Hard (1988)

John McClane, an officer of the NYPD, tries to save wife Holly Gennaro and several others, taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party in Los Angeles. Bet you can guess my favorite line. Here’s a hint: Yippie-ki-yay, bad guys! (Rated R)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Clark Griswold attempts to make it the very merriest Christmas for the whole family in this classic holiday comedy. But it’s not without a number of disasters, eccentric characters, and enough eye rolling from his kids to make it relatable. (Rated PG-13)

Deck the Halls (2006)

Two neighbors compete to put the “win” in “winter” after one of them decorates his house for the holidays so brightly it can be seen from space. (Rated PG)

The Polar Express (2004)

A young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express. During his adventure, he learns about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas. This movie has become one of our FAVORITE shows to watch on Christmas Eve. I can hardly believe this “new” classic been a staple in our home for over ten years! My favorite line: “The thing about trains… it doesn’t matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.”  (Rated G)

Elf (2003)

This hilarious Christmas film tells the tale of a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts on Christmas Eve and is transported back to the North Pole and raised as an elf. Years later Buddy learns he is not really an elf and goes on a journey to New York City to find his true identity. (Rated PG)

Fred Claus (2007)

Of the two Claus brothers, Fred is the troublemaker and polar opposite of his saintly sibling, Nicholas. When Fred’s criminal ways finally land him in big trouble, Nicholas bails him out and brings him to the North Pole to work off the debt by making toys. The headaches mount for St. Nick, who not only must deal with his troublemaking brother, but also an efficiency expert who has come to evaluate Santa’s operation. (Rated PG)

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

A creature is intent on stealing Christmas, so he puts the mean in green. Jim Carrey serves up all of his usual cooky antics — rest assured, teens, this is not your grandma’s old Boris Karloff cartoon! My favorite line: “MAX. HELP ME… I’m FEELING.” (Rated PG)

Christmas With the Kranks (2004)

With their daughter away, Luther and Nora Krank decide to skip Christmas all together until she decides to come home, causing an uproar when they have to celebrate it at the last minute. Will they be able to gather enough Christmas spirit to pull off a miracle? (Rated PG) 

The Santa Clause (1994)

When a man inadvertently kills Santa on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place. My favorite line: “Can we take a direct flight back to reality, or do we have to change planes in Denver?” (Rated PG)

Bonus: Harry Potter marathon!

These movies are not necessarily Christmas movies for teenagers, but I’ve included them, anyway. Our family’s favorite films to watch during Christmas break include adventures with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Start with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) and end with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011).

Be sure to make your movie marathon complete with a super cozy wearable blanket and popcorn, of course!

Maybe you need help figuring out what to gift a teen with this Christmas? We’ve got you covered with our teen/tween gift guides full of gifts that won’t make them roll their eyes.

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Desiree Townsend

Desiree is a Christ follower, wife and mom. #WakeUpAndLive