The 52 Best Christmas Movies, Ranked

Best enjoyed with hot cocoa

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christmas movies ranked
Walt Disney Pictures

Playing Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” tune is great and all, but there’s nothing like getting in the holiday spirit by watching the best Christmas movies.

If you're looking for options to stream this holiday season (or, you know, year-round), then we've got you covered with a full ranking of 52 must-watch titles, available on Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video and more. Our list ranges from contemporary crowd-pleasers like Home Alone and Elf to nostalgic classics like Miracle on 34th Street. And don't worry, we made sure to include a few spooky holiday titles to spice up your queue, including Better Watch Out and Nightmare Before Christmas.

So, settle in with a cup of hot cocoa, grab a cozy weighted blanket and check out this ranking of the best Christmas movies of all time.

The 81 Best Family Christmas Movies to Watch with Your Kids This Holiday Season

Best Christmas Ever Netflix CAT
Scott Everett White/Netflix

52. Best. Christmas. Ever! (2023)

  • Cast: Brandy, Jason Biggs, Heather Graham, Matt Cedeño
  • Rating: PG

Every year around Christmas, Jackie sends a rather conceited card to her friend, Charlotte. However, fate brings the two together for the holiday season, and Charlotte sets out to prove Jackie’s life is far from perfect. 

best christmas movies noel 1

51. Noel (2004)

  • Cast: Susan Sarandon, Penélope Cruz, Paul Walker, Alan Arkin
  • Rating: PG

A touching romance drama with an A-list cast and compelling storylines? Sign us up. In the film, a group of New Yorkers going through rough circumstances meet up on Christmas Eve, hoping for miracles that will give each of them a fresh start.

best christmas movies christmas tale
Bac Films

50. A Christmas Tale (2008)

  • Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Jean-Paul Roussillon, Mathieu Amalric, Anne Consigny
  • Rating: NR

If you’re a stickler for sentimental holiday flicks that get you in the feels, then this French drama will do the trick. When an estranged family reunites for the holidays, old feuds and dark family secrets arise as they deal with their matriarch's deteriorating health.  

best christmas movies last
Universal Pictures

49. Last Christmas (2019)

  • Cast: Henry Golding, Emilia Clarke, Madison Ingoldsby, Emma Thompson, Boris Isakovic, Lucy Miller
  • Rating: PG-13

Clarke is Kate, a Christmas shop worker and aspiring singer who's forced to move back in with her parents after getting evicted by her friend. When she crosses paths with a charming guy named Tom, however, her life takes a turn for the better.

Candy Cane Lane 2023 CAT
Claudette Barius/Prime Video

48. Candy Cane Lane (2023)

  • Cast: Eddie Murphy, Tracee Ellis Ross, Nick Offerman, Jillian Bell, David Alan Grier
  • Rating: PG

A man named Chris Carver desperately wants to win the town’s annual Christmas decorating contest. To ensure his victory, he makes a deal with an elf, who casts a spell that brings the 12 days of Christmas to life, delivering absolute chaos to the small neighborhood.

best christmas movies godmothered

47. Godmothered (2020)

  • Cast: Isla Fisher, Jillian Bell, Santiago Cabrera, Mary Elizabeth Ellis
  • Rating: PG

When Eleanor, a fairy godmother-in-training, learns that her school is about to shut down, she embarks on a mission to prove the world still needs fairy godmothers by tracking down a young girl and making her wish come true. But there’s just one hiccup: This little girl is now all grown up and has given up on getting her "happily ever after."  

best christmas movies night before
Sarah Shatz/Columbia Pictures

46. The Night Before (2015)

  • Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, Jillian Bell
  • Rating: R

This edgy, thoughtful comedy delivers the biggest laughs and boasts great performances. Follow three childhood pals as they honor their annual tradition of reuniting on Christmas Eve and finding the best parties to crash in New York City.

