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The best Christmas movies on TV in 2016

Section: Christmas
The best Christmas movies on TV in 2016

It’s Christmas, which means watching marathon sessions of Christmas movies on TV is a must. Snuggle up with your children and enjoy these essential Christmas movies, perfect for children but with enough comedy for us parents to enjoy too. 

Wednesday 21st December

Flight of the Navigator, BBC2, 8.35am
Not a Christmas film. But an excellent film nonetheless. A young boy disappears, and is found eight years later, without aging a day… A spaceship ride ensues, with some excellent supporting roles including a bush baby called Puckmaren, who totally steals every scene.

The Dog who Saved Christmas, E4, 8.10am
A talking dog, who saves Christmas. There’s not much more your kids need to know about this film before it becomes a favourite. Us mums will appreciate that Amber from Clueless stars in it, as does Dean Cain of Superman fame.

Puss in Boots, BBC1, 1.45pm
A Shrek spin-off, with our favourite character from the franchise – Antonio Banderas as Puss. Little ones will enjoy the animation, while there are enough comedy moments going over little heads for parents to enjoy.

Thursday 22nd December

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, BBC1, 1.45pm
Probably the worst of the Santa Clause series, but still an enjoyable Christmas romp. Features Martin Short as Jack Frost, who turns up at the North Pole to ruin Christmas. Plus, the in-laws turn up.

Friday 23rd December

Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure, ITV2, 10.30am
Everyone’s favourite massive dog gets into more comedy scrapes with a festive twist, with a runaway elf stealing Father Christmas’s sleigh, then thieves stealing all the toys, so Beethoven has to save the day. Guaranteed to make little ones laugh.

Miracle on 34th Street, Channel 4, 12.10pm
The original 1947 film, featuring Edmund Gwenn and Maureen O’Hara. We don’t love it as much as the updated version with Richard Attenborough, but it’s still a wonderful Christmas movie.

Snow Dogs, ITV2, 4pm
A dentist is shocked by the discovery that not only was he adopted, but his real mum has left him her pack of champion Huskies in her will. Fun with fluffy dogs and Cuba Gooding Jr.

Uncle Buck, ITV2, 7.05pm
It wouldn’t be Christmas without an airing of John Candy’s finest (surely) featuring a little Macaulay Culkin.

Christmas Eve

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, ITV3, 9.50am
The original outing of Roald Dahl’s beloved book, featuring Gene Wilder. Dahl apparently didn’t like this version, but it’s a real family favourite. Who can resist Augustus Gloop going up the chocolate tube?!

A Christmas Carol, BBC1, 11.30am
With Jim Carey and Gary Oldman, this is a different version of the classic Dickens tale. The motion-capture technology sets this apart from other movies, but the heart-warming message remains the same.

Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups, ITV2, 12.50pm
Loads of puppies running around trying to save the Christmas spirit. Family fun.

Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, 5Star, 1pm
An hour-long film starring everyone’s favourite grumpy cat. She unwillingly befriends a little girl and saves a dog that she hates.

Miracle on 34th Street, Film4, 11am
The 1994 version, with Richard Attenborough, and the little girl from Matilda. If this doesn’t make you love Christmas, nothing will. This Christmas movie will make the most cynical bah-humbug believe in Father Christmas again.

Arthur Christmas, Film4, 1.15pm
A surprise hit from 2011, this animated Christmas movie from the makers of Wallace and Gromit, Aardman Animations, and features some huge voices behind the characters – including James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, and Bill Nighy.

Scrooged, Channel 4, 2.45pm
Hilarious (we think) version of A Christmas Carol, featuring the ever-amazing Bill Murray as a heartless TV executive.

One Hundred and One Dalmatians, ITV, 4.20pm
The classic Disney animation, with Cruella de Vil trying to turn Dalmatian puppies into a luxurious fur coat.

The Muppet Christmas Carol, Channel 4, 5.50pm
Possibly our favourite adaptation of Dicken’s classic tale, this Christmas movie stars Michael Caine in the lead role, but the scene-stealer is surely Rizzo the Rat (“Light the lamp not the rat, light the lamp not the rat!”). One for the kids and adults to enjoy equally. Perfect for Christmas Eve.

The Polar Express, ITV2, 6.55pm
A charming Christmas movie, with Tom Hanks voicing one of the characters on the magical steam engine.

Christmas Day

Santa Claus: The Movie, ITV3, 9.15am
A fantastic Christmas movie to watch on Christmas Day morning. Dudley Moore excels as the ambitious elf who tries to take the toy factory in Lapland through the industrial revolution, but ends up unemployed, then manipulated by a nasty businessman wanting to make all children fly on Christmas morning with magic lollypops. Sounds ridiculous, but who doesn’t want ridiculous in a Christmas movie?! Your children will have ripped open all their presents by 9am so it’s perfectly timed.

It’s a Wonderful Life, Channel 4, 2.20pm
You do have to get to the end of this movie to realise why it’s ultimately the best Christmas movie ever, but persevere – it really is heart-warming.  

Frozen, BBC1, 3.10pm
Christmas dinner has been eaten, all the presents have been unwrapped, so time for you to have a nap on the sofa while the children enjoy Elsa and Anna, then waking you up with their renditions of “LET IT GOOOOOOOOOO!” at the top of their voices. Merry Christmas!

The Lion King, ITV, 3.10pm
If Frozen isn’t your thing, then switch from BBC to ITV to watch this brilliant Disney favourite.

Home Alone, Channel 4, 6pm
Need we say anything about this absolute classic?

Boxing Day

Four Christmases, Channel 4, 12.35am
You’re still awake after the Christmas Day excitement, and there’s still mince pies to eat and sausage rolls to finish scoffing. The children aren’t going to sleep as there’s still too much adrenalin (and sugar) in their systems, so put this on in the background while you have another sherry. 

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