Animated Christmas Decorations

Updated June 2023
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Best of the Best
VIVOHOME 6FT Inflatable Snowman with Penguins
6FT Inflatable Snowman with Penguins
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Playful Design
Bottom Line

With multiple colored lights and an easy-to-set-up system, this is a must-have for a decorated lawn.


The polyester material is able to withstand a variety of climates and temperatures. Includes everything you need to install it in a straightforward and easy fashion. The LED lights shine in 3 colors.


The included stakes may be tough to drive into really hard ground.

Best Bang for the Buck
Goosh 4 Foot Inflatable Snowman
4 Foot Inflatable Snowman
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Best for Small Spaces
Bottom Line

A great choice for users who want a compact decoration to enjoy this Christmas season.


Resists tears thanks to the easily inflated polyester material. Sits at a good price for those on a budget. The blower works consistently to inflate the snowman for hours on end even in less-than-ideal conditions.


It needs to be tied down quite a bit to avoid being blown away by wind.

KNONEW Waterfall Tree Lights
Waterfall Tree Lights
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Most Versatile
Bottom Line

A fun design that can hang from anywhere in your yard to create a memorable look.


Simulates the look of a tree with 344 LED lights. Has eight different light modes that are easy to change with the press of a button. Can hang from trees or homes that are 8-13 feet tall. Weather-resistant.


The lights can be a bit of a pain to untangle out of the box.

BZB Goods Inflatable Three Dogs with Gifts
BZB Goods
Inflatable Three Dogs with Gifts
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Durable & Rugged
Bottom Line

A unique inflatable for dog and Christmas lovers alike that is built to last.


The interior lights are very bright and easy to see. Has an instantly recognizable design that kids and adults can both appreciate. Inflates and deflates very quickly. Durable polyester material.


Some users have noted that it can fall over fairly easily.

Lights4fun inc. Battery Operated Reindeer & Sleigh
Lights4fun inc.
Battery Operated Reindeer & Sleigh
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Bottom Line

A great choice for users who want something that can work as both an indoor or outdoor decoration.


The acrylic light design is able to withstand a variety of temperatures. Very easy to install and maintain. Has 240 LED lights that shine bright and are fairly efficient so they can be left on all day long.


Some users noted that instructions aren't included for assembly.


We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best animated Christmas decorations

Are you looking for some festive inspiration? Want to spruce up your home with head-turning holiday bling? Animated Christmas decorations feature moving components that bring fun holiday scenes and Christmas characters to life.

Some animated Christmas decorations are strictly for indoor use, but many are suitable for outdoor use as well. When shopping, you’ll have size choices from small to large. You’ll also have choices with lights, music, and other holiday-related sounds, such as jingling bells or Santa’s deep belly laugh.

The question is, what type of animated Christmas decorations speak to you? What is your preferred theme? Do you want something with lights? Music? The choices are seemingly endless, so it’s wise to read a thorough shopping guide first so you’re sure to get the animated Christmas decor that makes you happiest.

animated Christmas decorations in the front yard of a house
Holiday decorations, including animated decorations, can consume a great deal of energy. Consider using a timer to turn the decorations on and off so they only run at targeted times.

What are animated Christmas decorations?

Animated Christmas decorations feature 2D or 3D moving elements. In many cases, they contain actual moving parts. Other animated decorations use two-dimensional motion and don’t have true moving parts.

Some animated Christmas decorations feature lights. Those with two-dimensional movement are typically made entirely of lights, while those with three-dimensional motion may have lights that accentuate their movements. You can also find animated Christmas decorations that play music or allow you to synchronize your own music to their motion.

Why should I use animated Christmas decorations?

Of course, you can make your home look and feel festive for the holidays with simple decorations such as string lights and holiday ornaments, but animated decorations add instant character to a home.

Animated decorations are especially striking as part of an outdoor holiday display, where they can stand out from the usual lights and inflatables. You may also want to consider animated decorations if you have small children, who will likely get a kick out of this holiday decor.

Some inflatable animated decorations look like snow globes. Fake snow blows around inside a clear plastic ball to appear as though the snow globe has been shaken.


Indoor vs. outdoor animated Christmas decorations

Indoor decorations

Indoor animated Christmas decorations are usually small items meant for display on a table, shelf, or mantle. They often feature delicate materials such as plush or porcelain. Many indoor animated Christmas decorations are music boxes with moving parts.

Outdoor decorations

Outdoor animated Christmas decorations are typically larger items meant for display on grass, shrubbery, or trees. They may be made entirely of lights that turn on and off in a specific pattern to make the image look like it’s moving. Or, they may be motorized with three-dimensional movement. These decorations are usually inflatable.

