As the holiday season approaches, it’s time to break out the festive decorations, hot cocoa, and, of course, the holiday movies. While there are certainly some classic holiday films that everyone knows and loves (we’re looking at you, Elf), there are also plenty of underrated and overlooked holiday movies that deserve a spot on your watchlist.
Here are some of our favorite underrated and overlooked holiday movie classics that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit:
The Family Stone (2005)
This heartwarming holiday comedy follows the Stone family as they come together for the holidays and try to deal with the arrival of their uptight future daughter-in-law, played by Sarah Jessica Parker. The cast is filled with talented actors, including Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, and Craig T. Nelson, and the movie is full of laugh-out-loud moments and touching family drama.
The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
This classic holiday film stars Cary Grant as an angel who is sent to Earth to help a struggling bishop (David Niven) with his problems. Along the way, he falls in love with the bishop’s wife (Loretta Young) and helps the family rediscover the true meaning of Christmas. The Bishop’s Wife is a charming and heartwarming film that’s perfect for the whole family.
The Holiday (2006)
This romantic comedy follows two women (Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet) who decide to switch homes for the holidays in an effort to get away from their respective love lives. While in each other’s homes, they both end up finding love in unexpected places. The Holiday is a charming and feel-good movie that’s perfect for a cozy night in.
The Ref (1994)
In this dark comedy, Denis Leary plays a thief who takes a bickering couple (Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis) hostage on Christmas Eve. As the night goes on, the thief ends up acting as a therapist for the couple, helping them work through their issues and ultimately bringing them closer together. The Ref is a hilarious and underrated holiday movie that’s sure to have you laughing out loud.
While You Were Sleeping (1995)
This romantic comedy stars Sandra Bullock as Lucy, a lonely subway worker who saves the life of a man (Peter Gallagher) and is mistaken for his fiancée by his family. As she spends the holidays with the family, she falls for his brother (Bill Pullman) and must decide whether to come clean or continue the charade. While You Were Sleeping is a sweet and charming holiday movie that’s perfect for a cozy night in.
The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)
This biographical drama tells the story of Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) as he writes the classic holiday novel “A Christmas Carol.” The movie explores Dickens’ inspirations for the book and the challenges he faced while writing it. The Man Who Invented Christmas is a heartwarming and inspiring holiday movie that’s perfect for fans of literature and the holiday season.
The Grinch (2000)
While the animated version of Dr. Seuss’ classic holiday tale is certainly well-known, the live-action version starring Jim Carrey is often overlooked. Carrey’s energetic and over-the-top performance as the Grinch is a highlight of the film, and the movie does a great job of capturing the spirit of the original story. The Grinch is a fun and entertaining holiday movie that’s perfect for the whole family.
The Santa Clause (1994)
This holiday classic stars Tim Allen as Scott Calvin, a man who accidentally becomes Santa Claus after the previous Santa falls off of his roof. As Scott struggles to adjust to his new role, he must also deal with the challenges of being a single dad and trying to win back his ex-wife. The Santa Clause is a heartwarming and hilarious holiday movie that’s perfect for the whole family.
A Christmas Carol (2009)
This animated retelling of the classic holiday story follows the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge (voiced by Jim Carrey) as he is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve and shown the error of his ways. A Christmas Carol is a beautiful and heartwarming holiday movie that’s perfect for fans of the classic story.
While this movie is certainly not a traditional holiday film, it takes place during the holiday season and has become a classic in its own right. Gremlins follows a young man (Zach Galligan) who receives a strange pet for Christmas and must deal with the chaos that ensues when the pet multiplies and runs amok. Gremlins is a hilarious and entertaining holiday movie that’s perfect for fans of horror-comedy.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
This animated musical follows the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town (voiced by Danny Elfman) as he becomes bored with Halloween and decides to try his hand at Christmas. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a dark and quirky holiday movie that’s perfect for fans of stop-motion animation and Tim Burton-style storytelling.
While Elf has certainly gained a large following in recent years, it’s still often overlooked compared to other holiday classics. The movie follows Buddy (Will Ferrell), a human who was raised as an elf at the North Pole, as he travels to New York City to find his father and spread holiday cheer. Elf is a hilarious and heartwarming holiday movie that’s perfect for the whole family.
A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
This retelling of the classic holiday story features the Muppets as the characters and Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge. A Muppet Christmas Carol is a fun and entertaining holiday movie that’s perfect for the whole family and fans of the Muppets.
The Best Man Holiday (2013)
This holiday sequel to The Best Man follows a group of college friends as they reunite over the holiday season and deal with the drama and tensions that have developed between them over the years. The Best Man Holiday is a heartwarming and entertaining holiday movie that’s perfect for fans of romantic comedies.
A Christmas Carol (1984)
This classic holiday movie stars George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge and is a faithful adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel. A Christmas Carol is a heartwarming and inspiring holiday movie that’s perfect for fans of the classic story.
The Polar Express (2004)
This animated holiday movie follows a young boy as he embarks on a magical journey to the North Pole on the Polar Express. Along the way, he meets a variety of characters and learns about the true meaning of Christmas. The Polar Express is a beautiful and heartwarming holiday movie that’s perfect for the whole family.
Jingle All the Way (1996)
This holiday comedy stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a busy father who tries to find the perfect Christmas gift for his son on Christmas Eve, leading to a series of hilarious misadventures. Jingle All the Way is a fun and entertaining holiday movie that’s perfect for fans of comedy.
Love Actually (2003)
While Love Actually is not a traditional holiday movie, it takes place during the holiday season and has become a classic in its own right. The movie follows the interconnected stories of a group of people as they navigate love and relationships during the holiday season. Love Actually is a charming and heartwarming holiday movie that’s perfect for fans of romantic comedies.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
This classic holiday movie stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who is shown the value of his life by an angel (Henry Travers) on Christmas Eve. It’s a Wonderful Life is a heartwarming and inspiring holiday movie that’s perfect for the whole family.
The Holiday Calendar (2018)
This holiday romantic comedy stars Kat Graham as a struggling photographer who inherits a magical advent calendar that seems to predict the future. As she counts down the days to Christmas, she discovers the true meaning of love and family. The Holiday Calendar is a charming and heartwarming holiday movie that’s perfect for fans of romantic comedies.
So there you have it – 20 underrated and overlooked holiday movie classics that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Whether you’re in the mood for heartwarming family drama, hilarious comedy, or romantic love stories, there’s something on this list for everyone. So put on your favorite holiday sweater, pour yourself a mug of hot cocoa, and settle in for a cozy night of holiday movie-watching.