Santa Claus is famous for his “round little belly, that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly,” and this holiday season, we want you to be feeling just as jolly. So to help you make your next streaming selection over Christmas a knee-slapping treat, we’ve rounded up 57 of the up funniest Christmas movies of all time. For this list of the most ho-ho-hilarious Christmas flicks ever, we’ve selected a range of old and modern classics, as well as alternative Christmas comedies and a few genre-bending, Christmas-themed howlers that should suit all audiences with a wide variety of tastes; anything funny and festive is fair game here, and we guarantee that these diverse, holiday-themed movies are guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit and deliver the chuckles. Keep reading to see our picks for 57 funny Christmas movies. (Unless otherwise specified, all titles are available to rent and purchase across major digital platforms.)
Funny Christmas movies
1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Chevy Chase and the Griswold clan make the most of a holiday where everything goes disastrously, hilariously wrong in this slapstick-heavy perennial favorite written by John Hughes. The screenwriter based it on his own short story Christmas ’59. Truly a classic Christmas comedy movie.
2. Happiest Season (2020)
Between this and Palm Springs, Hulu can boast arguably the two best romantic comedies of 2020. Kristen Stewart delivers her strongest comic turn to date in director Clea DuVall‘s winning charmer opposite Mackenzie Davis, as a young woman who pretends to be her girlfriend’s straight roommate at Christmas to appease a conservative family. The all-star cast includes Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Victor Garber, Dan Levyand Mary Steenburgen.
Sean Baker is one of our most innovative filmmakers. He makes humane, uncomfortably intimate yet fully cinematic films about characters who rarely so much as get the big screen treatment. His breakthrough was Tangerine, an extraordinary and gut-bustingly funny comedy about a feisty, lovable, motormouth escort who storms the streets of Hollywood on Christmas Eve to track down the pimp who broke her heart. Filmed entirely on an iPhone 5S, Tangerine is laugh-til-you-cry funny throughout, and then an unexpectedly poignant ending hits you right in the gut, touching the heart in an honest and disarming way.
4. The Santa Clause (1994)
In 1994’s blockbuster hit The Santa Clause,Tim Allen plays regular guy Scott Calvin, who accidentally kills Santa Claus and must take the reins as Father Christmas. The Santa Clause premiered to commercial success about three years into Allen’s Home Improvement run.
5. A Christmas Story (1983)
Based on the writings of Canada’s Jean Shepherd, this family comedy—centered on a boy who pines for a Red Ryder air rifle—has aired in 24-hour blocks on TNT and/or TBS since Christmas 1997. (Fun fact! Director Bob Clark also helmed a different kind of holiday classic, the 1974 cult slasher flick Black Christmas.)
6. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
CBS and Chuck Jones‘ 26-minute television special is immortalized in pop culture. Boris Karloff is iconic as the narrator and the green curmudgeon who undergoes a change of heart on one fateful Who-ville Christmas.
7. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Though Ron Howard‘s big-budget adaptation of Dr. Seuss‘ classic story received mixed reviews upon release, it was an unqualified smash, spending four weeks atop the North American box office and ultimately becoming the second highest-grossing holiday movie ever behind Home Alone, with over $345 million. One thing everyone could agree to admire was Jim Carrey’s screen-commanding, supremely dedicated and undeniably impressive performance. He was even nominated for a Best Actor Golden Globe for his work.
8. The Grinch (2018)
You know the classic tale: The Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) hatches a scheme with his trusted canine Max to ruin Christmas when the residents of Who-ville plan their annual holiday celebration. The Grinch proved to be yet another enormous success for Illumation (the house that Minions built), grossing over $511 million worldwide.
9. Elf (2003)
Director Jon Favreau’s sunny, irreverent Christmas comedy has so many charms and bright spots (like Ed Asner as Santa Claus and Zooey Deschanel as a department store elf). But Elf simply wouldn’t be what it is without the formidable commitment of Will Ferrell as Buddy, an irresistible, childlike elf in search of his father (James Caan).
10. Love Actually (2003)
Richard Curtis’ character-rich, sexy and romantic R-rated ensemble rom-com divided critics when it first arrived in theaters. But it was a huge hit with audiences from the outset, grossing about five times its budget on its way to becoming a modern classic.