best christmas movies single
Philippe Bosse/Netflix

45. Single All the Way (2021) 

  • Cast: Michael Urie, Philemon Chambers, Kathy Najimy, Luke Macfarlane
  • Rating: TV-PG

In Netflix's first-ever gay rom-com, Peter breaks up with his boyfriend and invites his BFF, Nick, to join his family for Christmas instead. But when Peter’s mom sets him up with a fitness trainer, the family starts to realize that Nick may be his true love.

best christmas movies noel
KC Bailey/Netflix

44. The Noel Diary (2022)

  • Cast: Justin Hartley, James Remar, Bonnie Bedelia, Essence Atkins
  • Rating: TV-PG

In this cozy drama, Jake, a best-selling author, returns home for Christmas to settle his late mother's estate. However, he arrives and discovers a mysterious diary that includes quite a few secrets from his past.

best christmas movies operation
Ricardo Hubbs/NETFLIX

43. Operation Christmas Drop (2020)

  • Cast: Kat Graham, Alexander Ludwig, Trezzo Mahoro, Bethany Brown
  • Rating: G

Erica Miller, a young woman who works as a political aide, is tasked with traveling to Guam to visit the Andersen Air Force Base for the annual Operation Christmas Drop. She immediately clashes with Captain Andrew Jantz, who’s spearheading the mission—but before long, a romance starts brewing.

best christmas movies harold
Warner Bros. Pictures

42. A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (2011)

  • Cast: Kal Penn, John Cho, Neil Patrick Harris, Patton Oswalt
  • Rating: R

Penn and Cho make a stellar duo in this raunchy, laugh-out-loud comedy. It follows two old friends as they embark on a Christmas Eve adventure and search for a new tree after Kumar accidentally burns down Harold's family tree. 

best christmas movies jars 1
Darren Michaels/New Line Productions Inc.

41. Christmas Jars (2019)

  • Cast: Jeni Ross, Markian Tarasiuk, Tara Yelland, Zerha Leverman
  • Rating: G

Inspired by Jason F. Wright’s novel of the same name, Christmas Jars revolves around Hope, a young writer who’s stunned to find a festive, money-filled jar at her door. After investigating who left this generous gift, she discovers that it’s part of an even bigger Christmas movement—one that she’s eager to be a part of. 

best christmas movies 8 bit
Warner Bros. Pictures

40. 8-Bit Christmas (2021)

  • Cast: Winslow Fegley, Neil Patrick Harris, Steve Zahn, June Diane Raphael
  • Rating: PG

Set in 1980s Chicago, 10-year-old Jake sets out on a very important Christmas mission: to get his first Nintendo Entertainment System. This charming, nostalgic comedy appeals to all ages, but it’s a special treat for those who grew up during the '80s.

best christmas movies rudolph
Videocraft International

39. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

  • Cast: Billie Mae Richards, Burl Ives, Larry D. Mann, Paul Soles
  • Rating: TV-G

Inspired by Johnny Marks's classic song, the movie revolves around a young reindeer named Rudolph, who lives at the North Pole. He intends to follow in his dad’s footsteps and become one of Santa’s reindeer, but his bright red nose sets him apart, making it harder for him to fit in.

best christmas movies dolly
Courtesy of Netflix

38. Christmas on the Square (2020)

  • Cast: Dolly Parton, Christine Baranski, Jenifer Lewis
  • Rating: PG

Honestly, we were sold after catching a glimpse of Parton as a dazzling angel—but this touching tale has a lot to say about the importance of kindness and holiday cheer. The movie centers on Regina Fuller, a woman who intends to sell her small hometown and evict all the residents by Christmas Eve. But there just might be hope for the town, thanks to a determined angel.

best christmas movies spirited
Apple TV+

37. Spirited (2022)

  • Cast: Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds, Octavia Spencer, Patrick Page
  • Rating: PG-13

We’re always down for a fun spin on a Charles Dickens classic—especially when it’s a musical. Spirited follows Ebenezer Scrooge, or the Ghost of Christmas Present, as he tries to get through to a cold-hearted media consultant who’s been labeled unredeemable.

best christmas movies gremlins
Warner Bros.