Choosing a Christmas theme

Many animated Christmas decorations don’t have a specific theme. Instead, they fall into the general Christmas or holiday category, depicting Santa, reindeer, elves, Christmas trees, candy canes, wreaths, or other traditional Christmas-related items.

However, you can also find themed animated decorations. Some common themes include the following:

  • Classic Christmas cartoon characters, such as the Grinch from How the Grinch Stole Christmas or Rudolph from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • Animals, such as dogs, bears, penguins, unicorns, and dinosaurs
  • Disney characters, such as Mickey in a Santa suit
  • Star Wars characters, such as Yoda or R2D2 in a Santa hat
animated Christmas decorations in the front yard of a house
Keep the Christmas lights around an animated decoration simple so they don’t distract from the animation. For example, stick to a single color for the lights, such as white, and use the strings in targeted areas.

Features to consider


Some outdoor animated Christmas decorations consist solely of lights. Others involve a three-dimensional design in addition to lights. The lights on the latter are usually small and serve to accentuate motion.

Inflatable animated decorations often have large lights that illuminate the night. If they don’t, you might choose to set up a spotlight in front of the decoration to make it visible in the dark.


Some animated Christmas decorations play music. You can find both indoor and outdoor options with a musical feature.

Many indoor animated decorations are, in fact, traditional music boxes, but you can also find plush decorations that play music and “dance” to the tune they play. Some outdoor animated decorations work similarly; the decoration’s movement syncs with the holiday music it plays.

How to accessorize animated Christmas decorations

Christmas lights

Adding Christmas lights to an outdoor display can take it to the next level. You can choose from classic white lights or festive multi-colored strands. Decorations exist with multiple lighting modes such as steady, blinking, and twinkling.

Christmas wreath

Even with animated decorations for your yard or lawn, a Christmas wreath on your door can make your home look more festive. Fresh wreaths have a classic pine scent that many people love, but artificial wreaths are reusable each year.

Christmas garland

Christmas garland wrapped around railings, light posts, and columns can give your house a classic holiday look. Most garlands are made with real or artificial greenery, but you can also find strands made of tinsel or beads for a fancier look.

Some Christmas projectors feature an animated design. Projected lights move over the surface they’re aimed at, resembling falling snow.


How much do animated Christmas decorations cost?


Small indoor decorations tend to cost between $15 and $50. They may play music, but most don’t feature lights.


Larger, more elaborate indoor decorations and mid-size outdoor decorations cost between $50 and $140. They often play music, and many also feature accent lights.


The most expensive animated Christmas decorations are oversized indoor decorations and large outdoor decorations. Often, these items play music and have extra-bright lights. Expect to pay from $140 to $400 for these decorations.


  • Don’t overdo it with animated decorations. These are a great deal of fun and can really wow your guests. However, a holiday display that’s jam-packed with animated Christmas decorations can quickly become busy and over-the-top. Stick to just one or two animated decorations, particularly if they are large items with lights and music.
  • Choose the right time to use your animated decorations. Animated decorations require some type of power, such as a plug in an outlet or batteries. If you run your decorations all the time, they’ll cost quite a bit to operate. So, be choosy as to when you display your decorations. Outdoor decorations with lights tend to be best for viewing at night.
  • Use an animated decoration as a centerpiece on your table or mantle. Whether it’s a music box or a lighted decoration, some animated pieces are such show stoppers that they look impressive in the center of a holiday table. They also look great on coffee tables, end tables, or fireplace mantles.
  • Make sure children understand animated decorations aren’t toys. The movement, lights, and music are attractive to kids, but these expensive items are not meant as toys and could break with rough play.
animated Christmas decorations in the front yard of a house
Animated Christmas decorations should be stored in secure boxes with cushioning materials around their moving parts. This helps prevent breakage.


Q. Should I use animated Christmas decorations indoors or outdoors?

A. You can find animated decorations for both indoor and outdoor use. Large outdoor animated decorations usually have the greatest impact and can help your holiday light display stand out from the rest of the neighborhood.

Q. How can I synchronize music to my outdoor animated decorations?

A. Some people like to create multimedia experiences with their outdoor Christmas decorations. You can synchronize music with the movements of animated decorations, but you usually need special synchronization software to control music, lights, and animated decorations all at the same time.

Q. How long do animated Christmas decorations last?

A. It depends on the quality of the material and how well you care for it. In general, indoor decorations last longer because they aren’t exposed to the elements. Outdoor animated decorations may be left out in the rain and snow for several weeks and thus may break down more quickly.

Indoor animated decorations can last for years, with some even becoming family heirlooms you can pass down. Outdoor decorations can also last for a few years, though they may deteriorate more quickly if they experience severe weather conditions and aren’t stored properly.


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