From Die Hard to The Muppet Christmas Carol, Here Are the Best Christmas Movies on Disney+

From Die Hard to The Muppet Christmas Carol, Here Are the Best Christmas Movies on Disney+
Image: Disney
At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW - prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.

Season’s Greetings, folks! Does that make you want to scream, seeing as we’re still in November? I understand. But the fact of it is that people are keen as hell for festive movies already, so who am I to rob them of what they want? Anyway. When it comes to Christmas movies in 2021, there is one streaming service that really came out with the goods, and that’s Disney+.

In addition to a long list of festive films on offer, Disney has dropped a sweet holiday animated short as a part of its Christmas campaign, ‘​From Our Family To Yours’.

The Stepdad premiered on November 3, 2021 (in support of Disney’s global charity partner, Make-A-Wish). The film “aims to celebrate family traditions and the power of storytelling that connects families across generations,” shares Disney. You can check it out below.

If watching that put you in a festive mood, and ready to plan a lengthy holiday binge session, allow us to help with a ranking of the best Christmas movies on Disney+ in 2021 – according to Rotten Tomato critic ratings.

Let’s dive on in shall we? ‘Tis the season, after all (well, not actually… but it will be soon enough).

11 of the best Christmas movies on Disney+ in 2021

Miracle On 34th Street (1994)

Disney+ Christmas Movies 2021
Disney+ Christmas Movies 2021. Image credit: 20th Century

Rotten Tomato rating: 60%

Oh, look! It’s Matilda. The remake of the 1947 classic wasn’t a smash hit ratings-wise but it’s sweet enough. And it’s certified fresh, so you know it won’t suck.

The synopsis of this film reads:

Six-year-old Susan Walker (Mara Wilson) is sceptical of the Christmas myth surrounding Santa Claus, a trait she perhaps learned from her mother, Dorey (Elizabeth Perkins). When tasked with hiring the Santa who will pose with kids at Macy’s, Dorey enlists a man with the curious name of Kris Kringle (Richard Attenborough) who claims to be Santa himself. His assertions are met with scoffs and threats of institutionalization, but a young lawyer, along with Susan and Dorey, comes to his defence.

The Preacher’s Wife (1996)

Disney+ Christmas Movies 2021. Credit: Disney

Rotten Tomato rating: 60%

Described as heartwarming but predictable, this film has the makings of a solid holiday watch. It also stars Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston among other big Hollywood names.

The synopsis reads:

A cleric begins to doubt himself and is visited by an angel. The heavenly emissary is supposed to help the good reverend over his midlife crisis, but he is distracted by the cleric’s lovely young wife. A remake with gospel music of the ‘The Bishop’s Wife.

Home Alone (1990)

Disney+ Christmas Movies 2021
Disney+ Christmas Movies 2021: 20th Century

Rotten Tomato rating: 66%

I mean, can you have a Christmas movie list without listing Home Alone? I don’t think so.

The synopsis for this one reads:

When bratty 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) acts out the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother (Catherine O’Hara) makes him sleep in the attic. After the McCallisters mistakenly leave for the airport without Kevin, he awakens to an empty house and assumes his wish to have no family has come true. But his excitement sours when he realizes that two con men (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern) plan to rob the McCallister residence, and that he alone must protect the family home.

The Santa Clause (1994)

Disney+ Christmas Movies 2021. Image: Disney

Rotten Tomato rating: 72%

Another absolute classic from the ’90s. Before Tim Allen became Buzz Lightyear, he was Scott Calvin/Santa Clause and the film remains a treat.

The synopsis reads:

Divorced dad Scott (Tim Allen) has custody of his son (Eric Lloyd) on Christmas Eve. After he accidentally kills a man in a Santa suit, they are magically transported to the North Pole, where an elf explains that Scott must take Santa’s place before the next Christmas arrives. Scott thinks he’s dreaming, but over the next several months he gains weight and grows an inexplicably white beard. Maybe that night at the North Pole wasn’t a dream after all — and maybe Scott has a lot of work to do.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Disney+ Christmas Movies 2021
Disney+ Christmas Movies 2021. Image: Disney

Rotten Tomato rating: 76%

Easily a favourite amongst Christmas movie fans. Loads of people have lots of time for The Muppet Christmas Carol.

