25 Best Christmas Musicals, Ranked

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

by Matthew Kevin Mitchell

Are you wondering what the 25 best Christmas musicals are to get into the holiday spirit? Of course, December is all about enjoying the festivities, and there is no better way than to watch Christmas movies and television shows. But, taking that one step further is watching the best Christmas musicals that will have you and your family singing them well after they have ended. Whether they are old classics or new entries into the genre, plenty of live-action or animated Christmas musicals will be the perfect fit for you and your family. We have ranked the 25 best Christmas musicals to crank up your festive mood.

25 Best Christmas Musicals, Ranked

With so many Christmas musicals to get us in the mood, it can be hard to rank them all. We will rank the first 20 in a list and then discuss why the top 5 are the best movies for Christmas musicals to watch. This way, you can watch all or some of them with your family this holiday season.

  1. A Christmas Story Live! (2017)
  2. Black Nativity (2013)
  3. Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square (2020)
  4. A Very Murray Christmas (2015)
  5. Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)
  6. Babes in Toyland (1961)
  7. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)
  8. Nativity! (2009)
  9. The Mistle-Tones (2012)
  10. How Murray Saved Christmas (2014)
  11. Spirited (2022)
  12. The Polar Express (2004)
  13. Elf (2003)
  14. Holiday Inn (1942)
  15. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
  16. Scrooge (1970)
  17. White Christmas (1954)
  18. Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (1970)
  19. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
  20. The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)

5. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)


Description: Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home cause confusion.

Why It’s Good: The Nightmare Before Christmas is Tim Burton at his finest. It features excellent animation, catchy songs, a fantastic score by Danny Elfman, and a fun story that viewers of all ages can enjoy.

Where to Watch: You can stream The Nightmare Before Christmas on Disney+ and Amazon Prime.

4. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)


Description: Young reindeer Rudolph lives at the North Pole. His father is one of Santa’s reindeer, and Rudolph is expected to be one too. However, he has a feature that is a setback and causes him to be ostracized: his red nose.

Why It’s Good: This popular holiday claymation has been a staple since its inception in 1964. The producer says that it has been viewed worldwide by over a billion people! Burl Ives narrates this children’s film that combines excellent Christmas songs with singing and a story with a lesson from which we can all learn.

Where to Watch: You can rent Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on all major streaming platforms.

3. Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas (1977)


Description: A poor otter family risks everything to win the cash prize of a talent contest for Christmas.

Why It’s Good: This less popular but unique holiday movie is by master Jim Henson. It still holds up to this day because it is incredibly quirky. The antagonist is a teddy bear in a metal band, has a well-written story, and has unforgettable songs.

Where to Watch: You can stream Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas on Peacock and Amazon Prime.

2. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)


Description: Depressed at the commercialism he sees around him, Charlie Brown tries to find a deeper meaning to Christmas.

Why It’s Good: This entry in the Peanuts franchise became a holiday classic because of its themes, like the true meaning of Christmas, its charming animation, and an original score by Vince Guaraldi.

Where to Watch: You can stream A Charlie Brown Christmas exclusively on Apple TV.

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)


Description: A grumpy hermit hatches a plan to steal Christmas from the Whos of Whoville.

Why It’s Good: This version of Dr. Seuss’ famous story has been chosen as the only version you need to watch on Christmas by viewers worldwide. It benefits from an excellent narration by Boris Karloff, charming animation, great songs, and adorable characters in the Who.

Where to Watch: You can stream How the Grinch stole Christmas on Peacock.

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