With the holiday season around the corner, Disney+ is one of the best streamers to watch Christmas movies. With the overall brand’s lean toward family-friendly offerings, it’s no wonder that there is plenty of holiday-themed content on this platform.
Whether audiences are looking for a live-action or animated feature, there is plenty of Christmas movie content to sift through on Disney+ and find something to suit your tastes. The service’s library is packed with contemporary hits and long-time classics ranging from short films, heartwarming family features, Mickey Mouse, or seasonal fare set in the Star Wars or Marvel universes. There’s more than enough holiday atmosphere to go around on this list of the best Christmas movies on Disney+.
Looking for more holiday picks to get the most out of the seasonal festivities? We’ve put together some guides on the best Christmas movies on Netflix and the best Christmas movies on Hulu to tide you over.
Disney+ has an original Christmas-themed movie ready for families this holiday season. Directed by Tim Story (The Blackening), Dashing Through the Snow tells the story of a social worker named Eddie Garrick (Ludacris) who’s grown increasingly cynical about the Christmas season after a traumatic childhood experience.
Now separated from his wife Allison (The Marvels star Teyonah Parris), Eddie spends time with his 9-year-old daughter Charlotte (Madison Skye Validum) as he meets and befriends a strange man named Nick, helping to rekindle his love for the holidays along the way. It’s certainly not a novel concept for such a movie, but Dashing Through the Snow is a delightfully comedic and heartwarming Christmas movie that should satisfy the next family holiday movie marathon.
Along with the beloved classic action movie Die Hard, the superhero hit Batman Returns, and Marvel Studios’ holiday special with the Guardians of the Galaxy series, Iron Man 3 is another unconventional Christmas movie. Directed by Shane Black (The Nice Guys) this trilogy capper has Tony Stark deal with the aftermath of The Avengers as an international terrorist group spearheaded by the elusive Mandarin targets the United States.
With Tony feeling overwhelmed and finding himself increasingly isolated from dealing with these dire threats, the Christmas backdrop is used well as a way to deconstruct the character and explore the loneliness at his core. With Robert Downey Jr. giving a charismatic and commanding performance once again, Iron Man 3 is a solid choice for a superhero-themed holiday viewing.
The Muppets are a timeless family-friendly franchise, and it’s both expected and welcome that it has a dedicated Christmas-themed movie. Directed by Brian Henson, The Muppet Christmas Carol puts a franchise spin on the classic Charles Dickens novella A Christmas Carol and sticks fairly close to the original script.
Sir Michael Caine (The Man Who Would Be King, The Dark Knight) stars as this version’s Ebenezer Scrooge, with Kermit the Frog (Steve Whitmire) in the role of Bob Cratchit as he and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future open up his cold heart to the holiday spirit. The Muppet Christmas Carol succeeds in simply adding a Muppet wrapping to a tried-and-true classic story.
Frozen admittedly keeps to a more snowy, wintery backdrop rather than Christmas specifically, but it’s more than enough to earn a spot in a holiday-themed movie marathon. A sensation when it was released in theaters in 2013, directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee’s animated feature provides a modern rendition of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen fairy tale.
The movie follows the tale of young Princess Anna’s (Kristen Bell) quest to find her estranged younger sister Elsa (Bell and Idina Menzel), whose powers accidentally trapped their kingdom in a perpetual state of winter. Along with a colorful cast of supporting characters that Disney fans would expect from its animation studio, Frozen was widely acclaimed for its touching plot and infectious original musical numbers.
With how iconic a brand mascot he is, it’s only natural that Disney+ would have so many Mickey Mouse-themed holiday offerings. An anthology movie, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas is comprised of three Christmas short stories involving Mickey and his charming supporting cast of friends, before closing with an ensemble medley.
The stories follow Donald Duck, Goofy, Mickey, and Minnie on a series of endearing exploits that play into the holiday season’s festivities. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas was met with a rather lukewarm critical reception when it was originally released in 1999, but it has since become beloved upon reappraisal and a holiday cult classic.
An ’80s classic, the animated short film Mickey’s Christmas Carol was directed and written by longtime Disney storyboard artist Burny Mattinson.
As one would expect from such a title, this short film is a loose adaptation and Disney-fied spin on Charles Dickens’ seminal 1843 novella A Christmas Carol. Shown through the lens of the iconic Mickey Mouse, Mickey’s Christmas Carol puts Scrooge McDuck in the fitting shoes of Ebenezer Scrooge, with the mouse himself as Bob Cratchit and Morty Mouse as the ill Tiny Tim. It’s an easy recommendation for the holiday season, as well as a great introduction to the original story for the young ones in the family.
