Adult Christmas movies could be considered their genre because we know them so well.
The holidays are usually about coming together, and Christmas movies tell stories that make you feel warm and fuzzy, which is what the holidays are all about, right?
If you think that sounds like what your body needs, then you’re lucky since plenty of movies fit that description.
These timeless works are presented in honor of the Twelve Days of Christmas.
1. Home Alone (1990)
- Director: Chris Columbus
- Star casts: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Kieran Culkin, Catherine O’Hara, John Heard.
- IMDb rating: 7.7/10
If you are searching for adult Christmas movies where kids beat up beat criminals, this movie is for you. “Home Alone,” written by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus, is a lot of fun.
It’s about an eight-year-old boy named Kevin McCallister whose family leaves him alone at home by accident.
Because he doesn’t like how that family treats him, he’s excited at first to be free of them, but he gets a rude awakening when two thieves break into the house. Or at least try to.
Kevin is smart enough to hold the line by himself, and we watch as he outsmarts the two dumb thieves until help arrives.
But, as the saying goes, “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” so he might learn to appreciate the family he lost for a short time.
2. Die Hard (1988)
- Director: John McTiernan
- Star casts: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, William Atherton, De’voreaux White.
- IMDb rating: 8.2/10
People still argue whether John McTiernan’s classic movie should be classified among adult Christmas movies. In the interest of setting the record straight, the answer is yes.
John McClane, an NYPD officer, would not have been in that high-rise on Christmas Eve if it weren’t for the fact that he was battling terrorists commanded by Hans Gruber.
Families like McClane’s gather back together during the winter holidays to celebrate.
He attempted to reconcile with his wife and children, even though they had become estranged over time.
You don’t appreciate the value of your family until you come dangerously close to losing them.
3. A Christmas Carol (2009)
- Director: Robert Zemeckis
- Star casts: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Cary Elwes, Ryan Ochoa, Daryl Sabara, Bob Hoskins.
- IMDb rating: 6.8/10
The classic book by Charles Dickens has been turned into hundreds of adult Christmas movies, and I’m not going to suggest any.
Even if you didn’t want to, you could watch a new one every year if you wanted to.
In the end, they are all variations on the same theme: Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser who despises joy, love, and anything good in the world.
He embarks on a journey of introspection as he is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet-to-Come in “A Christmas Carol.”
Because it has such a straightforward moral—”Be kind”—it is a tale that will never stop being recounted.
There are a lot of examples, starting with the Muppets and going back to 1901. Jim Carrey, Bill Murray, and Alastair Sim are just some people who come to mind.
There is a great deal of generosity available to go around. You are free to decide how you would want to spend your time.
4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
- Director: Chuck Jones
- Star casts: Boris Karloff, Thurl Ravenscroft, June Foray, Dallas McKENNON, Wolfgang Völz, Wilfried Herbst.
- IMDb rating: 8.3/10
When it comes to adult Christmas movies with grumpy and mean-spirited characters, this Dr. Seuss character has become so well-known that his name has come to mean “I hate Christmas.”
Have you ever been called a Grinch? I hope not because he hated Christmas so much that he broke into the homes of Whos, a whole group of people who love Christmas when they weren’t looking, and stole all their gifts, food, and decorations.
The Grinch is surprised that this didn’t make the Whos less excited about Christmas, and that’s when he realizes that maybe, just maybe, there is more to Christmas than just getting more stuff.
Regarding adaptations, there are a few to look into, and each one tells the story in its way.
There was an animated TV special that came out in 1966, a live-action movie with Jim Carrey that came out in 2000, and an animated movie with Benedict Cumberbatch that came out in 2018.
5. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
- Director: Frank Capra
- Star casts: James Stewart, Karolyn Grimes, Virginia Patton, Donna Reed, Jimmy Hawkins, Lionel Barrymore.
- IMDb rating: 8.6/10
How could I not put this Frank Capra-directed movie on this list of adult Christmas movies? It is still one of the most-watched Christmas movies on TV, and with good cause.
