- The 2000s brought a variety of Christmas movies, including family-friendly adventures, wild comedies, and R-rated options for older audiences.
- Some of these movies have become holiday favorites, while others are lesser-known gems that deserve a spot on fans’ watchlists.
- The best Christmas movies from the 2000s offer heartfelt stories, captivating visuals, and talented casts, making them enjoyable for both children and adults alike.
There are certain holiday movies that have been popular with audiences for decades now, but the best Christmas movies from the 2000s prove there have also been some great festive options in the 21st century. While the 2000s might not have seemed like a long time ago for some people, it has been enough time for some of these Christmas movies to become new classics of the genre that people revisit again and again.
There is a great variety in the holiday movies of the 2000s with family-friendly adventures that show the Christmas spirit, wild comedies that capture the chaos of the season, and even some R-rated Christmas options for older audiences. Some of these movies have become beloved favorites for this time of year while others are lesser-known gems that could find their way into fans’ regular Christmas movie watchlist. Overall, the 2000s was a great decade for Christmas movies that are available right now.
Time to get into the Christmas spirit with a run down of the best Christmas movies of all time.
25 ‘Twas The Night (2001)
A Con Man Gets His Family Wrapped Up In Magical Christmas Misadventures
The Disney Channel has been fairly dedicated to releasing seasonal content for its audience every year, whether that be Halloweentown movies in the fall or Full Court Miracle in the winter. In 2001, they released one of the best Christmas movies of the 2000s — ‘Twas The Night, and it aired annually for years after.
Nick is great with computers, but he’s also a con man. when he lands himself in trouble, decides to escape to his little brother’s house for the holiday season. While there, he ends up roped into watching his brother’s kids, and they all wind up in the middle of a scheme that involves him using Santa’s magical devices to burgle homes. It combines the magical elements of Disney movies with the dysfunctional family elements often found in holiday movies. It also features the always fantastic Bryan Cranston as Nick.
Available to stream on Disney+.
24 Snow (2004)
Santa’s Son Finds Romance On A Holiday Mission
One of the most common tropes during holiday movies is a protagnoist who must save Christmas for children the world over In Snow, it’s the son of Santa Claus, played by Tom Cavanaugh, who has to rescue a young reindeer from a zoo and bring the animal back to the North Pole. Along the way, he falls for the woman (Ashley Williams) responsible for the reindeer’s care. It’s a charming story that relies heavily on the chemistry between its leads, and its popularity hasn’t waned much since it premiered in 2004. In fact, it spawned a sequel and usually ends up with a spot in Freeform’s 25 Days Of Christmas lineup in December.
23 RENT (2005)
A Broadway Adaptation Of A Bittersweet Holiday Story
RENT might not be considered a 2000s Christmas movie by every viewer, but it begins during the holiday season and ends the same period during the following year, chronicling the life of a group of friends who meet during a particularly difficult Christmas season, it qualifies. Based on Jonathan Larson’s Broadway musical, the movie even reunites most of the original Broadway cast. It might not feel as raw as the Broadway show, but it certainly has the same amount of heart, and the impressive vocals needed to pull off the rock-opera appeal of the story.
22 Nativity! (2009)
A Comedy About The Competitive World Of School Christmas Pageants
Holiday pageants and pantomimes are something of a tradition in European schools. This English Christmas movie from the 2000s Nativity! takes that idea and runs with it as it focuses on the competition to put on the best Nativity between two schools.
One teacher lies about his school’s Nativity being broadcast on television, and it sets off a chain of events that forces him to reevaluate his priorities and make sure the show still goes on. The movie is so popular in the UK that it has spawned multiple sequels and a stage musical adaptation of the story. The movie is a who’s who of British stage and TV actors as well, led by the charming and hilarious Martin Freeman.
From Krampus to Klaus, these festive favorites were the best Christmas movies of the past decade.
21 The Polar Express (2004)
A Boy’s Magical Christmas Journey To Believe Again
The Polar Express was released back in 2004, and it is a truly great animated film and has lived on as one of the best Christmas movies of the 2000s. While the animation makes it seem aimed at younger viewers, there are plenty of reasons why adults enjoy it too. Adapted from the beloved Chris Van Allsburg book, it follows a young boy whose faith in Christmas is waning only for him to be taken on a magical trip to the North Pole.
The Polar Express is very visually appealing from start to finish, and Tom Hanks voices many of the characters. This movie is a lot of fun, and it certainly appeals to everyone who has ever had a serious passion for Christmas — or those who read the original book as children.
Available to stream on Max.
20 Call Me Claus (2001)
Whoopi Goldberg Is Chosen As The Next Santa
Some holiday movies will argue that Santa Claus is an immortal being who lives forever and can keep doing his work because of the magic of Christmas and the belief of children. Others see Santa Claus as a job position passed on to new people every few generations, as in the early 2000s Christmas movie Call Me Claus.
