There are few things cozier than a movie marathon over the holidays — twinkling lights from the decorations, warm pajamas, and plenty of sweet treats to munch on. It’s the perfect time to unwind after a busy day and relax with the family you’ve been wrangling from one relative’s get-together to the next all week. Simply put, a Christmas movie night puts the “ahhhh” in “hahhhhlidays.” If you’re a Disney-lover and looking for some cozy, holiday and season-inspired Disney flicks, look no further: we’ve compiled ten of the best Disney Christmas movies to enjoy over the holidays. So dust off that VCR, sit back, and relax with classic stories and a carol or two.
Beauty and the Beast: An Enchanted Christmas
In this follow-up to the 1991 Beauty and the Beast, Lumiere and Cogsworth get into a spat while reminiscing over the hero of the previous year’s Christmas (can we all agree that those two fostered our love of snarky banter?). To settle the scales of who actually saved Christmas, good ol’ Mrs. Potts tells the story of Belle bringing Christmas to the castle despite the Beast’s holiday aversion.
Revisit old characters and hear songs that have been deeply tucked away in the furthest recesses of your brain with this quintessential Disney holiday feature.
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas
It’s hard to tell who will be more excited about this pick for the movie marathon, you or your kiddos. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas is actually a three-for-one VHS feature that was released in 1999. The award-winning trilogy features Donald Duck: Stuck on Christmas, A Very Goofy Christmas, and Mickey and Minnie’s Gift of the Magi. All three stories teach heartwarming lessons about family, love, and the true meaning of Christmas.
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas ends in a musical holiday extravaganza with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Max, and friends singing songs like “Jingle Bells,” “Deck the Halls,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” The merry jam sesh is the perfect way to conclude a triple feature that tugs on your heartstrings and gets you feeling sentimental.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Ah, another zany, fantastical, and spooky Tim Burton masterpiece — The Nightmare Before Christmasis a delight year-round, but it also happens to be perfect for two holidays: Christmas and Halloween. Released in 1993 and featuring the voices of megastars like Catherine O’Hara, Danny Elfman, and Chris Sarandon, this family-friendly film is bound to warm the hearts of even your coolest, Christmas-is-kinda-lame family members. It’s just the power of the Pumpkin King.
The Santa Clause Trilogy
Does anyone else remember when Tim Allen was a much bigger part of our lives? Tim the Toolman Taylor is long gone, but Tim Allen’s charming dad-humor lives on in The Santa Clause trilogy. The 1994 box-office hit features Tim Allen transforming from a brunette, middle-aged, American Dad to a plump, rosy-cheeked, and silver-haired Santa. The hijinx that ensue over the three films gets pretty out-there, including an evil robotic Tim Allen set on destroying the real Santa. It’s family-friendly, light-hearted fun with a few particularly tender moments.
The Ultimate Christmas Present
Unbeknownst to me and just about everyone else I talked to about this movie, this Disney original movie about two girls finding a weather machine and creating a snowstorm actually is set around Christmas time. Aired on Disney channel in 2000, Sam Kwan and Allie Thompson find what looks like a domed miniature robot in a shack without realizing the mini-bot belongs to Santa Claus. When the mini-bot turns out to be a weather machine, Sam and Allie try to bring a little snow to L.A. in time for the holidays.
The girls’ dream of a white Christmas quickly transforms into a full-blown blizzard that shuts down the San Francisco airport, keeping Allie’s dad stuck miles away from home just before Christmas. The Disney original features all the cheesy, feel-good vibes one would expect from a movie that used to be introduced by floating film reels and jumping children.
Disney’s A Christmas Carol
Disney’s 2009 A Christmas Carol combines the off-the-wall zaniness of Jim Carrey with the classic story by Charles Dickens. Carrey plays the voice of the stingy star of the show, Ebenezer Scrooge, as well as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. Another Hollywood heavy-hitter, Gary Oldman, plays Bob Cratchit and Jacob Marley, and Colin Firth plays Fred, Scrooge’s good-natured nephew.
This motion-capture animation is an easily-digestible rendition of the 1843 novella for younger audiences, and Jim Carrey’s trademark inflection and timing adds an exciting element to a well-known story.
The next few additions to our Disney movie marathon might not be traditional holiday-centered stories, but their wintry backdrops are enough to put you in a proper December spirit. First in our snow-filled section is Disney’s 1996 101 Dalmatians, featuring Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil, Jeff Daniels as Roger Dearly, and Joely Richardson as Anita Campbell-Green-Dearly.
The black-and-white clad villainess, Cruella De Vil, has Roger and Anita’s litter of fifteen dalmatian puppies stolen. Those fifteen pups, along with 84 other stolen dalmatians, outwit the bad guys in a heartwarming — and we’ll admit, at times heartbreaking — story for the whole family.
Frozen burst into the forefront of the American psyche with a resonating “let it gOOOoo” seven years ago, and there it has stayed ever since. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s 1844 fairy tale, “The Snow Queen,” its winter wonderland setting makes it a must-have in any ultimate Christmas movie marathon. Aside from its earworm-filled soundtrack, Frozen tells a tale of sisterly love as opposed to the traditional “prince and princess” trope, which is a refreshing change of pace.
The new addition to the Disney canon is forward-thinking and timeless. Frozen doesn’t shy away from the gut-wrenching moments, has plenty of splashes of well-hidden adult humor, and even features a gay family — representation is important, y’all!
Look, I realize this one might get me some flack — but I will die on this molehill if I must. Mulan does feature some wintry scenes (in the middle of an epic battle no less), which is enough for me to justify why this hilarious, female-empowerment-filled Disney classic belongs on this list. Mulan, brought to life by the silky smooth voice of Lea Salonga, struggles to fit into society’s role for her as a young woman. When the Chinese army requires one man from each family to join the fight against the Huns, Mulan chops off her hair, steals her father’s armor, and takes his place in training.
Although not an explicitly “Christmas” movie, it’s well worth the holiday throwback. Plus, your fuzzy PJs will feel that much cozier while you’re watching Mulan and her fellow soldiers face off the Huns on a snowy mountainside.
Miracle on 34th Street
It seems like Walt Disney has all but taken over this small world, indicated in no small part by the company’s recent buyout of 21st Century Fox. Disney’s take over of Fox studios means that the 1947 classic Miracle on 34th Street can now “technically” be considered a part of your Disney movie marathon.
Kris Kringle, played by Edmund Gwenn, takes over the role of Santa Claus at the Macy’s flagship New York City store on 34th Street. He does such a good job being Santa, his kind-hearted and other-worldly nature is misconstrued as insanity. Kris fights to defend his identity as the true Santa Claus, warming the hearts of Christmas cynics everywhere for the past eighty years.