George Bailey has lived in Bedford Falls his whole life and has done everything he can to help the town and make it better.
He is the only thing Mr. Potter, greedy and wants to take advantage of the town’s money, can’t do.
Mr. Potter wants to close down his building and loan business. But when bad things happen, George feels so bad that he thinks about ending his life.
Clarence, an angel-in-training, comes just in time to help him. He then gives him his wish and shows him what Bedford Falls would be like if he had never been born.
Clarence tells him, and by extension, the audience, that “one man’s life affects so many other people.”
I don’t know what will make you feel warm and like “everything is going to be okay” more than this movie.
6. Elf (2003)
- Director: Jon Favreau
- Star casts: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Jon Favreau, Peter Dinklage, Bob Newhart.
- IMDb rating: 7.0/10
Buddy, the main character in Elf, is played by Will Ferrell in one of his most charming roles to date. He will pull at your heartstrings.
It’s a family comedy directed by Jon Favreau about an orphan who ends up at the North Pole by accident and is taken in by Santa’s helpers.
Buddy goes to New York City to find his biological father when he gets older. This jaded publisher initially doesn’t like Buddy.
This story concerns growing up, family, and feeling like you belong. Buddy’s job is to spread Christmas cheer, and he’ll be able to do that with you, too. This is one of the best adult Christmas movies for you to watch.
7. Love Actually (2003)
- Director: Richard Curtis
- Star casts: Hugh Grant, Martine McCutcheon, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Rory MacGregor, Laura Linney.
- IMDb rating: 7.6/10
Are you searching for adult Christmas movies? Love Actually by Richard Curtis is there for your viewing.
They had a lot of hits during the holiday season in 2003, so there must have been something special in the water.
If you are someone who believes that everything—not just romantic love- is about love, then this is the movie you need to watch again.
Even though love should be the easiest thing in the world, it isn’t. The all-star cast will take you on separate but eventually connected journeys.
On the set of a movie, there are three main characters: a man who is head over heels in love with his best friend’s wife and two actors who can only really communicate with each other through their bodies.
A potential couple is also having trouble communicating due to a language barrier.
8. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
- Director: Les Mayfield
- Star casts: Mara Wilson, Richard Attenborough, Elizabeth Perkins, Dylan McDermott, Jane Leeves, Jennifer Morrison.
- IMDb rating: 6.5/10
During this time of year, Santas may be seen in almost every shopping mall. The children approach a king-like figure dressed in red with a white beard seated on a throne and tell him what they want for Christmas.
Most people believe that none represents the genuine Saint Nicholas because he does not exist. Why on earth would he hang out at a store if he did?
But what would happen if a guy walked in and claimed to be the genuine article, and he was so certain in his claim that he was prepared to testify before a judge and a jury to prove it?
This movie looks at the story of Santa Claus and what it means to have faith, not so much in the story itself but in what it stands for: love, life, and miracles that come in ways you might not expect. Having something to believe in isn’t such a bad thing.
9. Klaus (2019)
- Director: Sergio Pablos
- Star casts: Sergio Pablos, Sergio Pablos, Norm Macdonald, J.K.Simmons, Joan Cusack, Rashida Jones.
- IMDb rating: 8.1/10
The first film that Sergio Pablos directed has not been given enough credit as one of the best adult Christmas movies.
In this hand-drawn animation, you can watch on Netflix; he tells the story of Santa Claus in a new way.
It has a lot of sincerity and heart, and the visuals look like they came straight out of a storybook. People usually think that the hero of the story is Saint Nicholas.
Still, he’s a spoiled young man named Jesper who has to read 6,000 letters in one year in the war-torn village of Smeerensburg to get his father’s money.
His inheritance will be lost forever if he fails to accomplish this task. He devises a scheme that involves a person named Klaus and the extensive toy collection that he owns. The legend of Santa Claus begins to take shape at this point.
10. Krampus (2015)
- Director: Michael Dougherty
- Star casts: Michael Dougherty, Adam Scott, Toni Collette, Stefania LaVie Owen, David Koechner, Maverick Flack.
