History of Holiday Movies

  • The 1930s

    Holiday films existed at this time and before it, but were not as popular or as large of a part of pop culture as they have become now.
  • The 1940s

    This was the start of the Golden Age of Hollywood, and films were a huge part of pop culture. Some of the most famous movies that came from this time include It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and Holiday Inn. Some of these films have had remakes in recent years, showing the lasting impact they have on our society.
  • 1950s

    The most popular holiday film in the 1950s is White Christmas, which in later years, became a successful Broadway musical. The music from the film became iconic to the holidays and hearing the title song is common during the month of December. Disney also saw the success that holiday films had, and decided to make their own in 1952 with Pluto’s Christmas Tree.
  • The 1960s

    In the 1960s, the most successful movies were actually not movies as much as they were television specials. These include Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Little Drummer Boy, and Frosty the Snowman. These films are still shown every year on television and have become classic films for several families.
  • 1970s

    The trend of the television special followed into the 1970s, with The Year Without a Santa Claus, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, and Jack Frost. The stop-motion trend, which began in the 60s, was even more popular now, with many of the films using that technique.
  • The 1980s

    The 1980s were rich in pop culture, and that was no different when it came to holiday films. In this decade, we got iconic films like A Christmas Story, Scrooged, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The film Gremlins also came out during this time, which many people debate as a holiday movie as it takes place around that time.
  • 1990s

    Home Alone, Home Alone 2, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Santa Clause, Jingle All the Way. Films the holidays would not be the same without. This was the decade that started off two of the most famous holiday franchises in history, both of which (Home Alone and The Santa Clause) have films in several decades.
  • 2000s

    The trend of popular holiday films did not die down in the 2000s at all. We got the live action Grinch, Santa Clause 2, Love Actually, The Polar Express, Elf, The Holiday, Four Christmases, and the new Christmas Carol. Famous comedians such as Jim Carey, Will Farrell, and Tim Allen became holiday icons in this decade and their movies have some of their most famous roles.
  • The 2010s

    There were several new holiday movies at this time, but the height of the Hallmark movie took off during the 2010s. These and the Lifetime movies are guilty pleasures to many people and the library of them may take you the entire season to watch!
  • The 2020s

    Starting in the 2010s, the world of streaming has become more popular than ever before, and so many of the films we watch now come directly from the streaming companies. Netflix, Disney +, and Hulu are just some of the streaming services that have been putting out holiday movies that have become well loved by many people.