The Best Holiday Movies, Books, Podcasts, and Playlists

Festive favorites to watch, read, and listen to when cozied up at home this holiday season.

A collage of Christmas movies, podcasts, books, and music to enjoy this holiday season.

The holidays are upon us! Suddenly, there are boxes full of decorations to put up, cards to mail off, presents to purchase, special foods to lovingly craft, and more dishes to clean than we can count. My to-do list is full of festive fun, but it’s still a lot of work. By the end of the day, I’m looking forward to relaxing in bed with some entertainment that will bring me comfort and joy.

Here’s a round-up of the best books, podcasts, movies, shows, and playlists that will fill you with the holiday spirit and gear you down for a silent night. I am including a cheer factor rating for each, so you know how holly-jolly it will be.

For the kids: Holiday movies, TV shows, and bedtime stories

Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht 

Cover art for Pick a Pine Tree, one of the best Christmas books for the holiday season.
Penguin Random House

Cheer factor: It’ll light you up.
Revel in the beloved tradition of choosing a tree and dressing it up to match the joy and wonder of the season.
Book | Available on bookshop.org.

Meet the Latkes by Alan Silberberg

Cover art for Meet the Latkes, a great holiday book.
Penguin Random House

Cheer factor: This spud’s for you.
Grandpa Latke gets the Hannukah story completely wrong, but that’s okay, because it’s tater-ly hilarious.
Book | Available on bookshop.org.

Home Sweet Home Alone

Cover art for Home Sweet Home Alone, with a child wearing a Santa hat and holding toy guns. A great family Christmas movie.
Disney+

Cheer factor: As the iconic Kevin McAllister once said, “Don’t you know a kid always wins against two idiots?”
The franchise reboots with a remake-ish of the original that keeps the emphasis on clever boobytraps, bumbling burglars, and the importance of family ties.
Movie | Available on Disney+.

A Boy Called Christmas

Cover art for A Boy Called-Christmas holiday movie.
Netflix / StudioCanal

Cheer factor: Harry Potter vibes.
Based on Matt Haig’s best-selling novel, this epic tale follows a boy to the North Pole as he searches for his lost father and helps an enchanted village full of elves along the way.
Movie | Available on Netflix.

Robin Robin

Theatrical poster for Robin Robin, a great Christmas movie.
Netflix

Cheer factor: Inspiring and uplifting, but you still may want a box of tissues on hand.
A robin raised by mice wishes on a Christmas star to discover her true origins and finally fly.
Movie | Available on Netflix.

Waffles + Mochi’s Holiday Feast

A still shot from the Waffles + Mochi Christmas special.
Netflix

Cheer factor: Off-the-charts cute.
Waffles and Mochi throw an impromptu holiday party without any food on hand, so lovable misadventures ensue.
Show | Available on Netflix.

For the feels: Holiday movies to cuddle up with

The Big Chill 

The cast of The Big Chill poses for a photo in front of a half-eaten Thanksgiving meal.
Criterion Collection

Cheer factor: Like Karen says, “I know this is hard but it’s all beautiful.”
College friends reunite to mourn the loss of a dear friend and check in on each other, then flashback to a pivotal past Thanksgiving.
Movie | Available on Amazon Prime.

Blown Away: Christmas

Cover art for the show Blown Away: Christmas, displaying decorative holiday ornaments.
Netflix

Cheer factor: Glass and hearts will be broken, but your spirit will still be bright.
‘Tis the season for redemption as five former contestants aim to kick (gl)ass and take names in this fiery special full of fantastical handblown creations.
Movie | Available on Netflix.

Love Hard

Theatrical poster for the Love Hard holiday movie.
Netflix

Cheer factor: Festive and funny.
A woman flies across the country to meet her dream date during the holidays, only to find out she’s been catfished – hijinks naturally ensure.
Movie | Available on Netflix.

Chicks On Christmas Flicks

Cover art for the Chicks on Christmas Flicks podcast
Chicks on Christmas Flicks

Cheer factor: Cheertastic!
A merry pair of BFFs recap Christmas movies like they’re the Siskel and Ebert of the Hallmark Channel.
Podcast | Find out more.

For laughs: Funny Christmas movies

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

Cover art for David Sedaris's book Holidays on Ice
Little Brown

Cheer factor: Sometimes brutally dark, always hilarious.
These sassy Christmassy stories from the razor-sharp, whip-smart memoirist-satirist will have you laughing so hard you’ll snort eggnog out of your nose.
Book | Available on bookshop.org.

You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas by Augusten Burroughs

Cover art for You Better Not Cry book of holiday related short stories.
Macmillan

Cheer factor: You probably won’t cry unless you’re giggling uncontrollably.
These tragicomic tales skewer the holidays and the strange characters that only come out at the most wonderful time of the year.
Book | Available on bookshop.org.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Cover art for National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Warner Bros

Cheer factor: I don’t know what to say, but it’s Christmas, and we’re all in misery.
Watching the most iconic holiday movie of the '80s should be an annual tradition – just don’t forget the moose mugs full of eggnog.
Movie | Available on Netflix.

For festive foodies

The Great British Baking Show: Holidays

Cover art for the Great British Baking Show: Holidays.
Netflix

Cheer factor: You’ll be chuffed to bits.
The most feelgood competition ever brings back four beloved contestants to craft iconic, eye-catching Yuletide sweets.
Show | Available on Netflix.

Season’s Eatings

Cover art for the Season's Eatings Christmas podcast
Season's Eatings podcast

Cheer factor: Visions of sugar plums may dance in your head.
Learn the history behind some of the most beloved holiday dishes – from candy canes to the Yule log.
Podcast | Find out more.

What’s Cooking

Cover art for What's Cooking holiday movie
Lion's Gate

Cheer factor: You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it’s better than Cats.
Four families and their disparate cultures collide for an unforgettable Thanksgiving full of heart, humor, and refreshing honesty.
Movie | Available on Amazon Prime.

Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan

Cover art for Dorie's Cookies, a great Christmas book.
Dorie Greenspan

Cheer factor: Guaranteed to spike blood sugar levels.
Take your holiday cookie exchange game to the next-next level with this encyclopedic cookbook chock full of mouth-watering recipes.
Book | Available on bookshop.org.

Just audio: Christmas music to fa-la-la-la-la to

Christmas Party

Cover art for Spotify's Christmas playlist. An
Spotify

Cheer factor: Dancing will happen.
The ultimate megamix of modern favorites – from “Christmas in Hollis” by Run-D.M.C. and “8 Days of Christmas” by Destiny’s Child to Wham’s “Last Christmas” and Kylie Minogue’s “Santa Baby.”
Playlist | Available on Spotify.

Christmas Lullabies

Cover art for Spotify's Christmas Lullabies playlist
Spotify

Cheer factor: When all you want for Christmas is some mellowness.
A soundtrack of soothing instrumentals for when you’re about to tuck your little one away in their manger or settle down for your own long winter’s nap.
Playlist | Available on Spotify.