36. Gremlins (1984)

  • Cast: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Frances Lee McCain
  • Rating: PG-13

Billy is thrilled to be gifted with a special pet for Christmas. Unfortunately, when he fails to follow specific instructions, he inadvertently unleashes an army of ruthless gremlins that try to destroy the town on Christmas Eve. 

best christmas movies better watch out
Storm Vision Entertainment

35. Better Watch Out (2016)

  • Cast: Levi Miller, Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Dacre Montgomery
  • Rating: R

Want some holiday cheer with a side of horror? Allow us to introduce Better Watch Out. When Ashley arrives at a suburban home to babysit 12-year-old Luke during the holidays, the last thing she expects to deal with is terrifying intruders. 

best christmas movies let it snow
Steve Wilkie/Netflix

34. Let It Snow (2019)

  • Cast: Isabela Merced, Shameik Moore, Kiernan Shipka, Odeya Rush
  • Rating: PG-13

An unlikely group of high school students are brought together when a massive snowstorm hits a small town on Christmas Eve. Naturally, budding romances and new friendships ensue.

best christmas movies happy
Ben Richardson/Sundance Institute

33. Happy Christmas (2014)

  • Cast: Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, Lena Dunham
  • Rating: R

Don’t be too quick to dismiss this as a holiday chick flick. The charming comedy follows Jenny, a woman in her 20s who goes to live with her big brother and his family in Chicago. Despite a shaky start, Jenny's arrival ends up being the catalyst for a major life change for her brother's wife, Kelly.  

best christmas movies rare exports
FS Film Oy

32. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

  • Cast: Onni Tommila, Jorma Tommila, Ilmari Järvenpää, Peeter Jakobi
  • Rating: R

Set in Finland on a snowy Christmas Eve, a few hunters discover Santa Claus in the middle of an archaeological dig. However, when children mysteriously start to vanish after he’s found, the hunters join forces with a father-son duo to capture Santa. 

best christmas movies arthur
Sony Pictures

31. Arthur Christmas (2011)

  • Cast: James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent
  • Rating: PG

It’s Christmas Eve, and Santa’s high-tech sleigh has failed to deliver one girl’s present. But not all hope is lost. Thanks to his son, Arthur Claus, the little girl just might get her gift in time.

best christmas movies falling
Scott Everett White/Netflix

30. Falling for Christmas (2022)

  • Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Chord Overstreet, George Young, Jack Wagner
  • Rating: PG

Perennial Girl Next Door Lindsay Lohan stars as a spoiled heiress who gets into a skiing accident and loses her memory when her partner proposes to her. However, during her recovery, sparks fly when she’s cared for by a handsome cabin owner.

best christmas movies boy called 1
Blueprint Pictures

29. A Boy Called Christmas (2021)

  • Cast: Henry Lawfull, Toby Jones, Sally Hawkins, Kristen Wiig, Maggie Smith
  • Rating: PG

In this fun, star-studded adventure, a young boy named Nikolas embarks on a mission to find his father, with the help of his pet mouse and a reindeer. Along the way, he discovers his true destiny.

best christmas movies chronicles
Courtesy of Netflix

28. The Christmas Chronicles (2018)

  • Cast: Kurt Russell, Judah Lewis, Darby Camp, Lamorne Morris
  • Rating: PG

When Santa Claus arrives a their home, Kate and Teddy decide to take a ride in his sleigh and accidentally crash it, losing all of the presents in the process. Can they retrieve them all by Christmas morning?

best christmas movies klaus
Courtesy of Netflix

27. Klaus (2019)

  • Cast: Jason Schwartzman, J. K. Simmons, Rashida Jones
  • Rating: PG

In this heartwarming Netflix original, a postman and a toymaker team up to bring a bit of Christmas joy to a dark and frozen town in the North. What better way to be reminded of the importance of teamwork and compassion?

ernest saves christmas1
Touchstone Pictures

26. Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)

  • Cast: Jim Varney, Douglas Seale, Oliver Clark
  • Rating: PG

It’s a Christmas emergency: Santa Claus needs a successor and the accident-prone Ernest is just the man to help him out. Or not.

four christmases
Warner Bros.

