Like many families, mine consumes a lot of streamable entertainment. Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBONow – we’ve tried them all!
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The challenge of these services is that there are a lot of times where you just don’t have a WiFi connection to stream – particularly during travel. Airplane WiFi connections almost never allow you to stream video content. On road trips, our family is often using devices like our WiFi-only iPads that don’t have cell data service. The bottom line is that you’ve got to have your entertainment downloaded to your device to watch while traveling.
Starting last winter, Amazon started allowing Prime subscribers to pre-download certain shows and movies from the Prime free streaming library to devices to access while off-line. As you can probably guess, this feature is a lifesaver for traveling families.
And finally, just last week Netflix joined the downloadable content party by announcing that a number of streaming titles can be downloaded to mobile devices to access offline. It’s about time! (Unfortunately, all of the Disney content is blocked from being downloaded right now, but perhaps soon….)
Just in time for all of your family’s holiday travels, I’ve scoured the Netflix library for you to find the best family-friendly Christmas shows that you can now download and watch offline for free if you are a subscriber to the service. Load them up for that road trip to grandma’s house and get in the holiday spirit. (And do yourself a favor – as well as your airline seatmates – get the kiddos some earphones so no one else has to watch what they are watching. Our family swears by the Kidz Gear Wired Headphones which are available this holiday season on Amazon for just about $15 in 7 different colors.)
And can’t get enough downloadable Christmas content? Come back late this week for all my Amazon Prime holiday movie recommendations.
Netflix Christmas Shows that You Can Finally Download!
1. Thomas the Tank Engine Christmas Specials
With a 3 year old in my house, Thomas is a big part of our family’s entertainment life. If you have a train-obsessed kiddo, there are a number of Thomas holiday titles to choose from – enough to last you for an entire cross-country flight in fact! Try A Very Thomas Christmas, Merry Winter Wish, Santa’s Little Engine, Holiday Express, Thomas & Friends Ultimate Christmas, Thomas & Friends The Christmas Engines, and Merry Christmas Thomas.
2. The Legend of Frosty the Snowman
This modern take on the Rankin & Bass Christmas specials of old is a fun animated tale with a nice moral.
3. The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About Christmas
A Christmas special from PBSKids, featuring Martin Short as the Cat in the Hat with the usual Christmas hijinks.
4. Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas
A smart choice for toddlers and preschoolers – everyone’s favorite monkey – in this holiday special.
5. Ernest Saves Christmas
A corny slapstick take on Christmas – I remember well watching Ernest as a child and can’t wait to introduce my kids.
6. DreamWorks Holiday Classics
A cute collection of shorts from the DreamWorks animated character collection – Madagascar (and the Madagascar Penguins), Dragons, and Shrek. Also check out other DreamWorks Christmas offerings: Kung-Fu Panda Christmas and Happy Holidays from Madagascar.
7. Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes
Bring this New York City Christmas classic anywhere in the world with you on your holiday travels!
8. Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special
This might be the best Christmas special ever made. Pee Wee at the height of his hilariousness with special guests like Cher, Magic Johnson, Joan Rivers, and more. My 7 year old has watched over 100 times.
And if you have a streaming connection….
For those times you have streaming connectivity, don’t miss these other Christmas shows on Netflix not yet available to download but that are still free to stream!
1. White Christmas
This classic 1954 holiday musical is a smart choice for older kids or for a show the entire family will watch together. Bing Crosby singing the title number is not to be missed!
2. Miracle on 34th Street
This 1994 remake of the holiday classic stands the test of time, with an adorable performance by Mara Wilson. (Note: The subject matter does question the existence of Santa, but we’ve found it ultimately reaffirms that belief in our 7 year old at least. Tread carefully though.)
3. Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year
This sweet holiday take on the Disney and A.A. Milne classic is a great choice if you have toddlers or preschoolers.
4. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas
This Disney compilation features three Christmas tales – Donald Duck Stuck on Christmas, A Very Goofy Christmas, and Mickey and Minnie’s The Gift of the Magi. One word of warning – the Goofy short features a skeptical Pete questioning the existence of Santa, so skip this one if you don’t want to plant that seed in kids of a certain age!
5. Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas
This sequel features five more short animated Disney Christmas films that Fab 5 fans will love.
Have you found any other great holiday titles that your kids or your whole family loves? Share your recommendations!