21 Best Christmas Cartoons and Animated Holiday Movies to Watch

The holiday season is fast approaching, which means it's just about time to cuddle up on the couch with some hot cocoa to watch a Christmas movie.

While there are hundreds — if not, thousands — of Christmas movies to stream, there's nothing like the nostalgic feeling you get when watching a Christmas cartoon or animated movie. These feel-good favorites can transport you right back to childhood — when the only things you cared about were the presents under the tree and the Christmas cookies you'd leave out for Santa.

If you're looking for a cheery cartoon to get young and old in the holiday spirit, you're in luck because we've rounded up some of our favorites below. By nature, cartoons tend to be lighthearted and funny, but a lot of these picks — both new releases and beloved classics — sprinkle in a few valuable lessons about the importance of family, faith and giving back to those in need.

Since it may be hard for the whole family to agree on one movie, cozy up for a night of back-to-back viewings ... since the weather outside is frightful and all.

'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' (1964)

This Rankin/ Bass Christmas classic is at the top of everyone's list for good reason. With an unforgettable soundtrack (who could forget the foreboding musical intro of "we're on the island of misfit toys") and a triumphant cast of characters, this stop-motion flick a must-watch every holiday season.

'Frosty the Snowman' (1969)

Another one that crosses everyone's mind, "Frosty the Snowman" is a tale of friendship with a catchy theme song to match. This is another Rankin/ Bass production, but instead of the stop-motion they're typically known for, this one was made with 2D animation.

'Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas' (1966)

"It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!"

Christmas movie aficionados have seen all the remakes of the Grinch's story, including the one with Jim Carrey starring in the titular role, but the original "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" just can't be beat.

'The Polar Express' (2004)

Tom Hanks and Christmas — who could ask for anything more? Hanks voices the train conductor of the Polar Express, which takes children to see Santa at the North Pole on Christmas Eve.

'The Nightmare Before Christmas' (1993)

Though some argue this movie is better suited for Halloween, others say it's a Christmas movie through and through. With a fabulous score by Danny Elfman, this iconic Disney movie is sure to give you a little bit of the creeps during the holiday season.

'Arthur Christmas' (2011)

This underrated Christmas flick follows Arthur Claus, the son of Santa, who discovers that one little girl was missed on Christmas Eve. He sets out on a mission to ensure that she gets her present.

'A Christmas Carol' (2009)

This animated retelling of the classic Charles Dickens' story stars Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge. On the night of Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, and learns that he has to change his ways if he wants his life to be a long and happy one.

'Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas' (1999)

Fans of Disney will love this sweet compilation of Christmas stories centered around their favorite characters. In these short stories, we see Mickey, Donald and Minnie go through different struggles during the holiday season — but ultimately, they learn what Christmas is all about with help from friends.

'A Year Without a Santa Claus' (1974)

Because every Christmas movie needs a villain or two. In this case, it's Heat Miser and Snow Miser. When Santa becomes unmotivated around Christmastime, it's up to Mrs. Claus and her friends to get Santa healthy and everything back in order before Christmas Eve.

'A Charlie Brown Christmas' (1965)

From Charlie Brown's less-than-perfect Christmas tree to Linus' retelling of the nativity story, this animated classic is sure to put folks in the holiday spirit.

'Klaus' (2019)

This Spanish-American Christmas special is the first of its kind for Netflix. The moral of the story: a little act of kindness can go a long way — especially during the Christmas season.

'Trolls: Holiday in Harmony' (2021)

"Trolls: Holiday in Harmony" is a high-energy holiday movie that includes toe-tapping music your whole family will love. This time around, the crew learns how to handle an unsightly mishap in their first annual Trolls Kingdom Gift Swap.

'Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer' (2018)

Elliot, voiced by Josh Hutcherson, is, as the title depicts, the littlest reindeer (OK, he's actually a horse). Martin Short and Jeff Dunham also lend their voices in this family-friendly flick..

'Olaf's Frozen Adventure' (2017)

Olaf, the sunshiny sidekick from "Frozen," sets to make the holiday season a memorable one for Anna and Elsa since they have no holiday traditions of their own. Yes, this movie is as cute as it sounds, and yes, you should watch it ASAP.

'The Star' (2017)

This one is perfect if you want to teach your kids about the reason for the season, along with the importance of community and family. In this biblical comedy, a brave little donkey and his animal friends become the heroes of the first Christmas.

'Olive, the Other Reindeer' (1999)

Drew Barrymore stars as Olive, a hilarious puppy who learns she needs to step it up during the holiday season. This criminally underrated movie is rife with catchy songs, clever animations and belly laughs for the whole family.

'Prep & Landing' (2009)

Here's a great watch for all ages. Not only did this special win four Primetime Emmys, but it also has an important message for young and old: Keep the Christmas spirit alive at all costs.

'Santa Claus is Comin' to Town' (1970)

Rankin/ Bass clearly dominates Christmas, and this movie is proof. Fred Astaire narrates this story with Mickey Rooney as Kris Kringle (aka Santa). And, like any good Christmas special, it includes a handful of catchy tune, including the timeless titular song.

'Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas' (1997)

Who doesn't love a Disney Christmas movie? "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas" gives us a glimpse of Belle's village at Christmastime and includes all the characters you know and love from the original film.

'The Grinch' (2018)

"The Grinch" has been adapted numerous times, but the newest version with Benedict Cumberbatch as the Grinch is a new and hilarious retelling.

'Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You' (2017)

Everyone — we mean, everyone — knows "All I Want for Christmas is You" by Mariah Carey. Experience the song in a whole new way by following a little girl on her journey to get a puppy for Christmas — which, let's be honest, is all we want for Christmas, too.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com