Christmas movies are known for their unbridled joy, unbridled tenderness, and unmistakable happy endings. We don’t have to be challenged all of the time. We don’t always need to expand our knowledge of the human situation. We all want to be joyful now and again, and this selection of holiday films, from the classics to the unusual, is guaranteed to bring that warm glow of glittering lights and sugar plum dreams to your tired, old candy cane bones.
The 10 best Christmas movies are now available on Hulu.
1. The Holiday
Nancy Meyers is the queen of Christmas. Two women (Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz) transfer houses during the Christmas season to get away from their previous heartbreaks in this 2006 romantic comedy. Diaz spends the night in Winslet’s ivy-covered English rural cottage and meets Jude Law, so it’s a good investment. Winslet’s stay in Los Angeles takes her over the water, where she meets Jack Black and all of his sincere charisma. The Holiday is predictable, yet it’s an overall nice and heartwarming film. Though all of the performers are charming, be prepared to fall in love with MVP Black at the end of the film.
2. Jingle All the Way
Finally, a film that focuses on the true meaning of Christmas: presents!!! Jingle All the Way is a 1990s children’s film featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad (hey, flashback!) about two absent fathers who try to redeem themselves by purchasing the ultimate Christmas gift for their children. They set out on Christmas Eve to get that year’s main gift, a Turbo-Man action figure, but when they realize the toy is sold out, they embark on a series of increasingly desperate escapades. This story is comfortingly familiar since it was inspired by the real-life fanaticism for Cabbage Patch Kids and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers toys in the 1980s and 1990s. It isn’t a really good film, but then, not all beloved Christmas films are! Jingle All the Way is high-octane, hilarious, and a little insane, but the famous cast, which includes Phil Hartman, Rita Wilson, and Jim Belushi, will take you to the 1990s.
3. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
“What if Santa Claus was a terrifying demon who devoured disobedient children in their sleep?” asks Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. This Finnish Christmas horror (with a dash of a dark comedy) is a must-see for every moviegoer searching for something different to watch this holiday season. Rare Exports is a film written and directed by Jalmari Helander that takes set in the cold, secluded wilds of northern Finland, where families communicate by snowmobile and the town survives on the annual reindeer migration. When a local research facility discovers something in the ice, something that appears to have been imprisoned there on purpose, something like… Santa Claus, a young boy named Pietari is the only one who notices the impending threat.
It’s a stunning and amazing notion that works because of the director’s systematic and patient development of suspense, as well as the actors’ complete devotion. We’re completely on board by the time we catch our first glimpse of a potential monster, terrified and pleased at the same time.
4. The Happiest Season
The Happiest Season is the ideal Christmas rom-com for the twenty-first century, following Harper and Abby, a young couple who are visiting Harper’s family for the holidays. The only problem is that Harper has yet to inform her family that she is dating women, leaving Abby in the awkward situation of having to lie about herself for the holidays. This film has a fantastic cast. Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis are fantastic in their leading roles, and the internet is raving over Aubrey Plaza’s performance as Harper’s ex-girlfriend. In this picture written and directed by Clea DuVall, Alison Brie, Dan Levy, Mary Holland, Victor Garber, and Mary Steenburgen round out the stellar cast.
It’s a much-needed and refreshingly contemporary take on a holiday romance. Furthermore, it is believable, which is nearly unheard of in a Christmas film! Don’t wait for another second to see this clever, hilarious, and heartfelt picture.
5. Dear Santa
We’ve figured out what people want for Christmas: an educational documentary! Dear Santa dives into the 100-year-old “Operation Santa” program of the United States Postal Service, which allows members of the public to fulfill the Christmas wishes of impoverished children across the country. Thousands of children write letters to Santa at the Post Office every year, and Dear Santa takes us on a journey throughout the country to show how they help make those children’s wishes come true. The film floats on the generosity and magic of this large USPS program, and it’ll warm your heart this holiday season.
6. The Mistle-Tones
Holly is played by Tia Mowry, a vivacious woman whose lifelong ambition is to join the local Christmas cover band, the Snow Belles, and spend every Christmas Eve with them… checks his notes… at the mall, singing When Holly is denied a seat in the group by Tori Spelling’s Snow Belle queen and diva Marci, she forms her own singing group and competes with the Snow Belles for the coveted mall gig.
The Mistle-Tones, which debuted in 2012 as part of ABC Family’s “25 Days of Christmas,” is lighthearted and entertaining, with several Christmas medley performances keeping things interesting. Is there romance here for Holly, despite the fact that her employer is a grumpy workaholic? I’m sure that’s about to change!!! — but Mowry and Spelling are both so used to being in front of the camera that their relaxed confidence steals most of their scenes.
7. The Man Who Invented Christmas
In The Man Who Invented Christmas, Jonathan Pryce, Ger Ryan, Dan Stevens, and Morfydd Clark attend a Christmas dinner.
Are you a biopic fan looking for a way to include a drama in your holiday family movie night? The Man Who Invented Christmas ought to be enough. This dark and unorthodox film depicts the true story of Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens), who was on the verge of financial ruin when he decided to write A Christmas Carol in six weeks so that it might be published in time for Christmas. It’s fascinating to see how random circumstances in Dickens’ life (such a man murmuring “Bah, humbug!” in a cemetery) came together to inspire the narrative we all know and love. Even stranger, Dickens manifests and converses with the imaginary characters (Christopher Plummer is a superb Scrooge) in real-time as he puzzles together the storyline. Instead of rehashing a well-known subject, the film wisely focuses on Dickens himself: his state of mind, his haunted background, and his increasing stress as the pressure to succeed mounts.
8. Every Other Holiday
Just in time for Christmas, a divorce-reconciliation fantasy! Tracie and Rick don’t have many options but to pack the car when their kids reveal that the only thing on their Christmas list is a holiday with both Mom and Dad, enjoyed on their Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. Unfortunately, Grandma, played by Dee Wallace, is obnoxious, has never liked Rick (or his guitar! ), and is hell-bent on squashing any holiday sparks that might fly between the estranged pair — because you know there will be sparks!
Every Other Holiday is a piece of cake. It’s sweet and comforting, and it seems different from other TV holiday movies, thanks to the unexpectedly high-caliber performance of its two stars, Shuyler Fisk and David Clayton Rogers. Because Every Other Holiday is a Lifetime film, there is a little bit of church sprinkled throughout, and there are some scenes that might have used a little more cutting, but this gooey film is a solid guilty-pleasure watch.
9. Same Time Next Christmas
Same Time, Next Christmas isn’t even close to being a Christmas film. It’s a lighthearted rom-com with crucial plot scenes set during the holiday season. But, after days of consuming yuletide cheer, that might be exactly what you need! This lighthearted comedy follows a star-crossed couple whose families spend every Christmas at the same Hawaiian resort. Olivia (Lea Michele) and Jeff (Charles Michael Davis), despite their childhood friendship, can’t manage to get their timing right as adults. Perhaps it has something to do with their strange inability to speak outside of their annual trip to Hawaii for one week each. Just a hunch.
Though the film includes Michele’s versions of Christmas carols on the soundtrack, the real stars are her parents, who are played by Nia Vardalos, and George Newbern, who are both charming in their roles as her lusty parents. Same Time, Next Christmas isn’t likely to win any prizes, but if you keep your expectations low, it’s a charming little romance for a cozy night on the couch.
10. Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas
This is a fantastic option for small children. George, the curious monkey, and his pal The Man in the Yellow Hat are counting down the days before Christmas, but they can’t decide what to get one other.
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