Worst Christmas Movies of All Time, According to Critics

‘A Bad Moms Christmas’ (2017)


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
‘A Bad Moms Christmas’ (2017)
‘Office Christmas Party’ (2016)

‘Office Christmas Party’ (2016)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 41%

Number of Reviews: 185

U.S. Box Office Gross: $54.1 M

Critic quote: “‘Office Christmas Party’ is about going too far in order to close a deal, but the movie, curiously, still plays it way too safe.” Alissa Wilkinson, Vox

Jennifer Aniston stars as a CEO who’s planning to close her brother’s branch. In response, her brother (T.J. Miller) and his chief technical officer (Jason Bateman) throw an  epic Christmas party in an attempt to impress a client, close a sale, and save the branch. Unfortunately, critics found the gags cliché and the plot lacking in genuine sentimentality. 

Related: 20 Beloved Movies Unfairly Panned by Critics

Home Alone 3

‘Home Alone 3’ (1997)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 29%

U.S. Box Office Gross: $30.7 M

Critic quote: “Twice the bad guys, half the laughs.” Mike Clark, USA Today

Home sick from school, Alex Pruitt must fend off criminals who make him a target. Pruitt is unaware that a top-secret computer chip has been stashed in his toy car, but in “Home Alone'' fashion, he finds creative ways to fend off the thieves. Pruitt is played by Alex D. Linz, who lacks Macaulay Culkin’s charisma, and critics found this movie formulaic and dull.

‘A Bad Moms Christmas’ (2017)

‘A Bad Moms Christmas’ (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 32%

U.S. Box Office Gross: $72.1 M

Critic quote: “Desperately labored, heavy-handed humor delivered loudly and lazily with a glaringly tired plot.” Kate Rodger, Newshub

Mila Junis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn star as moms who are fed up with being expected to create the perfect Christmas. A-listers Cheryl Hines, Christine Baranski, and Susan Sarandon play the trio’s mothers, who visit their daughters for the holidays. While the movie is packed with talent, critics found it lacking in comedy and entertainment.

‘Four Christmases’ (2008)

‘Four Christmases’ (2008)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 28%

U.S. Box Office Gross: $120.1 M

Critic quote: “[The] sterling supporting cast can’t seem to figure out what they’ve been brought on board to do.” Bob Mondello, NPR

Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon star as an unmarried couple that heads to four family get-togethers on Christmas Day. The get-togethers highlight how eccentric and crazy families can be. Critics agreed that the talented cast dealt with a poorly written and predictable script that relied on gags like a projectile vomiting baby for laughs.

For more fun holiday stories, please sign up for our free newsletters.

The Christmas Candle

‘The Christmas Candle’ (2013)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 21%

U.S. Box Office Gross: $2.1 M

Critic quote: “The kind of vaguely distasteful Yuletide concoction that viewers normally find playing on cable channels that they don’t even realize that they have.” Peter Sobczynski, RogerEbert.com

The residents of a 19th-century village believe that lighting a candle that an angel touched will bring Christmas Eve miracles. A minister’s determination to modernize the village spells trouble for those beliefs. Critics compared this film to a daytime TV movie with a muddled plot lacking in emotion. 

Saving Christmas

‘Saving Christmas’ (2014)

Rating: 0% positive

U.S. Box Office Gross: $2.8 M

Critic quote: “Had “Saving Christmas” run any longer, Cameron would no doubt have found a way to find the divinity in Frosty, Rudolph, the Grinch, peppermint bark, the Elf on the Shelf, frosted cranberry hand soap and Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo.” Alonso Duralde, TheWrap

Sometimes films can convey powerful messages, but sometimes they get so wrapped up in their messages that they lose sight of everything else. This is one of those films. “Saving Christmas” focuses heavily on the importance of putting Christ back into Christmas, but that messaging comes across too strongly with critics comparing the film to a PSA.

‘Fred Claus’ (2007)

‘Fred Claus’ (2007)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 21%

Number of Reviews: 143 

U.S. Box Office Gross: $72.0 M

Critic quote: “‘Fred Claus’ is in the grand tradition of a certain type of Yuletide farce — one that’s about as funny as a crushed bauble in your eggnog.” Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph

Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti pair up as Fred and Nicholas Claus in this comedy. St. Nick gives his trouble-making brother, Fred, a chance at redemption by making toys at the North Pole, but that leads to plenty of headaches and problems. Critics agreed that even talents like Vaughn and Giamatti couldn’t overcome this movie’s contrived and overly sentimental plot.

