What’s New and Streaming for Families for December 2020

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It’s December. And hoo-baby there’s a sleigh-full of new family movies flooding down the chimneys of your local neighborhood streaming services.  So instead of spelling out lots of detail on some suggested possibilities for your Christmas vacay viewing, I’m gonna go all bullet-pointy on ya. (Scroll down for some Christmas fare and where to find it.)

OK, let’s start with some everyday pics that you might like.

Netflix

E.T the Extra-Terrestrial (PG, 1982): Steven Spielberg’s mega-hit about a boy and his visiting alien buddy. Big family favorite. Tissues required.

Kung Fu Panda 2 (PG, 2011): An eminently likeable but chubby panda (voiced by Jack Black) somehow saves the day once again. No animated classic, but it’s still cheery, colorful and fun.

Monster House (PG, 2006): All about kids and a kid-eating house. All right, it’s a bit creepy and Halloweeny, and probably a bit much for littles, but it’s older-kid fare and mostly broad nonsense.

Amazon

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (PG, 2010): A young inventor whips up a machine that causes food-filled storms. Sounds, uh, cheesy, but it’s as fun as a barrel of your favorite fast food. And there are monkeys, too!

The Pursuit of Happyness (PG-13, 2006): This biographical drama follows a father and young son who must endure many difficulties of life. This one’s a little edgy in its content, but Will Smith and son make it a touching family movie.

Gandhi (PG, 1982): This stirring Academy Award winner will make for a solid Mom and Dad movie night with great performances and a bit of historical insight, too.

HULU

The Secret Garden (PG, 2020): A young girl discovers a hidden magical garden on her uncle’s estate. Lessons of bravery, kindness, empathy and resilience are front and center. But themes could be a bit grown up for littles.

Charlotte’s Web (G, 1973): Here’s another film based on a famous book—this one about a talkative pig and her spider friend. This version is animated and so sweetly webbed together.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (PG-13, 2001): The first entry in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Loads of action, bravery, magic and club-swinging orcs. Tolkien’s fantasy comes to vibrant life.

The Young Victoria (PG, 2009): The Young Victoria is a classically lush BBC-style period drama, taking viewers through a romantic history lesson that’s both beautiful and involving. Another Mom and Dad movie night? You bet!

Strategic Air Command (NR, 1955): Saga of the U.S. Air Force special bomber unit during the Cold War era. Add in Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson and you’ve got some old-movie gold.

And that’s only a small portion of the pretty family friendly fare you can stream this month. But how about Christmas pics, you ask? Well, here’s a quick run-down just for you.

White Christmas (1954): You can find this Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney classic over on Netflix.  

The Bishop’s Wife (1947): Cary Grant plays an angel who helps a Bishop and his wife. Romantic and Christmassy all in one. Amazon Prime.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946): A guy named George has big dreams that feel like big disappointments, until he realizes that God has always been using him in wonderful ways. Amazon Prime.

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944): Judy Garland, Christmas, great tunes and the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. What a combination. HBO Max

The Shop Around the Corner (1940): A pair of shop employees butt heads at Christmas time … until they realize that they’re really in love. HBO Max.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947): We’ve seen this tale of a Santa-doubting little girl done several times. This one, with little Natalie Wood, is the best. Disney+

Home Alone (1990): A boy forgotten and left behind at Christmas time saves the day from goofy bad guys. Pratfalls and comic thumps galore and the bad guys get coal in their stockings (and a few other places). Disney+

Muppet Christmas Carol (1992): Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and … Miss Piggy? Yep, it works. Disney+

Elf (2003): A human raised by elves takes a stab at family life in the human world. It’s goofy and sweet. Starz

Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970): Fred Astaire and Mickey Rooney are just two of the grinning stars who voice this TV movie classic about Santa’s origins. Peacock 

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.

3 Responses

  1. -Funny out of all the Rankin/Bass specials Santa Claus is coming to town is probably my least favorite along with the strangely weird Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. I much prefer the year without a Santa Claus, Frosty the snowman, the story of the first Christmas snow, twas the night before Christmas, Nestor, the little drummer boy, and the life and adventures of Santa Claus. Besides those I also greatly enjoy the grinch (the original and Jim Carrey versions) Elf, the Santa Clause one and three, Arthur Christmas, rise of the guardians, Grandma got run over by a reindeer, Santa buddies, the search for Santa Paws, the Santa Pups, and Home Alone one and two. Basically I just love Christmas specials, lol.

    1. – I can relate to your love of Christmas specials! However, I have never heard of “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” and frankly it sounds like a rather harsh movie. Can you explain it to me?

      1. -It was a song originally written in the 80s by someone named Elmo & Patsy. It’s a silly song really but extremely catchy and I’ve always loved it. The chorus goes “grandma got run over by a reindeer walking home from our house Christmas Eve. You can say there’s no such thing as Santa but as for me and grandpa we believe.” The special which originally came out twenty years ago expands on the song dealing with Jake Spankenheimers love of his grandma, his grandma’s store which serves fruitcake, and of course is the only person left in cityville who still believes in Santa. It even ends with a court case similar to that in miracle on 34th street. Basically it’s a lot of fun and always gets me in the Christmas spirit, but it’s also got its fair share of naysayers as well who believe it’s just too kitschy for its own good. Anyway that’s about the brunt of it. If you’d like to know more let me know on here and I’d be happy to explain it even further.

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