31 Christmas Movies around the World to Fuel Your Wanderlust
November 30, 2018
Last updated on December 5, 2019.
Ahhhh Christmas. My favorite time of the year. Most of us go home and spend the holidays for our friends and family, so this post isn’t about traveling. It’s about all those Christmas movies that you watch that make you want to travel! So while you’re traveling to visit family and friends this holiday season, check out this list of Christmas movies around the world. You’ll be itching to plan your next trip – and it’s the perfect time to take advantage of holiday travel deals.
If you’re going to tell me that you don’t like Christmas movies because they are ‘cheesy’ and predictable – you’re lying. Even my 70-year-old uncle loves them. Everybody loves Christmas movies. You don’t even have to believe in Christmas! Christmas movies just give you the ‘warm fuzzies’ and make everything right with the world. Now, I’m not saying that these are the 31 best Christmas movies. No. But, most often holiday movies are either set in New York City or a quaint small town. While this list has some of those (you can’t avoid it!), they all are set in different locations to fuel your wanderlust. So grab a mug of cocoa, a blanket, and your best friend (bonus if you have a snuggly dog or cat!) and get ready for my list of 31 destination Christmas movies – one for each day in December.
Miracle on 34th Street is my go-to movie to kick-off the holiday season, preferably on Thanksgiving Day! And as much as I love Matilda’s Mara Wilson, you have to go with the classic, 1947 version with Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood. You can’t beat it.
Where to watch: AMC on December 5th, 6th, 9th, and 17th.
December 2 – Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)
Not typically considered a Christmas movie, but why not? Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is all about getting home for Thanksgiving – and hilariously at that. Watch it to get a feel for the midwestern US and get the itch for your next road trip.
“You’re going the wrong way!” “Oh he’s drunk!”
Where to watch: Airing on AMC on December 2nd.
December 3 – Finding Mrs. Claus (2012)
Las Vegas, Nevada
Looking for another unconventional Christmas locale? Lifetime’s Finding Mrs. Claus gives us just that! Mira Sorvino plays Mrs. Claus to Will Sasso’s Santa in this Vegas-based film.
Where to watch: Airing on Lifetime on December 3rd.
December 4 – Christmas Under Wraps (2014)
To be honest, nothing will ever be more Alaskan to me than the tv show Northern Exposure. Love that! But for a Christmas movie, good ol’ DJ Tanner (Candace Cameron Bure) makes this one quite enjoyable. With a similar plot line to my beloved tv show, Candace plays a big-shot doctor who moves to Alaska to kick it small-town. Why is this such a popular plot line, anyway? Does Alaska not have enough doctors? The world may never know.
Where to watch: Airing on Hallmark on December 4th and 13th.
December 5 – White Christmas (1954)
Ah, White Christmas. The most beloved holiday film for my mom and my aunt. Yet, somehow I managed to make it to adulthood without watching the movie in its entirety. Set in picturesque Vermont, this Christmas classic is a must on your holiday watchlist.
Where to watch: Airing on AMC on December 5th, 6th, 7th, 11th, 12th, and 16th and streaming on Netflix.
December 6 – Last Holiday (2006)
If you found out that you had a terminal illness and wanted to splurge all of your money on an exotic vacation, where would you go? Well, Queen Latifah, or at least her character in Last Holiday, would choose the Czech Republic. And for good reason! Czech is a fantastic and beautiful place. Czech it out for yourself! 😉
Where to watch: Airing on AMC on December 6th, 12th, 13th, and 16th.
December 7 – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
A Christmas classic! I don’t know of a Christmas film that is quoted more often than National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. And for good reason! Yes, most of the movie is set within the Griswold house, but Clark’s Bears hat reminds us all of one of my favorite cities. Also- does anyone else shout at the tv when they can’t figure out how to get the lights to work?! Check the switch!!
Where to watch: Airing on AMC on December 3rd, 7th, 11th, 12th, 15th, 17th, 18th, 20th, 21st, 23rd, and 24th – it’s a popular one!
December 8 – Noelle (2019)
A warm Christmas! Take a break from the snow and cold and get some warm-weather vibes in this new Disney+ original. Starring Anna Kendrick (my girl!) and Bill Hader, this is a cute take on what it really means to ‘be Santa.’ Anna stars as the lead character, Noelle (Santa’s daughter), who is full of Christmas spirit. She ventures from the North Pole to Phoenix, Arizona to bring her brother back in time for Christmas. My favorite part? Besides Noelle eating sunscreen, it has to be the baby reindeer, Snowcone. He’s adorable!
Where to watch: Streaming exclusively on Disney+.
December 9 – Love Actually (2003)
Arguably one of the most popular modern Christmas films, it’s impossible not to love Love Actually. I can watch it again and again and again… You get the point. Admit it, you could too. I can’t decide which plot line is my favorite – the little boy, Colin Firth and his Portuguese housekeeper, or Juliet and Mark (Rick Grimes pre-zombie apocalypse). They’re all so good! Hilarious, adorable, heart-wrenching (how could you, Snape?), and occasionally ridiculous, I am in love with this movie. With that said, I may interrupt writing to go watch it again… ‘Christmas is all around’ after all!