Ernest Saves Christmas

‘Ernest Saves Christmas’ (1988)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 36%

Number of Reviews: 14

U.S. Box Office Gross: $28.1 M

Critic quote: “Only marginally insufferable, the Ernest movie is ... a big-screen example of the TV-sitcom tendency to go broad and sappy with a token Yuletide show each December.” Richard Corliss, Time Magazine

When Santa Claus needs a successor, the bumbling Ernest P. Worrell is the one to save the day — and the holiday. Ernest teams up with a teen girl named Harmony, helping to get Santa out of trouble as well as saving Christmas. While the Ernest movies may have been ‘80s hits, critics didn’t appreciate the attempt to go sappy and sentimental for the holidays.

Santa Claus

‘Santa Claus’ (1985)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 20%

Number of Reviews: 20

U.S. Box Office Gross: $23.6 M

Critic quote: “The sets frequently look chintzy and cheap, with Santa’s workshop bringing to mind a prison sweatshop as much as a toy factory.” Matt Brunson, Film Frenzy

Taking place in two time periods, this movie tells the story of how a man named Claus becomes Santa Claus, as well as how the Santa Claus of present-day accidentally threatens Christmas when he is overwhelmed by his work and takes a job at a toy company. While David Huddleston, Dudley Moore, and John Lithgow star in the film, its dull plot and cheap-looking sets make it an underwhelming movie.

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

‘The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause’ (2006)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 17%

Number of Reviews: 66

U.S. Box Office Gross: $84.5 M

Critic quote: “Christmas cheer is in short supply in ‘The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause,’ a feeble festive farce that’s more no-no-no than ho-ho-ho.” Neil Smith, BBC.com

Tim Allen reprises his role as Scott Calvin, aka Santa, and Martin Short joins him as Jack Frost. However, even these two comedic superstars can’t help this film overcome its muddled plot and low-quality special effects. The first “The Santa Clause” might have been an entertaining Christmas movie, but this film has lost the magic that made the original so enjoyable.

‘Noel’ (2004)

‘Noel’ (2004)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 28%

Number of Reviews: 36

Critic quote: “There’s nothing at all surprising about ‘Noel,’  except for the fact that it was ever made.” Christopher Null, Filmcritic

As Christmas nears in New York City, five characters face different life and holiday challenges as they navigate the season. The film is full of stars like Susan Sarandon, Penelope Cruz, Paul Walker, and Alan Arkin, but critics agree that the talent of that ensemble is wasted on the sappy, tearjerker plot.

Related: Awesomely Bad Holiday Movies Starring A-Listers

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

‘Santa Claus Conquers the Martians’ (1964)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 22%

Number of Reviews: 23

Critic quote: “There’s no warmth to the movie, no good cheer or happiness, and (at risk of bathing in bathos), ne’er a hint of what makes the season special.” Jason Bailey, Flavorwire

A movie combining Martians and Santa has the potential to be epic or a total flop. This film struggles badly to drum up any Christmas cheer. Martian ruler Kimar kidnaps Santa Claus in the hopes that he will be able to cheer up the children of Mars, who are influenced too much by Earth’s pop culture. The result is a sad attempt at sci-fi that lacks the warmness of a good Christmas film. 

Related: 33 Cult Classics We Can’t Stop Watching

A Madea Christmas

‘A Madea Christmas’ (2013)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 20%

Number of Reviews: 35

U.S. Box Office Gross: $52.5 M

Critic quote: “Perry’s well-worn, play-to-the-nosebleeds schtick drowns out anything as far as basic craft.” Michael Dequina, TheMovieReport 

Fans of Tyler Perry’s “Madea” series will be sorely disappointed, since this film lacks the laughs and general entertainment factor of the other movies. Madea and her niece, Eileen, set out to surprise Eileen’s daughter Lacey with a Christmas visit. In the meantime, Lacey tries to cover up the fact that she’s secretly gotten married. Critics found the film to be full of slapdash comedic efforts paired with a cliché plot.

