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42 Christmas Cartoons Yule Never Forget

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The Island of Misfit Toys. A scrawny little Christmas tree. A train to the North Pole. It’s the stuff of classic Christmas cartoons past. If you grew up on these specials, their annual return to television is a part of your holiday traditions.

There are decades-old Christmas cartoons that stand the test of time. Then you have newer animated features that capture the modern holiday spirit. Whatever you’re in the mood for, we’ve got a list of holiday flicks that will keep kids and adults entertained during movie nights.

From the 1960s claymation of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to the LEGO: Star Wars Holiday Special, these movies really do span generations.


1960s Christmas Cartoons

The stop-motion classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is just the beginning of one of the best eras of Christmas cartoons. Charlie Brown Christmas, the Grinch, and Frosty the Snowman all come from the ’60s.

1. Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol (1962, G)

christmas cartoons movies mr magoo's christmas special

Mr. Magoo gives us his take on Scrooge in an adaptation of The Christmas Carol. The ghosts of Christmas past give Magoo a lesson on the holiday’s true meaning.

Watch free on Peacock


2. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964, G)

christmas cartoons movies rudolph the red-nosed reindeer

Through claymation we learn the origin story of the most famous reindeer in Santa’s crew. You won’t be able to rent this movie; the only way to watch it streaming is via Amazon Prime Video (or the Amazon-owned Vudu) for $9.99. But if you watch it every year, it’s a worthwhile investment.

Buy on Prime Video ($9.99)


3. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965, TV-G)

christmas cartoons movies a charlie brown christmas

The scrawny Charlie Brown tree is now legendary Christmas imagery. If you can wait until just before Christmas, Apple TV Plus is opening up streaming of A Charlie Brown Christmas for everyone (even non-subscribers) Dec. 22 – 25.

Watch on Apple TV Plus (subscription required, reg. $6.99/month)


4. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966, NR)

christmas cartoons movies dr seuss how the grinch stole christmas

Who doesn’t know the song “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” word for word? If you don’t, watch the nostalgic cartoon about the grouchy Christmas hater to learn it. Made long before Jim Carrey put on a furry green suit, this original animation has inspired countless remakes.

Watch on Peacock (subscription required)


5. Frosty the Snowman (1969, G)

christmas cartoons movies frosty the snowman

Frosty the Snowman gives us all of the claymation visuals we need to go along with the classic holiday tune. Spoiler alert: magic gone wrong makes this snowman come alive every time he puts on a top hat.

Buy on Prime Video ($9.99)



1970s Christmas Cartoons

From a bunch more stop-motion animated classics to a not well-known Disney movie based on the Nativity, here are a bunch of ’70s-era Christmas cartoons:

6. Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (1970, NR)

christmas cartoons movies santa claus is comin to town

This stop motion, made-for-TV Christmas movie follows the story of how the holiday came to be and how Santa Claus got his job.

Rent on Prime Video from $3.99


7. The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974, NR)

christmas cartoons movies the year without a santa claus

Santa gets the flu and feels like people don’t believe in him anymore. Seeing that he’s unmotivated and ill, elves rush to find a replacement. You can watch free on Dailymotion, but the safest way is to rent it on Prime Video.

Rent on Apple TV from $2.99


8. Frosty’s Winter Wonderland (1976, NR)

christmas cartoons movies frosty's winter wonderland

The sequel to Frosty the Snowman, this is the story of how Frosty met his wife during the winter holiday season. We found this viewable for free on YouTube, but to be safe, you can rent it on Prime Video.

Rent on Prime Video from $2.99


9. The Small One (1978, G)

christmas cartoons movies disney the small one

It’s all about kindness and compassion in The Small One. A boy must part with his donkey, who is older and considered too weak to be useful. Fortunately, the child crosses paths with a man who is the perfect person to become the donkey’s new owner.

Watch on Disney Plus (subscription required)


10. Jack Frost (1979, G)

christmas cartoons movies jack frost

Another claymation classic, Jack Frost tells the story of the woman who melted the heart of the headline character, Jack Frost. He’s the epitome of all that is frozen and harsh throughout winter.

Watch free on Tubi



1980s Christmas Cartoons

The best Christmas cartoons of the 1980s feature some pretty A-list cartoon characters like Garfield, Mickey Mouse & friends, and the ’80s-era superstars He-Man and She-Ra.

11. A Garfield Christmas (1987, G)

christmas cartoons movies a garfield christmas

Garfield spends Christmas with Jon’s family and returns to his old rambunctious ways. Jon goes to his grandma’s house, where Garfield tries to find her a gift.

Watch free on Tubi


12. Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983, G)

christmas cartoons movies disney mickey's christmas carol

Even Scrooge learns the Christmas spirit thanks to Mickey and friends. Would you expect anything less from Disney’s take on the Charles Dickens story?