Whoopi Goldberg stars as an executive for a TV shopping network who ends up hiring the real Santa Claus for a promotional spot just when he’s trying to track her down to take over his job. She, of course, has lost the Christmas spirit since he first chose her as his successor as a child, and has to learn to believe in the magic of the holidays all over again. It is a predictable and simple Christmas story that doesn’t bring much new to the genre, but Goldberg’s comedic timing keeps it from feeling stale even 20 years later.
19 The Ultimate Christmas Present (2000)
Young Girls Find Santa’s Magic Snow Machine
A Disney Channel Original Movie, The Ultimate Christmas Present features two teenage girls who find a miraculous weather machine they use to bring snow to Los Angeles. As it turns out, the machine malfunctions and one of the girls discovers her dad is going to be stuck at the airport for Christmas as a result of the blizzard they caused. The machine, of course, belongs to Santa Claus himself, who has to track it (and the girls) down.
This movie has such a unique and fun concept that kids who grew up with it would watch it for years after its initial broadcast date. While it offers to teach kids a lesson, like a lot of early 2000s Christmas movies, it’s still a rare gem among light Disney Channel fare.
Available to stream on Disney+.
18 Holiday In Handcuffs (2007)
A Kidnapping On Christmas Leads To Holiday Hijinks
Back when it was still called ABC Family, Freeform aired an original movie titled Holiday in Handcuffs, in which a struggling artist succumbs to the pressure of bringing a date home for the holidays by kidnapping one of the customers at the restaurant where she works. The concept is a little troubling, but the movie makes up for its problematic premise with a lot of humor and heart. Melissa Joan Hart and Maria Lopez have great chemistry together, and that’s largely what makes it so fun to watch.
Available to stream on Prime Video.
The 20202s might only have three years under its belt, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t already a handful of Christmas movies to celebrate.
17 Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past (2009)
A Rom-Com Take On A Christmas Carol
While not strictly a Christmas movie, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past draws its inspiration from one of the most popular Christmas stories of all time: A Christmas Carol. The movie follows Connor Mead as he attends his brother’s winter wedding and relives the relationships of his past through his first girlfriend, his assistant, and his deceased uncle.
A Christmas Carol has become something of its own holiday trope, as even television shows use it in their holiday episodes. This particular movie provides a new twist on the idea as Connor isn’t particularly greedy or selfish, simply afraid of falling in love. Of course, the movie is made even better with some stellar casting with Emma Stone as Connor’s first girlfriend, Jennifer Garner as the woman he’s always been in love with, and Matthew McConaughey as Conner himself.
16 Serendipity (2001)
Christmas Shopping Leads To A Romance Based On Chance
Though the movie from the 2000s place over several years, Serendipity begins its story with two people shopping for Christmas presents. Jonathan and Sara meet when they both want to purchase the same pair of gloves. While they’re interested in each other, they’re both involved in other relationships, so Sara decides they should leave their potential next meeting up to fate, writing her number in a book, and his on a five-dollar-bill, and waiting to see if either finds their way back to them.
Serendipity is a frustrating series of missed connections between the two main characters. Every time it seems their paths will cross, they just miss one another, but that’s part of what makes the audience engaged. After all, the premise is a little far-fetched, movie fans want that happy ending. It’s incredibly gratifying when the book and the money finally reemerge in the story.
Available to stream on Max.
15 A Diva’s Christmas Carol (2000)
A Dickens-Inspired Story Set In The Music World
Like Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past, A Diva’s Christmas Carol provides its own twist on the classic Charles Dickens story. Made for VH1, the movie stars Vanessa Williams as the titular diva, a singer who is visited by three ghosts that get her to see just where her life is headed.
Because the movie was made for VH1, it features plenty of singing courtesy of Vanessa Williams and former TLC member Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas. The focus on music, stardom, and how it can change someone gives this Christma movie from the 2000s a different feel than simply focusing on a wealthy man who doesn’t want to give his employees time off. Unique takes on stories the audience already knows always make for a good time.
14 The Holiday (2006)
Two Love-Scorned Women Trade Homes For The Holidays
- Release Date
- December 14, 2006
- Nancy Meyers
The Holiday is a surprisingly deep and lovely holiday rom-com with a lot of layers to each relationship on screen. Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz star as two women who have completely had their hearts broken right before the holiday and decide to house swap for the season as Diaz’s character travels to England and Winslet’s travels to California. Diaz’s character meets Jude Law’s character while Winslet’s meets Jack Black’s character and although the two weren’t looking for love, it adorably finds them. It’s certainly one of the best Christmas movies of the 2000s that just happens to double as a fun rom-com.
Available to stream on AMC+.
The 2010s managed to reinvent the Christmas movie genre by borrowing from other genres. Here are the best holiday films from this decade, per IMDb.
