You clicked this article because you know the stress of having to deal with our little naughty rascals during the holidays. School break is around, if not already there, Covid is also out there, as a parent, you are probably stressing on what can you do to keep them busy and off the streets this 2020 holidays/summer break.
Worry not, we’ve got you covered with the best 2020 holidays movies selection to keep them busy!
Lucky for us, there’s a whole host of new, festive entertainment to filter into watching Elf on a loop.
From made-for-TV movies and musical specials to streaming gems and real-life theater releases, this year’s Christmas content is shaping up to be diverse, inclusive, and representative—just what we asked Santa for. Ahead, we’re curating a few titles to keep on your radar. But be sure to check this list twice—we’ll be updating it with more releases in the coming months.
Blackbird taps into this year’s most favorite pastime: crying one’s eyes out. Starring Susan Sarandon as a woman who wants one final holiday season with her family before ending her battle with ALS, the indie drama from Notting Hill director Roger Michell serves family traditions and drama with a side of deadpan comedy. Kate Winslet, Mia Wasikowska, and Rainn Wilson costar, and though it’s a remake of a Danish film, it definitely feels like a more serious, highbrow Stepmom.
Look for it: In theaters now
Only those who appreciate goofy family-friendly slapstick need enlist to The War with Grandpa. Set over the Christmas holiday, the comedy gives Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Jane Seymour, and so many more full rein to go wild on-screen. About a kid who isn’t okay with his gramps laying claim to his bedroom, The War might bomb with critics, but when it’s 2020 and we’re stuck indoors for yet another season, we’ll take any laughs we can get.
Look for it: In theaters now
In a sort of Plus One meets Office Christmas Party, Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey join romantic forces as Sloane and Jackson, a pair of singles who agree to be each other’s plus one to every holiday party. As traditional rom-com predictability would have it, the two strangers end up falling for one another and in turn complicating their singledom ethos. But TBH, a feel-good watch with ugly sweaters, comedic asides, and a dreamy Aussie under the Christmas tree are exactly what we need this year.
David E. Talbert, the writer-director behind holly-jolly comedies including Almost Christmas and El Camino Christmas, is forging into musical territory with Jingle Jangle, his second Netflix project. A tale about a Cobbleton toymaker, played by Forest Whitaker, who needs a miracle. The film has massive star power behind it with Hugh Bonneville, Anika Noni Rose, and Keegan-Michael Key also starring, and John Legend serving as a producer.
Vanessa Hudgens is quickly becoming a twinkling fixture in Netflix’s holiday slate. With 2018’s Princess Switch, last year’s Knight Before Christmas, and this year’s switcheroo sequel, the streaming platform may have found its holiday star. In part two of the royal Prince and the Pauper remake, Stacy, a baker-turned-princess from Chicago, and Lady Margaret, the heiress to the Montenaro throne (both played by Hudgens), pull another life swap. And we’re here for it.
Hey, Grey’s fans, Debbie Allen, who plays Dr. Catherine Fox on the long-running ABC scrubs drama, has a Christmas surprise we think you’re going to like. She’s directing a musical starring none other than national treasure Dolly Parton. Featuring 12 new songs and hairdos as close as to heaven as hairdos can get, Christmas on the Square is the companion piece to Parton’s Holly Dolly Christmas album. As for the movie, we’re expecting a gender-switched take on A Christmas Carol—with a Dolly twist, of course.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Hallmark’s onslaught of red-and-green revelry, so we have to highlight at least one of its 40 offerings. As Hallmark promised in July, the network is committed to shaking up its predominantly white and straight film fare like a snow globe. Making good on its promise—if only by making baby steps—we have The Christmas House, a romance starring Mean Girls’ Jonathan Bennet as one half of a gay couple who are trying to adopt.
Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis team up for a festive rom-com about going home, coming out, and popping the question. It comes from actress-turned-helmer Clea DuVall (Veep, The Handmaid’s Tale), who said that writing and directing the film was a “great opportunity to tell a universal story from a new perspective.” The story being meeting your partner’s family for the first time over Christmas, and the fresh POV being a holiday narrative told through the lens of a queer woman. Dan Levy, Alison Brie, and Aubrey Plaza have parts in what will hopefully be one of the best gifts of 2020.
Chris Columbus, who may as well be known as the maestro of merry nostalgia—he’s behind beloved favorites like Home Alone, Home Alone 2, and Stepmom—takes over the director’s chair for subsequent chapters in Netflix’s Christmas Chronicles. Starring the hottest Mr. and Mrs. Claus duo since … ever, the second installment sees Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn reunite with Darby Camp, who plays the now-teenage Kate Pierce, for another magical adventure.
We can’t believe it’s taken this long to type these words, but Lifetime has finally produced its first-ever LGBTQ+ romance film. It’s called The Christmas Setup, and it’s about a New York lawyer, his high school crush, and his meddling mother who uses the holidays to flex her matchmaking moxie. The movie is part of the network’s It’s a Wonderful Lifetime movie block that begins airing next month. Other films to note: A Sugar & Spice Holiday, a festive Asian-American tale, and Christmas Unwrapped, a Tiffany Haddish production.
Look for it: December 12 on Lifetime
The U.S. Postal Service has seen its fair share of negative headlines recently. But veteran filmmaker Dana Nachman’s documentary about the USPS’s 100-year-old program Operation Santa might ease some of the criticism. Every year, thousands of wish lists addressed to the man in red are collected at centers across the country. From there, the letters are adopted by individuals who respond on behalf of Santa. Last year, Nachman and her crew were given unprecedented access to this undertaking, and the result? A heartwarming film that proves there are some really good people out there.
Look for it: December 4 in theaters
AppleTV+ is getting in on the yuletide magic this year with the Queen of Christmas, Mariah Carey, leading the way. Though it’s been a lump of coal for most, 2020 might actually be a banner year for Carey. Riding her 2019 high when “All I Want for Christmas” broke records, she has her new deep-cuts album and memoir to boast this year too. As for her TV gig, we hear it’s an “’innovative special’ that will mix music, dancing and animation ‘driven by a universally heartwarming story that brings the world together.’”
Look for it: December 4 on AppleTV+
Main Image: Roger eBert