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Holiday Movies Like 'Home Alone' to Watch Next

Kick off the holiday season with these family-friendly adventure holiday films.

Danielle Turchiano
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Macaulay Culkin in 'Home Alone'

20th Century Fox

From Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead to Camp Nowhere, there were quite a few movies, primarily produced in the 1980s and 1990s, that allowed "kids left up to their own devices" to become a special subgenre. Arguably none has had a greater cultural impact than Home Alone.

The 1990, Chris Columbus-directed, Macaulay Culkin-starring holiday film centers on a young boy named Kevin McCallister (played by Culkin) who is supposed to take a trip to Paris for Christmas with his extended family. The night before they are set to leave, their street experiences a power outage and their alarm clocks do not go off on time, resulting in a frantic rush to get loaded into vans in order to hit the airport and get on their plane before it taxis. In that madness, Kevin is accidentally left behind.

At first, Kevin has a blast eating too much junk food and exploring the previously forbidden folds of his older brother's room, but soon he has to face some big fears — of his basement, of the curmudgeonly neighbor, and oh yeah, of a couple of thieves who are targeting his house.

Kevin designs an elaborate diversion one night, but has to up the ante with booby traps when the thieves, aka the Wet Bandits (played by Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci), return the next. It's a family comedy, so all of the violence is played for laughs and without any broken bones, let alone blood, but it was a phenomenon that started a franchise.

A sequel, aptly titled Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, was released two years later, and though it was not to the same critical acclaim as the original, it did have a toy-tie in (the Talkboy) that many kids salivated over. After that, the franchise pivoted to tell similar stories with new kids, most recently with 2021's Home Sweet Home Alone.

For many holiday fans, Home Alone is the film to kick off the season. But if you find yourself wanting more after the end credits roll, here, Metacritic highlights 10 other holiday movies like Home Alone to watch next, ranked by Metascore.


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Peter Billingsley (left) in 'A Christmas Story'

MGM

A Christmas Story

Metascore: 77
Best for: Those who want to bask in the nostalgia of the importance of the perfect Christmas present
Where to watch: 

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Runtime: 94 minutes

This 1983 film has become such a fan favorite cable networks literally run it on a loop for 24 hours at a time during the holiday season. Even if you somehow missed seeing it, though, you undoubtedly know some of its iconic imagery, from the leg lamp to Ralphie's (Peter Billingsley) pink bunny onesie. Whereas Kevin seems to have lots of toys he can turn into weapons easily at his disposal, less than a decade earlier, all Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle — and all he hears in return is that he will shoot his eye out if he gets one. The film follows the time leading up to Christmas when he's hoping to receive the perfect gift and getting caught up in other winter activities (such as getting tongues stuck on frozen poles), but it also pays off what happens when he (spoiler alert!) finally does get what he wants. The film spawned a straight-to-video sequel in 2012 featuring a new cast (including Home Alone's Stern), a Tony-nominated-musical-turned live TV musical in 2017, and a follow-up featuring adult Ralphie (and Billingsley) in 2022.

"It is pitch-perfect, telling the story through the enthusiastic and single-minded vision of its hero Ralphie, and finding in young Peter Billingsley a sly combination of innocence and calculation." — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times


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'Arthur Christmas'

Sony Pictures

Arthur Christmas

Metascore: 69
Best for: Fans of animated Christmas adventures
Where to watch: 

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Runtime: 100 minutes

Featuring the voice talent of James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, and more, this 2011 animated film follows the titular Claus who works in the mail room at the North Pole and takes it open himself to head down and deliver one little girl's lost present personally. It's an undertaking as big as Kevin's in Home Alone, though in a very different way, and like Kevin, Arthur has a bit of tumultuous relationship with some of the other members of his family. But he is able to step up and prove what he is capable of in some very important ways.

"Watching Arthur Christmas is like doing your holiday shopping on Dec. 23: fun and frantic, exciting and maddening." — Lawrence Toppman, The Charlotte Observer


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Forest Whitaker and Madalen Mills in 'Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey'

Netflix

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

Metascore: 69
Best for: Fans of holiday musicals and letting the girls be the saviors of Christmas
Where to watch: Netflix
Runtime: 122 minutes

Adapted from a stage musical, Netflix's 2020 holiday musical centers on Journey (Madalen Mills), the granddaughter of inventor and toymaker Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker), whose latest toy is a very special one originally created by his daughter but which gets stolen by a rival, Gustafson (Keegan-Michael Key). This leads Journey to infiltrate Gustafson's factory in order to get it back, but it also leads her to try to get her mother and grandfather to reconcile. The movie is full of magical realism and features the "kid stopping the bad guy" element that Home Alone fans love, but it also keeps family at its heart and delivers an important message about standing up for the ones you love.

"Like a gorgeously decorated tree with a few too many presents stuffed under it, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is excessive but never unwelcome." — Alonso Duralde, The Wrap


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'The Polar Express'

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Polar Express

Metascore: 61
Best for: Fans of the book of the same title, Tom Hanks, and animated holiday films
Where to watch: 

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Runtime: 100 minutes

For anyone who remembers reading the 1985 book of the same title over and over during the holiday season, well, now you don't have to bust out your glasses to read it to the next generation: You can just put on Robert Zemeckis' 2004 animated film instead. The film is a much longer, more involved story than the book's colorful pages, but the general premise holds: A young boy gets on a train bound for the North Pole where he can meet Santa and see what the Christmas preparation looks like for the elves. It's not as simple as just watching a world roll by his window, of course, and, like Kevin in Home Alone, he has some scary encounters, but also like Kevin, as the boy has this experience, he learns to believe in both himself and the magic of the holiday season.