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11. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
This undisputed classic actually opens on Thanksgiving, when Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) is hired to replace an inebriated Santa in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This Christmas movie won three Oscars and was nominated for Best Picture, and while the 1994 remake starring Richard Attenborough couldn’t possibly measure up to the original, it was perhaps a little bit better than anyone expected it to be.
12. A Madea Christmas (2013)
Media giant Tyler Perry‘s 17th film (the 8th film in the Madea cinematic universe—the other MCU) sees Madea join her extended family for a small-town holiday where secrets are revealed, drama ensues. Co-starring Tika Sumpter, Chad Michael Murray and Anna Maria Horsford.
13. Gremlins (1984)
Quick: is Joe Dante‘s handcrafted masterpiece of mayhem a horror movie for Halloween, or is it a Christmas movie? Gremlins is so deliciously inventive, so funny, and yes–so frightening, who could blame you for watching it at least twice a year? The PG-rated Gremlins was aimed at a wide audience, and raked in a hefty $153 million against an $11 million budget. The unexpectedly high gore quotient (that microwave scene, anyone?) angered some parents, as did the bloodletting in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom that same summer. By the release of Red Dawn in August, the MPAA instated the PG-13 rating we still have today.
14. Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
The budget of Gremlins 2 was nearly five times that of Joe Dante‘s acclaimed original, and if there’s one major criticism of Gremlins 2 that holds some water, it’s that it might be too much of a good thing. It’s clear the filmmakers were given carte blanche and let their imaginations run wild; this doesn’t seem like a film set where anyone said “no” very much. But what glorious and delightful anarchy this is.
Though it doesn’t have much of a plot to speak of, just more of a set-up in which countless gremlins multiply in a New York skyscraper, Gremlins 2 has a wicked and knowing sense of humor, and it shrewdly predicted corporate culture of the 1990s and beyond. One of the funniest moments of meta-humor is a scene where film critic Leonard Maltin (playing himself) is eviscerated by Gremlins after denouncing the original film, as he had in real life. There’s also a scene where a distressed mother runs out of a cinema and criticizes the filmmakers for making a violent and gross movie for kids. Wink wink.
15. Bad Santa (2003)
A foul-mouthed-yet-undeniably-hilarious treat for grown-ups only, from the director of Ghost World. This is one of Billy Bob Thornton’s best roles, and the gloriously go-for-broke rude humor struck a chord with audiences, making Bad Santa a box office success. Not everyone was tickled though: a 2003 editorial in The Washington Times likened Bad Santa to an “evil twin” of A Miracle on 34th Street. While this may have been meant as a criticism, surely the filmmakers took it in stride and saw the humor in it.
16. Bad Santa 2 (2016)
2016’s Bad Santa 2 had a terrific cast including Kathy Bates and Christina Hendricks, and though it retained the vulgarity, it lacked the heart and genuine wit of its predecessor. Bad Santa 2 saw only about a third of the original’s box-office gross.
17. Trading Places (1983)
This loose adaptation of Mark Twain‘s 19th century novel The Prince and the Pauper, where Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy play financially disparate men who switch lives, was rightfully compared to the classic comedies of Preston Sturges and Frank Capra upon its release. Aykroyd and Murphy are perfect foils, with great chemistry. This was also a breakthrough for Jamie Lee Curtis, who won a British Academy Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for her hilarious performance as a tough-as-nails hooker with real depth and charm.
18. Home Alone (1990)
Chris Columbus‘ family comedy/home invasion hybrid made Macaulay Culkin a household name and spawned a multimedia franchise. This was the highest-grossing live-action comedy until The Hangover in 2011.
19. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
Still a gargantuan box-office hit, not to mention a pop-culture staple, the Manhattan-set sequel received criticism for being essentially a carbon copy of the first film, just with different coordinates.
20. In Bruges (2008)
Nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar, Martin McDonagh‘s black comedy crime film is one of the best pictures of its ilk of the past couple decades. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson star as hitmen hiding out in Belgium in an irreverent, hilarious and gory thriller. Farrell won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
21. Daddy’s Home (2015)
Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg star in a surprisingly successful PG-13 farce about a hunky ex who crashes his Despite opening head-t0-head with Star Wars: The Force Awakens over holiday season 2015, Daddy’s Home was a considerable hit, grossing over $242 million.