- IMDb rating: 6.2/10
Okay, listen to me before you start throwing tomatoes at me. Could a plot like this happen in most adult Christmas movies at any time other than Christmas? No? Exactly.
Krampus is a Christmas character in European folklore all by himself. If you don’t behave, Santa will put coal in your sock. That’s not a fun surprise, but Krampus will drag you to hell.
Surprisingly (and I hope you get my sarcasm), the movie Krampus is a horror movie. A boy’s erroneous wish summons the half-demon, half-goat who terrorizes his fighting family.
To make it through the night, they must learn to live together and look out for each other. I know it’s dark. It’s not a Hallmark movie, that’s for sure.
But the family themes and the fact that Christmas is a big part of the story make this a Christmas movie, even if it has a different flavor.
Also, we’re still in the middle of the scary season, so this movie is the best of both worlds.
11. Gremlins (1984)
- Director: Joe Dante
- Star casts: Zach Galligan, Corey Feldman, Phoebe Cates, Jonathan Banks, Hoyt Axton, Dick Miller.
- IMDb rating: 7.3/10
In my defense, the mogwai was cute before they turned into monsters that looked like furry demons. Joe Dante’s horror-comedy classic is an unusual addition to the genre, but it’s good.
And it’s not even a stretch—Billy and his family wouldn’t have been scared by gremlins if he hadn’t gotten them as a Christmas present.
Also, themes of greed and family are woven into the story’s twists and turns. It’s silly and gory and fun for the whole family.
And, hey, wouldn’t it be funny to set a Furby—the real-life version of demonic little gremlins, let’s be honest—on a child who didn’t know what was going on right after watching this?
Concerning a good number of the films included on this list of adult Christmas movies, the question of whether or not they qualify as adult Christmas movies is still up for discussion.
Some believe that films such as Die Hard and Edward Scissorhands do not have enough of a “Christmassy” vibe.
But I’m afraid I have to disagree. But these examples from the genre show us that Christmas can be anything you want and that the holiday season is for everyone who wants to be a part of it.
It isn’t limited to a set of arbitrary rules. It depends on how you use it. So, how will you spend your time off?
12. Love Hard (2021)
- Director: Hernán Jiménez
- Star casts: Nina Dobrev, Darren Barnet, Jimmy O. Yang, Mikaela Hoover, Harry Shum Jr., Heather McMahan.
- IMDb rating: 6.3/10
When Natalie believes she has found the man of her dreams via an online dating app, she surprises him by traveling to Lake Placid, New York, for the holiday season.
However, she is the one who will be in for a tremendous shock when she realizes that her supposedly ideal boyfriend does not look anything like the photographs that she has seen of him.
This is one of the best adult Christmas movies to watch since it stars Nina Dobrev, Jimmy O. Yang, and Darren Barnet (also known as Paxton Hall-Yoshida from Never Have I Ever!).
13. Fred Claus (2007)
- Director: David Dobkin
- Star casts: Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, Kevin Spacey, Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins.
- IMDb rating: 5.6/10
One of the most hilarious adult Christmas movies is right here. Fred Claus, Santa Claus’s brother, gets into trouble and does illegal things.
After Fred gets into a lot of difficulties, Santa, also known as St. Nick, offers to give him a job creating toys at the North Pole in the hopes of rescuing him. St. Nicholas was unprepared for the amount of trouble that Fred would cause him.
14. Holidate (2002)
- Director: John Whitesell
- Star casts: Emma Roberts, Luke Bracey, Nicola Peltz, Kristin Chenoweth, Jessica Capshaw, Manish Dayal.
- IMDb rating: 6.1/10
Sloane is sick and tired of being the only member of her family who is still single. During the holiday season, Jackson will not be dating anyone.
After another trying holiday season, the two make a pact to be each other’s “holidays” when they finally run into one another.
Sloane and Jackson spend more and more holidays together, which helps them figure out that they might fall in love with each other.
15. The Holiday
- Director: Nancy Meyers
- Star casts: Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Eli Wallach, Emma Pritchard
- IMDb rating: 6.9/10
This movie is at the top of the romantic adult Christmas movies list—many thanks to Nancy Meyers!
