Banner Image: Emilia Clarke in Last Christmas. Image courtesy of Universal Pictures.
There’s something comforting about curling up on the couch in your pajamas and watching a beloved Christmas movie that you’ve seen 20 times before. Miracle on 34th Street came out in 1947. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation has been a favorite since ’89. Home Alone made its debut in 1990. Elf captured our hearts in 2003.
If there’s one thing we know about Christmas movies it’s this:
If they’re good, we’ll watch them every single year. Forever and ever.
Christmas-themed movies come out every single November/December. Some fail miserably. Many are reiterations of cookie-cutter rom-coms that we’ve seen a hundred times before.
Some, on the other hand, become instant classics. Some secure their place in Christmas history forever, like It’s a Wonderful Life, which came out in 1946. (In 1946, the average movie ticket cost 34 cents!)
So what are (and what will become) the best holiday movies of this year?
Check out this list of the best new Christmas movies of 2019. Whether or not we’ll still be watching them in 20, 30, or 70 years remains to be seen.
If you still prefer the immersive experience of seeing a movie in a theater, there are a few flicks you might want to check out this Christmas season. So buy your ticket, get your popcorn, grab a bottle of water, and $20 later, you can be in the dark watching one of these new picks on the big screen.
How gorgeous is Emilia Clarke? If you love a rom-com, this just might be the one that you can drag your boyfriend or hubby too. After all, it’s Khaleesi!
She plays opposite Henry Golding, from Crazy Rich Asians, so there’s plenty of eye candy to go around for everyone!
As these two beautiful people enjoy all sorts of festive holiday moments together, it certainly seems as though they’re starting to fall in love. And it all takes place against a George Michael soundtrack, hence the name.
We don’t want to give away any spoilers, so we’ll just say this: this is a Christmas movie with a twist. Is it the syrupy sweet rom-com we’ve come to expect during the holiday season?
Sort of… but not entirely.
If you’re a good movie sleuth, you might figure out the twist early on, but if you’re not, you can at least look forward to a bit of a surprise.
Okay, so Frozen II isn’t a Christmas movie, per se… but it's certainly wintry!
Considering it grossed $358.2 million at the box office in its opening weekend alone, there’s a good chance this could end up to be Disney’s second-highest-grossing animated film of all time, behind (you guessed it!) Frozen.
As you might expect, it’s full of songs and all of the most beloved characters from the original story. There’s snow, there’s ice, there’s singing, and that adorable snowman Olaf is back (we love Josh Gad in this role).
If you have nieces, nephews, or children of your own, there’s a good chance you’ll be watching this on DVD about 200 times next year.
If you’ve ever seen the original Black Christmas from the 1970’s, you already know that it’s about sorority sisters who are terrorized by a stalker. Classic slasher movie stuff, just set at a college campus during the holidays as opposed to a sleepaway camp in the summer.
The 2019 remake has all of the slasher-film appeal of the first one, but with a slightly different point of view. After all, these sorority sisters in 2019 are living in the #MeToo era.
They’re not about to just sit back and let their sisters get chopped to pieces without at least trying to do something about it.
Feast of the Seven Fishes
Feast of the Seven Fishes is an entertaining glimpse into one family’s Christmas Eve celebration. In case you don’t know, the feast of the seven fishes is a centuries-old Italian tradition where family and friends gather on Xmas Eve to cook and eat seven different types of seafood. We’re talking everything from friend smelts to scungilli to lobster.
This heartfelt film focuses on traditional Christmas themes, such as family, togetherness, and love, which includes making jokes at the expense of other relatives. But what’s best about this movie is the cooking scenes. Unless you’re allergic to seafood, there’s no way you can leave this movie and not want to go out for dinner.
(If you’ve never been to one of these traditional celebrations, you are missing out! Go find some Italian friends and invite yourself over. One thing you can bank on is that there will be plenty of food to go around!)
Little Women is not new. In fact, it’s been adapted over a dozen times for the big screen, small screen, and stage. But if you’ve never seen it, this 2019 adaptation is worth a watch.
Based on the 1868 novel written by Louise May Alcott, Little Women is the story of the March sisters, all of which have their own points of view on the world. It’s a story about family, poverty, and coming of age. The sisters take different paths in life, but they have enough love between them that they never lose sight of who they are.
We haven’t watched the new version yet, but it’s hard to imagine any version of Little Women that disappoints.
Don’t want to leave the house?
There are plenty of TV channels that produce and broadcast their own holiday films. The Hallmark Channel, with its oh-so-wholesome appeal, certainly takes the holiday movie top spot.
If you’re looking for an edge or attitude, this isn’t the channel for you. But if you want some sweet, optimistic, family-friendly tales, these pics might be precisely what you’re looking for.
Hallmark Hall of Fame: A Christmas Love Story
We’ll be honest; sugary sweet, wholesome family films aren’t exactly our cup of tea. That said, there’s one good reason that A Christmas Love Story made this list: Kristin Chenoweth!
We fell in love with her when she played Reese Witherspoon’s sister in Four Christmases, and we’ve been a fan ever since.
In this flick, Chenoweth plays a children’s choir director who falls for the father of one of the boys in the group. It’s sweet and sentimental, and it’s everything you expect a Hallmark movie to be.