Watch on Disney Plus (subscription required)


13. He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special (1985, PG)

christmas cartoons movies he-man and she-ra a christmas special

He-Man and She-Ra find themselves on Earth, where two children help them learn what Christmas is all about. Meanwhile, they’re trying to keep the holiday spirit while battling the evil Skeletor.

Watch free on Tubi


14. Yogi Bear’s All Star Comedy Christmas Caper (1982, NR)

christmas cartoons movies yogi bear's all-star comedy christmas caper

Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo have escaped Jellystone Park, and Yogi goes into hiding as a department store Santa. A bunch of other Hanna-Barbera characters show up, including Fred Flintstone, Huckleberry Hound, and Snagglepuss. Together, they try to help a little girl have a merry Christmas.

Watch on Prime Video (subscription required)


1990s Christmas Cartoons

Need something a little different? The ’90s had a bunch of different animation styles in their Christmas cartoons, featuring stories about unlikely Christmas heroes like a skeleton, a cow, and the “other” reindeer.

15. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993, PG)

christmas cartoons movies disney tim burton's the nightmare before christmas

This Tim Burton movie follows the king of Halloweentown, Jack Skellington, as he stumbles upon a new holiday — Christmas. One of our favorite kids’ Halloween movies also doubles as one of our faves during Christmas.

Watch on Disney Plus (subscription required)


16. Annabelle’s Wish (1997, G)

christmas cartoons movies annabelle's wish

A boy who can’t speak befriends a calf and learns what the holiday really means. The movie is narrated by country singer Randy Travis and stars voice actress Kathy Soucie as Annabelle.

Rent on Prime Video (from $0.99)

17. Olive, the Other Reindeer (1999, NR)

christmas cartoons movies matt groening's olive the other reindeer

A dog named Olive sets out to save the day when she hears one of Santa’s reindeer won’t be able to fly for Christmas. We found Olive, the Other Reindeer on YouTube, but you can also buy the DVD on Amazon.

Buy the DVD on Amazon


18. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999)

christmas cartoons movies disney mickey's once upon a christmas

Mickey, Minnie, and friends chat about their favorite Christmases, reminding themselves that sometimes the best gifts are memories. This is a compilation of vignettes rather than one long storyline.

Watch on Disney Plus (subscription required)



2000s Christmas Cartoons

Our biggest bunch of Christmas cartoons features some well-known characters — and even some top-notch movies like The Polar Express — but lesser-known holiday specials thrive from this decade. Take some time out to get to know a new favorite from the 2000s.

19. Arthur’s Perfect Christmas (2000, TV-Y7)

christmas cartoons movies pbs kids arthur's perfect christmas

In this 1-hour special, Arthur displays the many ways he and his family celebrate the holidays. You can watch this on the PBS Kids app or Prime Video with the PBS Kids channel. There’s a 7-day free trial available, so you might not have to pay if you have Prime.

Watch on Prime Video (PBS Kids subscription required)


20. Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year (2002, G)

christmas cartoons movies disney winie the pooh a very merry pooh year

Moving past Dec. 25, we get a taste of the New Year in this cartoon. Rabbit’s friends make New Year’s resolutions that have him question what the holiday is truly about.

Watch on Disney Plus (subscription required)


21. The Polar Express (2004, G)

christmas cartoons movies polar express

A boy heads onto the Polar Express to visit the North Pole. It’s here he experiences the best that the holiday has to offer.

Watch on HBO Max (subscription required)


22. The Night Before Christmas (2004, G)

christmas cartoons movies the night before christmas

A young boy without a family spends the holidays with his cat and discovers the magic of Yuletide.

Watch on Prime Video (subscription required)


23. Little Spirit: Christmas in New York (2008, TV-G)

christmas cartoons movies little spirit christmas in new york

In this urban Christmas tale, a boy loses his dog until he meets an otherworldly spirit that helps him find his furry friend.

Watch free on Vudu


24. Prep & Landing (2009, TV-G)

christmas cartoons movies disney prep and landing

An elf named Wayne has been hard at work for Santa for 227 years. He’s burnt out and feels that his labor has no impact. That is, until another elf helps him realize the difference he makes.

Watch on Disney Plus (subscription required)


25. A Christmas Carol (2009, PG)

christmas cartoons movies disney a christmas carol

It’s the tale of Scrooge again! But this time, the story of a cranky man and three ghosts is told in a more realistic-looking animated style.

Watch on Disney Plus (subscription required)


26. Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas (2009, TV-G)

christmas cartoons movies curious george a very monkey christmas

George and The Man in the Yellow Hat are struggling with Christmas gift ideas for each other. Time is ticking, and they don’t have much time to figure it out.

Watch on Peacock (subscription required)



2010s Christmas Cartoons

The ’10s gave us Frozen, which isn’t really a Christmas movie per se, but you can just “let it go.” From the first Elf on the Shelf movie to the retelling of the Nativity story with The Star, there are Christmas cartoons for every mood in this decade.

