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As we compiled our list of the best holiday-themed movies of all time, we discovered that watching them at home is just one option. Of course, cuddling up with a cozy blanket and some snacks in your PJ’s is one way to go. But if you want to make watching a beloved classic holiday movie into a bigger event, head to a theater holding a holiday film festival on the big screen. Here’s our round-up of where to watch your favorite film on a big screen this Christmas holiday season in cities across the US.

lots of holiday film festivals at luxury movie theaters this year

If you are looking for a fun holiday activity on a cold, windy day – whether it’s with friends, family, visitors, or even a date – why not see one of your favorite holiday films in a luxury movie theater? Cinemas all over the United States are doing special celebratory showings of some of the most beloved Christmas classics.

Bring friends, bring the kids, and feel a little extra festive this year as you watch some old favorites again, this time on the big screen.

How to watch a beloved holiday movie on a big screen

New York

1.  IFC Theater

At New York’s favorite haven for independent films, IFC Theater, there will be screenings all month long of favorite classic Christmas holiday movies like It’s a Wonderful Life. As a special treat, Mary Owen, daughter of the film’s star, Donna Reed, will be at multiple showings each week to introduce the film.

2. Three Christmas classics at Cinepolis Chelsea

You can head to Cinépolis Chelsea, the gorgeously renovated theater on 23rd Street, to see three Christmas favorites. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, The Polar Express and A Christmas Story. Sit back and relax in their comfortable armchairs, and let the holiday magic sweep you away.

3. A Holiday Movie marathon at Syndicated Brooklyn

The beloved Bushwick theater and bar Syndicated has a fantastic holiday viewing schedule all through December. From December 13th through December 23rd, catch A Christmas Story, Scrooged, Home Alone, Die Hard, Elf and It’s a Wonderful Life.

4. A holiday film festival at the Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn

The Alamo Drafthouse Downtown Brooklyn is our favorite place to watch movies, thanks to its comfy seats and great food. This season you can catch A Very Special Very Alamo Drafthouse Holiday.

Los Angeles

1. Elf at The Roadium

The Roadium is an amazing drive-in theater that evokes all kinds of nostalgia. On December 10th, you can pedal over to see a showing of everyone’s favorite, Elf, at 7 pm. Tickets are per car, not per person, and there will be food trucks in the vicinity to offer refreshments.

2. A holiday film festival at the New Beverly Cinema

New Beverly Cinema is a historic theater (that is currently owned by Quentin Tarantino!). This year, it’s the place to enjoy a full repertoire of Christmas favorites. The line-up includes A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Bad Santa, and Black Christmas.

Plus National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Scrooged, The Muppets Christmas Carol, White Christmas, Holiday Affair, and Home Alone. There are options for the whole family.

San Francisco

1. The New Parkway in Oakland

The New Parkway in Oakland is one of the most unique in the area. The seating in the theater is made up of reclaimed vintage furniture and cozy sofas. There are frequent special event series, and the holidays are no exception.

Stop by for viewings of It’s a Wonderful Life.

2. Alama Drafthouse New Mission

If you’re in search of a big screen to watch your favorite Christmas movie, head to the West Coast branch of our favorite movie theater chain, Alamo Drafthouse New Mission.   This season you can catch A Very Special Very Alamo Drafthouse Holiday. These are movie parties, meaning you can expect special surprise goodies and thematic menu options, and a truly festive viewing experience.

3. It’s a Wonderful Life and more at The Castro Theater

Built in 1922, The Castro Theater is a registered landmark in San Francisco. And one of the last remaining theaters from the 1920’s that is still in operation in the US.

Enjoy shows like Elf and It’s a Wonderful Life.


1. Vintage holiday movies at The Logan Theater

The Logan Theater is ready to help make your December special, and to do that they’ll have late night showings of holiday flicks all month. At 10:30 pm each night all month, they’re bringing you different holiday classics, including A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, Elf, and A Christmas Story. Gremlins, A Christmas Carol, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Trading Places.

2. The Movie Tavern at Marcus Theaters

We wrap up our list on how to watch a favorite classic Christmas holiday film on a big movie screen instead of at home with another great Chicago option. The Marcus Theaters’ Movie Tavern is hosting a special retro holiday series that includes How The Grinch Stole Christmas, White Christmas, Elf, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Polar Express, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

How to watch a beloved classic holiday movie on a big screen this year

That’s it! Some great options for a screening of your favorite classic Christmas holiday films in an old-school movie theater – with the really good popcorn. And sometimes holiday cocktails, too. Who knew there were so many excellent options for a holiday movie film festival? So what’s your favorite spot for watching a holiday movie on a big screen, dear reader? And no, your couch and big-screen TV at home don’t count!

Abbie Martin Greenbaum

Abbie Martin Greenbaum is a writer, reader, and pop culture connoisseur, who loves storytelling, coffee, and dessert. Her work has also appeared in Playbill.