13 Holiday Movies Your Tweens & Teens Won't Scoff At

The holiday season is upon us, and you know what that means. Christmas songs and holiday baking shows. Scrambling to find gifts your kids will love … without breaking the bank. And teens and tweens moaning and groaning anytime they are asked to participate in family holiday festivities. I have teens, so believe me, I understand. The struggle is real.

Fortunately, movies can provide some common ground for shared holiday activities. Even the most sulky teen will linger in the family room when a wholesome holiday movie is on. Holiday magic to the rescue!

If you’re looking to grab a little holiday cheer and perhaps coax your teen or tween out of their room or away from their screen of choice for a couple hours, stream one of these gems and the holiday magic will do its thing. Not sure what to watch? We’ve got you covered with 13 suggestions — popcorn and hot chocolate optional, but strongly advised!

1. Noelle

Starring Anna Kendrick as Kris Kringle’s daughter, this movie has just the right amount of humor and sweetness without being too cringey. Shirley MacLaine, Billy Eichner, and Bill Hader do not disappoint either. 

Watch on Disney+

2. Spirited

An updated 2022 take on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Spirited is a musical comedy starring Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds, and Octavia Spencer. As one Rotten Tomatoes viewer said, “It’s a funny, bouncy romp with strong singing and dancing talent and just the right touch of snark to please any Scrooge.” Did we mention it stars Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell? Need we say more?

Watch in theaters or stream on AppleTV

3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

It wouldn’t be a holiday movie list without Christmas Vacation on it, would it? Most movies from “back in the day” prove to be a teensy bit problematic, but this one actually stands the test the test of time reasonably well. And funny enough, the older I get, the more I can appreciate Clark’s wholesome (albeit a bit unrealistic) attempt to make his “good old-fashioned family Christmas” happen.

Watch on HBO Max or Amazon Prime Video

4. Elf

This movie never ever gets old. NEVER. The movie quotes are endless, and Will Ferrell is quintessential Will Ferrell.

Watch on HBO Max or Amazon Prime Video

5. Jingle Jangle, a Christmas Journey

Starring Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, and Phylicia Rashad, Jingle Jangle is 2020 movie about a burned and bitter toymaker who rediscovers hope and joy when his granddaughter comes into his life. Representation matters and this fresh take on holiday musicals is a must-watch. Bonus: The movie has music by John Legend.

Watch on Netflix

6. Four Christmases

Four Christmases is a delightful rom-com, in which a couple (played by Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn) visit all four of their divorced parents’ homes on Christmas Day. If you’re looking for a movie that puts the “fun” in family dysfunction, this is it.

Watch on Amazon Prime Video

7. Love Actually

I know, I know. Folks have big feelings about this movie. Personally, I’m still a fan despite its flaws and obvious blind spots. It’s fun and funny, and who doesn’t get in the holiday spirit when Hugh Grant does that dance?

Watch on Amazon Prime Video

8. The Holiday

A holiday rom-com at its finest, The Holiday is about two women — one from LA (Cameron Diaz) and one from England (Kate Winslet) — who book a last-minute house swap over the holidays. It’s sweet and happy, albeit a little predictable, and you and your family just might be searching for last-minute vacation rentals in the English countryside after watching it.

Watch on Amazon Prime Video

9. Fred Claus

Featuring the slapstick comedy of Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti, Fred Claus is about Santa’s angry older brother, Fred, who’s forced to move to the North Pole to help Santa prepare for Christmas.

Watch on HBO Max

10. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

The beauty of this one is that depending on your kids’ ages, you can choose the original from 1966, the Jim Carrey version (2000), or the most recent one from 2018 — or watch all three and compare!

11. Unaccompanied Minors

Based on a true story by Susan Burton first told on the public radio show This American Life in 2001 (titled In the Event of an Emergency, Put Your Sister in an Upright Position), this movie is about a group of unaccompanied children who get stranded in a Midwestern airport while traveling for the holidays.

Watch on HBO Max

13. Die Hard

Teens love the action. Parents love the ‘80s nostalgia. The whole family will love the debate over whether this is really a holiday movie or not. (It’s not.)

Watch on Disney+

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