35 Funny Christmas Movies Worth Streaming Now

Christmas isn’t all that funny unless you have a slightly dark sensibility. The shopping and gifting and well wishes and sentimentality are great and all—but where are the punchlines?

The funniest Christmas movies have often mined the inner and outer psychological warfare that surrounds holiday rituals. Gathering with relatives who make you quietly seethe with hatred? Christmas Vacation gets you. Facing the unique existential dread that only caroling seems capable of bringing out? Check out the off-the-wall deadpan indie black comedy of White Reindeer. Or if you really just want to lay waste to the idea that this is the season of giving, cue up Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa.

Which is to say that the funniest Christmas movies may not quite embody the spirit we’re told to believe the holiday must espouse. But the best comedy has always brought an aggressive counterpoint to unthinking cheer in a way that allows us to laugh rather than run away in horror. (Though there’s always room for Charlie Brown to make us believe again, albeit with a sly chuckle.) Santa getting shot out of his carriage by Harold and Kumar? Funny.

Make yourself a boozy hot toddy and sink into these notably funny Christmas- and holiday-themed movies. Then go back to being nice to the uncles, aunts, and cousins who creep you out in a way you can’t quite define.

1

Christmas Vacation (1989)

The standout of the original National Lampoon’s Vacation trilogy, Christmas Vacation has become annual viewing in many households for good reason: It is very, very funny. From a frostbitten Juliette Lewis to a fried cat, the movie is willing to send up just about every holiday tradition with barely a glimmer of sentimentality—a burn-it-all-down approach that befits Chevy Chase’s comic style.

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Sure, the reaction to Hulu’s queer holiday movie, Happiest Season, has been polarizing. But it’s a riot thanks to its supporting characters which include Mary Steenbergen, Mary Holland, and Schitt’s Creek’s Dan Levy. Does the movie fall into your average rom-com tropes? Absolutely. But what it lacks in inventiveness it makes up for in basing its story on two women in love. Baby steps, people.

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Krampus is, by all accounts, a horror movie, but a damn absurd one when you consider the premise: an evil Santa and his crew of satanic reindeer and murderous toys stalk a family after they’ve given up all hope during the holidays. It’s a story of a Christmas celebration gone wrong, but the humor can be found in the inventive ways in which Krampus and his counterparts manage to off each family member. (Warning: Not for the faint of heart.)

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There’s a whole subgenre of indie Christmas movies, but few are as worthwhile as this small black-as-ink comedy about a woman who reckons with the untimely demise of her husband as the holidays arrive. If that sounds heavy, know that it’s studded with farcical curveballs following the widow’s deranged journey into the world of stripping and criminality.

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5

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005)

Before the Oscar-nominated The Florida Project, director Sean Baker helmed this alternately hilarious and devastating day-in-the-life story of two trans women clomping down the streets of LA on Christmas Eve looking for a cheating boyfriend/pimp and—above all else—something like acceptance. Its visual seamlessness is made all the more impressive when you find out it was shot on an iPhone.

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Bill Murray put the funniest twist on the generally sentimental Christmas Carol template with his version of Ebenezer, here an aloof TV executive who doesn’t seem to even care about himself, much less anyone else. He gets another chance, naturally, but even that is laced with the delightful deadpan of peak ‘80s Murray.

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Gremlins has its frightening moments, especially for the little ones, but it’s much funnier than scary. Sweet, docile mogwai turn from Christmas presents to cackling demons at the touch of water, which is when the real fun starts. Try not to snicker when one unruly creature gets the microwave treatment.

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9

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)

If anything, Gremlins 2 is admirable for how it turns up the hijinks of the original to 11. A satire of corporate greed, it finds the suddenly empathetic monsters running amok quite literally over American capitalism in an office tower—and enjoying the C-suite spoils.

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10

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

Santa Claus is unearthed in an archeological dig in Finland. What ensues: kidnaping, hostage negotiations, an army of elves. It’s wild and inane and worth every minute of your Christmas Eve just to see the confused looks on everyone’s faces.

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11

The Night Before (2015)

This underrated Seth Rogen vehicle joins him with the equal star talents of Anthony Mackie and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. They all radiate genuine camaraderie as buds determined to make the most of their Christmas Eve revelry one last time, with a supremely weird Michael Shannon weed dealer in tow.

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There isn’t much left to say about something so tried and true so I’ll just say this: God bless Catherine O’Hara and that fake gangster movie clip. What’s stopping you from a rewatch, you filthy animals?

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Billy Bob Thornton had a later-career resurgence with this grimly hilarious movie that asks: What’s it like to be a sleazebag mall Santa with no limits? Coming off of Ghost World, director Terry Zwigoff makes the most of his cast, including Tony Cox as one wild elf.

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Wow does Shane Black love Christmas action movies. Lethal Weapon. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Hell, even Iron Man 3. And then theres this gem you probably missed during release. The Nice Guys finds Russell Crowe ad Ryan Gosling in exactly the kind of buddy cop/odd couple roles this genre requires. They both kill it.

