What’s New and Streaming for Families This December

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Astro Boy

It’s beginning to look a lot like … December. And when you’re not out shoveling the drive or trying to coax the dog to get his business done so you can cut short your wind-whipped walk, you might just be wondering what family-friendly movies are streaming this month.

So slip on your snowflake jammies and let’s take a look.

Netflix 

If you’re simply looking for some non-holiday fare that you and the kids can warm up to, Netflix has a few animated fun flicks to tuck in your viewing stocking.

Astro Boy (PG, 2009) After the devastating loss of his son, a scientist locks himself away in his labs and uses a new power source to create a DNA-enhanced, rocket-propelled, robotic version of his little boy. But can this grieving dad’s desperate grasp for emotional healing possibly turn out well? My review of this manga-based animation suggested that, “the kid-friendly encouragements toward love, friendship, self-sacrifice and being heroic in the face of danger are smile-inducing and warm.” So how can I disagree with that?

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (PG, 2009) Here’s another 2009 kid’s flick about an incredible sci-fi invention. This time it centers around an inventor who comes up with a machine that causes the clouds to rain all sorts of lip-smacking treats. It’ll be a boon for fighting world hunger, but who’s gonna clean up? I reviewed this one, too, and initially I went in thinking “cheese, and not the parmesan kind.” However, I was pleasantly surprised with its “smorgasbord” of positive kid encouragements and good old yummy fun.

OK, that’s some good stuff. But what if you’re longing for something with a little more Christmas jingle in its cinematic step? You could check out these:

The Princess Switch (PG, 2018) This new Netflix original stars former Disney teen star Vanessa Hudgens. She plays a young, pretty baker who flies off to Belgravia for a pastry competition, only to run into a future member of the British royal family who looks exactly like her. They exchange places and … well, you get the modern Prince and the Pauper vibe. Our reviewer Kristin Smith called this a sweet film. “There are a few kisses here and there, a suggestive reference, a few drinks and some rude comments. But, as predictable as Christmas itself, the characters here learn important lessons about life, love and honor as self-sacrifice shines brightly in this Netflix original.”

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (PG, 2000) This is director Ron Howard’s live-action take on the tale of the green, grungy Grinch who tries to steal away Whoville’s Christmas joy. It stars a fur-covered Jim Carrey and is packed with slapstick fun, though our reviewer Bob Smithouser suggests that parents read our full review before diving in with the tiniest tykes. “As Jim Carrey pictures go, it’s downright wholesome,” Smithouser said. “Still, it earned its PG rating for elements that will have many adults scratching their heads, wondering if it was all really necessary.”

You may have also heard that Netflix scored a big superhero pic for their December release list and it’s true. Beginning on Christmas Day you can watch:

Avengers: Infinity War (PG-13, 2018) A fearsome extraterrestrial named Thanos gathers together all the  ūber-powerful Infinity stones and calls forth a war to end all wars against the superhero Avengers and, well, every living thing in the universe. Your kids will likely want to see this heroic film and it is packed with high-flying self-sacrificial choices.

But our reviewer Paul Asay called for a bit of caution with this pic’s shocking conclusion: “Let me offer this warning: Infinity War will challenge many a moviegoer, especially young ones,” Asay said. “Kids and teens who’ve really invested in this universe will find this intense flick hard to watch at times.” So, again, our full review might give Mom and Dad a little extra insight for this December release.

Well, there you have a list of possible streaming pleasures for December and  … what’s that? You really want a few classic Christmas flicks? Movies with snow, decorations and a sappy tale as sweet as your cocoa? OK, it’s the holiday season so I’ll slip a couple of those under the bloggy tree as well.

You can find a fun Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye favorite on Netflix called …

White Christmas (1954) Here’s an old classic as clean as the driven snow and as fun as a toboggan ride. Two holiday seeking entertainers decide to gather the old gang together and give a song and a salute to a beloved officer of theirs from their days in WWII. Bing, Danny, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen sing, dance and get old-school sentimental. Oh, and “White Christmas”.

And if you want to sneak on over to Amazon Prime video you can also find another old classic Crosby Christmas crooner called:

Holiday Inn (1942) Did I mention the song “White Christmas”? Yep, Bing sang that holiday favorite in this movie too, about an entertainer who wants to get away from it all on a farm in Connecticut. But he can’t stay away from show business, so he turns the farm into a dinner club that only opens its doors on holidays. Ah, the joys of snow, Irving Berlin songs, Bing’s voice and Fred Astaire’s tappity tapping toes.

Over on YouTube you can find an absolutely free stream of:

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (G, 1964) Yep, it’s the old TV movie about a friendless reindeer with a glowing nose. I mean, who could have guessed that the thing he hated most about himself could end up being the very thing that saved the day? Christmas cheer and some solid lessons, too.

Happy Holidays gang.

Who wrote this?

Bob Hoose is a senior associate editor for Plugged In, a producer/writer for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey, a writer of plays and musicals and one-half of the former comedy/drama duo Custer & Hoose. He is a husband, father of three and a relatively new granddad.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

[removed] 6 days ago
This comment has been deleted
B Evans 4 days ago
Muppet Christmas Carol!
Rocketshipper 6 days ago
What about "Dumplin"?   Or do you not think that qualifies as family?
Anonymous 10 days ago
I'm a huge fan of Astro Boy (I have the entire 60's manga and the 2003 series on DVD and both are excellent.) So I might check out the 2009 movie on Netflix just to see how it stacks up even though I've heard that it's just, "okay."

-Evan