Christmas Movies to Watch: Festive Season 2020

Tis the season to be jolly!

I love movies, and I really enjoy Christmas movies. They always get me in the festive spirits and can truly turn a frown upside down. From the classic oldies like Home Alone to new releases like The Christmas Chronicles, there are some brilliant movies to choose from.

I’m lucky in that I have a foursome of on-demand movie services that allow me to have many options at my fingertips: Sky Cinema, Netflix, Disney+ and Apple TV+.

Surely you have your own Christmas movies to watch with family, friends, your beloved or the kids, but if you’re looking for a few more options then take a look below. I’ve given each of the Christmas movies my Cookie FM Rating with a mini review, and noted where it’s possible to watch from if you use any of the aforementioned on-demand services (if you don’t have the DVDs already).

I’ll add more movies to my list in the next few days, after I refresh my festive movie catalogue!

The Nice List

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – 10/10 (2000, Director: Ron Hoawrd)

Easily my all-time favourite Christmas movie that always gets me in the mood for the holidays. Jim Carrey’s The Grinch is executed to perfection, the message within the story is very good, and it’s just a joyous family-friendly movie! I know all the words, I adore the wardrobe and admire the makeup & prosthetic skills so very much. And yes, that was Taylor Momsen when she was a little one!
Where to Watch: Sky Cinema, Apple TV+

The Muppet Christmas Carol – 10/10 (1992, Director: Brian Henson)

Maybe this is the movie that solidified my love for Michael Caine, because The Muppet Christmas Carol is a true classic. I have fond memories of watching this with my grandparents back in the day, with my auntie on the couch the Christmas after my Mam passed away, and with all members of my family at some point. With songs, silliness and a few spooks (if you’re little), it is an all-rounder.
Where to Watch: Sky Store, Disney+, Apple TV+

Elf – 10/10 (2003, Director: Jon Favreau)

Probably one of the most popular movies this time of year, Will Ferrell plays Buddy the Elf almost annoyingly well. In a funny style of self-discovery and to spread that festive cheer with his dad, this one will bring warmth and laughs to all who watch it.
Where to Watch: Sky Cinema, Apple TV+

Last Christmas – 10/10 (2019, Director: Paul Feig)

It’s not a love story, but it’s as good as. Starring Emilia Clarke, Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding and Emma Thompson, be prepared for tears of joy and sadness in this very Christmassy movie. There are convincing and realistic characters with a heartfelt underlying message. Plus it features possibly the most amazing Christmas shop I’ve ever seen!
Where to Watch: Sky Cinema, Apple TV+

The Nightmare Before Christmas – 10/10 (1993, Director: Henry Selick)

Whether it’s Halloween or Christmas, this is one of my favourite movies of all-time! I love the music, and the Grinch-like storyline of Jack Skellington attempting to take Christmas as his own. The stop-motion animation is timeless and though debatable about what season the movie ‘belongs to’, I happily watch it during the wintry festivities.
Where to Watch: Sky Store, Disney+, Apple TV+

Home Alone – 9/10 (1990, Director: Chris Colombus)

One of the most hilarious family Christmas movies there is, and it celebrates its 30th anniversary this year! Led by Macauley Culkin as Kevin, with the brilliant Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as the Wet Bandits, and not to forget Catherine O’Hara as Kevin’s mam (oh Moira!). It’s full of laughs and pranks that’s sure to bring a smile to all of your faces. Just remember to tip the pizza delivery guy, you filthy animals!
Where to Watch: Sky Store, Disney+, Apple TV+

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York – 7/10 (1992, Director: Chris Colombus)

As far as sequels go, this is a good one! Macauley Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern and Catherine O’Hara all reprise their roles for Home Alone 2, this time set in New York City. It’s got the same structure, writer and director as the original, with great laughs and pranks, heartfelt moments, and an underlying message to be kind to one another. Fun for all the family once again.
Where to Watch: Sky Store, Disney+, Apple TV+

The Christmas Chronicles – 9/10 (2018, Director: Clay Kaytis)

Kurt Russell as Santa Claus? Yes please! A thoroughly enjoyable festive movie that’s got laughs and and Christmas cheer with great acting and a fun storyline. It also gave us the dreamy real-life couple in Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell on-screen, alongside their son Oliver Hudson.
Where to Watch: Netflix

The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two – 7.5/10 (2020, Director: Chris Colombus)

A good, fun sequel that’s got Christmas written all over it. The plot of this movie is a little lacklustre, but all-in-all, it’s a family movie to enjoy over hot chocolate. The stars of the original return, and I adore that Goldie Hawn plays a bigger role in this sequel alongside on-and-off-screen partner Kurt Russell. For me though, the younger actors were a bit cringe, and unfortunately the musical number was too, but otherwise I give it a thumbs up!
Where to Watch: Netflix

Holidate – 9/10 (2020, Director: John Whitesell)

By far one of the best rom coms I’ve seen in the past few years! Holidate takes a funny idea and makes it not only relatable but rather realistic, with a festive twist of course. Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey play their parts brilliantly, alongside a host of great co-stars, with great jokes and a definitive plot.
Where to Watch: Netflix

The Santa Clause – 8/10 (1994, Director: John Pasquin)

One of the classics: Tim Allen in The Santa Clause. A good family movie, that I feel has some interesting messages throughout, such as believing in Santa and allowing kids to have an imagination. I enjoy the transition of Allen’s character from being business marketer to Santa himself, but I must say, the dramaticism of revoking visiting rights to his own son is pure nasty!
Where to Watch: Sky Store, Disney+, Apple TV+

