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Jingle All the Way
"Jingle All the Way"

The best Christmas movies on Disney+

From ‘Home Alone’ to ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’, these are the best Christmas movies on Disney+

Matthew Singer
Written by
Andy Kryza
Written by
Matthew Singer
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If the House of Mouse has not churned out as many Christmas classics as you might think, its streaming service is bursting with holiday treats. On Disney+ you’ll find everything from big-name seasonal favourites to original specials to cartoon shorts. As with any streamer, though, the sheer volume of content means there are quite a few lumps of coal mixed in with all the shiny new bikes. Digging deep enough to separate the cinematic gingerbread from the fruitcake can be a challenge.

Good thing it’s Christmastime, then, because we’re in a giving mood. To make it easier to find the platform’s best holiday offerings, we’ve scoured Disney+’s vast vault and pulled out the good stuff. In this, we stuck with full-length features and found the 15 best movies that’ll entertain the entire family once everyone plunks down on the couch after a day full of joy and merriment.

Recommended:

🎅 The 50 best Christmas movies of all-time
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The best animated Christmas movies for the whole family
🐭 The best Disney Christmas movies to stream for the holidays

Best Christmas movies on Disney+, ranked

  • Film
  • Comedy

Disney recently released its own reboot of the home-invasion series, Home Sweet Home Alone, but the streaming service is also home to the Macaulay Culkin classic (and its less-than-stellar sequels). It’s the holly-jolliest film about child neglect ever made!

  • Film
  • Animation

For all the nightmarish Halloween chaos – Danny Elfman’s opening track is inarguably the best All Hallows song ever written – this macabre stop-motion treat takes its holiday spirit very seriously too (‘What’s This’ deserves a spot on any Christmas playlist). Sure, the amateur elves of Halloween Town botch the big day by delivering heads and snakes to unsuspecting kids, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

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  • Film
  • Family and kids

It’s pretty much exactly what the title implies: the immortal Charles Dickens story, as interpreted by Jim Henson’s daffy felt children. Although it was released during a rather down period for the Muppets, it’s still among the most entertaining versions of the tale. That’s thanks in large part to the brilliant Michael Caine – the lone human in the cast – portraying one of the Scroogiest Scrooges to ever bah humbug.

  • Film
  • Comedy

It sounds like a Cronenbergian body-horror film: a mild-mannered grump (Tim Allen) accidentally causes Santa’s death, only to find himself suddenly gaining weight and sprouting hair as he magically becomes the new boss of the North Pole against his will. Yet The Santa Clause is a ‘90s kid classic thanks to its big heart, inherent silliness and overall cheer. Just ignore those lump-of-coal sequels. 

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  • Film
  • Fantasy

Tim Burton’s deeply personal fairytale doesn’t shift into the Christmas spirit until the third act, yet the entire film plays like a fireside Christmas Eve story (it’s even narrated as such). The themes of acceptance are universal, and the image of Winonna Ryder dancing around ice sculptures as Danny Elfman’s career-best score swells and Edward sends snowflakes flying are as stirring as anything else out there this season.

  • Film
  • Family and kids

The ultimate in cuddly Christmas afternoon movies, this original stars Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle, who must prove he is in fact Santa Claus – not least to a young girl (Natalie Wood) who has lost the true meaning of Christmas. As a bonus, the better-than-expected 1994 remake with Richard Attenborough in the red suit is also available to stream. 

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  • Film
  • Family and kids

While the film takes a few liberties – we’re pretty sure Dickens never wrote about a shrunken Scrooge surfing on an icicle – technical wizard Robert Zemeckis’s motion-capture animated spectacle manages to keep the spirit of the source material intact, with Jim Carrey capably pulling quadruple duty as the world’s most famous miser and all three ghosts of Christmas. It’s a dazzler that doesn’t pull punches when it’s time for the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come to execute the world’s most effective ‘scared straight’ program. 

  • Film
  • Fantasy

Denzel Washington gets his wings as an Earthbound angel helping a New York preacher save his congregation. The Penny Marshall-directed film is overflowing with gorgeous music delivered by megastar Whitney Houston, who anchors a story about faith and kindness while demonstrating the vocal prowess that made her an all-time great. 

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  • Film
  • Animation

Look, if we’re going to count Die Hard as a Christmas movie, then we’re counting this timeless love story about two dogs learning the value of selflessness and snuggling. Plus, it begins with a lengthy Christmastime sequence and ends with a litter of puppies underneath the tree. Which is to say: Yippie-kay-yay, Bella Notte. 

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  • Film
  • Drama

Sarah Jessica Parker, Claire Danes, Diane Keaton, Luke Wilson and Rachel McAdams star in this American comedy-drama about an uptight guest (Parker) in the liberal Stone household, where matriarch Diane Keaton rules supreme. It’s a solid cousin to the squabbling-family delights of the overlooked Home For the Holidays: Watchable Christmas fluff with a delightful mean streak. 

Jingle All the Way (1996)
Photograph: 20th Century Studios

12. Jingle All the Way (1996)

A movie that acknowledges the true meaning of Christmas – crass consumerism – and mines it for all the goofy humour its premise can muster, this retroactively classic comedy pits Arnold Schwarzenegger against Sinbad as desperate dads hoping to score their respective kids the most coveted gift of the season: a Turbo Man action figure. It’s unapologetically dumb, but if we’re being honest, so are a lot of things about this holiday we love so much, which makes it a great bonding experience for the whole family.

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  • Film
  • Comedy

Sandra Bullock is at her most loveable in this smart, thoughtful romcom about a lonely Chicago subway worker who rescues the man of her dreams from an oncoming train only to fall in love with his bad-tempered brother. Witty, sweet and festive – if a little stalkery – it’s the kind of movie Hollywood has always excelled at.

  • Film
  • Action and adventure

Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang scribe Shane Black is the king of the Christmas-set action movie, and his entry in the MCU is no exception. If you’ve ever wanted to watch Robert Downey Jr spend the holidays with an oversized teddy bear and save the world from certain doom while going full George Bailey during an identity crisis, here’s your dream movie. Throw in a detour to the Miss Chattanooga Christmas Pageant and you’ve got a stealthily cheery superhero Christmas-adjacent extravaganza.

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Noelle (2019)
Photograph: Disney

15. Noelle (2019)

An old-school Disney live-action comedy in the spirit of The Santa Clause, this holiday flick was one of Disney+’s banner offerings upon launch, then quickly forgotten. Shame too: Anna Kendrick is perfectly at place as Santa’s overlooked daughter, while Bill Hader is reliably hilarious as the big man’s unwilling heir. 

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