We begin watching holiday movies around Halloween.
You know it’s not Christmas until Hans Gruber falls from Nakatomi Tower.
This list has something for everyone – kids cartoons, comedies, romance, nostalgic, endearing…and those ridiculous or action movies that just happen to take place over Christmas.
A lot of these films are in the discount bins at Walmart. Some are on Netflix or stream free or cheap on Amazon. Others, we borrow from the library. We’ve collected quite a few over the years.
50+ Best Holiday Movies:
One Christmas Eve a long time ago, a baby crawled into Santa’s bag of toys Raised as an elf. Buddy goes looking for his true place in the world–in New York City.
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
The comic misadventures of the beleaguered Griswold family continue in this latest “Vacation” outing, the third and most successful of the series.
- White Christmas
Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye team up to enliven a winter resort inn. The Irving Berlin musical score sparkles with some great tunes, including the magical title track.
- A Christmas Story
Ralphie wants only one thing: a Red Ryder Range 200-Shot BB gun. When he mentions it at the dinner table, his mother’s immediate reaction is that he’ll put his eye out. He then decides it’s the perfect theme for a report for his teacher, but her reaction is like his mother’s. He fantasizes about what it would be like to be Red Ryder and catch the bad guys. When the big day arrives he gets lots of presents under the tree including a lovely gift from his aunt that his mother just adores. But what about the BB gun?
- Home Alone
Accidentally left behind when his parents rush off on their Christmas vacation, eight-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) embarks on a hilarious, madcap mission to defend the family home when two bumbling burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) try to break in and find themselves tangled in Kevin s bewildering battery of booby traps!
- The Nativity Story
In a story of profound faith one young woman struggles with the destiny as she is chosen to give birth to the Son of God and to become the object of salvation for billions of souls.
- The Star of Bethlehem
From Producer Stephen McEveety comes an amazing documentary on the Star of Bethlehem. This presentation, has rapidly grown in popularity around the world by thousands who have seen this dramatic revelation as it explores the exciting truth of scripture and reveals the evidence for God’s existence as seen in the stars above. Presenter Rick Larson walks you through Biblical and historical clues revealing the incredible significance of this celestial event as well as the vastness of God’s creativity. Features: Produced by Stephen McEveety, Dramatic presentation on the significance of Bethlehem’s Star and its connection to the life of Christ.
- The Star
Bo, a brave donkey, and all his new hilarious animal friends go on the adventure of their dreams filled with lots of laughter.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home cause confusion.
- Ernest Saves Christmas
High-flying reindeer! Mischievous elves! Warp-speed sleigh rides! Get set for a magical dose of holiday cheer, zany season’s greetings, and spell-binding special effects in this fast-paced, heartwarming comedy hit! When Santa Claus decides to retire and pass on his magic bag of Christmas surprises to a new St. Nick, he enlists the aid of a hilarious assortment of characters, including that lovable know-it-all Ernest P. Worrell (Emmy Award-winning comedian Jim Varney)! Along the way, Santa and Ernest help a cynical teen experience the season’s spirit like never before. And that’s where the fun — and magic — begin!
A small town is besieged by some furry and not-so-cute little creatures after a young man ignores the warnings of a wise elder regarding their care and feeding.
- Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Steve Martin and John Candy star in John Hughes’ classic tale of holiday travel gone awry. Neal Page (Martin) is an uptight advertising executive trying to get home to Chicago for Thanksgiving. When his flight is rerouted to Wichita, he reluctantly partners with Del Griffith (Candy), a n obnoxious yet lovable salesman. Together, they embark on a cross-country adventure that includes various m odes of transportation, hilarious mishaps, and unforgettable rental car shenanigans
- Mixed Nuts
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, the only creatures stirring were a transvestite, a homicidal Santa, a serial killer, the staff of a suicide hotline and a very crazy pregnant woman.
- Trading Places
The fun begins when the rich and greedy Duke Brothers wager a bet over whether born loser Valentine could become as successful as the priggish Winthorpe if circumstances were reversed.