13 Just Friends (2005)
A Man Comes Home For The Holidays And Reunites With His Crush
Just Friends follows a successful music producer (Ryan Reynolds) who is forced to travel home for the holidays after the famous pop star (Anna Faris) he’s traveling with ruins her private jet. He runs into his old high school crush (Amy Smart) and he decides to “friend zone” her for revenge but realizes that he still has feelings for her. The premise is a little dated, but it’s still a fun and at times hilarious movie with great holiday decorations and a great cast led by Ryan Reynolds. Faris steals the show with her wild and hilarious character.
12 Unaccompanied Minors (2006)
Kids Spend The Holidays Trapped In An Airport
Unaccompanied Minors follows a group of kids who are stranded in an airport over the holidays when the weather gets bad, and they can’t continue to travel on their own. The kids try their best to have a fun holiday even though they’re stuck in the airport from driving golf carts through the terminals to looking for presents in the lost baggage area. The tightly wound airport official (Lewis Black) and his assistant (Wilmer Valderrama) try to catch them throughout the days they’re stuck there. The movie feels like the kind of kid-centric holiday adventure that made Home Alone such a beloved classic.
11 Eight Crazy Nights (2002)
Adam Sandler’s Animated Hanukkah Story
While there are a lot of varied holiday stories out there, Eight Crazy Nights is notable for its Hanukkah focus. Adam Sandler stars in this animated movie and voices several different characters including the main character, Davey, who is given one more chance to get his life together by doing some community service volunteering or he’ll be put in jail. He meets his eccentric partner, Whitey Duvall, who’s also volunteering as a referee for the local youth basketball league. It’s raunchy and in line with the rest of Sandler’s work, but it also carries some heartbreaking moments that make for an interesting mix of humor and heart.
Available to stream on Hulu.
10 Last Holiday (2006)
A Woman Embraces What Could Be Her Final Christmas
Queen Latifah stars in this Christmas rom-com that has a serious and dramatic edge to it. Her nervous and content character works at a department store and loves to cook and bake in her spare time, but doesn’t actually end up eating her meals or taking chances anywhere else in her life. Everything changes when she gets a terminal diagnosis, and she finally takes a chance to travel to Europe to meet her favorite chef. It’s a movie with beautiful scenery and a beautiful message, and the potentially tragic premise certainly sets it apart from other 2000s Christmas movies.
Available to stream on Paramount+.
From Black Christmas to Die Hard, there are plenty of great Christmas movies out there for people looking for something different.
9 How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Jim Carrey Plays Dr. Seuss’ Iconic Christmas-Hating Villain
The live-action version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas is a remarkable movie, thanks to the stellar performances that the entire cast managed to put on. Though the story is not an original concept, this film is pure magic. How The Grinch Stole Christmas is excellent at reminding viewers how exciting Christmas can be.
The evident hard work that went into creating Whoville paid off, as How The Grinch Stole Christmas is a festive feast for the eyes. This film also features one of Jim Carrey’s best performances, which is often underrated compared to his other films. That being said, many people consider Carrey’s portrayal of the Grinch as one of the highlights of this timeless 2000s Christmas movie.
8 The Family Man (2000)
A Wakes Up On Christmas Morning In A Life That Might Have Been
Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni truly shine in the movie The Family Man, starring as Jack Campbell and Kate Reynolds. This Christmas movie from the 2000s features a plot that’s almost a reverse version of another classic holiday movie, It’s A Wonderful Life. Jack gets a glimpse of what his life would have been like if he had stayed home and married Kate instead of traveling and becoming a wealthy businessman. This film was released in December 2000, and it is an underrated movie. It makes one think about how different their lives could be if they made different decisions.
Available to stream on Peacock.
7 Elf (2003)
Will Ferrell Shines As A Man Raised By Santa’s Elves
- Release Date
- November 7, 2003
- 97 minutes
Elf might be the most recognizable of early 2000s Christmas movies, and stars Will Ferrell in one of his most memorable roles to date as Buddy. This story is a lot different from the stories of most Christmas movies. It focuses on Buddy, a human living with Santa’s elves who learns who his real dad is, so he travels from the North Pole to New York so that he can meet him in person. It has the same heart as a lot of other holiday films, but the premise is certainly unique. Ferrell perfectly captures the child-like joy of Christmas mixed with a hilarious fish-out-of-water obliviousness.
Available to stream on Max.
6 Christmas With The Kranks (2004)
A Couple Attempts To Skip Christmas
Tim Allen has starred in a number of great Christmas movies, and Christmas With The Kranks is one of the funniest, based on the novel by John Grisham. The two stars of this movie are Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, both of whom deliver exceptional performances as Luther and Nora Krank. Dan Aykroyd is another well-known star that plays a big part in this movie. They decide to go on a cruise and skip Christmas since their daughter no longer lives at home. However, her decision to visit them over the holidays throws a wrench in their plans. This movie also has a surprisingly touching ending.
Available to stream on Prime Video.
Many of today’s biggest and most iconic holiday films had modest beggings, were bashed by critics, and some were even box office bombs.