17 Best Christmas Movies Of The Last Decade, Ranked

Summary

  • Christmas movies come in various genres, including horror, comedy, drama, and action, providing options for fans of all genres.
  • Krampus, Noelle, The Night Before, The Grinch, Jingle Jangle, Last Christmas, Better Watch Out, and Happiest Season are recent Christmas movies worth watching.
  • These movies capture the holiday spirit through festive visuals, holiday songs, and themes, while offering unique and entertaining storylines.


Every year around the holidays, Christmas movies begin to flood streaming services and network television and people can watch some of the most beloved holiday movies from the past. However, there are also more recent Christmas movies that deserve attention as well, many of which are even better than the ones from years past. While many of the more recent Christmas movies veer into the territory of romantic comedies, there are also plenty of others to choose from, including dramas, family films, horror movies, and action flicks taking place during the holiday season.

There will always be arguments over whether a movie is an actual Christmas movie or one that just takes place during Christmas, but when a movie features the holiday season, Christmas trees, festive holiday songs, and the snowy visage of December, it delivers that holiday spirit. This is even the case when the movies deliver a serial killing Santa Claus, the demonic alter ego of Saint Nicholas, or a superhero family trying to find the meaning of the holidays. Over the last decade, there have been several amazing new Christmas movies for fans of all genres.

Related

29 Best Christmas Movies Of All Time

Time to get into the Christmas spirit with a run down of the best Christmas movies of all time.


17 Krampus (2015)

A Horror Movie About The Dark Side of Christmas

Krampus

Release Date
December 4, 2015

Director
Michael Dougherty

Cast
Luke Hawker , Toni Collette , Adam Scott , Emjay Anthony , Allison Tolman , Stefania Owen , David Koechner , Conchata Ferrell

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
98minutes

Stream no on Peacock

It can be difficult to mix horror and Christmas effectively, but it can be really fun when it does end up working. In Krampus, a dysfunctional family attempts to celebrate together despite everyone being preoccupied with their problems and grievances. Their lack of Christmas spirit soon gets them targeted by the ancient monster, Krampus. The movie does a nice job of bringing the old holiday lore into a modern setting. There is also some fun dark comedy which is handled well by the talented cast that includes Toni Collette and Adam Scott.

16 Noelle (2019)

A Christmas Movie About Santa’s Daughter

Noelle smiling outside in the snow in Noelle

Noelle

Release Date
November 12, 2019

Director
Marc Lawrence

Cast
Shirley MacLaine , Anna Kendrick , Chelah Horsdal , Julie Hagerty , Michael Gross , Anthony Konechny , Kingsley Ben-Adir , Maceo Smedley , Bill Hader , Billy Eichner , Anna Van Hooft

Rating
G

Runtime
100minutes

Available to stream on Disney+

Among the many Christmas movies on Disney+ is their recent original project Noelle. Anna Kendrick stars as Noelle Kringle, the daughter of Santa Claus. When it is time for her brother (Bill Hader) to step into the role of Santa, he has a nervous breakdown forcing Noelle to try and save Christmas herself. Kendrick is extremely charming and funny in the lead role, bringing a huge spark to the story. It is also an interesting subversion of the classic Santa story with just the right amount of magic and humor thrown in.

15 The Night Before (2015)

A Seth Rogen Raunchy Christmas Comedy

The Night Before starring Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie

The Night Before

Release Date
November 25, 2015

Director
Jonathan Levine

Rating
R

Runtime
101minutes

  • Available to stream on Fubo

Leave it to Seth Rogen and his friends to pull off a hilarious R-rated holiday comedy. Rogen stars alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie as three best friends whose annual Christmas Eve party night takes them on a wild and dangerous adventure through New York City. The Night Before combines Christmas traditions with drugs and partying in a pretty wild way. The three leads are a lot of fun, there’s a fair bit of heart to the story, and there are some great cameos throughout, including Miley Cyrus and Michael Shannon.

14 The Grinch (2018)

A Modern-Day Remake Of The Christmas Classic

The Grinch making a grouchy face while holding a mug

The Grinch

Release Date
November 9, 2018

Director
Yarrow Cheney , Scott Mosier

Rating
PG

Runtime
90 Minutes

Available to stream on Peacock

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a classic with the old cartoon remaining a must-see for the season and there are also plenty of fans of the live-action Jim Carrey version. The Grinch returns the story to animation with Benedict Cumberbatch voicing the titular character. The movie expands on the old story in some interesting and charming ways, once again giving the Grinch a sympathetic backstory. It is a beautifully animated movie with a heartwarming message at its center.

13 Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)

A Delightful Musical

Jingle Jangle

Release Date
November 13, 2020

Director
David E. Talbert

Cast
Justin Cornwell , Forest Whitaker , Kieron L. Dyer , Hugh Bonneville , ricky martin , Keegan-Michael Key , Lisa Davina Phillip , Madalen Mills , Phylicia Rashad , Sharon Rose , Anika Noni Rose

Rating
PG

Runtime
122 minutes

Available to stream on Netflix

Though quite a new Christmas movie, Jingle Jangle has already earned a lot of fans. This musical fantasy adventure follows a former toymaker who tries to regain some of his old magic ways with the help of his adventurous granddaughter. The Netflix family film is a stylish and vibrant production that should thrill fans of all ages. It is packed with music and magic while also delivering a touching message at the center of its story. The movie was also wildly successful, picking up 10 NAACP Image nominations – the most at the 52nd annual award ceremony.