- The Family Man
Jack Campbell (Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage) is a single, wealthy Wall Street trader living the high life in New York City. All that magically changes one winter morning when he wakes up in suburban New Jersey next to Kate (Tea Leoni), the girlfriend he left 13 years ago. He’s now got two kids, he’s traded in his Ferrari for a minivan all while trying not to lose his mind. Find out what it takes for a single-minded businessman to become The Family Man in this heartwarming holiday comedy about second thoughts and second chances.
- Charlie Brown Christmas
Christmastime is here. Happiness and cheer. And for Peanuts fans everywhere, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without this classic holiday delight. Christmas lights may be twinkling red and green, but Charlie Brown has the Yuletide blues. To get in the holiday spirit, he takes Lucy’s advice and directs the Christmas play. And what’s a Christmas play without a Christmas tree? But everyone makes fun of the short, spindly nevergreen Charlie Brown brings back – until the real meaning of Christmas works its magic once again
- Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Every who down in Who-ville likes Christmas a lot, but the Grinch who lived just north of Who-ville did NOT! So the cuddly as a cactus Grinch (with termites in his smile and garlic in his soul) tries to wipe out Christmas for the cheerful Who-villains, only to discover: maybe Christmas, he thought doesn’t come from as store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more! Magnificently narrated by Boris Karloff and animated by cartoon legend Chuck Jones, it’s an award-winning Who-roast-beast-feast of a holiday classic!
- Joyeux Noël
JOYEUX NOEL (Merry Christmas) tells the true-life story of the spontaneous Christmas Eve truce declared by Scottish, French and German troops in the trenches of World War I. Enemies leave their weapons behind for one night as they band together in brotherhood and forget about the brutalities of war.
- A Midnight Clear
This WW2 psychological drama plays out at Christmas. US GIs hold an isolated cabin in the Ardennes against a handful of Germans cut off from their main force. Combat-weary and short of rations, both sides are determined to survive.
- The Muppet Christmas Carol
Greetings, holiday movie fans and culture lovers, I am the Great Gonzo…or, as I am better known to fans of this classic motion picture – literary legend Charles Dickens. Ready to laugh, cry, sing, frolic, cavort and enjoy yourself beyond belief!? Well, you’re in luck, because this 20th Anniversary Edition of Disney’s THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL is guaranteed to put you in a holiday spirit that will stay with you forever – or at least until your Aunt Ruth starts complaining that nobody is eating the fruitcake she brought…again! The incredible spectacle of Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, Miss Piggy as Emily Cratchit, Michael Caine as Scrooge, wonderful songs by Paul Williams, and, of course, my pal Rizzo the Rat as…well, Rizzo the Rat. A heartwarming and hilarious holiday classic, told as never before! Yule love it! Happy Holidays!
- A Muppet Family Christmas
You’re invited to a zany holiday celebration, as Fozzie Bear and all of his showbiz pals head for the country to spend Christmas at Fozzie’s Mom’s farmhouse! With snow falling outside and more friends dropping by carolers from Sesame Street and visitors from Fraggle Rock something magical happens! The sparkle of the stage lights up the farmhouse as the Muppets share their gifts of music, a play, and of course Fozzie’s stand-up comedy act! When Miss Piggy arrives through sleet and snow to catch Kermit under the mistletoe the cast is complete for a warm and wonderful MUPPET FAMILY CHRISTMAS.
- It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas
Join Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Miss Piggy and the entire Muppet gang in It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie! ‘Tis the night before Christmas and the Muppet Theater is in danger of being torn down. When bad goes to worse, Kermit begins to believe that the world would be a better place if he had never been born. With heavenly help and hilarious send-ups of just about every holiday movie ever made, Kermit and the Muppets discover what matters most is their love for each other. Featuring a celebrity cast including David Arquette, Joan Cusack and Whoopi Goldberg plus show-stopping musical numbers like ‘Moulin Scrooge!’, this heartwarming holiday classic will bring joy to the world every Christmas season!
- Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas
Disney’s biggest stars shine in a magical, heartwarming movie sure to become a holiday classic! Mickey, Minnie, and their famous friends Goofy, Donald, Daisy, and Pluto gather to reminisce about love, magic, and surprises in three wonder-filled stories of Christmas past. In the fine tradition of Disney’s superb storytelling, Minnie and Mickey recall the year they both gave up what was most important to them for the sake of the other, making for one unforgettable Christmas. Goofy and Max retell when they experienced a series of hilarious but season-shaking events … until a visit from the real Santa made it a most magical holiday. Thinking back to when they wished Christmas was every day, Donald’s nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie remember their dream turning into a comical catastrophe, eventually teaching them what true holiday spirit is all about. Featuring the entire cast in a finale of merry, magical Christmas songs — all the excitement of MICKEY’S ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS is ready to unwrap for holiday family fun!
- Rise of the Guardians
An epic adventure of a group of heroes with extraordinary abilities. When an evil spirit, Pitch, tries to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces to protect the hopes, beliefs and the imagination of children all over.
- Alvin and the Chipmunks
When down-on-his luck musician Dave Seville discovers singing trio Alvin and the Chipmunks, he seizes the opportunity to put together his songwriting skills with the ‘Munks unique talents.
- Babes in Toyland
A little girl from Cincinnati is suddenly catapulted into a dream world, a fantasy town called Toyland. Populated by life-size teddy bears and puppets, Toyland seems to be a happy, cheerful community. But villainous Barnaby is scheming to turn Toyland into a nightmare and when the little girl finds out she tries to stop him.
- The Nutcracker
The New York City ballet performs the Tchaikovsky-Petipa fairy tale of a girl and her doll-turned-prince.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Little Drummer Boy, The Miser Brothers, Frosty the Snowman…all those classics!
The perfect way to get the Christmas season started. 4-disc gift set includes Rankin and Bass’s most beloved Christmas specials plus the Dr. Seuss Holiday classic. DISC 1: DR. SEUSS’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! From animation legend Chuck Jones comes one of the best holiday cartoons of all time, adapting the Dr. Seuss story and starring Boris Karloff as the voice of you-know-Who. Also Includes: THE LEPRECHAUNS’ CHRISTMAS GOLD, PINOCCHIO’S CHRISTMAS, and THE STINGIEST MAN IN TOWN DISC 2: THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS DELUXE EDITION When Santa decides to retire one Christmas, Mrs. Claus takes action. Baby New Year is missing – and a certain red-nosed reindeer leads the search. And a kind-hearted burro, mocked for his ears, takes a special journey to Bethlehem. Also Includes: RUDOLPH’S SHINY NEW YEAR and NESTOR THE LONG-EARED CHRISTMAS DONKEY DISC 3: FROSTY’S WINTER WONDERLAND Frosty’s The Snowman’s marriage is threatened by jealous Jack Frost. ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS Clement Moore’s classic poem comes to charming new life. DISC 4: RUDOLPH AND FROSTY’S CHRISTMAS IN JULY The feature-length delight about what happens when a certain reindeer’s nose stops shining!
- Arthur Christmas
How CAN Santa deliver billions of presents to the whole world in just one night? With an army of one million combat-style Field Elves and a vast, state-of-the-art control center under the ice of the North Pole! So how could this incredible operation have MISSED one child?! To Santa’s young son, Arthur, it threatens to end the magic of Christmas. With retired Grandsanta, a rebellious young elf, an old sleigh and some untrained reindeer, Arthur sets out in a crazy mission to deliver the last present!
- Saving Santa
A lowly stable elf (Martin Freeman) must travel back in time to save Santa’s Kingdom from the evil Neville Baddington (Tim Curry).
- Prep & Landing
On Christmas Eve, a high-tech team of elves from an elite unit known as “Prep & Landing” ensures homes around the world are prepared for Santa’s visit. But when two hilarious little elves face unexpected challenges and are pushed to their limits, it’ll take a great big effort to save the season. Enjoy a heartwarming holiday classic sure to make everyone’s Christmas list! BONUS: The outrageous yuletide adventures of Christmas elves Lanny and Wayne continue in this totally tinsel adventure that reminds us there’s room for everyone on the “nice” list. Santa’s stealthiest little elves must race to recover classified North Pole technology, which has fallen into the hands of a computer-hacking naughty kid, in order to stop Christmas from descending into chaos. Bring the family together for a comical adventure that puts the Ho, Ho, Ho in your holidays!
