Holiday movie viewing is a seasonal tradition for many families, and there are now so
many ways to binge Christmas films and make movie-night memories. The streaming service Hulu currently has dozens of holiday films ready to cue up, from cable-tv originals to old-school classics. And you’ll find flicks for kids, teens, and grown-ups to enjoy.
We thoroughly excavated Hulu’s selection of holiday movies and found classics of all kinds: Modern and black-and-white, happy and sad, thoughtful and silly. Many are charming retellings of old Christmas tales, and others are utterly original. There’s the goofy, kid-friendly adventures like
Elf, an adult comedy gem featuring Schitt’s Creek’s Dan Levy, and even an animated movie that feels more Halloween than holiday.
What’s that? You haven’t
subscribed to Hulu’s streaming services for $6.99 a month? Not a problem, because Hulu offers a free trial, which is just enough to give you a taste of the sweet holiday treats on their viewing buffet. Elf
Endlessly quoteable (“I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite.”), this PG-rated 2003 Will Ferrell vehicle makes parents and kids laugh year after year. It also stars the delightful
Zooey Deschanel, who lends her sweet vocals to the festive and jazzy . This classic taught the world that elves eat exclusively from the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup. North Pole elves also know the secret to infecting others with joy, as the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. Well, that, or streaming Elf soundtrack Elf on a loop. Watch , rated PG. Elf Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
The ultimate classic for many parents, the original
Miracle on 34th Street , released in 1947, is the story of a young girl (played by Natalie Wood) with a wise old soul. Her mother ( Maureen O’Hara) has the enormous job of overseeing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and finds herself in a last-minute bind when, just before the parade’s about to begin, she needs to hire a new Santa Claus to close the show. And find a Santa Claus she does. Her daughter, Susan, believes more in the department store’s Kris Kringle with each passing day, as she learns that faith goes far beyond the things you can see and hold in your hands. Watch , rated TVG. Miracle on 34th Street The Holiday
A quintessential slice of Nancy Meyers movie escapism,
this modern classic features Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet as characters running away from love. Each one is successful but lonely, swapping houses in Los Angeles, California and small-town England for a holiday away from their lives. Naturally each character finds love again. It’s a PG-13-rated rom-com filled with quaint cottages, L.A. mansions, twinkling lights, movie montages, easy chuckles, and everyone’s favorite gift, Jude Law. Watch , rated PG-13. The Holiday Happiest Season This funny, fresh Christmas comedy stars Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, and Schitt’s Creek show-runner Dan Levy. The Hulu original Happiest Season is a sweet story about a couple meeting the parents for the first time. What Stewart’s character Abby doesn’t initially realize is that her girlfriend hasn’t told her parents about her, and instead introduces Abby as her orphan friend. The 2020 movie, rated PG-13, features Levy as Stewart’s wry best friend, and Mary Steenburgen, who’s becoming something of a holiday movie staple, thanks to her previous roles in and the Reese Witherspoon comedy Elf Four Christmases. The family dynamics occasionally strain credulity but overall it’s a heartwarming rom-com with Christmas at it’s center. Watch , rated PG-13. Happiest Season The Man Who Invented Christmas
As with quite a few origin stories, this one can get a little... serious. Some might even say there are moments in the 2017 film that feel dark, so take care to watch or read more about
this holiday movie before letting little ones cozy up for a viewing. It portrays author Charles Dickens during the period when he created one of the most memorable characters in literature: Ebenezer Scrooge. Dickens needs a career boost, and he’s desperate to sell this reflective Christmas story. He searches for inspiration and boy, does he find it. Watch , rated PG. The Man Who Invented Christmas Last Holiday
Sometimes, the holidays are a time for reflection: What was learned in the past year, and what do we want to tackle in the next?
This 2006 comedy stars Queen Latifah as a woman faced with a life-threatening illness who decides to make the most of every second she has. Over the course of a lavish trip, Latifah’s character has loads of fun, but also makes us think about some major life lessons: From standing up to others, to taking risks, seizing opportunities, pushing through fears and living life to its fullest. Watch , rated PG-13. Last Holiday Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
Parents and kids alike will be charmed by t
his remake of the 1947 classic. The tale remains the same: The story follows a mother and daughter, both practical truth-tellers. But when mother Dorey Walker (played by Elizabeth Perkins) hires a super-convincing department store Santa to help turn around the store’s flailing finances, her daughter (played by Matilda’s Mara Wilson) starts to believe in the myth and the man. It’s beautiful to see the spark of hope and faith burn brighter in each character as they discover that belief can buoy hearts to trust and love again. The movie does speak frankly about the existence of Mr. Claus, so that whole conversation might come up after viewing. Watch , rated PG. Miracle on 34th Street Holidaze
Starring soap-opera staple and television host Cameron Mathison and
star Jennie Garth, the Freeform ABC Family Beverly Hills, 90210 movie taps into some serious nostalgia for 80s and 90s babies. Yes, okay, the plot might be familiar to fans of certain classic and made-for-cable holiday movies: a career woman gets a bewildering glimpse into the life she would have had if she had stayed with an old flame. Predictable? Yeah, maybe. But Garth and Mathison have charm to spare. If you’re a fan of Holidaze Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas flicks, Hulu has others streaming, like and Holiday in Handcuffs . The Mistle-Tones A Musical Watch , rated TV14. Holidaze Casper’s Haunted Christmas
TVG-rated movie, released in 2000, stars that familiar friendly ghost in an unfamiliar holiday predicament: It seems Casper is being a little too friendly to remain ghostly (he spent the previous Halloween at home watching a movie, rather than going out scaring). Now the gauntlet has been thrown: If Casper doesn’t purposely scare at least one person by Christmas, the little ghoul will be sent to “the dark.” It has moments of cute, moments of Christmas-y cheer, but be warned that it also has some spooky imagery that might be too much for super-little ones. But those who love or grew up with Casper will surely enjoy the tale. Watch , rated TVG. Casper’s Haunted Christmas Deck The Halls
Okay, yes, the story of out-decorating your neighbors can feel a bit cliche, but
this 2006 release stars likable actors Matthew Broderick, Kristin Chenoweth, and Kristin Davis. And, as with many holiday movies, it taps into bigger emotions you might experience as an adult, like the lifelong need to feel like you’re contributing, or doing something meaningful in life, something... big. While one character goes all out to make his house viewable from outer space, another finds himself questioning himself as he gets lost in competition and jealousy. But the big thoughts are rooted in two families that mean well, and, of course, eventually learn that the holidays are about more than buying the most Christmas lights. Watch , rated PG. Deck the Halls