22. Daddy’s Home 2 (2017)
Even more slipshod and just as lowbrow as its predecessor, the sequel wrangled in John Lithgow and Mel Gibson, who clearly are having fun. Even though it didn’t fare well with critics, Daddy’s Home 2 is dumb yuletide fun if this is what you’re in the mood for.
23. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
Shane Black apparently loves to set witty, violent crime comedies at Christmastime. This spiritual successor to Lethal Weapon (for another, see 2016’s The Nice Guys) pairs Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr. (a few years before Iron Man re-jettisoned his career) in a twisted Los Angeles murder mystery.
24. Christmas With the Kranks (2004)
Jamie Lee Curtis (she’s in another holiday-themed film, right?), Dan Aykroyd and Tim Allen star in Joe Roth‘s studio comedy about empty nesters who decide to skip Christmas for one year. With a cast this good, the material should have been better. There’s fun here, though.
25. Krampus (2015)
Thanks to a deft balance of humor and scares, an overqualified cast (including Adam Scott, Toni Collette, and David Koechner), and some excellent creature and sound design, director Michael Dougherty‘s Krampus hits all the right notes. It’s set in modern suburbia, and tells of the titular ancient European folk beast’s takeover of a dysfunctional family’s holiday. PG-13-rated Krampus is a successful balancing act; it’s just scary enough to satisfy horror fans, but never graphic, fairly family-friendly. It’s spooky, and there’s tangible joy in the filmmaking. Dougherty helmed 2019’s underrated Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
26. While You Were Sleeping (1995)
Following her scene-stealing role as Annie—the beautiful, wisecracking bus driver in the 1994 mega-hit Speed—Sandra Bullock cemented herself as one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood with this romantic and big-hearted charmer, earning a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in the process. While You Were Sleeping was one of the most profitable films of 1995, earning $182 million on a $17 million budget. It’s an irresistible crowd-pleaser that’s even better than you remember.
27. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Like fellow holiday classic Gremlins, director Tim Burton’s Halloween-Christmas mashup is one of the scariest movies ever aimed—ostensibly—at kids. The stop-motion musical has grown so iconic and popular that it’s become its own brand, but it’s important to remember just how special the film is on its own merits. Film critic Roger Ebert even compared the picture to Star Wars.
28. The Ref (1994)
In this darkly comedic modern retelling of 1910 short story The Ransom of Red Chief, a wealthy couple drive a would-be cat burglar (Denis Leary) absolutely crazy on Christmas Eve with their insufferable bickering. The Ref was a breakthrough for Leary, proving the standup comic had formidable acting chops. He later went on to star in FX’s Rescue Me for seven seasons, as well as Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man.
29. A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)
R-Rated comedy Bad Moms was a surprise box office hit, grossing $183.9 million on a $20 million budget. Just over a year later, we got A Bad Moms Christmas. Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn return as modern women Amy, Kiki and Carla, best friends who help each other through the ups and downs of motherhood. Only this time, Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon and Cheryl Hines join the cast as their respective mothers who visit them over the holidays.
30. Office Christmas Party (2016)
An A-list comedy mega-cast including Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller and Kate McKinnon star in Josh Gordon and Will Speck‘s unapologetic studio comedy about a female CEO, her brother and a holiday bash that flies off the rails. Office Christmas Party doesn’t aim really high, but there are big laughs, and the whole thing finds an affable balance of edgy and comfortably familiar.
31. The Night Before (2015)
Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie star in a stoner comedy about childhood friends reuniting in search of NYC’s hottest holiday bash. It’s not as funny or inventive as 2013’s This is the End, but it’s arguably better than 2014’s The Interview, which garnered attention mostly for its place in the infamous Sony hack.
32. White Reindeer (2013)
Zach Clark‘s dark dramedy stars Anna Margaret Hollyman as a grieving widow preparing for the holidays. White Reindeer received critical acclaim following its 2013 premiere at the South by Southwest festival.
33. Four Christmases (2008)
Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn star in Seth Gordon‘s holiday farce about an unmarried couple who bounce between a quartet of family holiday shindigs when their vacation plans fall apart. Kristin Chenoweth, Tim McGraw and Jon Favreau co-star.