12 Last Christmas (2019)

A Film That Follows An Iconic Christmas Song

Henry Golding and Emilia Clarke looking up in Last Christmas

Last Christmas

Release Date
November 8, 2019

Director
Paul Feig

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
103minutes

Available to stream on Prime Video

Wham’s “Last Christmas” is a favorite song for the season, and it helped inspire this recent romantic comedy. Emilia Clarke stars as an aimless young Londoner who meets a handsome mystery man (Henry Golding) who helps her find the true meaning of Christmas. The story takes some interesting twists and turns while remaining enjoyable throughout. Clarke is especially good in a role that allows her to show off her surprising comedic talent, while Golding is a great romantic interest. The ending is a gut punch, but it still maintains the holiday spirit.

11 Better Watch Out (2016)

Christmas Horror At Its Finest

Luke ties up Ashley in Better Watch Out.

Better Watch Out 2016 Movie Poster

Better Watch Out

Release Date
October 6, 2017

Director
Chris Peckover

Cast
Olivia DeJonge , Levi Miller , Ed Oxenbould , Aleks Mikic , Dacre Montgomery , Patrick Warburton , Virginia Madsen

Rating
R

Runtime
89 Minutes

Available to stream on Prime Video

Like many of the best Christmas horror movies, Better Watch Out attempts the difficult balance of a holiday horror movie with some comedic elements. The movie follows a young babysitter who is forced to defend the young boy she is watching from home invaders. While it initially feels like an R-rated take on Home Alone, Better Watch Out is much cleverer than it seems with some twists that turn it into a much more twisted and interesting horror story. The movie even has a crowd-pleasing ending, so don’t worry about this recent Christmas movie being a little too dark for the holidays.

10 Happiest Season (2020)

A Great LGBTQ+ Holiday Movie

Kristen Stewart as Abby and Mackenzie Davis as Harper in Happiest Season

Happiest Season

Release Date
November 25, 2020

Director
Clea DuVall

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
102minutes

Available to stream on Hulu

Happiest Season is another recent holiday movie that stars Kristen Stewart as a young woman who accompanies her girlfriend (Mackenzie Davis) home for the holidays only to discover she hasn’t come out to her family. This is a fun new take on the typical holiday comedy centered around awkward families. It is a nice mix of comedy and heartfelt moments. But the whole thing is elevated by the very talented cast, including the scene-stealing roles of Dan Levy and Aubrey Plaza. For anyone looking for a positive, entertaining LGBTQ+ Christmas comedy, this is a great choice.

9 The Best Man Holiday (2013)

The Rare Christmas Legacy Sequel

Morris Chestnut dancing with his friends in The Best Man Holiday

Available to stream on Peacock

The Best Man was a 90s rom-com about a group of friends getting together for a wedding and dealing with various personal struggles. The sequel picks up over a decade later and adds a Christmas spin on it in The Best Man Holiday. The movie may be light on plot, but it makes up for it with a fun energy and a terrific cast that includes Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, and Terrence Howard. Returning to these characters after so many years does give that sense of reuniting with loved ones for the holidays.

8 Spirited (2022)

Ryan Reynolds & Will Ferrell Singing

Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds in Spirited

Spirited november movie poster

Spirited

Release Date
November 11, 2022

Director
Sean Anders , John Morris

Cast
Marlow Barkley , Sunita Mani , Joe Tippett , Octavia Spencer , Patrick Page , Ryan Reynolds , Jen Tullock , Will Ferrell , Aimee Carrero

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
127 minutes

Available to stream on AppleTV+

There have been countless adaptations of A Christmas Carol, but Spirited takes a different approach to this modern take. Will Ferrell stars as the Ghost of Christmas Present who seeks to redeem a self-centered businessman (Ryan Reynolds) while also searching for his happiness. The movie is a full-blown musical with big, fun numbers and committed performances from Ferrell and Reynolds. While it might not hugely reinvent the story, it makes for one of the best recent Christmas movies to tackle the classic Charles Dickens tale.

7 8-Bit Christmas (2021)

Kind Of A Modern A Christmas Story

Jake sitting on the ground in 8-Bit Christmas.

8 bit

8-Bit Christmas

Release Date
November 24, 2021

Director
Michael Dowse

Cast
Winslow Fegley , Cyrus Arnold , Steve Zahn

Rating
pg

Runtime
97minutes

Available to stream on Max

A Christmas Story remains one of the most charming Christmas movies and is very relatable as it deals with the nostalgic feeling of wanting that one special gift as a youngster. 8-Bit Christmas is inspired by that movie, telling an 80s-set movie about a young boy hoping to get a Nintendo under the Christmas tree. The movie is filled with great nostalgic humor that will likely transport some viewers back to their youth, while younger viewers will surely have fun with the adventure of it all. While it might be a bit too beholden to A Christmas Story, it stands enough on its own to be fun.