27. Santa’s Apprentice (2010, G)

christmas cartoons movies santa's apprentice

It’s time for Santa to retire, and he has to find a replacement. The thing is, they cannot have a family but must have the name Nicholas as well as a pure heart. Sheesh, that’s a specific job description.

Watch free on Freevee


28. The Elf on the Shelf Presents: An Elf’s Story (2011, TV-Y)

christmas cartoons movies elf on the shelf's an elf story

Of course Elf on the Shelf got the holiday cartoon treatment. In this instance, the elf is named Chippy. He’s the scout elf who has to restore a 9-year-old boy’s faith in Christmas.

Watch on Netflix (subscription required)


29. Arthur Christmas (2011, PG)

christmas cartoons movies arthur chrustmas

Everyone makes mistakes, and Santa forgot to deliver one child his Christmas gift. He dispatches his youngest son Arthur to make sure the present gets into the hands of that little boy.

Watch on Hulu (subscription required)


30. Frozen (2013, PG)

christmas cartoons movies disney frozen

Anna goes on a journey to find her sister, Elsa, who has turned their kingdom into a permanent winter wonderland. This one isn’t exactly holiday-specific, but the wintry scenes fit right in with the season.

Watch on Disney Plus (subscription required)


31. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer (2016, G)

christmas cartoons movies grandma got run over by a reindeer

Grandma clearly had a rough go when she got run over by that reindeer. But now the song gets all of the Christmas cartoon visuals in this family-friendly movie.

Rent on Prime Video (from $2.99)


32. If You Give a Mouse a Christmas Cookie (2016, TV-Y7)

christmas cartoons movies if you give a mouse a christmas cookie

This isn’t a movie; it’s part of a series. Based on the book of the same name, the Christmas Cookie episode follows the holiday adventures of Mouse and friends.

Watch on Prime Video (subscription required)


33. The Snowy Day (2016, TV-Y7)

christmas cartoons movies the snowy day

The Snowy Day is based on the award-winning book of the same name. Peter embarks on a walk to his nana’s house to deliver her Christmas Eve dinner. And yes, it’s snowy.

Watch on Prime Video (subscription required)


34. Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (2017, G)

christmas cartoons movies disney olaf's frozen adventure

Olaf and Sven are on a mission to bring the holidays back to Anna and Elsa. Whether or not they can make it in time is the question.

Watch on Disney Plus (subscription required)


35. The Star (2017, PG)

christmas cartoons movies the star

If you’re looking for an animated Christmas movie with a religious tone, The Star fits the bill. It follows a donkey, a sheep, and a dove on the first Christmas.

Rent on Prime Video (from $3.99)


36. Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You (2017, G)

christmas cartoons movies mariah carey's all I want for christmas is you

You can’t get through a single holiday season without hearing Mariah Carey’s hit song at least a dozen times. With this movie, the song becomes an animated special about a young girl’s Christmas wish for a puppy.

Watch on Prime Video (subscription required)


37. Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer (2018, PG)

christmas cartoons movies elliot the littlest reindeer

Blitzen is retiring, and now he needs a replacement. Elliot and his best friend decide to try out for the gig despite being horses. Little do they know, they might have to save Christmas.

Watch free on Crackle


38. Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018, PG)

christmas cartoons movies dr seuss the grinch

This updated take on The Grinch shows the grump trying to steal Christmas before a little girl changes his mind. There’s a whole new soundtrack here appealing to younger generations.

Rent on Prime Video (from $3.99)


39. Klaus (2019, PG)

christmas cartoons movies netflix klaus

An introverted toy maker and an arrogant postman team up to give their dreary town some joy.

Watch on Netflix (subscription required)


40. How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming (2019, PG)

christmas cartoons movies how to train your dragon homecoming

For “Snoggletog” (the annual holiday celebrated in How to Train Your Dragon‘s fictional town of Berk), Toothless and Hiccup share stories with their families so they can send the message of loving bonds during the holidays.

Buy on Vudu (from $3.99)


2020s Christmas Cartoons

This decade has just begun, but the ’20s have already given us a couple of highly rated Christmas cartoons.

41. LEGO: Star Wars Holiday Special (2020, TV-Y7)

christmas cartoons movies disney lego star wars holiday special

The animated toys come together for a Star Wars-themed special following Rey, Fin, and Poe. Rey gets ready for the Life Day holiday celebration but ends up on a journey into different timelines to explore memories of the Star Wars universe.

Watch on Disney Plus (subscription required)


42. Trolls: Holiday in Harmony (2021, NR)

christmas cartoons movies dreamworks trolls holiday harmony

Queen Poppy plans a Secret Santa swap, but things get weird when she draws Branch’s name. At the same time, Tiny Diamond is having issues getting inspiration as a writer.

Buy on Amazon ($9.99)



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