Both Iris (played by Kate Winslet) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz) are sick of being in relationships (Iris and I are in the same boat).
With the holidays approaching, they need a change of environment. After connecting online, they decide to see one other in person and exchange residences for a holiday.
Iris is going to Los Angeles, and Amanda is going to London, and they both have the same goal: to spend some peaceful time alone.
They were both surprised to find themselves falling in love with each other.
16. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
- Director: Chris Columbus
- Star casts: Macaulay Culkin, Daniel Stern, Joe Pesci, John Heard, Tim Curry, Devin Ratray.
- IMDb rating: 7.0/10
It has been decided that the McCallister family will spend the holidays in Florida this year.
Everything goes off without a hitch, and Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) and the rest of his family arrive at the airport on time.
After getting on the plane, he settles into the seat given to him. The only catch is that he arrives in New York City.
He is fortunate enough to have his father’s bag with him, and he makes astute use of his credit card to keep himself alive while they search for him.
But then, it came to light that the sticky bandits are also in New York (because, of course) and are looking for some payback.
This is your answer if you have been searching for funny adult Christmas movies.
17. While You Were Sleeping (1995)
- Director: Jon Turteltaub
- Star casts: Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher, Peter Boyle, Glynis Johns, Jack Warden.
- IMDb rating: 6.7/10
This is one of the adult Christmas movies you will love. Lucy Moderatz, played by Sandra Bullock, is a train worker in this iconic film from the 1990s who has a serious crush on a good-looking commuter.
One day, she saves him from a train one day, but he goes into a coma after the event.
She continues the charade and spends Christmas with his family despite the nurse having made an error in identifying her as his fiancee.
She develops affection for them, particularly for Peter’s brother Jack. Now that she knows the truth, she must figure out how to tell them without breaking their hearts.
18. Holiday in the Wild (2019)
- Director: Ernie Barbarash
- Star casts: Kristin Davis, Rob Lowe, John Owen Lowe, Colin Moss, Hayley Owen, Fezile Mpela.
- IMDb rating: 8.0/10
Watching this film about a woman who prepares to send her son off to college and plans a second honeymoon for herself and her husband.
She ends up going on the trip alone after her husband announces his plans to leave her will provide you with a slightly different take on the classic Christmas movie.
The former vet rediscovers her love of animals while on safari and stays in an elephant sanctuary longer than she had planned.
There, she can send a strong message about how important it is to protect elephants. She also meets a handsome guy, played by Rob Lowe.
This is one of the most interesting Adult Christmas movies for you to see.
19. The Night Before (2015)
- Director: Jonathan Levine
- Star casts: Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anthony Mackie, Lizzy Caplan, James Franco, Nathan Fielder.
- IMDb rating: 6.4/10
This movie has a scene that was recommended for the funniest adult Christmas movies.
In the movie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and Anthony Mackie play three childhood friends who get together on Christmas Eve for their annual party and then get caught up in the chaos as they try to find a party that they heard was underground.
The film is titled “The Night Before Christmas.” Even though the shenanigans they get into as the movie goes on earn it an R rating for its level of craziness, it is nice to watch a movie about grown-ups who look forward to spending time with each other during the holidays.
Most movies show grown-ups celebrating the holidays because they feel like they have to, not because they want to.
20. The Family Stone (2005)
- Director: Thomas Bezucha
- Star casts: Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel McAdams, Dermot Mulroney, Luke Wilson.
- IMDb rating: 6.3/10
Good Housekeeping selected a scene from the Family Stone as one of the funniest adult Christmas movies to watch.
The Family Stone contains both comedic and dramatic moments throughout its running time.
There is even an element of romance to be found there. Simply put, you can wear it regardless of the state of mind you’re in at the time.
The plot centers on a woman, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, who spends the holidays with her boyfriend’s family while harboring the hope that he will pop the question.
But instead of a warm welcome from them, she is met with hostility, which prompts her to call on her sister, Claire Danes, for assistance, further complicating the situation.