Where to watch: At my house – we own two copies of the DVD! Sadly Netflix took it off this year and HBO is airing it.
December 10 – Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
St. Louis, Missouri
While The Wizard of Oz will always be my favorite Judy Garland film, you can’t deny the wonder of Meet Me in St. Louis! It is the origin of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” after all!
Where to watch: Airing on TCM on December 24th.
December 11 – Christmas in the Wild (2019)
This new Netflix original for 2019 is set in a unique location: on an elephant preservation in Zambia. Starring Kristin Davis (of Sex & the City fame) and the amazing Rob Lowe, it’s a breath of fresh air to watch this Christmas movie set in the Sahara. Kristin’s character, Kate, leaves New York City when she gets news of her husband leaving and travels solo on the second honeymoon she had planned. Of course, she stays longer than expected as she falls in love with the elephants… and Rob Lowe, because who wouldn’t?
Honestly, though, this isn’t your typical Christmas movie. It takes you on an African adventure showing you the wildlife and gorgeous natural beauty of Zambia.
Where to watch: Streaming on Netflix.
December 12 – Snow (2004)
I will forever miss watching Tom Cavanagh in Ed, but I get to watch him in all his adorableness in Snow. With reindeer! And Ashley Williams! (Forever Victoria from HIMYM in my mind)
Where to watch: Airing on Freeform on December 12th and 20th.
December 13 – Black Christmas (1974)
Inspired by a true story, Black Christmas shows us a different side of the festive holiday season! When most of the girls go home for Christmas break, a few of the sorority sisters stay behind – only to be stalked for the holidays. Take a break from the cheesy romance, but not the holiday.
Where to watch: This one you’ll have to rent on Amazon or find on DVD!
December 14 – Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
To be honest, I haven’t seen this one yet, but it has been highly recommended by a few close friends! So, I’m planning to see it this year. Either way, Christmas + Connecticut sounds like the perfect combination to me!
Where to watch: you’ll have to rent this one on Amazon or DVD.
December 15 – Christmas in the Smokies (2015)
First of all, I love Sarah Lancaster (Everwood, What About Brian?, Chuck). Add in Christmas, country music, and Tennessee? I’m sold. Christmas in the Smokies is as predictable as most Christmas movies, but loveable nonetheless. Definitely worth a watch as you’re decorating the tree. (At least that’s what I did last year!)
Where to watch: Streaming on Netflix and airing on Insp December 1st, 15th, and 24th.
December 16 – Love the Coopers (2015)
Steve Martin. John Goodman. Diane Keaton. Ed Helms. All together in a Christmas movie. What could possibly be wrong with that? Nothing. So go watch Love the Coopers.
Where to watch: Airing on Freeform on December 13th and AMC on December 16th and 19th.
December 17 – The Holiday (2006)
Los Angeles, California & London, UK
One of my all-time favorites! Besides the perk of its all-star cast, The Holiday is a beautiful contrast between Christmas in southern California and Christmas in London. And I couldn’t love it more! I mean, I wouldn’t complain about hanging out with Jude Law in a cozy English cottage – would you?!
Where to watch: Airing on Freeform on December 12th, 17th, and 22nd.
Want some insider tips to spending Christmas in London? Christine from Live Love Run Travel has got you covered!
December 18 – A Christmas Prince (2017)
A Christmas Prince was an instant hit on Netflix in 2017. Cheesy? Yes. Predictable? Of course. But adorable and worthy of binge-watching? 100%. While the movie is technically set in the fictional land of Aldovia, it was filmed in Romania. Doesn’t it make you want to book the next flight to go explore the castles of Europe? Maybe that’s just me… But I’m betting there are others out there! Even better? The sequel premiered on Netflix last year with the royal wedding. This year? A third in the series – with the royal baby! Plus, savvy viewers will notice a mention of Aldovia in this year’s Netflix original The Christmas Knight.
Where to watch: Streaming on Netflix.
December 19 – The Christmas Candle (2013)
Isle of Man
If you’re into British period films, this one’s for you! Starring Hans Matheson and the lovely Samantha Barks (Eponine in Les Mis!), The Christmas Candle is set in the quaint English countryside. This one will have you believing in miracles. Plus, you get to hear the angelic voice of Susan Boyle in the film and question your belief in miracles.
Where to watch: Streaming on Netflix.
December 20 – Joyeux Noel
Set in Paris during World War II, the troops call a truce on Christmas to celebrate the holiday. Joyeux Noel is based on a true story from the battlefront and is a great film for Christmas and war movie lovers.
Where to watch: This one you’ll have to find on DVD or rent on Amazon.
