There’s no better way to get into the Christmas spirit than by relaxing with some classic holiday movies, and this year we all have way more options thanks to Disney’s new streaming service — after all, the family-friendly entertainment company has long made some of the best Christmas classics out there, and for the first year you can watch almost all of them on Disney+.
In fact, you might be surprised at just how many Christmas movies and specials Disney has actually made — we know we were. Here’s everything that’s on there for you to enjoy this holiday season.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
This venerable Christmas classic wasn’t originally a Disney film, but since Disney now owns the 20th Century Fox film library, it’s available on Disney+ alongside all of the company’s more traditional titles. In fact, Disney is proudly calling this one a streaming exclusive, and while there’s also the 1994 modern remake (which is available on Disney+ too), nothing compares to the classic and timeless story of Kris Kringle having to prove that he’s actually Santa Claus. Watch this one right after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for a great start to your Christmas season.
The Sound of Music (1965)
It’s not technically a Christmas movie, but it’s become so widely associated with Christmas, thanks to ABC airing it during the holiday season for the past few decades, that by now it’s simply part of Christmas. If you’ve seen it before, you’ll probably appreciate this and enjoy the nostalgia of rewatching it on Disney+, and if you haven’t seen it, you really should.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Jim Henson’s Muppets have been part of the Disney family for years, and The Muppet Christmas Carol has become a classic of the era of muppet feature films. It’s a retelling of the famous Charles Dickens story with Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge and Kermit the Frog at Bob Cratchit.
Home Alone (1990)
It may have spawned two sequels, but nothing compares to the original Home Alone, which has become a Christmas classic in its own right, thanks to eight-year-old Kevin McCallister’s hilarious quest to fight off two bumbling burglars over Christmas.
The Santa Clause (1994)
With one of the most unique premises for a Christmas movie, this features Tim Allen as a divorced dad who is suddenly forced to step into the shoes of the big jolly man himself, Santa Claus. Of course, you can also find The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause on Disney+ too, but like most sequels they just don’t quite measure up to the original.
From the Vault
Pluto’s Christmas Tree (1952)
Those of us old enough to remember the Sunday night Disney’s Wonderful World and other related anthology series will easily remember this being a staple of the Christmas season, and thanks to Disney+, now a whole new generation of young viewers can more easily enjoy it too. Mickey and Pluto chop down a Christmas tree and bring it home without realizing that it’s Chip ‘n Dale’s home. This six-minute short is an absolute classic must-see.
Babes in Toyland (1961)
One of the earliest Disney musicals, Babes in Toyland tells the story of Mary Contrary and Tom Piper, two citizens of Toyland, who music fight the villainous Barnaby who wants to stop them from having a “happily ever after.” It may feel a bit dated by today’s standards, but it’s cute and it’s lead Mouseketeer Annette Funicello at her best.
One Magic Christmas (1985)
It’s movies like One Magic Christmas that make Disney+ such a great thing — offering up older classic titles that we’d rarely see otherwise. In this case, Mary Steenburgen plays the mother of a six-year-old girl, Abbie, who is visited by her very own guardian angel, played by none other than Harry Dean Stanton. It’s a classic and cute Disney movie from a simpler and more innocent era of filmmaking.
The Christmas Star (1986)
Another classic 1980’s era Disney movie, The Christmas Star is a fun case of mistaken identity where a ne’er-do-well crook is set straight and discovers the true meaning of Christmas after two kids mistake him for the real Santa.
Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997)
This sequel to the popular Beauty and Beast has Mrs. Potts sharing another tale about a Christmas that saw a scheming court composer trying to keep Belle and Beast apart forever.
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999)
This one is about a “pure Disney” as you can get, featuring Mickey Mouse and his pals gathering around the tree to reminisce about their past Christmas experiences.
Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas (2004)
Since once wasn’t enough, Disney also made a sequel, Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas, again featuring Mickey and Minnie along with Donald Duck in a more “bah humbug” kind of role.
Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year (2002)
Join Winnie the Pooh and his friends as they remember Christmas and prepare to ring in the New Year.
Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009)
Sadly, Disney+ doesn’t seem to have the classic Mickey’s Christmas Carol available, but you can watch Disney’s modern animated take that stars Jim Carrey as the voice of Ebenezer Scrooge, Gary Oldman as Bob Cratchitt, and Colin Firth as his cheery nephew.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, this one likely needs no introduction at all, nor should you be surprised to find it on Disney+. It’s not a Christmas movie per se, but like many other winter-themed children’s movies, it’s become a holiday movie by association.
Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (2017)
Even if Frozen wasn’t really a Christmas movie, Disney’s sequel to it definitely is, with Olaf the whimsical snowman setting off with Sven the reindeer to find the best holiday traditions in order to save Christmas for Arendelle.
Live Action Films
I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1998)
If you grew up in the nineties, you probably remember this fun Jonathan Taylor Thomas coming-of-age comedy about a college student who fights to get home for Christmas at any cost, originally motivated only by the vintage Porsche waiting for him, but discovering the true meaning of Christmas and the value of family along the way.
Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish (1998)
Based on the kids comic series, this live-action film has the poor little rich boy, Richie Rich, struggling to escape from an alternate universe where he’s trapped in the clutches of his rival and cousin, Reggie Van Dough, in order to get back to the real world in time for Christmas.
The Ultimate Christmas Present (2000)
If you’re wishing for a white Christmas in a warm climate, you’re not alone. This turn-of-the-millennium film tells the story of two young teens who come across Santa’s weather-making machine and decide to go a little crazy, creating chaos until Santa himself has to come in and help save the day.
‘Twas the Night (2001)
A boy and his con-artist uncle are forced to take over delivering gifts for Santa after they accidentally knock him out on Christmas Eve, but Uncle Nick is a con-artist who would rather steal from the neighbours than hand out presents, and it’s up to young Danny to show him the error of his ways.
Good Luck Charlie, It’s Christmas (2011)
A family, the Duncans, struggle to get together with family to celebrate the holidays, only to get separated en route and encounter a variety of mishaps and adventures, making it a Christmas miracle that they ever manage to get together in time.
This story of Santa’s daughter Noelle sees her helping out her brother, the heir to Santa’s legacy, who bumbles through his training and runs away under the pressure to live up to his father’s expectations. Noelle then has to steal the sleigh to go and find her brother to bring him back in time for Christmas.
Snow Buddies (2008)
Another one that’s more associated with Christmas than actually about Christmas, Snow Buddies takes Disney’s talking pups through an Alaskan adventure, and helps set the stage for a subsequent series of Christmas themed adventures that will follow for the furry pack.
Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws (2009)
Disney’s talking puppies, the Buddies, teach Puppy Paws, the son of Santa’s dog, the true meaning of Christmas.
The Search for Santa Paws (2010)
Santa’s four-legged best friend, Santa Paws, has to help his master regain his memory and show the world what Christmas is really all about.
For Older Kids
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
If your tastes for the Christmas season run a little dark, Tim Burton’s classic The Nightmare Before Christmas is a perfect holiday treat to sit right in between Halloween and Christmas. It’s a fun and fantastical romp through the land of Jack Skellington, who finds himself bored with years of Halloween and therefore wants to steal the magic of Christmas Town for his own kingdom.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)
While this one isn’t technically a Christmas movie, Disney and Walden’s big-screen adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ classic children’s story has always had a Christmassy feel for many of us, set in the magical land of Narnia where it’s cursed to be “always winter and never Christmas” until the four children and Aslan arrive on the scene, along with a visit from Father Christmas — probably at least part of the reason why Disney released the original movie during the holiday season.
While You Were Sleeping (1995)
This heartwarming romantic comedy stars Sandra Bullock as a lonely subway worker who is mistaken for the fiancée of a man she’s infatuated with after she saves his life, finding herself suddenly thrust into the middle of the man’s family and their holiday celebrations.
Three Days (2001)
An angel gives a man a chance to relieve the last three days of his wife’s life after she’s tragically killed just before Christmas.
A woman gets transported into the picturesque and perfect winter wonderland inside her snow globe, until she realizes that her presence is corrupting the innocent world of Snow Globe, and has to take drastic measures to reverse her negative effects.
The Mistle-tones: A Musical (2012)
A classic modern Disney musical in the spirit of “High School Musical,” The Mistle-Tones has a new upstart musical group competing with the legendary Snow Belles in a Christmas Eve sing-off.
12 Dates of Christmas (2011)
A cross between A Christmas Carol and Groundhog Day, this sweet romantic comedy tells the story of a young woman who is forced to relive the same first date on Christmas Eve over and over again until she finds the true spirit of Christmas.
Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic (2017)
Finally, if you’re up for a little real-world holiday magic, this special will take you behind the scenes and show you how Walt Disney World and Disneyland are transformed each year into the Merriest Places on Earth.