What's Christmas without lots of smiles and laughs? You might be a bit of a Grinch and don't really enjoy the long meals and having to spend more time with your relatives (we won't judge), but that shouldn't stop you from trying to find some joy in cinema at the very least. In fact, you can shut the doors and windows and simply cover yourself with a blanket and watch some movies until you fall asleep. That's always a good plan for when it gets cold outside.
We've already covered the greatest Christmas horror movies and the top 5 Christmas action movies, but what about the best Christmas comedies? Laughs come in many forms and can often be found in the strangest of places, so don't run away if you think a few of our picks are too "out there." Genres are made-up categories anyway. Read on below...
7. Love Actually
This one has been in the regular Christmas rotations for 20 years now, and with good reason: Love Actually (2003) remains a charming romantic comedy movie despite its many detractors, and its separate stories format gives it a different kind of flavor. If you think one of them is a stinker, you don't have to endure it for too long, so it's a win-win situation... as long as you're into romantic movies, of course.
Love Actually is available to stream on Netflix.
Yup, this is one of the weird picks we warned you about. Scrooged (1988) is a fantasy comedy movie directed by Richard Donner that was met with a mixed response from critics upon release, mainly because it was kind of mean spirited and too sentimental versus other more light-hearted Christmas release of the era. Over time, however, it gained a cult following, and we're all about genre-bending retellings of literary classics such as Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Bonus points because it's led by Bill Murray at his peak.
Scrooged is available to stream on Prime Video.
Krampus (2015) is another off-beat pick, one that mixes horror and comedy to great effect. Things get pretty dark as kids start getting snatched up by monsters and killer toys, but it's above everything a relentlessly funny cautionary tale about being mean to each other in Christmas. It's also not explicit despite its scarier bits (it was rated PG-13 in the US), so it can be a good watch for the whole family once the kids transition into the early teens.
Krampus is available to stream on Peacock.
Before Iron Man (2008), Jon Favreau made a name for himself as a director with Elf (2003) and Zathura (2005). The former, led by Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel, quickly became a modern classic Christmas comedy movie thanks to its light-hearted tone and watertight script. It's a heartwarming story that checks all the boxes of a good Christmas feature and expertly mixes accessible, sincere drama with well-timed comedy and visual gags.Elf is available to stream on Max.
3. Home Alone
Home Alone (1990) needs little introduction, as pretty much everyone born before the 2000s has grown up watching at least the first two installments of the iconic movie series on TV. It's Macaulay Culkin completely trashing Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern with booby traps and whatnot for an entire night. Simple pitch, great execution by Chris Columbus. You can't go wrong with this one's slapstick comedy.
Home Alone is available to stream on Disney+.
2. Tokyo Godfathers
It only felt right to include a great anime movie in this list, and Satoshi Kon's excellent Tokyo Godfathers (2003) is the perfect choice. Kon was inspired by the 1948 American film 3 Godfathers, but Unlike Kon's other movies, it contains no fantasy elements and is instead grounded in realism. It tells the story of three homeless people who find a baby girl one Christmas Eve and take it upon themselves to return the baby to her parents. Without getting into spoilers, a wacky adventure and sincere drama ensue.
Tokyo Godfathers is available to stream on Roku.
1. The Muppet Christmas Carol
You simply can't go wrong with The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992). It follows Dickens's original story closely despite the artistic license to add in the aesthetic of the Muppets. The musical numbers are fantastic, the story is consistently funny and heartwarming, and seeing Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge surrounded by all the puppets is hilarious on its own.
The Muppet Christmas Carol is available to stream on Disney+.
'Tis the season to watch and read holiday stories. Here's our recommendations for timely favorites ranging from Christmas horror, Christmas action, Christmas comedy, and Christmas anime, Christmas sci-fi, and even five weird Christmas specials from comics. And if that's not enough, wait until you learn about Netflix's Christmas movies cinematic universe.