What to watch on Christmas Day 2021

Christmas day is here at last. Whether or not you celebrate that holiday, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Festivus, or nothing at all, Dec. 25 is the perfect day to curl up on your couch with a hot drink and kick back in front of the TV. 

There are plenty of movies, TV episodes, and specials to bring you holiday cheer. Here’sour must-see selection.

“The Matrix Resurrections” 

Over 20 years after the first “Matrix” re-defined what sci-fi movies could be, there’s another new installment in theaters. If you don’t want to brave a theater, you can also watch it from the comfort of your own living room, as it’s also now streaming. The fourth iteration of the seminal sci-fi series, “The Matrix Resurrections” sees Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne Moss return as Neo and Trinity, joined by a slew of new cast members including Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (“Watchmen”), Neil Patrick Harris, and Priyanka Chopra, among others. 

Where to watch it: HBO Max 

Keanu Reeves as Neo in “The Matrix Resurrections.”
©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett C

“Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade”

If your family includes young ones who want to see something spectacular, look no further. This year’s parade will also include a slew of celeb musical guests, including Kristin Chenoweth performing  “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Gwen Stefani performing  “Cheer for the Elves,” and more. 

Where to watch it: 10 a.m. on ABC 

Derek Hough sings and dances surrounded by confetti and dancers dressed like Minnie Mouse.
Derek and Julianne Hough host the “Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Pade.”
The Walt Disney Company

“The Wizard of Oz”  

Join Dorothy (Judy Garland), Toto, the Lion (Bert Lahr) the Tin Man (Jack Haley) and the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger) on their adventure down the Yellow Brick Road in the 1939 classic. It’s the perfect film for a nostalgic winter night. 

Where to watch: 8 p.m. on TBS. 

The Wicked Witch looms over Dorothy (Judy Garland), who looks frightened.
Dorothy (Judy Garland) and the Wicked Witch (Margaret Hamilton) in “The Wizard of Oz.”

“A Christmas Prince” 

All three films in this goofy rom-com series are now streaming. Follow the adventures of aspiring journalist Amber Moore (Rose McGyver, “Ghosts”) as she travels to the fictional country of Aldovia where she becomes ensnared in a plot of mistaken identity, falls for Prince Richard (Ben Lamb) and later saves a kingdom through the power of blogging. Realistic it’s not, but it’s a wild ride of escapism and froth.

Where to watch: Netflix 

Prince Richard (Ben Lamb) and Amber (Rose McGyver) link arms and smile at each other while wearing formal clothes and descending a red carpeted staircase.
Prince Richard (Ben Lamb) and Amber (Rose McGyver) fall in love and save the fictional kingdom of Aldovia in “A Christmas Prince.”


Arguably the best modern classic Christmas movie for viewers of all ages. Join Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) as he leaves the North Pole and travels to New York to meet his birth father, where he experiences culture clash with the human world.  

Where to watch: Starz, AMC+, and HBO Max

Will Ferrell sits at a desk in an elf outfit surrounded by much smaller children
Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf doesn’t quite fit in at the North Pole in “Elf.”
(c)2003 Alan Markfield/New Line


Forget Christmas or Hanukkah, it’s also the time of year for the secular holiday of Festivus. In the Season 9 episode “The Strike,” George (Jason Alexander) hands out cards for donations to a fake charity and, when he’s caught, he tells Mr. Kruger (Daniel von Bargen) that he celebrates Festivus instead of Christmas and doesn’t want to be persecuted for his beliefs. To prove that it’s a real holiday, everyone attends a Festivus dinner that includes “airing of grievances” (telling everyone how they’ve been disappointed over the past year) and Kramer (Michael Richards) requests time off from work to celebrate. 

Where to watch: Netflix 

“The Office” 

What’s a better comfort-watch than “The Office“? In the Season 2 episode “Christmas Party,” a game of office Secret Santa goes awry when Michael (Steve Carell) demands that everyone swap their intended gifts, and despite the $20 spending limit, he buys a $400 iPod for Ryan (B.J. Novak) that becomes a hot commodity — while Jim’s (John Krasinksi) personal gift to Pam (Jenna Fischer) ends up going to Dwight (Rainn Wilson).

Where to watch: Peacock 

Oscar Nunez as Oscar Martinez, Phyllis Smith as Phyllis Lapin, Mindy Kaling as Kelly Kapoor, Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute and Steve Carell as Michael Scott sit in a circle in front of a Christmas tree.
Oscar Nunez as Oscar Martinez, Phyllis Smith as Phyllis Lapin, Mindy Kaling as Kelly Kapoor, Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute and Steve Carell as Michael Scott during a chaotic office “Secret Santa” exchange.
NBC via Getty Images

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” 

He’s a mean one. Watch Jim Carrey’s grouchy green creature try to ruin the holiday for Whoville by stealing everyone’s presents – until his plans are thwarted by six-year-old Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen). 

Where to watch: 7:30 p.m. on ABC 

Jim Carrey as the Grinch bends over to talk to Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who.
The Grinch (Jim Carrey) with Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
©Universal/Courtesy Everett Col