‘Jingle All The Way’ (1996)

‘Jingle All the Way’ (1996)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 17%

Number of Reviews: 47

U.S. Box Office Gross: $60.6 M

Critic quote: “You’ll need an awful lot of Christmas cheer to forgive Arnold Schwarzenegger for his fourth, and hopefully last, venture into comedy, a turkey that needs stuffing on the most inaccessible shelf of your local video store.” Neil Smith, BBC 

Workaholic father Howard Langston wants to make things up to his son by getting him the hottest toy of the season, but he finds himself competing with other parents on the same mission. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in this movie that takes a stab at teaching lessons about materialism, but that ultimately descends into a film lacking in the holiday spirit but full of slapstick antics.

Love the Coopers

‘Love the Coopers’ (2015)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 18%

Number of Reviews: 122

U.S. Box Office Gross: $26.3 M

Critic quote: “The most debilitating thing about this whole soggy mince pie of a picture is that it’s narrated by a dog.” Kate Muir, The Times U.K.

“Love the Coopers” is yet another film in which a talented cast is let down by a subpar script. The film stars John Goodman, Diane Keaton, Ed Helms, Olivia Wilde, and Alan Arkin and depicts the chaos that can occur when four generations of extended family get together on Christmas Eve. Critics called it a waste of talent full of contrived holiday drama.

Mixed Nuts

‘Mixed Nuts’ (2004)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 10%

Number of Reviews: 30

U.S. Box Office Gross: $6.6 M

Critic quote: “A relentlessly hectic, poorly structured farce that falls embarrassingly flat.” TV Guide

Steve Martin stars as Philip, the manager of a suicide-prevention hotline. On Christmas Eve, Philip learns that the landlord plans to evict the hotline from their office, but that’s just the beginning of the film’s chaos. An assistant proclaims her love for Philip, and a pregnant woman and a cross-dresser enter the picture. While this cacophony is an attempt at humor, critics agree that the movie failed to deliver any laughs. 

I’ll Be Home for Christmas

‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’ (1998)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 23%

Number of Reviews: 43

U.S. Box Office Gross: $12.2 M

Critic quote: “None of the cast comes off well, but they have little to work with, since the dialogue sounds like it was made up on the spot and performed without rehearsal.” Louis B. Parks, Houston Chronicle

Jake, a college student played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, is trying to get home for Christmas because his father has promised to give him a Porsche, but after being deserted in the desert without ID or money, Jake has to get creative in how he makes the journey. The movie  lacks any valuable Christmas magic and critics found it really wasn’t worth watching.

Related: Classic Holiday Movies That Still Hold Up

‘Surviving Christmas’ (2004)

‘Surviving Christmas’ (2004)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 7%

Number of Reviews: 115

U.S. Box Office Gross: $11.2 M

Critic quote: “All that’s vaguely funny or Christmassy about this are the sweaty beads of desperation which string together like fairy-lights across Affleck’s forehead as he hammers out one lame gag after another.” Stella Papamichael, BBC 

This movie stars Ben Afleck, James Gandolfini, Catherine O’Hara, and Christina Applegate, but the characters they play are unpleasant and spend most of the movie attacking each other. Aflek’s character, Drew Latham, pays a couple to pretend to be his parents for Christmas, leading to a tense situation when their daughter arrives. Critics called out the movie’s message about buying happiness and described the plot as being artificial and lame.

‘Christmas With the Kranks’ (2004)

‘Christmas with the Kranks’ (2004)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 5%

Number of Reviews: 134

U.S. Box Office Gross: $73.7 M

Critic quote: “This isn't a wonderful life: It looks pretty hellish.” Keith Phipps, AV Club

The Kranks plan to take a Caribbean cruise for Christmas, but their neighbors aren’t pleased with what the Kranks’ lack of Christmas spirit will mean for their chances in the “best decorated street” competition. Even stars like Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd, and M. Emmet Walsh can’t save the film from its unoriginal plot and reliance on dull slapstick comedy.

