The best films to watch if you can’t go home for the holidays this year

Planes Trains and Automobiles Paramount

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly urges Americans to stay home this Thanksgiving and celebrate with the people they live with.
  • From packed airports, snowstorms, canceled trips, never-ending traffic, and family squabbles, let these films remind you that maybe staying home isn't the worst idea.
  • Neal Page lives through a terrible two-day odyssey to get home in "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles."
  • The McCallister family experiences every parent's worst nightmare upon landing in Paris in "Home Alone."
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus pandemic has put a huge damper on 2020, and for many, this has become even more apparent as the holidays approach and people choose to stay home instead of visiting family.

But really, maybe skipping holiday travel is not so bad: Remember endless lines, packed airports, snowstorms, canceled trips, and never-ending traffic?

And what often awaits on the other end? Endless cooking, overeating, and family squabbles.

Keep scrolling for some of the best holiday movies to watch if you can't go home for the holidays this year, and let their stresses remind you that maybe staying home isn't so bad after all.

As depicted in "Four Christmases," canceled flights are unfortunately a holiday travel staple.

Every year, happily unmarried couple Brad (Vince Vaughn) and Kate (Reese Witherspoon) take an exotic trip designed specifically to avoid their divorced parents and dysfunctional families. This year, while already at the airport, their flight is canceled, and they must endure four stressful family get-togethers in one single day.

How to watch: Rent on Amazon from $2.99

Thanks to a blizzard that diverts his flight, Neal Page in "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" lives through a terrible two-day odyssey to get home.

Uptight marketing executive Neal Page (Steve Martin) is desperate to get home to Chicago for Thanksgiving after a business trip to New York. When his flight is diverted to Kansas due to a snowstorm, he decides to do whatever it takes to get home — and it takes a lot, from getting on a train and a bus to renting a car. Throughout the two-day series of misadventures, he's involuntarily accompanied by Del Griffith (John Candy), an annoying but lovable shower curtain ring salesman he can't seem to shake.

How to watch: Rent on Amazon from $3.99 or with AMC

The McCallister family experiences every parent's worst nightmare upon landing in Paris in "Home Alone."

In this holiday classic, an extended family of 15 jets off to Paris for the holidays, but accidentally leaves their 8-year-old son behind (Macaulay Culkin).

Said son must then protect the family home from burglars, booby-trapping the place to hilarious results.

How to watch: Rent on Amazon from $3.99 or on Disney+

Kevin is having a grand time in New York City, but his family is once again living through a nightmare without him in "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York."

One year after having been left at home for the holidays, somehow, yet again, Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) gets separated from his family when he accidentally boards a plane to New York City while his family jets off to Miami.

Undeterred, he makes the best of the situation by living it up in the Big Apple, from staying at the Plaza to exploring Central Park and Rockefeller Center. However, he encounters the two burglars he foiled the previous Christmas, and this year must stop them from robbing a toy store.

How to watch: Rent on Amazon from $3.99 or on Disney+

In "Last Holiday," Georgia Byrd would rather spend her potential last holiday season alone, far from home, than be with friends and family.

When Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) is told that she only has a few weeks left to live due to a terminal brain disease, she decides to turn the quiet, constrained life she's been living to date on its head. She takes her life savings and travels to Europe over the holidays where she lives it up, enchanting everyone she crosses paths with her joie-de-vivre.

How to watch: Rent on Amazon from $2.99 or on Peacock

In "I'll Be Home For Christmas," Jake's father has to literally bribe him to come home for the holidays, and his ensuing trip is stressful, to say the least.

"I'll Be Home For Christmas" follows the disastrous trip college student Jake (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) makes from Los Angeles, where he's in school, to his hometown in New York.

He hasn't been home for the holiday since his mother died and his father remarried in less than a year, but when his dad promises to gift him his vintage Porsche if he makes it in time for Christmas dinner, the race is on. Too bad a nemesis sabotages him, making the trip unnecessarily difficult.

How to watch: Rent on Amazon from $2.99 or on Disney+

Claudia Larson would have preferred to avoid her dysfunctional clan in "Home for the Holidays."

Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter), has had a rough time. The single mom is fired from her job, made out with her boss, and her only teenage daughter announces that she's not only having Thanksgiving with her boyfriend's family, but she also plans on sleeping with him for the first time.

Dejected, Larson flies home from Chicago to Baltimore to spend Thanksgiving with her eccentric, dysfunctional extended family. Luckily, things start to look up when her brother brings a handsome friend.

How to watch: Rent on Amazon from $2.99.

"National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" will remind you just how stressful trying to put together the perfect holiday can actually be.

All Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants is to have the perfect Christmas for his family — but literally everything goes wrong, from the decorations to the meal to some unexpected, boorish family members showing up unannounced.

How to watch: Rent on Amazon from $2.99

Skipping Christmas and all the stress and spending it entails in lieu of a cruise as in "Christmas with the Kranks" seems like a savvy idea.

When their daughter decides not to come home for the holidays for the first time, the usually Christmas-obsessed Kranks (Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis) decide to skip it altogether in favor of a 10-day tropical cruise, alienating them from their holiday-happy neighbors who try to bully them into the Christmas spirit.

When their daughter shows up after all, they scramble to put together a last-minute Christmas.

How to watch: Rent on Amazon from $2.99

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