The tradition of watching holiday movies, whether they’re classic favorites or new releases, is a cherished part of the festive experience for many. The warmth, nostalgia, and messages of love and generosity found in these stories often evoke a special sense of magic during the holiday season. It’s a time when people come together, creating cherished memories and embracing the spirit of the holidays through the shared experience of storytelling.
Please note: This is a comprehensive holiday list for all ages. Please pay attention to movie ratings when making a selection.
- Home Alone (1990): With his family gone, Kevin initially revels in the freedom of being home alone. However, his joy is soon interrupted when he learns that two burglars, Harry and Marv, played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, plan to rob his house. Kevin takes matters into his own hands and sets up a series of booby traps to thwart the burglars and protect his home.
- Elf (2003): When Buddy discovers that he is not actually an elf and learns about his true human identity, he embarks on a journey to New York City to find his biological father, Walter Hobbs, played by James Caan. Walter is a workaholic businessman who is initially skeptical about Buddy’s claims to be his son and resistant to embracing the Christmas spirit.
- The Santa Clause (1994): According to the clause, Scott must become the new Santa Claus. Despite his initial disbelief, Scott undergoes physical and lifestyle changes that transform him into the iconic figure. As the new Santa, he must navigate the challenges of his new role, including delivering presents, managing the North Pole, and dealing with the reactions of those around him who doubt his newfound identity.
- The Polar Express (2004): The story follows a young boy, who is skeptical about the existence of Santa Claus, as he embarks on a magical train journey to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. The train is the Polar Express, a magical locomotive that takes children to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. Throughout the journey, the boy encounters various challenges and learns important lessons about friendship, bravery, and the true spirit of Christmas.
- The Christmas Chronicles (2018): On Christmas Eve, after their initial plan to catch Santa Claus on camera goes awry, the siblings join forces with Santa himself, portrayed by Kurt Russell, in a quest to save Christmas. They find themselves on an unexpected and magical journey, encountering various challenges and adventures as they help Santa deliver presents and restore the holiday spirit.
- The Night Before (2015): In the film, the characters played by Gordon-Levitt, Rogen, and Mackie decide to make their final Christmas Eve together memorable by searching for the ultimate Christmas party, known as the “Nutcracka Ball.” Throughout the night, they encounter various misadventures and reflect on their friendship as they navigate the city in search of the elusive party.
- Christmas with the Kranks (2004): In the film, Luther and Nora decide to skip the usual Christmas festivities and take a Caribbean cruise instead, as their daughter Blair is away. However, when Blair decides to return home for Christmas at the last minute, the Kranks find themselves scrambling to put together a traditional Christmas celebration. This leads to a series of comedic and chaotic events as they try to navigate the pressures of holiday expectations and create a festive atmosphere in a short amount of time.
- Arthur Christmas (2011): On Christmas Eve, a present for a little girl named Gwen is accidentally left behind at the North Pole. Arthur, along with his grandfather, Grandsanta, and an elf named Bryony, embarks on a high-spirited adventure to deliver the present before sunrise and ensure that no child is left without a gift on Christmas morning.
- Deck the Halls (2016): In the movie, Steve Finch (Matthew Broderick) is a traditionalist who takes pride in his modest Christmas decorations. When Buddy Hall (Danny DeVito) moves in next door, he decides to cover his house in so many lights and decorations that it can be seen from space. This extravagant display leads to a rivalry and a comedic battle between the two neighbors as they compete to outdo each other in Christmas decorations.
- Four Christmases (2008): Due to a series of unexpected events, Brad and Kate’s plans for a tropical vacation are disrupted, and they end up having to visit each of their parents’ homes in a single day. The film humorously explores the dynamics of family relationships, the complexities of holiday gatherings, and the various quirks of each parent’s household.
- Jack Frost (1998): In the movie, Jack Frost, a musician, dies in a car accident just before Christmas. A year later, he returns to life as a snowman, thanks to a magical harmonica his son Charlie (played by Joseph Cross) used to build a snowman in his memory. Jack Frost, in his new snowman form, has the opportunity to spend time with his son and make amends for not being there for him when he was alive.
- The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022): More of a stocking stuffer than a fully-rounded parcel, this yuletide excursion is a delightful showcase for Drax, Mantis, and a very game Kevin Bacon.
- A Christmas Story (1983): Based on the semi-autobiographical writings of Jean Shepherd, the movie is set in the 1940s and follows the misadventures of a young boy named Ralphie Parker as he dreams of receiving a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.
- Bad Santa (2003): Willie T. Stokes, a conman who, along with his dwarf partner Marcus, poses as a department store Santa and his elf during the Christmas season to pull off a heist.
- Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018): The Grinch, created by Dr. Seuss, is a fictional character known for his dislike of Christmas and his attempts to steal it from the Whos in Whoville. The Grinch lives with his loyal dog, Max, in a cave on Mount Crumpet, away from the festive and joyous atmosphere of Whoville.
- The Boss Baby: Christmas Bonus (2022): On Christmas Eve, due to a magical mishap or a mischievous elf, the Boss Baby and one of Santa’s elves accidentally swap places. The Boss Baby finds himself in the bustling North Pole workshop, while the elf is now in the corporate world.
- A Boy Called Christmas (2021): As Jesper and Klaus form an unlikely friendship, they work together to bring joy to the children of Smeerensburg by delivering handmade toys. The movie explores themes of kindness, generosity, and the power of spreading goodwill, ultimately becoming an origin story for the beloved figure of Santa Claus.
- An Elf’s Story: The Elf on the Shelf (2011): The “Elf on the Shelf” concept involves scout elves who are magical helpers that help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists by reporting back to him every night during the holiday season.
- Alien Xmas (2020): A small alien named X kidnaps an elf during Christmas, with the intention of stealing Earth’s gravity and seizing all the presents. The film combines humor, adventure, and a heartwarming message about the true meaning of Christmas.
- A Trash Truck Christmas (2020): Hank, Trash Truck, and their animal friends work together to rescue Santa and save Christmas for everyone involved. The show is known for its heartwarming and adventurous stories centered around friendship and teamwork, making it a delightful choice for young audiences.
- Trolls Holiday Special (2017): Queen Poppy enlists the help of Branch and the Snack Pack to bring holiday cheer to the Bergens and introduce them to the concept of celebrating special occasions.
- Klaus (2019): A selfish postman named Jesper befriends a reclusive toymaker named Klaus. Together, they form an unlikely friendship and bring joy to a cold and dark town by delivering handmade toys to children. Through their actions, they help to thaw the town’s bitterness and ignite the Christmas spirit.
- Holiday Rush (2019): A widowed radio DJ played by Romany Malco finds himself facing financial difficulties just before Christmas. He and his four spoiled kids must adjust to a less extravagant lifestyle and work together to navigate the challenges that arise during the holiday season.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000): The Grinch hatches a plan to steal all the Christmas decorations, presents, and holiday spirit from the Whos. However, his heart undergoes a transformation when he realizes the true meaning of Christmas, and he learns that the holiday is about more than just material things.
- Home for the Holidays (1995): After a series of misfortunes, Claudia spends Thanksgiving with her eccentric family, dealing with the challenges and humor that often accompany holiday gatherings. The film explores themes of family dynamics, love, and the complexities of relationships during the holiday season.
Whether it’s the classic tales of Santa Claus, the whimsy of Rudolph and his red nose, the enchantment of elves, or the magic of a snowy setting, these films have a special place in many hearts during the holiday season. May your movie nights be filled with laughter, warmth, and the joy that comes with celebrating this festive time of the year. Happy watching, and may your holidays be filled with delightful joys too!