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15

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011)

Fun fact: This bizarro Harold & Kumar entry was indeed theatrically shown in 3D, and at least when we first saw it, the entire effects budget seemed to have been spent to make you feel stoned out of your mind, including when Santa Claus is literally shot out of the sky. It worked.

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16

A Christmas Story (1983)

Whether or not you’ve already memorized its unforgettable moments—the weirdly porny leg lamp, the BB gun, the frozen tongue on a pole—it’s always a good time to unearth the surprising subversive qualities hiding in this “family film.”

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Elf is more or less an excuse for Will Ferrell to channel his man-child energy into a sweet Christmas movie. Which is no reason to complain, especially when the movie is this polished and he’s this on point.

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Smarty-pants satirist of the highbrow and disaffected Whit Stillman made his name with his 1990 debut feature about a group of bratty Manhattan elite kids and the middle-class student who ambivalently falls into their clique. Christmas isn’t so much a plot point as a background to throw themes of class and generosity (or the lack of it) into stark, sardonic relief.

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19

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

We’ll just read the genres out loud here: Christmas, musical, zombie, horror, comedy. Together they result in Dawn of the Dead meets The Sound of Music. And at Christmas!

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20

Jingle All the Way (1996)

Jingle All the Way isn’t a good movie per se, but it has the pure campy jolts of pleasure of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s most ridiculous stuff. That he rides through it with such aplomb deserves its own award.

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21

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1973)

What made Peanuts so great was the way the sly humor always cut through the sentimentality, and that’s never more true than in the animated Christmas short. Charlie’s tiny bare tree is pathetic—as well as, like the movie, a small but potent gesture of humanity.

Okay, Christmas only barely surrounds the raucous maneuvering in the Eddie Murphy comedy, in which his street grifter switches class roles with Dan Aykroyd’s trader. But it deliciously upends ideas of holiday generosity with its satisfying revenge against the Man.

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Yes, Katie Holmes starred in a wickedly chaotic 1999 comedy-thriller in which she gets it on with a shirtless Santa hat-wearing drug dealer played by Timothy Olyphant on Christmas Eve. That doesn’t even begin to describe the multi-story ecstasy-fueled hysteria. Dawson’s Creek? Who?

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24

The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

If you haven’t seen it—and Disney sure doesn’t want you to—the imitable crappiness of the Star Wars TV special is worth seeking out. At least, if you think simultaneously desecrating the legacy of Star Wars and Bea Arthur in one fell swoop is funny. Which, just trust us, it definitely is.

Nora Ephron’s Steve Martin-starring Christmas time comedy about the selfish and mentally unstable staff of a Venice, Los Angeles, suicide help center as a killer stalks the area came and went with terrible reviews. Maybe because with its French source material it was just a touch too European and, uh, not-so-feel-good. Which is too bad because aside from the much-better-than-average laugh quotient, a cast including Rita Wilson, Liev Schrieber, Adam Sandler, and Garry Shandling should’ve sold itself. Correct this injustice.

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26

The Santa Clause (1994)

Watching with the whole family? Chose something less raunchy and more wholesome. Tim Allen replaces Santa after a workplace injury in this Christmas comedy classic.

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Billy Wilder’s classic stands as arguably one of if not the best romantic comedies ever made without the backdrop of the holidays. But its Christmas party screwball antics and genuinely beautiful New Year’s Eve confession of love may just make you feel like anything really is possible at the end of the year.

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28

Four Christmases (2008)

Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon star as a myopic couple who have to visit all of their divorced parents’ houses over the course of the Christmas season.

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Nina Dobrev stars as a woman who travels to her online crush’s hometown for Christmas, only to realize she’s been catfished.

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Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey star together in this Christmas rom-com about a woman who hates the holidays because she hates being single. When meets a man while returning a Christmas present, she inadvertently finds some holiday romance.

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31

Christmas With the Kranks (2004)

Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Dan Aykroyd star in this hilarious comedy about a couple who decides to skip Christmas…until their daughter calls and announces she’s coming home for the holidays. A mad dash ensues to give her the Christmas she’s come to expect.

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Danny DeVito, Matthew Broderick, Kristen Chenoweth, and Kristin Davis in this competitive comedy about two neighbors who are determined to one-up each other for the best lights in the neighborhood.

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33

Arthur Christmas (2011)

Santa’s clumsy son Arthur decides to give out a misplaced present, sending him on a wild Christmas journey.

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34

Unaccompanied Minors (2006)

What happens with kids run amok in the airport? That’s the premise of Unaccompanied Minors (notably starring Tyler James Williams). When an airport closes for the night due to a blizzard, a group of kids run wild, and end up bonding with one another.

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35

Single All the Way (2021)

Luke Macfarlane, Jennifer Coolidge, and others star in this fun rom-com about a man who convinces his best friend to pretend to be his boyfriend while he visits his mother for the holidays.

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Paul Schrodt is a freelance writer and editor who also contributes to Esquire, GQ, Money, The Wall Street Journal, and more.

Joshua St Clair is an editorial assistant at Men’s Health Magazine. 

Milan Polk is an Editorial Assistant for Men’s Health who specializes in entertainment and lifestyle reporting, and has worked for New York Magazine’s Vulture and Chicago Tribune.