Black Christmas

‘Black Christmas’ (2006)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 15%

Number of Reviews: 65

U.S. Box Office Gross: $16.2 M

Critic quote: “Like the fruitcake sitting on your counter it’s a rather rote waste of time, and for the life of me I can’t come up with anything else to say.” Sara Michelle Fetters, MovieFreak

Slasher film meets Christmas cheer in this rather bizarre remake of the 1974 “Black Christmas.” When a snowstorm leaves a group of sorority sisters stranded at their campus house during the holidays, they quickly discover that there’s a killer on the loose. Sixty-five critics were largely in consensus about the film being terrible, calling out its poor-quality editing, over-the-top gore, and plot holes.

Related: Holiday Movies for People Who Hate Holiday Movies

An American Carol

‘An American Carol’ (2008)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 12%

Number of Reviews: 49

U.S. Box Office Gross: $7 M

Critic quote: “This movie is seriously unfunny, and it’s not just my admittedly left-wing politics that are in the way of my getting the joke.” Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle

This satirical film attempts to teach important lessons, but it fails to entertain or deliver any laughs. Documentary filmmaker Michael Malone meets the ghosts of a country singer, Gen. George S. Patton, and George Washington on Christmas Eve. They try to renew his sense of patriotism. Film critics called it tasteless, mean-spirited, and unfunny. This film is driven more by its agenda than a desire to entertain.

‘A Merry Friggin’ Christmas’ (2014)

‘A Merry Friggin’ Christmas’’(2014)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 14%

Number of Reviews: 21

Critic quote: “The makers of ‘A Merry Friggin’ Christmas’ sprung for the fancy wrapping but skimped on the gift inside. How else to explain the gathering of such a talented and likable cast in service of such undercooked, utterly laugh-free material?” Geoff Berkshire, Variety

This comedy stars Joel McHale and Robin Williams as a father-son duo, but it fails to get any genuine laughs. Boyd, played by McHale, faces the holiday challenges of spending the holidays at his parents’ and trying to buy his son’s Christmas gifts. His eccentric father, played by Williams, comes along to help him with his shopping. Critics agree that the talented actors give their all to the movie, but it’s difficult for them to elevate the flawed and lazy script. 

The Perfect Holiday

‘The Perfect Holiday’ (2007)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 19%

Number of Reviews: 59

U.S. Box Office Gross: $5.8 M

Critic quote: “I’d rather watch 90 minutes of a flickering yule log video than sit through this overcooked Christmas goose again.” Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper

When you mix up a bunch of cliches and throw them together into a plot with a touch of Christmas, you get this film. Gabrielle Union stars as Nancy, a divorced mother of three. When her daughter, Emily, tries to cheer her up, she asks a department-store Santa Claus named Benjamin to compliment Nancy. Benjamin just so happens to be a songwriter, and you can guess where this romance goes next. Critics called out the cliches and unoriginal writing.

‘Deck the Halls’ (2006)

‘Deck the Halls’ (2006)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 6%

Number of Reviews: 85

U.S. Box Office Gross: $35.1 M

Critic quote: “‘My Stupidity astounds me!’ chortles Danny DeVito in ‘Deck the Halls,’ a line that pretty much sums up this tale of warring neighbors with very different ideas about celebrating Christmas.” Neil Smith, BBC

When 85 film critics nearly completely agree that a movie isn’t worth watching, you know you have a true flop on your hands. “Deck the Halls” stars Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick as neighbors Max and Danny. The duo starts a cutthroat competition to see who can create the most impressive Christmas light display, foregoing Christmas spirit in the process. Many critics called out the lack of quality, vulgar aspects, and overall uninspired style of the film.

'Christmas Eve' 2015 dvd
Best Buy

‘Christmas Eve’ (2015)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 0%

Number of Reviews: 10

U.S. Box Office Gross: $82.0 K

Critic quote: “Who knew a movie seemingly meant to spread holiday cheer could be so off-putting in an almost sadistic way?” Martin Tsai, Los Angeles Times

When a power outage occurs on Christmas Eve, six groups of New Yorkers find themselves trapped in elevators, and their lives changed as a result. Talents like Patrick Stewart, Jon Heder, James Roday Rodriguez, and Cheryl Hines aren’t enough to save this film from itself. Critics found that the comedy delivered no laughs or cheer, and called out the flawed script.