A Bad Moms Christmas – 8/10 (2017, Director: Jon Lucas & Scott Moore)

If you’ve seen its prequel Bad Moms and liked, you’ll enjoy this festive sequel! It’s good craic and it’s a bit mad, but at the end of the day it’s just the bad moms being great moms! You might cry with laughter as Mila Kunis, Kristin Bell and Kathryn Hahn gave stellar performances – and it’s definitely for adults only!
Where to Watch: Netflix, Apple TV+

Jingle All the Way – 7/10 (1996, Director: Brian Levant)

A silly but fun festive movie starring the mighty Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s as much for the kids as it is for the adults. There are a number of infuriating characters (Ted and Myron, I’m looking at you!) but all-in-all it’s a great laugh and you just have to admire the 90s visual effects in the final scenes.
Where to Watch: Sky Cinema, Apple TV+

Office Christmas Party – 7/10 (2016, Director: Josh Gordon & Will Speck)

If you want to have a bit of a laugh at the ridiculousness of the infamous work Christmas party, then this is the movie for you! It’s got a great cast with T.J. Miller, Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, Jennifer Aniston and Kate McKinnon, that’s sure to make your night a bit of fun.
Where to Watch: Sky Store, Apple TV+

Gremlins – 7/10 (1984, Director: Joe Dante)

It’s definitely a Christmas movie like no other! Gremlins packs good family fun in with some sorta creepy monsters, a few casualties, a good handful of laughs and an extremely cute Gizmo. Given it was made in the 80s, the special effects are rather class for their era and really work. I love the few spooks and jump scares it has, and as it’s rated PG, be sure to actually watch it with the kids!
Where to Watch: Sky Cinema, Apple TV+

This Christmas – 7.5/10 (2007, Director: Preston A. Whitmore II)

If you want to watch a feel-good film with family drama, sit down and watch This Christmas. It’s storyline is a little cliché: the grown up children come home for the holidays and there’s drama with each of the siblings. But it’s done very well, with believable and convincing acting (namely Regina King, Idris Elba, Delroy Lindo, Loretta Devine and Sharon Leal). It’s not overzealous, and has a happy ending that’s sure to make your heart warm.
Where to Watch: Sky Cinema, Apple TV+

Rise of the Guardians – 7/10 (2012, Director: Peter Ramsey)

A beautifully animated story that brings together a number of guardians (Santa Claus, Jack Frost, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman and the Tooth Fairy) for a special mission against the bad guy, with guidance from ‘the man on the moon’. It’s a little overzealous and breaks a number of stereotypical moulds, but it’s fun from start to finish, with an underlying message to believe, that’s good for the kids as much as it is for adults.
Where to Watch: Sky Cinema, Netflix, Apple TV+

Scrooged – 7/10 (1988, Director: Richard Donner)

If you like Bill Murray, you’ll love Scrooged! The classic tale of Scrooge is rather well played out in this comedy, with three Ghosts of Christmas paying a visit. There are some bizarre antics, (why does the Ghost of Christmas Present keep smacking Frank?!), and at times some characters are infuriating, bordering on cringy. But all-in-all it’s a fun movie for the holiday season.
Where to Watch: Sky Cinema, Netflix, Apple TV+

The Holiday – 8/10 (2006, Director: Nancy Meyers)

Do you love romantic movies at Christmas? Then The Holiday is the one for you! This movie’s got a great cast with Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black, Jude Law and Eli Wallach, whose characters cross paths following the ladies’ break ups and a house exchange between Surrey and Los Angeles. It’s got some great side stories (notably the friendship between Winslet and Wallach’s characters), while also having a decent main love story. You may need tissues for this one!
Where to Watch: Sky Cinema, Netflix, Apple TV+

Love Actually – 8/10 (2003, Director: Richard Curtis)

A feel-good movie that’s star studded, no wonder Love Actually is one of the most watched movies at Christmas. I rather enjoy these intertwining stories of love, lust and heartache; from Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon’s characters, to Colin Firth and Lúcia Moniz’ lost in translation, and of course little Thomas Brodie-Sangster’s first love and Liam Neeson’s fatherly advice. Somewhat realistic, there’s good Christmas cheer for all to enjoy.
Where to Watch: Sky Cinema, Apple TV+

The Naughty List

Dr Suess’ The Grinch – 4/10 (2018, Director: Yarrow Cheney & Scott Mosier)

Maybe I’m biased because I LOVE the Ron Howard & Jim Carrey version, but this animated remake just didn’t quite cut it for me. It’s not as raw, but it is enjoyable and perhaps more kid-friendly. The animation itself is superb (Illumination are responsible for Despicable Me FYI) and the music choices sure appeal to the younger generation, with great voice casting including Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones and Pharrell.
Where to Watch: Sky Store, Netflix, Apple TV+

The Family Stone – 4/10 (2005, Director: Thomas Bezucha)

Personally, turn this one off… Although there is a stellar cast (Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson), who do an amazing job in their roles, it’s the actual characters and personalities that turned me off this movie. Whatever happened to being kind to others, especially during the holidays?! Perhaps it’s relatable to some folk, but I don’t know how siblings can treat each other this way during Christmastime.
Where to Watch: Sky Cinema, Apple TV+

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – 3/10 (1989, Director: Jeremiah Chechik)

I’m not even sorry; I don’t get the appeal. I’ve watched this cringing, rolling my eyes and cursing the movie as the credits rolled. Maybe it’s because I’m not a Chevy Chase fan, but the movie is completely ridiculous, but not in a good way. The antics are unrealistic, silly…and rather bordering stupid. Not for me!
Where to Watch: Sky Store, Apple TV+

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