5 Family Friendly Christmas Movies for Anytime of Year
Noel Fisher and "Christmas"
For families who want to relax and be inspired by family friendly movies, here are some suggestions for your Christmas entertainment and inspiration. There are also recommended for any time of year because:
- There is so much more than the Christmas theme in these movies.
- Their humane themes are always relevant.
- They are all Hallmark Hall of Fame productions and credited by reviewers with excellence for family-values content as well as outstanding performances by the actors.
- There is potential for many enriching family conversations afterwards.
Really relax, smile, cry or cheer as you think appropriate. Your enjoyment is guaranteed.
No need to bother about foul language, nudity or violence. Plus, their humane themes are relevant year after year.
(1) A Dog Named Christmas
This movie, first aired on CBS in November 2009. It promotes several inspiring family friendly themes. The story, set on a Kansas farm, is based on a novel by Greg Kincaid. Its primary theme is kindness to animals; but it also promotes family and community spirit, respect for the developmentally-challenged, and the courage to let go of emotional trauma from the past.
Noel Fisher plays Todd, the challenged son of George and Mary Ann McCray (Bruce Greenwood and Linda Edmond). He hears a radio announcement soliciting families to provide foster care for dogs in a shelter, during the holidays. After much persuasion, his parents allow him to participate. He connects with a Labrador retriever and calls him Christmas. The father has a personal experience which makes him real firm that the dog must be returned after the holidays. Meanwhile, Todd works hard to enlist help from other families, causing all the animals in the shelter to be temporarily adopted. The effect of this venture is life-changing for Todd, his father and the entire family.
This movie will leave the spirit of kindness and cheer with your family long after Christmas is past.
(2) A Christmas Wish
A Christmas Wish originally aired on Hallmark channel in November 2011. It tells a story which could happen anytime anywhere; but in this plot, it starts one week before Christmas. Children will be inspired by the faith and courage of the children in the movie. The adults will feel compassion for the woman struggling to keep the Christmas spirit despite her misfortune, and everyone will be captivated by the good-will spirit of the community.
Martha Evans (Kristy Swanson) and her three children have been deserted by her husband and the children’s father. One of the three, Miles (Kevin Lee Herring III) is not hers biologically, but is the son of her husband Cal (Bart Johnson) from a previous relationship. Martha drives to a little town, rents a motel room and pleads with Trudy, (Tess Harper) the owner of a diner for a waitress position. Life is tough with bills to pay and a broken down car in need of repair. Sheriff Joe (K.C. Clyde) and others make an effort to help Martha and it seems that Christmas will be happy after all, until Cal comes back to serve divorce papers and insist that Miles go with him. Martha fights for Miles, whom his father eventually left behind because he still stutters.
The movie ends with the community united in good-will to Martha and her personal faith restored.
November Christmas Stars
(3) November Christmas
Based on the work authored by Greg Coppa, this story pulls at the heartstrings of all family members, with special significance to the children. It premiered on CBS on November 28, 2010. It takes place in a small town in Rhode Island, where a family aims to bring forward the holidays to accommodate their sick eight-year old daughter whose life is threatened by illness.
Tom and Beth Marks (John Corbett and Sarah Paulson) are the parents who struggle to support the positive attitude of their daughter Vanessa Marks (Emily Alyn Lind). Tom’s request for pumpkin and pine tree in August, gives Jess Sanford (Sam Elliott), the caring neighbor a clue concerning what he is trying to do. Eventually, the community gets involved. The plot develops slowly taking viewers through experiences of sorrow, solace, hope, and optimism.
Your family will witness a spirit of love and selflessness which they will want to imitate.
The Daniel Burton Family
(4) Christmas in Canaan
Premiered on the Hallmark Channel on December 12, 2009, this movie is based on the book written by Kenny Rogers and Donald Davenport. Set in Canaan, Texas amidst poverty and the racial prejudice of the sixties, two school children, one white and one black become friends. Racism is established at the start of the movie, but is not the dominating theme. The main plot focuses on the friendship of the young men, leading to the undocumented adoption of the black child by the white family, and the adventure of the mixed family.
Daniel Burton (Billy Ray Cyrus), the widower Dad steers the ambition of Rodney, the black male (Jaishon Fisher and Matt Ward, younger and older) as if Rodney were his own son. The family's love for Rodney is underscored in the risk taken by Bobby (Arien Boey, Darien Provost, Brenden Meyer) the younger son in the family, to help Rodney. Tears may well up in the scene where Daniel gives pictures of the Christmas gifts he would have given the children, including Rodney, if he had the means.
Forgiveness, hope, and selfless love are some of the virtues your family will want to view again and again.
(5) Christmas Comes Home To Canaan
It is advisable to watch the previous movie before watching the sequel which Hallmark first aired on December 17, 2011. Even if you don’t, you will be able to deduce that Bobber (the young Burton son, now played by Liam James) who got injured trying to help Rodney (Matt Ward) the black adopted son, is on his way to San Francisco for medical treatment -- a trip arranged by Rodney who has become a successful writer. The father, Daniel Burton (Billy Ray Cyrus) accompanies Bobber. Daniel meets and is attracted to physical therapist, Briony (Gina Holden). You will be tickled by his lame courting skills.
When Daniel invites Briony to Canaan for Christmas, his daughter Sarah (Emily Tennant) resents the new woman in her Daddy’s life. Feelings get hurt and Briony leaves. Daniel is devastated and Briony advises him to release his burden by helping to lift someone else’s. He takes on the racial prejudice handed out to Mr. Shoup (Julian D. Christopher) the black merchant. Meanwhile Sarah and the other children realize how much happier the father was in his relationship with Briony and they devise a plan to restore his joy. Daniel, the father, succeeds in improving life for both him and Shoup, and Bobber also scores a personal victory at the Christmas dinner.
You will want to replay this movie for lessons on the benefit of hard work, persistence, the power of unity in the family and the community.