Christmas Under the Stars
Jesse Metcalfe (who we will ALWAYS think of as John Tucker), stars in Christmas Under the Stars, a sweet, Hallmark Channel romance where he, as you might expect, finds love during the holiday season.
‘Tis a story about hope, love, and new beginnings, and it’s a wholesome family film that you can watch cuddled up on the couch.
Christmas at Graceland: Home for the Holidays
Adrian Grenier (yes, from Entourage), has somehow made the transition from HBO to the Hallmark Channel. That alone makes Christmas at Graceland: Home for the Holidays worth a watch.
This movie was filmed at Elvis’ famed Graceland home, and you can expect to see Priscilla Presley in it as well. Like most Hallmark movies, this one centers on family, love, and budding romance, but the Elvis factor makes it kind of cool.
Christmas at Dollywood
Set at Dolly Parton’s famed theme park in the Great Smoky Mountains, Christmas at Dollywood is a charming holiday tale featuring Danica McKellar, Niall Matter, and Dolly herself.
Danica McKellar plays a Broadway producer who heads to Dollywood to help plan a Christmas celebration. There she meets Niall Matter, who works at the park, and thinks he can plan the event himself. It’s sweet, it’s innocent, and it’s oh-so-very PG. You can catch it on the Hallmark Channel throughout the month of December.
Merry Liddle Christmas
Like the Hallmark Channel, the Lifetime network is known to release a few of its own holiday-themed made-for-TV movies each year. This year, the one we’ve got our eye on is Merry Liddle Christmas, if only for the fact that Kelly Rowland produces and stars in it.
Kelly plays a successful businesswoman trying to make her dysfunctional family appear normal for a photoshoot at her home. In the meantime, she’s finding unexpected love with her new neighbor.
We love binge-watching hours upon hours of our favorite shows on Netflix and Hulu. But streaming services have lots of original movies too, including Christmas flicks.
Here are a few worth checking out on Netflix and Disney+ (if you have it).
Let It Snow
This Netflix original isn’t your typical Christmas movie. It’s not the cheesy rom-com we’ve come to expect this time of year. Let It Snow is actually really entertaining, and it plays out like a sort of Love Actually for young adults.
Based on a YA novel, this movie centers on several groups of young people who get snowed into their town during a storm on Christmas Eve. It tells of three separate events with their own storylines, and it has a feel-good vibe that’s easy to sink into. Of all the movies on this list, this is one that people might actually want to watch a decade from now.
Cartoons aren’t just for kids, you know. With a 98% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the original Netflix movie Klaus comes to us courtesy of the creator of Despicable Me. In this charming tale, a postal worker on a frozen island, where no one sends any letters, finds himself in the company of the toymaker Klaus.
The holiday spirit gets a hold of him, and he does what he can to make his miserable frozen town into a magical holiday wonderland.
Holiday in the Wild
Is it just us, or is Rob Lowe aging in reverse?? Holiday in the Wild, a Netflix original, debuts this year starring Lowe and Kristin Davis, of SITC fame. If you love baby elephants or the majesty of the wild plains, this one is worth a watch.
Davis heads off on a solo safari to Africa, while Lowe, who plays her hunky pilot, becomes an important part of her journey, in more ways than one. Together, they rescue and nurse a baby elephant back to health and find holiday joy in a part of the world that isn’t exactly known for its white Christmases.
Here’s a quick synopsis of Holiday Rush: Spoiled children demand luxury gifts for the holidays. Famous DJ dad loses his job. Oh no! Will the spoiled brats get Christmas presents? Dad falls in love with Sonequa Martin-Green (aka Sasha from The Walking Dead).
This Netflix original doesn’t wow with storyline or cinematography, but whoever casted it deserves major props. Martin-Green and the out-of-work dad, played by Romany Malco, are actually a believable couple, which is a lot more than we can say for a lot of movies in the holiday genre.
Anna Kendrick solidified her Disney princess status when she played the role of the ultimate Disney princess, Cinderella, in Into the Woods. Now, in Noelle, she plays the title character and daughter of Kris Kringle. That’s still sort of princess-y.
In this world, the job of Santa gets passed down among the generations, but her brother, played by the hilarious Bill Hader, doesn’t want the job. Kendrick turns on the charm as Noelle, who has to find a way to save Christmas before it’s ruined. This holiday flick is available for streaming on Disney+.
So what are the best holiday movies for 2019? It all depends on the actors, genres and type of storytelling that you like.
The best Christmas movies are the ones that stand the test of time, the ones that you look forward to watching year after year after year.
In 2039, you just might find yourself kicking back on the couch watching Last Christmas for the 20th time. Or maybe not…
The Best NEW Christmas Movies of 2019 (Summary)
New Christmas Movies In Theaters
- Last Christmas
- Frozen 2
- Black Christmas
- Feast of the Seven Fishes
- Little Women
New Christmas Movies On TV
- Hallmark Hall of Fame: A Christmas Love Story (Hallmark Channel)
- Christmas Under the Stars (Hallmark Channel)
- Christmas At Graceland: Home for the Holidays (Hallmark Channel)
- Christmas At Dollywood (Hallmark Channel)
- Merry Liddle Christmas (Lifetime)
New Christmas Movies Streaming on Netflix
- Let It Snow (Netflix)
- Klaus (Netflix)
- Holiday in the Wild (Netflix)
- Noelle (Disney+)
- Holiday Rush (Netflix)