We’ve officially reached peak Christmas movie season with the holiday just days away. As you sit down for your millionth viewing of The Holiday or Love, Actually, maybe consider paying closer attention to the background actors. You may be surprised by how many of your favorite stars actually appeared in some holiday flicks over the years. Here we breakdown 15 stars you may have forgotten appeared in some of the most beloved holiday movies!
Taylor MomsenYears before Taylor Momsen, now 28, transformed into Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl, she starred as Cindy Lou Who in 2000’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas. That’s right, the cutie from Whoville who made Jim Carrey‘s Grinch’s heart grow three sizes that day in the film is the eyeliner-covered lead singer of rock band The Pretty Reckless. Taylor was just seven years old when she landed what was arguably her breakout role — she had only been in one other film at that time. Seven years later, she became part of one of the biggest teen shows of all time, alongside Blake Lively, Penn Badgley, and Leighton Meester.
Zooey DeschanelWill Ferrell‘s 2003 Christmas classic Elf is chock full of celebrities, all front and center, including James Caan, Peter Dinklage, and Mary Steenburgen. You may not remember, though, that Buddy’s first friend in New York City, and his partner in spreading Christmas cheer, is Zooey Deschanel. Zooey, 41, is practically unrecognizable in the movie with her blonde hair, and without her signature blunt bangs. Of course, fans of She and Him and the beloved FOX sitcom New Girl would know it was her instantly when they hear Jovie sing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” in one scene. That voice is unmistakable!
Thomas Brodie Sangster
Love Actually had a cast full of all-stars, including Kiera Knightly, Hugh Grant, and Colin Firth. It also starred Thomas Brodie Sangster, 31, a London-born actor who became well known in recent years with impressive turns as Benny Watts in The Queen’s Gambit and as Jojen Reed, a greenseer, in Game of Thrones. In Love Actually, he became famous as the most adorable, lovesick son to Liam Neeson, stealing hearts around the world. “I don’t think Love Actually is going to go anywhere,” he told Mr. Porter earlier this year. “I think I’ll forever be known as the cute little kid from Love Actually. I don’t mind that, that’s fine.”
Although it was his older brother, Macaulay Culkin, who starred as Kevin McCallister in the 1990 John Hughes classic Home Alone, Kieran Culkin, 39, had a small part in the family favorite as the notorious bed-wetter, Fuller McCallister. “Fuller, go easy on the Pepsi!” is a line fans may recall from the family dinner before an overseas flight to Paris, Kevin begrudgingly looking on as he loathes the idea of sharing a bed with his cousin. Now, Kieran has truly made a name for himself as Roman Roy in the critically-acclaimed HBO family drama series Succession. In addition to gaining popularity in the zeitgeist as the beloved, rebellious youngest child of the Roy clan, Kieran has received Golden Globe, Emmy, and Critic’s Choice award nominations for the role.
Rob Schneider, 58, gained fame in the mid-90s for his comedic stylings on Saturday Night Live and in early 2000s movies like Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and The Hot Chick, but his breakthrough role came in 1992 in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. The movie was a major hit in theaters, but it wasn’t as highly rated as the original Home Alone. Even so, Rob made a memorable impression with his small role as Cedric, the tip-hungry bellhop at the Plaza Hotel who shows Kevin (Macauley Culkin) to his room and is “tipped” with a stick of gum vs. dollar bills. “It’s the only movie I’ve ever done that I was 100 percent sure it was going to be a smash hit,” the actor told Us Weekly in 2017.
Fans may recognize David Krumholtz, 43, from his impressionable roles in critically-acclaimed films like The Ice Storm, The Slums of Beverly Hills, and, more recently, the HBO series The Deuce and miniseries The Plot Against America. Before he ventured into independent film and prestige television projects, however, David, a New York native, played head elf to Santa Clause, Bernard, in the 1994 children’s Christmas comedy, The Santa Clause. Playing opposite Tim Allen, who finds himself strangely thrust into the role of St. Nick, David’s Bernard was an often grumpy stickler who made sure to get things done around the North Pole — but he still managed to be insanely lovable.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, 74, is known for a lot of things. In addition to serving as the 38th governor of California from 2003-2011 and starring in The Terminator movies, ’90s kids may remember Arnold as the star of one of the best holiday flicks to put on every Christmas — Jingle All the Way. Arnold played a too-busy-for-his-family businessman, Howard Lang, on a quest for the top toy of the season to make things up to his son. After playing a macho sci-fi action hero/anti-hero in ’80s, Arnold truly showed his comedic chops in the 1996 film, playing opposite comedian Sinbad in a race for the Christmas present of the year.