6 A Boy Called Christmas (2021)

A Book To Movie Adaptation

Nikolas in A Boy Called Christmas.

Available to stream on Netflix

Based on the novel of the same name, A Boy Called Christmas imagines the magical origins of the special holiday and the young man at the center of it all. The story follows the titular young boy who ventures into the harsh wilderness to rescue his father and encounters a hidden elf world. The movie has a grand and wonderful feel that turns it into a grand adventure. It is almost like a Christmas version of Harry Potter, which will no doubt please many fans. It was also positively received by critics, sitting at 84% on Rotten Tomatoes.

5 A Christmas Story Christmas (2022)

The Follow-Up To The Holiday Classic

Ralphie with the tree topper in A Christmas Story Christmas.

Available to stream on Max

Making a sequel to a Christmas classic nearly 40 years after the original is risky, but A Christmas Story Christmas seems to have pulled it off with most fans. The sequel finds Ralphie Parker now an adult and father who attempts to make the perfect Christmas in the wake of his father’s death. Along with Billingsley, a lot of the cast from A Christmas Story return do a wonderful job carrying on the legacy of the first movie while also telling its own story. It is filled with humor and heart as well as a good helping of nostalgia.

4 The Christmas Chronicles (2018)

Kurt Russell Is Santa Claus

The Christmas Chronicles

Release Date
November 22, 2018

Director
Clay Kaytis

Cast
Lamorne Morris , Darby Camp , Judah Lewis , Kimberly Williams-Paisley , Kurt Russell , Oliver Hudson

Rating
PG

Runtime
104 minutes

Available to stream on Netflix

Kurt Russell is probably not an actor a lot of people would think of for Santa Claus, but he owns the role in Netflix’s family adventure The Christmas Chronicles. The film follows a pair of siblings who must help Santa save Christmas after accidentally causing his sleigh to crash. It is a fun and light ride perfect for a cozy winter night when the family is looking for some yuletide fun. But the real treat is Russell’s Santa as the actor commits to his performance. It was such a great success that it spawned a sequel, with rumors of Christmas Chronicles 3 on the horizon.

3 Shazam! (2019)

A Superhero Christmas Film

The Shazam family in the DCEU

Shazam!

Release Date
April 5, 2019

Director
David F. Sandberg

Cast
Faithe Herman , Jack Dylan Grazer , Ian Chen , Asher Angel , Marta Milans , Mark Strong , Cooper Andrews , Andi Osho , grace fulton , Zachary Levi , Ron Cephas Jones , Ava Preston

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
138 minutes

Available to stream on Max

There are several great debatable Christmas movies, including those from the superhero genre. Shazam! introduces a new hero to the DCEU and one that seemed to actively move away from the darker and brooding heroes the cinematic universe had become known for. Young Billy Batson is given the powers of the ancient gods to become a powerful superhero. The movie has a lot of fun imagining what a kid would do with the powers of Superman and the Christmas setting just adds to the fun of the movie.

2 Violent Night (2022)

What If Santa Kicked Butt?

Violent Night Poster

Violent Night

Release Date
December 2, 2022

Director
Tommy Wirkola

Cast
David Harbour , John Leguizamo , Beverly D’Angelo , Cam Gigandet , Brendan Fletcher , Edi Patterson , Alex Hassell

Rating
R

Runtime
101 minutes

Available to stream on Prime Video

David Harbour makes for perhaps the wildest movie Santa Claus of all time in Violent Night. When an elite group of mercenaries attacks the home of a wealthy family, Santa must step in to save the day and take out the bad guys. With some terrific R-rated violence, a lot of humor, and plenty of fun references to other Christmas movies, it is hard not to get caught up in the festive mayhem of the movie. Harbour is a real treat in the lead role and seems to be having a blast as he works to subvert what people know about Santa Claus.

1 Klaus (2019)

Santa’s Origin Story

Klaus and Jesper in the forest in Klaus, 2019

Klaus Movie Poster

Klaus

Release Date
November 8, 2019

Director
Sergio Pablos

Cast
Sergio Pablos , Jason Schwartzman , J.K. Simmons , Rashida Jones , Will Sasso , Norm Macdonald , Joan Cusack , Neda Margrethe Labba

Rating
pg-13

Runtime
97 Minutes

Available to stream on Netflix

The Oscar-nominated Klaus is a beautifully animated holiday story that explores the special origins of Santa in a fascinating way. The story follows a postal worker who is stationed in a remote frozen community engaged in a long and disastrous feud. When he befriends an isolated toy maker named Klaus, they seek to end the feud through kindness and gifts. The unique and brilliant style of the movie is eye-catching, but that’s only where the magic of Klaus begins. This recent Christmas movie is a funny, clever, and moving story that creates an interesting and complex new mythology for the beloved figure of Santa Claus.

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