"A genuinely handsome film, and it tells a story that is well worth knowing. It's a kind, gentle and sweet holiday confection." — Shawn Levy, The Oregonian


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From left to right: Tim Allen and Eric Lloyd in 'The Santa Clause'

Walt Disney Pictures

The Santa Clause

Metascore: 57
Best for: Fans of Tim Allen and adventures at the North Pole
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 97 minutes

Just like Home Alone, this 1990s holiday film is the start of a franchise (an original film trilogy and a new follow-up limited series), it also features a precocious kid (Eric Lloyd's Charlie), and it also plays with realism. (Come on, the odds that Kevin successfully stopped the Wet Bandits are only in his favor because of a little movie magic.) But unlike Home Alone, The Santa Clause takes escapism even further. Scott Calvin (Allen) is a workaholic who isn't so great at spending time with his son Charlie — until it's his turn to have Charlie over Christmas, Santa Claus falls off their roof, and Scott puts on his suit. Suddenly, the two are off on a literal globe-trotting adventure to deliver the rest of the night's presents because by the bylaws, he is the new Santa. The film then follows him over the course of the next year while he truly transforms into Santa and both he and his family have to accept his new destiny.

"An amusing stocking stuffer, a sitcom-superficial novelty that jingles many of the same bells as last year's Mrs. Doubtfire." — Susan Wloszczyna, USA Today


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From left to right: Kurt Russell, Darby Camp, and Judah Lewis in 'The Christmas Chronicles'

Netflix

The Christmas Chronicles

Metascore: 52
Best for: Fans of team-ups with Santa
Where to watch: Netflix
Runtime: 104 minutes

This 2018 title was the start of what is thus far a two-film franchise (the sequel was released in 2020 to just about the exact same critical acclaim), following a brother-sister duo (played by Judah Lewis and Darby Camp) who accidentally end up in Santa's (played by Kurt Russell) sleigh on his way out of their Massachusetts town. When he realizes he has stowaways, he loses his hat, which sets them all on a quest to retrieve it so he can continue to deliver the world's presents. The three of them get up to some criminal activity of their own (stealing a car), but it's all done with a higher purpose in mind and with the added lesson of supporting your sibling.

"It's as predictable as an Advent calendar, but thanks to Kurt Russell's grizzly charms, The Christmas Chronicles at least gives us one of the movies' best Santas yet." — Dan Jolin, Empire


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From left to right: Rafe Spall and Kit Connor in 'Get Santa'

Warner Bros. Pictures

Get Santa

Metascore: 52
Best for: Fans of British humor
Where to watch: 

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Runtime: 102 minutes

If you want a little more of a criminal setting with your holiday film, this 2014 British comedy might be for you. In it, Santa (yes, Santa, played by Jim Broadbent) gets sent to prison, while the newly-on-parole Steve (Rafe Spall) and his son Tom (Kit Connor) work to pick up the mantle while he is "away." The film follows the father-son duo, with Steve sacrificing his parole standing to help the big man in red, and Santa in prison, as he convinces other prisoners of his identity and even plans a break out. Similar to Home Alone's messaging about how it's never too late for "Old Man Marley" (Roberts Blossom) to make amends with his family, Get Santa drives home the importance of forgiving mistakes.

"There's enough sly wit in the margins to engage the grown-ups and the whole thing conveys Christmas cheer without being overly cynical." — Trevor Johnson, Time Out London


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The cast of 'Unaccompanied Minors'

Warner Bros. Pictures

Unaccompanied Minors

Metascore: 43
Best for: Fans of kids left on their own in a public, group setting
Where to watch: 

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Runtime: 90 minutes

Paul Feig's 2006 holiday film is set in a midwestern airport when a blizzard grounds all flights. All of the kids who are flying on their own are rounded up into one room, where a very special group meet and decide to break away to have as much fun as they can and spread holiday cheer to others by finally decorating the terminal. Their antics are pretty chaste, as the kids range in elementary-school age to early teens (including a young Tyler James Williams), and by the middle part of the film they have already created a sense of found family and adventure that would do Kevin McCallister proud.

"Not for the faint of heart, the movie is unsettling and startlingly true to life. At least that's how it seemed to me. To the minors I happened to be accompanying, it seemed to be reasonably good fun." — A.O. Scott, The New York Times


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'Alone for Christmas'

The Asylum

Alone for Christmas

Metascore: N/A
Best for: Fans of dogs
Where to watch: 

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Runtime: 87 minutes

If you ever said, "Hey, I like Home Alone well enough, but I really wish the main character was a dog," then this is the movie for you. The premise of this 2013 holiday film is exactly that: A family goes out on Christmas Eve, leaving their dog home alone and solely responsible for defending the presents they also left behind from thieves. And yes, somehow the dog manages to set up booby traps around the house in order to succeed. Every holiday film requires some suspension of disbelief because of the magic it wants you to believe in; this one admittedly requires a lot. But it deserves some points for using a real (not CGI) dog!


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From left to right: Julie Andrews and Sofia Vassilieva in 'Eloise at Christmastime'

Buena Vista Home Entertainment

Eloise at Christmastime

Metascore: N/A
Best for: Fans of plucky female protagonists and Julie Andrews
Where to watch: 


Runtime: 87 minutes

Sofia Vassilieva brings to life the titular literary heroine who lives at the Plaza Hotel with her Pug Weenie, her turtle Skipperdee, and her nanny Nanny (Andrews) in this 1997 original TV movie. While inviting viewers into her daily life — from shopping to playing with her favorite waiter Bill (Gavin Creel) — Eloise also takes a page out of Kevin's playbook and thwarts a criminal who is trying to infiltrate the wealthy hotel owner's family. There is more romance (specifically matchmaking) in this movie than in Home Alone, but its Plaza setting should also be of interest because that is where Kevin stays in Home Alone 2. (But this movie does not feature a cameo by Donald Trump.)