It’s that time of the year. Settle in, gather the family around the TV and enjoy some of the best wholesome tales Disney Plus has to offer.
Whether it’s Anna Kendrick charming your socks off in Noelle, Iron Man 3 proving itself as a surprisingly apt Christmas movie or Frozens 1 and 2 freezing your heart and thawing it all over again, your Christmas entertainment is sorted.
Here are the best Christmas movies to watch on Disney Plus, from the classics to more recent creations that don’t have terrible scores on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes.
Anna Kendrick in a Christmas movie. If that doesn’t sell this enough, Bill Hader plays the anxious brother to her bright and sparky Noelle, Santa’s daughter and bringer of Christmas spirit to all. When Santa dies, it’s Nick Kringle’s time to take over the Santa mantle. Instead, he takes off on a reindeer. It’s up to Noelle to bring her brother back to the North Pole in time for the big day. Kendrick channels all the charming fish-out-of-water high jinks as she navigates the world south of the pole.
Iron Man 3 (2013)
We’re starting with Iron Man 3. Yes, really. This is a Christmas movie, because Marvel published an 1,800-word article telling you it’s a Christmas movie. “It’s hard to argue with the holiday setting, the gift-giving, the repenting for past mistakes, and Tony wanting to be better — not just for himself but the people around him, too.” The movie is also about Iron Man facing a national terrorism campaign on the United States. Happy holidays!
Frozen 1 (2013) and 2 (2019)
Just ignore this option if you’re a parent still experiencing withdrawals from endless repeats of:
Do you want to build a snowman?
Come on, let’s go and play!
I never see you anymore
Come out the door
It’s like you’ve gone away
If that didn’t destroy you, enjoy Frozen 1 and 2.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Let’s get old-fashioned with the purest of Christmas films, which means we’re steering well clear of ’90s Arnold Schwarzenegger Xmas “comedy” Jingle All The Way. Miracle on 34th Street is about a department store Santa Claus who claims to be the real Santa. Lines like — “Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day. It’s a frame of mind” — will put you in a magic-of-Christmas coma for 96 beautiful minutes.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
What better way to spend Christmas than by watching Disney’s faithful-to-the-source-material Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the strange hotness of James McAvoy’s Mr. Tumnus. (McAvoy addressed the phenomenon on SNL, in case you missed it.) The only downside of the adventure about four British children who find a wardrobe that leads to a snowy fantasy world — is there aren’t more amusing special effects before and after pictures.
While You Were Sleeping (1995)
A feel-good Sandra Bullock rom-com from the ’90s awarded three out of four stars by legendary movie critic Roger Ebert. What else do you really need to know? (In case you did want to know more: While You Were Sleeping is about a woman who saves a man’s life on Christmas Day then, while he’s in a coma, falls in love with his brother. Charming complications ensue.)
Home Alone (1990)
Snoop Dog once homaged Home Alone in a music video featuring lyrics like, “Rollin’ down the street smokin’ indo/Sippin’ on gin and juice/Laid back (with my mind on my money and my money on my mind).” Don’t watch that, watch a beyond cute Kevin McCallister (a beyond cute Macaulay Culkin) defend his home from burglars at Christmas.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Some of you might want to watch dark fantasy for Christmas (salute). Jack Skellington, the King of “Halloween Town” stumbles through a portal to “Christmas Town.” There’s more creativity in that premise alone than the entirety of, say, ABC’s 1979 crossover special Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July. (No one knows why it takes place in July.) You choose.
The Santa Clause (1994)
Another Christmas movie featuring a ridiculously adorable kid. Its wholesome premise: A man accidentally kills Santa and must take his place. It sounds like a horror movie, but The Santa Clause is all about holiday cheer and features jokes for both adults and children. Only scrooges will find Tim Allen in a fat suit horrifying.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
If you have to relive Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, do it with puppets and Michael Caine.