25. Four Christmases (2008)

  • Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn
  • Rating: PG-13

Was Witherspoon and Vaughn’s chemistry great in this film? Nah. But do we laugh out loud when their vacation plans go awry, and they’re forced to spend Christmas bouncing between the homes (four to be exact) of relatives? Definitely.

best christmas movies jingle
Cr. Gareth Gatrell/NETFLIX

24. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)

  • Cast: Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, Anika Noni Rose
  • Rating: PG

Several years after a skilled toymaker is betrayed by his apprentice, he regains his hope and holiday spirit when his young granddaughter, Journey, stays with him for Christmas. We dare you to watch this musical without singing along.

the best man holiday
Universal Pictures

23. The Best Man Holiday (2013)

  • Cast: Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Nia Long Terrence Howard
  • Rating: R

Age-old rivalries and romances resurface when a group of college friends reunite for Christmas. And yes, we still think about that epic dance number where the guys lip-sync to "Can You Stand the Rain."

the family stone
20th Century Fox

22. The Family Stone (2005)

  • Cast: Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton
  • Rating: PG-13

Parker's Type A Meredith Morton does not blend in seamlessly when Everett Stone—her fiancé—brings her home to Connecticut at Christmas to meet his quirky family.

die hard
20th Century Fox

21. Die Hard (1988)

  • Cast: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson
  • Rating: R

Before you ask, yes, it’s a Christmas movie. Willis faces off against terrorists in an L.A. skyscraper, and we love that 1980s superstar Carl Winslow basically saves the day.

about a boy
Universal Pictures

20. About a Boy (2002)

  • Cast: Hugh Grant, Toni Collette, Rachel Weisz
  • Rating: PG-13

Come on, the penultimate scene takes place over Christmas in this film about a rich, child-free selfish Londoner who never makes time for others until a 12-year-old boy won’t leave him alone.

the santa clause
Walt Disney Pictures

19. The Santa Clause (1994)

  • Cast: Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, David Krumholtz
  • Rating: PG

It’s Tim Allen at his finest. When he accidentally kills a man in a Santa suit, he’s transported to the North Pole to assume the role before the following Christmas arrives, much to the delight of his son.

the holiday1
Universal Pictures

18. The Holiday (2006)

  • Cast: Jude Law, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet
  • Rating: PG-13

Before there was Airbnb, there was this film about Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet swapping homes between L.A. and the British countryside—and meeting the men of their dreams. It never gets old.

Paramount Pictures

17. Scrooged (1988)

  • Cast: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe
  • Rating: PG-13

This 1980s riff on Charles’ Dickens A Christmas Carol stars Bill Murray as a TV exec who feels no qualms firing a staffer right before the holidays—until he’s visited by a series of ghosts.

meet me in st louis

16. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

  • Cast: Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer
  • Rating: PG-13

Not only does it star Garland, but this musical, which follows four sisters learning about life and love before the 1904 World’s Fair, features one of the best-ever renditions of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” sung by the actress.

the preachers wife
Mundy Lane Entertainment

15. The Preacher’s Wife (1996)

  • Cast: Whitney Houston, Denzel Washington
  • Rating: PG-13

In this remake of the 1947 film, The Bishop's Wife, Whitney Houston shines as Julia, a neglected preacher’s wife who gets spiritual guidance from the most charming guardian angel of all time.

bad santa
Columbia Pictures

14. Bad Santa (2003)

  • Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Lauren Graham, Brett Kelly
  • Rating: R