James Gunn’s The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special should be on viewers’ movie watchlist for this Christmas season. Given the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this 45-minute special is great for casual and dedicated fans alike as it takes Marvel Studios’ most successful band of comic book misfits on a holiday-themed sci-fi adventure.
Dave Bautista’s Drax and Pom Klementieff’s Mantis go off on a mission to bring Star-Lord an unforgettable Christmas in the cosmic reaches. It’s a fun, small-scale side story, and the addition of Kevin Bacon — playing Kevin Bacon — makes things even more entertaining.
It’s hard not to respect Lucasfilm for indirectly bringing back one of the most maligned and forgotten entries in its Star Wars catalog, as the Lego Star Wars Holiday Special successfully reinvents the 1978 attempt that aired on CBS.
It’s the perfect format for it as well, with Lego-themed animation perfectly capturing the charming comedy that attracted so many fans to the Lego Star Wars video game series that inspired this special. In a creative co-effort from director Ken Cunningham, writer David Shayne, and more, Rey and BB-8 go on a galactic quest to gain a deeper understanding of the Force that ends up taking her on a cross-timeline galactic adventure that gives fun alternate twists on classic Star Wars moments.
Home Alone is more than 30 years old, but it remains a timeless film for adults and children alike. The worst fears of every parent are realized when Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is left behind from a family trip by mistake, leaving him home alone (the name fits).
It seems an ideal opportunity for a couple of crooks to rob his Chicago home and make a quick buck taking advantage of the situation. But Kevin has other plans, providing a template for every young kid to protect their home against threats. The role remains the most iconic of Culkin’s career and kick-started a franchise that is available on Disney+.
Before Tim Allen was so politically outspoken, the comedic actor was more likely to be seen in movies such as The Santa Clause. When toy salesman Scott Calvin (Allen) accidentally maims the real Santa Claus, it’s up to him to take up the mantle and save Christmas.
The 1994 movie is all about the power of belief in ourselves and each other as Scott tries to convince those he loves that he really is Santa Claus now, despite previously struggling to believe in the holly jolly figure himself. This film is significantly better than the two sequels it spawned (also available on Disney+), neither of which carried the same indomitable spirit as the original.
Godmothered is a Christmas movie the way Die Hard is a Christmas movie and deserves to be on this list of the best Disney plus Christmas movies. The Disney+ original stars Jillian Bell as the lone young fairy godmother in a sea of elderly, more traditional fairy godmothers.
To save the godmother school from being shut down, Eleanor travels to the real world to help a 10-year-old girl, but arrives to discover that the little girl is an all-grown-up single mother (Isla Fisher). Whoops! While ostensibly a children’s movie, there’s plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor for adults to enjoy as well. Hopefully, this movie will help children believe in magic again, or at least in the magic that is the Disney content machine.
Some say it’s a Halloween movie, some say it’s a Christmas movie, but why choose? Tim Burton’s 1993 epic has it all: Stop-motion animation, musical numbers, fantasy elements, and even some scares.
The film centers on Pumpkin King Jack Skellington, who discovers Christmas Town after growing tired of his own Halloween schtick. He sets about improving the holiday, unaware of what the true meaning of Christmas is. Hijinks unsurprisingly ensue as Jack is forced to save Christmas from himself and his brethren. The movie can be a little frightening for kids at times, but it’s rated PG, so nothing goes too haywire. It’s a dazzling visual feast, original for its time and still original today.
A Christmas Carol has been told approximately a thousand times, so each new iteration has to have a different take on the classic tale. The 2009 version directed by Robert Zemeckis focuses specifically on the look, using 3D visuals to dazzle the audience.
At times, it can feel a little dizzying, but it’s still stunning to behold. Having Jim Carrey play Ebenezer Scrooge is a master stroke, as is having him play all of the ghosts in the movie. It may not stand the test of time as the best version of Scrooge’s story, but it’s one everyone should watch at least once around the holidays.
Don’t put too much stock into the critic scores: Jingle All the Way deserves a spot on your holiday watchlist. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as mattress salesman Howard Langston, who’s trying to get a last-minute Turbo-Man action figure gift for his son.
Unfortunately, he’s not alone, as a rival dad (Sinbad) is trying to do the same. The two do battle all day long as they attempt to fulfill the Christmas dreams of their children, without realizing that fighting over Christmas gifts is not what the holiday is all about. There’s plenty of slapstick and physical humor in this film, which is sure to keep the family laughing, even if the plot never really takes off.
- The best kids movies on Netflix right now
- The 50 best movies on Netflix right now (December 2023)
- The 18 best sitcoms on Netflix right now (December 2023)
- The best movies on Peacock right now (December 2023)
- The best animated movies on Netflix right now