The synopsis reads:

The Muppets perform the classic Dickens holiday tale, with Kermit the Frog playing Bob Cratchit, the put-upon clerk of stingy Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine). Other Muppets — Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear and Sam the Eagle — weave in and out of the story, while Scrooge receives visits from spirits of three Christmases — past, present and future. They show him the error of his self-serving ways, but the miserable old man seems to be past any hope of redemption and happiness.

While You Were Sleeping (1995)

Disney+ Christmas Movies 2021. Image: Disney

Rotten Tomato rating: 80%

The premise of this story is kind of creepy, okay? But it remains a top-ranking Christmas film regardless.

The synopsis reads:

Lonely transit worker Lucy Eleanor Moderatz (Sandra Bullock) pulls her longtime crush, Peter (Peter Gallagher), from the path of an oncoming train. At the hospital, doctors report that he’s in a coma, and a misplaced comment from Lucy causes Peter’s family to assume that she is his fiancée. When Lucy doesn’t correct them, they take her into their home and confidence. Things get even more complicated when she finds herself falling for Peter’s sheepish brother, Jack (Bill Pullman).

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Disney+ Christmas Movies 2021. Image: Disney

Rotten Tomato rating: 90%

A Tim Burton classic that has long sat at the top of Christmas movie favourites. Whether or not you remain a fan of one Johnny Depp may influence how you enjoy this film, but 90% is a very fresh rating.

The synopsis reads:

A scientist (Vincent Price) builds an animated human being — the gentle Edward (Johnny Depp). The scientist dies before he can finish assembling Edward, though, leaving the young man with a freakish appearance accentuated by the scissor blades he has instead of hands. Loving suburban saleswoman Peg (Dianne Wiest) discovers Edward and takes him home, where he falls for Peg’s teen daughter (Winona Ryder). However, despite his kindness and artistic talent, Edward’s hands make him an outcast.

Die Hard (1988)

Disney+ Christmas Movies 2021.
Disney+ Christmas Movies 2021. Image: 20th Century

Rotten Tomato rating: 94%

Yippee ki yay, people. At this stage, there’s no longer an argument regarding Die Hard’s status as a Christmas film. And a well-received one at that.

The synopsis for this film reads:

New York City policeman John McClane (Bruce Willis) is visiting his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia) and two daughters on Christmas Eve. He joins her at a holiday party in the headquarters of the Japanese-owned business she works for. But the festivities are interrupted by a group of terrorists who take over the exclusive high-rise, and everyone in it. Very soon McClane realizes that there’s no one to save the hostages — but him.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Disney+ Christmas Movies 2021
Disney+ Christmas Movies 2021. Image: Disney

Rotten Tomato rating: 95%

Another Tim Burton classic that has kept folks entertained across the Halloween and holiday period since the early ’90s.

The synopsis reads:

The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown’s beloved pumpkin king, who has become bored with the same annual routine of frightening people in the “real world.” When Jack accidentally stumbles on Christmastown, all bright colours and warm spirits, he gets a new lease on life — he plots to bring Christmas under his control by kidnapping Santa Claus and taking over the role. But Jack soon discovers even the best-laid plans of mice and skeleton men can go seriously awry.

Miracle On 34th Street (1947)

Disney+ Christmas Movies 2021. Image: 20th Century

Rotten Tomato rating: 96%

The original and most beloved version of a Miracle On 34th Street is a charming Christmas film that families have enjoyed for decades.

The synopsis reads:

In this Christmas classic, an old man going by the name of Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) fills in for an intoxicated Santa in Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade. Kringle proves to be such a hit that he is soon appearing regularly at the chain’s main store in midtown Manhattan. When Kringle surprises customers and employees alike by claiming that he really is Santa Claus, it leads to a court case to determine his mental health and, more importantly, his authenticity.

Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)

Disney+ Christmas Movies 2021
Disney+ Christmas Movies 2021. Image: Disney

Rotten Tomato rating: 100%

Quite simply, the synopsis for this animated film reads:

A retelling of the classic Dickens tale with Disney’s classic characters.

You can find all of these films on Disney+ and if you’d like to continue your holiday watching elsewhere, check out the line-up on Netflix this year next.

Log in to comment on this story!