5 classic holiday films paired with kid-friendly recipes

‘Tis the season for a festive family holiday movie night! Here are some favorite classic Christmas films and foods to serve with them. Use your taste buds to fully experience the movie and make a fun memory.


Spread Christmas cheer for all to hear . . .  and eat! When cheering on Buddy in the movie Elf, it’s imperative that all four food groups be represented: candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup.  

Meal: Buddy’s meal of spaghetti with syrup is legendary. While we’re not quite willing to commit to the level of sticky that would involve in our house, you can get it at Miss Ricky’s. If you’re staying at home, spaghetti is a great option on a cold winter night. Check out this yummy baked spaghetti and meatballs recipe from our archives. Another option is to make breakfast for dinner and make pancakes with syrup.

Dessert: Put together a treat bar and have kids assemble a small but festive bowl or cup with miniature candy canes and holiday candy. Holiday candy corn exists—you might have to look a little harder but it is sold at many stores or you can order it online. (If you want to avoid binging throughout the movie, put your treat bar in a separate room.)

A Christmas Story

There are some fun food tie-ins from this film that follows nine-year-old Ralphie’s holiday misadventures in the Midwest.

Drink: Remember Little Orphan Annie’s letter to Ralph with the decoder ring? Turns out that Annie’s secret message is “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.” Give your kids a taste of the past with this drink mix that is still available in stores and online.

Meal: Make a dinner of meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Whether you let your kids eat piggy style is up to you but if you go for it, please send us a pic! For a less messy more modern take on that classic pairing, try out this recipe for meatloaf cupcakes topped with mashed potatoes. You could also attempt to make the perfect turkey with these tips—just make sure to close your doors and windows closed to keep the neighborhood dogs from stealing it! Ordering in Chinese food is also an option.

Dessert: “Oh fuuuudge” is a classic line in the movie. Make your own fudge with this three-ingredient recipe or grab some fudge pops.

Home Alone

Kevin McAllister proves himself to be a junk food connoisseur when his family heads out for the holidays and leaves him behind. You don’t have to take it to quite the extreme levels he did to have a tasty and fun time watching this movie.

Snack: Kevin celebrates being home alone by jumping on the bed and eating microwave popcorn. Get popping!

Meal: Cheese pizza is a must for this movie. Get some recipes for homemade pizzas (including dairy and gluten-free options) here or order in.

Dessert: While fending for himself, Kevin decides to watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas while indulging in an over-the-top ice cream sundae. We get him and suspect your kids will, too. Don’t think a lot of instruction is needed here—just go with your frozen favorites and add in some crushed candy canes and red and green sprinkles for a festive touch.  Or try these Snowball Sundaes.

The Polar Express

All aboard as Tom Hanks’ conductor takes kids on the ride of their lives in this movie based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg.

Drink: The standout culinary delight in this film is hot chocolate. Find ways to spice up your hot chocolate here and dress it up here.

The Santa Clause

Keep it simple with this one about our favorite bearded present-bringing.

Dessert: Classic milk and the chocolate chip cookies that Tim Allen’s Santa cannot resist will be perfect for this film. Learn how to make the best chocolate chip cookies here or use this recipe  healthier chocolate chip cookies. Or go with an assortment of cookies using five easy recipes found here. If you’re not feeling culinarily inclined, find some favorite places around Chicago to purchase cookies here.

Follow Shannan’s blog, Between Us Parents

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