Old St. Nick—at least the mall version—just isn’t himself in this film starring Thornton as a Santa Claus poser. His plan? To rip off the biggest shopping outlets on Christmas Eve.

grinch who stole christmas
Universal Pictures

13. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

  • Cast: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski
  • Rating: PG

Jim Carrey breathes new life into the Dr. Seuss tale about a Christmas Eve grump who plans to steal (versus distribute) all the kids’ toys. Prepare for all the laughs.

nightmare before christmas
Walt Disney Pictures

12. The Nightmare Before Christmas (2022)

  • Cast: Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara, William Hickey, Ken Page
  • Rating: PG

It’s Tim Burton at his best. When pumpkin king Jack Skellington gets bored scaring people in Halloweentown, he moves on to Christmastown and a new target: Santa Claus.

Warner Bros.

11. Elf (2003)

  • Cast: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen
  • Rating: PG-13

As a toddler, Will Ferrell was mysteriously transported to the North Pole and raised by Santa’s elves. Now, he’s on a mission to find his real dad—played by James Caan—in New York. Things don’t go well.

muppet christmas
Walt Disney Pictures

10. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

  • Cast: Michael Caine, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire
  • Rating: G

Kermit the Frog is Bob Cratchit in yet another beloved retelling of Charles Dickens's famous tale. In the film, Ebenezer Scrooge learns a lesson or two about the true meaning of Christmas.

miracle on 34th street
20th Century Fox

9. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

  • Cast: Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, Gene Lockhart
  • Rating: NR

Kris Kringle steps in to replace a drunken Santa Claus in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and people love him—that is, until he starts going around town claiming to be the real deal.

white christmas
Paramount Pictures

8. White Christmas (1954)

  • Cast: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney
  • Rating: NR

You’ve got Bing Crosby (and Rosemary Clooney, George’s aunt) crooning about the holidays in snow-covered Vermont. What’s not to love?

love actually
Universal Pictures

7. Love Actually (2003)

  • Cast: Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney
  • Rating: R

Permission to replay Hugh Grant’s prime minister dance routine 17 times the next time you watch.

it s a wonderful life
Paramount Pictures

6. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

  • Cast: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell
  • Rating: PG

Tough day at the office: When George Bailey wishes aloud that he had never been born, an angel appears to show him exactly how life would be without him. (Cue the tears.)

national lampoon christmas
Warner Bros.

5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

  • Cast: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid
  • Rating: PG-13

Watch for all the memorable scenes, from the arrival of Cousin Eddie to the carving of the turkey. (FYI, if Clark Griswold doesn’t inspire you to give your all when putting up your holiday lights, then no one will.)

home alone
20th Century Fox

4. Home Alone

  • Cast: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard
  • Rating: PG

When Kevin accidentally gets left behind by his family on their Christmas vacation, he steps up to defend his home by using clever booby traps. Vintage Macaulay Culkin. You can’t go wrong.

while you were sleeping1
Hollywood Pictures

3. While You Were Sleeping

  • Cast: Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher, Peter Boyle
  • Rating: PG

So, Lucy Moderatz invents a relationship with her crush, Peter, after he gets into an accident and lands in a coma. But when Peter's brother catches feelings for her, things get complicated. It’s still a total classic.

charlie brown christmas
Lee Mendelson Film Productions

2. A Charlie Brown Christmas

  • Cast: Ann Altieri, Chris Doran, Sally Dryer
  • Rating: TV-G

If this film—featuring the Peanuts gang—about the commercialization of Christmas doesn’t calm your holiday anxiety after a trip to the mall, nothing will.

a christmas story1
Warner Bros.

1. A Christmas Story (1983)

  • Cast: Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Peter Billingsley
  • Rating: PG

Hey, there’s a reason TBS plays this film commercial-free for 24 hours straight every Christmas. Follow the misadventures of 9-year-old Ralphie Parker as he celebrates the holidays with his family.

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