- The Santa Clause
A bizarre twist of fate transforms a divorced dad into the new Santa.
- The Polar Express
The Polar Express is the story of a young boy who on Christmas Eve boards a powerful magical train headed to the North Pole and Santa Claus’s home. What unfolds is a journey of self-discovery, which shows the boy that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.
- Jack Frost
Michael Keaton stars in this fantasy adventure about a man who becomes a real father to his son after returning to life. A year after his father’s death on Christmas Day, a young boy builds a snowman and dresses it with his father’s hat, scarf and gloves. That night, the boy’s wish comes true: His father returns to life–as the snowman.
- Jingle All the Way
Arnold Schwarzenegger returns in a new holiday comedy as a father determined to buy his son that “must have” Christmas toy during a frantic shopping spree on Christmas Eve.
A wounded reindeer and a precocious eight-year-old girl form an everlasting bond in this tender holiday drama about true devotion and friendship.
- Scrooged or any version of The Christmas Carol
A cynically selfish TV executive gets haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve.
- Home for the Holidays
Claudia Larson is heading home for yet another chaotic and exasperating family Thanksgiving. But a new visitor offers some interesting possibilities. If they can duck the flying turkeys, this romance may just have a chance.
- Four Christmases
One happy couple; four dysfunctional, divorced parents who all insist on celebrating with their kids; a single, well-planned, happy day quickly spins out of control in to the madcap whirlwind of Four Christmases.
- Christmas with the Kranks
When their only daughter Blair leaves the family nest, Luther and Nora Krank decide to book an island cruise to beat the yuletide blues and just skip the holidays. But their decision to boycott tradition has the whole neighborhood in an uproar, and when Blair calls on Christmas Eve to announce a surprise visit with her new fiancé, the Kranks have just twelve hours to perform a miracle and pull themselves and their neighbors together to throw the best celebration ever!
- Love Actually
Funny, charming and heartwarming, this delightful romantic comedy follows eight couples whose lives intersect shortly before Christmas.
- Bad Santa
The baddest Santa ever comes to town with the hilarious Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, and John Ritter! Ill-mannered store Santa Willie Stokes is really a safecracker with a holiday tradition of making one big score every Christmas Eve with his clever Elf-partner-in- crime Marcus. But this year’s heist-fest could be completely foiled by a snoopy store manager, savvy mall detective, sexy Santa fan, and an innocent 8 year old misfit who thinks the intoxicated and felonious Willie is the real Santa he seeks.
- The Ref
Denis Leary plays an unfortunate cat burglar, who is abandonded by his partner in the middle of a heist and is forced to take an irritating Connecticut couple (Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis) hostage. He soon finds that he got more than he bargained for when the couple’s blackmailing son and despicable in-laws step into the picture. Before long they’re driving him nuts with their petty bickering and family problems. The only way for him to survive is to be their referee and resolve their differences before he can be nabbed by the police.
- The Royal Tenenbaums
Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) and his wife, Etheline (Anjelica Huston), had three children — Chas, Margot, and Richie — and then they separated. Chas (Ben Stiller) started buying real estate in his early teens and seemed to have an almost preternatural understanding of international finance. Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) was a playwright and received a Braverman Grant of $50,000 in the ninth grade. Richie (Luke Wilson) was a junior champion tennis player and won the U.S. Nationals three years in a row. Virtually all memory of the brilliance of the young Tenenbaums was subsequently erased by two decades of betrayal, failure, and disaster.