Johnny Galecki, 46, made a name for himself in the extremely popular CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory as experimental physicist Leonard Hofstadter who rooms with Dr. Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) and falls in love with next-door neighbor Penny (Kailey Cuoco). Before he became well-known (and Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated) for the role, he played Rusty Griswold in the 1989 Chevy Chase-led comedy Christmas Vacation, where a perfectly-planned Christmas holiday goes awry.
Just a year after he became one of the most beloved sitcom characters in TV history as Jim Halpert on The Office, John Krasinski,42, had a small role in the 2003 Nancy Meyers hit The Holiday. In the Christmas home-swap rom-com, John played one of Amanda’s (Cameron Diaz) employees who couldn’t believe the workaholic film editor was taking a vacation — to meet and fall in love with the dashing Brit, Graham (Jude Law), of course! Although the role was small, it showed the television star could take on feature films, as he went on to appear in numerous projects like Away We Go, A Quiet Place, Jack Ryan, and more.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 60, wasn’t a member of the Griswold family whose Christmas went horribly wrong in the 1989 comedy Christmas Vacation, but she was still affected by their shenanigans. In the holiday flick, Julia played Margo Chester, the yuppie-next-door who, along with her husband, played by Nicholas Guest, endured the chaos of Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his hilarious family. Fans got to know Julia after in her role in the movie, when she appeared on Saturday Night Live and subsequently starred in the ’90s hit sitcom Seinfeld and went on to lead the HBO comedy series Veep.
Okay, so let’s be frank: who doesn’t know — and also love — Bill Murray? The actor and comedian, 71, made serious waves throughout his years in showbiz, getting his start as an original cast member of Saturday Night Live and subsequently starring in beloved comedy films like Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, and more. Fans may forget, however, his leading role in the 1988 dramedy holiday flick Scrooged, which was an update on A Christmas Carol. Bill played Frank Cross, a cynical, career-driven TV executive who is putting together a live production of the Charles Dickens classic on Christmas Eve. Frank becomes alienated by his family and hated by his employees, whom he overworks. The night before Christmas, he is haunted by three ghosts who try and make him see the err of his ways.
You may have missed Jon Favreau‘s really brief cameo in Elf — he played Buddy the elf’s pediatrician in a short scene. He also directed the film, in case you forgot! Following the 2003 Christmas favorite, Jon has gone on to direct more features like Iron Man, Chef, Lion King, Disney+ series The Mandalorian, and more, still highly active in the entertainment industry as a producer as well. Fans may be more familiar with Jon’s acting work, as he’s appeared in movies like Four Christmases, I Love You, Man, The Wolf of Wall Street, and more.
Sarah Jessica Parker
Known for her iconic role as Carrie Bradshaw in the beloved HBO series Sex and the City and the Max reboot, And Just Like That…, fans of the Sarah Jessica Parker, 56, may not remember her star turns in numerous rom-coms and family-centered flicks throughout the years. In 2005, shortly after SATC left the airwaves, SJP starred in the holiday-centered movie The Family Stone as the career-driven Meredith Morton who spends Christmas with her boyfriend Everett’s (Dermot Mulroney) family in New England. We won’t give away what happens next, but it’s safe to say this pivot into movies paved the way for SJP to broaden her horizons.
Beloved Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth, 53, found success on screen after she made it big on stage, serving a jaw-dropping guest appearance on Glee as April Rhodes, a former glee club member with missed opportunities. Now that the performer is so ubiquitous, fans may have forgotten her role in the 2008 Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn-led project, Four Christmases. Kristin made an impression as Reese’s sister Courtney, the fiesty “ideal” sister who was more popular than Reese’s Kate in high school and stands to put her in her place.
Christmas worlds colliding! Peter Billingsley, 50, is perhaps best known for his memorable part as Ralphie Parker in everyone’s favorite Christmas morning classic, A Christmas Story. But did you know he was in another beloved holiday classic? Peter made an appearance in the Will Ferell-led Elf in 2003, playing an elf who worked at the North Pole. Moreover, Peter appeared in Four Christmases, taking on another holiday-centered project.
Yes, David Bowie was in a Christmas movie. Well, he made an appearance and did the voice over for the 1982 animated British Christmas film The Snowman, to be exact. In the sweet children’s holiday story, based on a 1978 book of the same name by author Raymond Briggs, the famed rock star introduces the film, finding a special scarf in a drawer in the attic and explaining how he once met a magical snowman who gave him the scarf when he was a child. “When he came, he was so modest and unshowy,” said Iain Harvey, the show producer of David’s participation in the project. “He was an absolute gem.” Fans of course know David for his epic, far-reaching music career, but may have never known he was the voice behind a childhood favorite.