December 21 – The Little Drummer Boy (1968)
A true Christmas classic! This stop-animation movie was a staple in my house growing up and I had such love for the animals, especially the little lamb named Baba. The Little Drummer Boy takes us all back to the beginning, to the birth of baby Jesus in a manger in the desert.
Where to watch: Airing on Freeform on December 1st, 2nd, 6th, 21st, and 22nd.
December 22 – Eight Crazy Nights (2002)
Yes, I said this was a list of Christmas movies. But, I’m a very inclusive person and a lover of Adam Sandler! I can’t make a list of holiday movies and not include this animated comedy. And what better night to watch Eight Crazy Nights than on the first night of Hannukah?
Where to watch: You’ll have to find this one on DVD or watch it on Amazon.
December 23 – It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
Seneca Falls, New York
While the film is set in Bedford Falls, the town is said to have been inspired by the quaint Seneca Falls, New York – located less than an hour from me! And, if you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you’ll know that I love Seneca Falls and it’s almost where I got married. But here’s another embarrassing admission of mine – I just saw It’s A Wonderful Life for the first time two years ago. I know, I know. But I loved the way I saw it – in Syracuse’s historic Landmark Theater during Christmas season!
Okay, I’m about to say something very unpopular. I don’t like A Christmas Story. I know! And it’s not totally fair either since I’ve never actually finished the movie. I just don’t like it. I don’t get it. But I know several people who love it. My cousins-in-law have it on the tv on repeat every year at our Christmas party. I’m one of the few who doesn’t sit on the couch to watch one of the many airings! Oh well. Fun travel fact – you can see the house that was used for filming in Cleveland. Check it out if that’s your thing!
Where to watch: Like I said, it airs repeatedly on Christmas Eve on TBS.
December 25 – Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
Y’all thought it was awful when little Kevin McCallister’s family flew to Paris last Christmas and left him forgotten at home. So bad that they couldn’t possibly do it again, right? Wrong! Another Christmas classic; you can’t help but fall in love with Macaulay Culkin all over again, this time as he lives it up in The Plaza. New York City in all its glory. Also, who doesn’t love the pigeon lady? She’s the best.
Where to watch: Airing on Freeform December 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 13th, 14th, 17th, 18th, 22nd, 23rd, and 25th. Looks like they’re making up for not airing it last year! Plus, it’s streaming on Disney+.
December 26 – Elf (2003)
There are so many reasons to love Elf. So many! Narwhals. Zooey Deschanel. The four food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and maple syrup. Smiling (it’s my favorite). And the pure innocence that Will Ferrell portrays as Buddy. Another hugely popular film, you can’t go through the holiday season without watching it at least once.
“Bye, Buddy! Hope you find your dad!”
Where to watch: Airing on AMC on December 4th, 5th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 14th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, and 24th. You can’t miss it.
December 27 – Noel (2004)
I can’t quite explain it, but the first time I watched Noel, I fell in love with the movie. It’s like Love Actually with a more serious undertone and set in New York City. The fact that it stars Paul Walker, Penelope Cruz, and Robin Williams as part of the all-star cast doesn’t hurt. It’s a beautiful film that isn’t as well known as it should be.
I. Love. Serendipity. It’s smart, it’s quirky, it’s fateful. The entire movie has you cheering for Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack to find each other again. Also, it’s the only reason I know what the constellation Cassiopeia looks like!
Where to watch: These last few aren’t streaming or airing that I can find. Get yourself the DVDs or rent them on Amazon.
December 29 – Scrooged (1988)
You can’t make a movie list without including at least one film with Bill Murray. Plus, Scrooged is a modern, and hilarious, interpretation of Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol”.
December 30 – When Harry Met Sally (1989)
I’ll be honest, this one didn’t originally come to mind when I was putting together this list. But some of When Harry Met Sally‘s most iconic scenes are on New Years! So what better way to bring the year to an end? Plus, this movie is pure gold. The standard for all rom-coms in the last 30 years. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan are an impossible pair to beat. (Though Meg does a worthy job with Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail, another possible unconventional Christmas choice.)
December 31 – New Year’s Eve (2011)
Duh. Did you think I was going to suggest anything else? Also, whether you want to admit it or not, this movie is fantastic. Yet another in the Love Actually style – intermingling stories and a stellar cast. How do you not fall in love with all of the characters?! Unless you’re going to watch the ball drop in person, there is no good reason not to watch this today.
I couldn’t possibly include all of my favorite Christmas films in this list. Especially since I was focusing on noticeable and different locations! But I have to shout out some honorable mentions to my favorite films in fictional locations:
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (1970)
The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)
Jack Frost (1979)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Santa Clause (1994)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
The Polar Express (2004)
Want to relive the Polar Express experience with your kids? The Adirondack Scenic Railroad holds Polar Express-themed train rides every December. Read more about it in this article about Oneida County!
Well I hope you’ve enjoyed my list and have fulfilled your travel desires along with your holiday celebrations. Have any suggestions that I’ve left off? Let me know in the comments!