While Disney continues on its reign as our entertainment overlord, it’s the perfect time to look at their Christmas originals and acquisitions. The holiday season is a time for togetherness and shared experiences, and there are few things that bring us all together quite like the movies. Disney+ has something for everyone--young and old--to appreciate. Time up your Zoom calls and synchronize those play buttons, here are some of the very best Christmas movies available on Disney+.
Home Alone 1-3
With a projected reboot currently in development by the network, Disney+ is now the home of the first three (there are five, actually) Home Alone films. The first two focus on Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) and his mom Catherine (Catherine O’Hara) with the third about a kid named Alex (Alex D. Linz) with an appearance from a young Scarlett Johansson. The portrayal of a dysfunctional family around the holidays makes dealing with our own feel a lot more normal, and seeing a young rapscallion take down bad guys with Tom & Jerry style physical violence is fun for everyone.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
This is the best version of The Christmas Carol ever made. There, I said it. Michael Caine is the best Ebenezer Scrooge ever set to film and no actor has ever captured Dickens' heart and soul of Bob Cratchit quite like Kermit the Frog. The songs are beautiful. The characters are magical. I dare you to watch this without crying or getting warm fuzzies or both. You can’t. It’s impossible. It’s a perfect Christmas movie.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas may be, in fact, a perfect film. In Henry Selick’s directorial debut, Jack the Pumpkin King is tired of doing the Halloween thing 365 and becomes fascinated with the world of Christmas. As he tries to put his own twist on the celebration, he almost destroys Christmas and puts Santa Claus at risk. The endless war of determining whether or not this is a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie is a silly one, but providing the accessibility of Christmas to monster kids and goths cannot be understated.
Noelle Claus (Anna Kendrick) loves her life as the cheery daughter of Santa Claus, but can’t help but feel a little down considering her brother Nick (Bill Hader) is taking over the Santa duties this Christmas for the first time. Unfortunately, Nick doesn’t have quite as much Christmas spirit as his sister, and struggles to succeed in his Santa training. Noelle suggests he take a break to clear his head, but he never comes back. Now it’s up to Noelle and her friend Polly the Elf (Shirley MacLaine) to track down Nick and save Christmas.
The Santa Clause
The mystery surrounding how one becomes Santa Claus has been explored time and time again, but it’s Disney’s iconic rendition with Tim Allen that still remains on top. Allen plays a newly divorced dad who inadvertently knocks Santa off the roof, thereby triggering the “Santa Clause” forcing him to take over as the man in red while trying to convince his friends and family that he hasn’t gone insane. It’s a touching story about not losing the Christmas spirit as you grow older, and how spreading cheer is a yearlong commitment.
Originally part of the ABC Family “25 Days of Christmas” celebration, this made-for-TV holiday film stars Christina Milian as a woman named Angela who finds a magical snow globe and is able to transport into the world inside. It’s very Pleasantville-esque in that the globe people are all made of borderline cartoonish Christmas cheer, but things are complicated when Angela brings her new friend Eddie out of the globe and into the “real” world.
‘Twas the Night
Did you know that Michael Myers (Nick Castle) directed a Disney Channel original movie about Bryan Cranston as a conman Santa Claus? Now you do. Cranston plays Nick Wrigley, a guy who is hacked by criminals and demands money or else they’re gonna make him pay by any means necessary. Nick flees and runs into his family, where he only gets along with his 14-year-old nephew. Long story short, they steal Santa’s sleigh for a joyride and put all of Christmas at risk. DCOMs get a lot of flack, but this is easily one of the best.
The Ultimate Christmas Present
Speaking of DCOMs, The Ultimate Christmas Present is the perfect film for anyone celebrating the holidays in a warmer climate. Two teen girls, Sam (Brenda Song) and Allison (Hallee Hirsh) find a mysterious weather machine in the woods. After figuring out they can manipulate the weather, they use it to make it snow in Los Angeles. Turns out, the machine belongs to Santa and messing with the weather has some serious consequences for families all across Los Angeles and Santa Claus’ chances at a successful Christmas.
While You Were Sleeping
Instead of arguing yet again about whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie, turn your need for debate to the Sandra Bullock romantic comedy While You Were Sleeping. An oft-forgotten film from the 90s, the film begins right before Christmas and ends a day or two after New Year’s Eve. Bullock plays a transit worker who saves her biggest crush from a mugging, only for his family to confuse her for his fiancé when he enters a coma. It’s an admittedly weird movie that somehow sends a beautiful message about finding one’s true family, love, and community around the holidays.
Full Court Miracle
Inspired by the true story of University of Virginia Cavaliers basketball star Lamont Carr, this Disney Channel Original Movie centers on a group of young Jewish basketball players who search for a coach to help them out of a slump during the Hanukkah season. In a world completely overrun with Christmas movies, it’s really wonderful that a Hanukkah DCOM exists, even if the movie is way more about basketball than it is about the holiday.
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