34. Better Watch Out (2016)
One of the more psychologically complex titles on this list, Chris Peckover‘s edgy, bleakly comedic thriller centers on a home invasion, a resourceful babysitter (Olivia DeJonge), and the young boy (Levi Miller) who has the hots for her. Better Watch Out may be a little mean-spirited for general audiences unfamiliar with twisted slashers, but it’s made with considerable wit and craft. The plot twists are genuinely shocking and effective. It’s The Bad Seed meets Home Alone, and it’s satisfying if that sounds like your cup of eggnog.
35. Brazil (1985)
One of the defining works of Terry Gilliam, sci-fi satire classic Brazil centers on a daydreaming bureaucrat in futuristic dystopia. With stunning visuals and a prescient bite, waking nightmare Brazil is now considered one of the best British motion pictures ever.
36. The Best Man Holiday (2013)
In Malcolm D. Lee‘s critically well-received sequel to his 1999 hit The Best Man, a group of college friends reunite after about 15 years apart. Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau, Monica Calhoun, and Melissa De Sousa make for an incredible ensemble cast.
37. Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
One of the most respected film stars in history, Barbara Stanwyck, radiated toughness, authenticity and intelligence. By the mid-1940s, she was the highest-paid woman in the United States. She charms in this rom-com about a magazine writer who falls in love with a fan. (Christmas in Connecticut was remade in 1992 as a TV movie directed—believe it or not—by Arnold Schwarzenegger.)
38. Get Santa (2014)
This British family comedy stars Academy Award-winner Jim Broadbent as a Santa Claus who seeks help from a 9-year-old boy (Kit Connor) and his father (Rafe Spall) after crashing his sleigh into their garden shed. Director Christopher Smith is best-known for British horror films like Severance and Black Death and brings a fair amount of grit to an otherwise lightweight kid-friendly adventure with sugar plum-sweet sentiment and flatulent reindeer.
39. Iron Man 3 (2013)
The Marvel movies, largely, follow a formula. Shane Black (making his third appearance on this list) caught some flak from fans for going too far afield with this sequel to Iron Man 2, although critics mostly liked the movie’s wit and its major plot twist. Terrific action set pieces also help to compensate for scenes set in “Tennessee” that are wildly inaccurate to the actual Tennessee.
40. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)
David E. Talbert‘s musical fantasia stars Oscar winner Forest Whitaker as a curmudgeonly toymaker who finds new hope in life thanks to a bright young granddaughter (Madalen Mills). It’s a toe-tapping, festive treat for all ages.
41. The Holiday (2006)
JudeLaw, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black and Kate Winslet star in Nancy Meyers’ hit comedy about two similarly unlucky-in-love women from across the pond who swap homes (and find romance with local beaus). Comforting, predictable and well-acted, The Holiday grossed over $200 million worldwide.
42. Last Holiday (2006)
In this gender-swapped loose modernization of a 1950 Alec Guinness drama, Latifah plays a humble salesperson who jets off to Europe for a no-expenses-spared final hurrah after she learns she has a rare terminal illness.
What could have been fluff is a very special film, thanks to Latifah’s generous, commanding performance. Last Holiday is full of warmth, human touches, it’s sometimes hilarious—and yeah, it’s even life-affirming. It’s a movie you want to hug (and watch over and over).
43. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
There was a time when Ernst Lubitsch was the most revered name in Hollywood. The German-American writer/director/actor/producer of urbane comedies of manners had a widespread reputation as the most sophisticated and elegant filmmaker in the world. One of his finest works is this note-perfect romantic comedy starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan as a pair of bickering co-workers in Budapest who are unaware each is the other’s romantic pen pal (the film was remade by Nora Ephron with emails replacing letters in You’ve Got Mail).
44. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
A yuletide television staple, A Charlie Brown Christmas debuted on CBS as Charles M. Schulz‘s Peanuts had become a worldwide phenomenon in the mid-1960’s. The animated short was made on a shoestring budget, and the network and producers feared it would be a ratings disaster because it lacked a laugh track and had unconventional pacing, animation and music.
45. Godmothered (2020)
22 Jump Street scene-stealer and Groundlings alum Jillian Bell stars as a godmother-in-training who gives a Christmas makeover to a Bostonian mom (Isla Fisher). Gently campy, warmhearted and fun in the spirit of Enchanted, Godmothered blends rom-com and family film mostly successfully—thanks in no small part to the talented performers.
46. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
It’s impossible not to be wholly enchanted by Tim Burton‘s fairy tale about a gentle-natured outsider. The Christmastime favorite benefits greatly from gorgeous German Expressionism-inspired production design and a haunting Danny Elfman score, one of his best.
47. Scrooged (1988)
Released four years after box office juggernaut Ghostbusters, the tagline for this comedic modernization of A Christmas Carol read “Bill Murray is back among the ghosts, only this time, it’s three against one.” Murray plays a thoroughly modern, cynical, corporate Scrooge, and while some have criticized the film for being mean-spirited, that’s kind of the point. Scrooged isn’t perfect and it’s a little uneven, but Murray doesn’t miss a beat, frequently adding surprising (and funny) dimensions to an archetype we’ve seen over and over.
48. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
Renée Zellweger is a million-watt movie star in Sharon Maguire‘s funny, beloved rom-com based on an equally cherished book by Helen Fielding. There was some controversy when the slim Texan was cast as a Londoner who worries about her weight; that turned out to be all for naught. Zellweger received her first Best Actress Oscar nod for a sympathetic, captivating embodiment that’s become fairly iconic. This box-office and critical hit was followed by two sadly lesser sequels.
49. Anna and the Apocalypse (2018)
A Scottish Christmas zombie musical coming-of-age teen comedy/drama. On paper, this looks like it shouldn’t work, but it mostly does—and thanks to the eclectic mashup of genres, this seems destined to become a seasonal cult classic. The quirky picture actually has a tragic real-life backstory: it’s based on the 2010 BAFTA-winning short film Zombie Musical by Ryan McHenry, who died of cancer in 2015 at age 27. McHenry has a co-writing credit on the feature, directed by John McPhail.
50. The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven star in this Samuel Goldwyn-produced rom-com about a bishop mentored by a charming angel. The Bishop’s Wife was remade successfully in 1996 as The Preacher’s Wife with Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston and Courtney B. Vance.
51. The Preacher’s Wife (1996)
Washington and a luminous Houston star in Penny Marshall‘s romantic fantasy dramedy reimagining of The Bishop’s Wife.The Preacher’s Wife is gentle, funny and sweet, but the best part is seeing Houston in full control of her incomparable talents.
52. Jingle All the Way (1996)
Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s big-budget family comedy is like a more cynical Home Alone, starring the future Governator and Sinbad as dads warring for the year’s hottest toy (Jingle All the Way was coincidentally released the same year Tickle Me Elmo dominated the marketplace). MVP of the picture is, far and away, a very funny and self-aware Phil Hartman.
53. Die Hard (1988)
Though John McTiernan’s action masterclass has a slightly higher body count and several more explosions than It’s a Wonderful Life, it’s still a Christmas movie! And thanks to a clever script and Bruce Willis‘ star-making performance, the laugh count is about as high as the body count. John McClane’s Christmas Eve battle royale against Alan Rickman and a team of heavily armed terrorists atop Nakatomi Plaza stands tall as one of the finest action pictures ever made, along with the likes of James Cameron‘s Aliens and George Miller‘s Mad Max: Fury Road.
54. Lethal Weapon (1987)
Writer Shane Black‘s iconic, Oscar-nominated action comedy stars Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as mismatched LAPD officers investigating a mysterious death. Lethal Weapon was No. 1 at the U.S. box office for three weeks, ultimately grossing $120 million against a $15 million budget—and launching a franchise.
55. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
We’ll have what she’s having.
This is unequivocally the most beloved rom-com of the last half-century–perhaps ever. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan star in this modern classic about friends who test their theory that friends can’t have sex with each other, over several years. Written by Nora Ephron and directed by Rob Reiner, When Harry Met Sally was named the 23rd best American comedy ever by the American Film Institute; it’s the most loved romantic movie of its era. It all ends with an oft-quoted declaration of love moments before the clock strikes twelve.
56. The Santa Clause 2 (2002)
A considerable step down from its predecessor, but not without its (family-friendly) breezy, sometimes eye-popping pleasures. In 2002’s The Santa Clause 2, Allen’s Scott leaves the North Pole to find a wife.
57. The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause features Martin Short as the villainous Jack Frost, and was the final film of beloved Young Frankenstein and Everybody Loves Raymond star Peter Boyle. Altogether, the three Santa Clause movies grossed over $470 million worldwide.
Next, check out the 100 best movies of all time.
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