- The Holiday
In Nancy Meyers’ The Holiday, a romantic comedy from the director of Something’s Gotta Give and What Women Want, two women trade homes only to find that a change of address can change their lives. Iris is in love with a man who is about to marry another woman. Across the globe, Amanda, realizes the man she lives with has been unfaithful. Two women who have never met and live 6000 miles apart, find themselves in the exact same place. They meet online at a home exchange website and impulsively switch homes for the holiday. Iris moves into Amanda’s L.A. house in sunny California as Amanda arrives in the snow covered English countryside. Shortly after arriving at their destinations, both women find the last thing either wants or expects: a new romance. Amanda is charmed by Iris’ handsome brother Graham and Iris, with inspiration provided by legendary screenwriter Arthur, mends her heart when she meets film composer Miles.
- While You Were Sleeping
The hit romantic comedy that woke everyone up to adorable Sandra Bullock. As Lucy, a lonely subway worker, she becomes smitten with a handsome stranger. But when she saves his life after he’s been mugged and fallen into a coma, his hilariously offbeat family mistakes her for his fiancee! Soon, the mix-ups escalate as Lucy fabricates a life between herself and a man she’s never met! And when Lucy falls for his charming brother the situation really gets uproarious as she’s forced to make a choice between the two!
Irresistible stars John Cusack and Kate Bekinsale are drawn together and take a chance on love in the critically acclaimed romantic comedy! In the course of one magical evening, Jonathan and Sara meet unexpectedly…then part without expectation when she decides they must let fate determine if they are meant to be together. Years later, they are both engaged to others but cannot give up the dream that- despite time, distance and the obstacles that conspire to keep them apart, they will one day meet again! Also starring Jeremy Piven and Molly Shannon, in a stellar supporting cast- you’re destined to agree with audiences everywhere who fell for the surprising charms of this delightful big screen romance!
- The Family Stone
The Stones, a New England family, have their annual holiday gathering. The eldest son brings his girlfriend home to meet his parents, brothers and sisters. The bohemian Stones greet their visitor – a high-powered, controlling New Yorker – with a mix of awkwardness, confusion and hostility. Before the holiday is over, relationships will unravel while new ones are formed, secrets will be revealed, and the family Stone will come together through its extraordinary capacity for love.
- About a Boy
Based on Nick Hornby’s best-selling novel, About A Boy is the story of a cynical, immature young man who is taught how to act like a grown-up by a little boy.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Based on the wildly popular J.K. Rowling’s book about a young boy who on his eleventh birthday discovers, he is the orphaned boy of two powerful wizards and has unique magical powers.
- Little Women
With her husband off at war, Marmee is left alone to raise their four daughters, her Little Women. There is the spirited Jo; conservative Meg; fragile Beth; and romantic Amy. As the years pass, the sisters share some of the most cherished and painful memories of self-discovery, as Marmee and Aunt March guide them through issues of independence, romance, and virtue.
- Grumpy Old Men
Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau reunite in this romantic comedy that examines the decades-old love-hate relationship between two neighbors.
- Better Off Dead
After his girlfriend ditches him for a boorish ski jock, Lane decides that suicide is the only answer. However, his increasingly inept attempts bring him only more agony and embarrassment. Filled with the wildest teen nightmares, a family you can’t help but identify with and a host of wonderful comic characters.
- Edward Scissorhands
An uncommonly gentle young man, who happens to have scissors for hands, falls in love with a beautiful teenage girl.
- Batman Returns
Batman Caped Crusader is pitted against demented, ravenous Penguin, pitiful, orphaned, psychopathic freak and ‘power’ hungry capitalist villain, Max Shreck.
- Die Hard
Bruce Willis stars as New York City Detective John McClane, newly arrived in Los Angeles to spend the Christmas holiday with his estranged wife. But as Mclane waits for his wife’s office party to break up, terrorist take control of the building. While the terrorist leader, Hans Gruber round up hostages, McClane slips away unnoticed. Armed with only a service revolver and his cunning, McClane launches his own one-man war.
- Lethal Weapon
Two tough cops: one carries a lethal weapon, the other is one. Teamed as unlikely partners in a highly unusual case.
- Four Rooms
Don’t miss the fun in this hilariously sexy comedy that has Antonio Banderas, Madonna, and a sizzling all-star cast checking in for laughs! It’s Ted the Bellhop’s first night on the job…and the hotel’s very unusual guests are about to place him in some outrageous predicaments.