We are now inching ever closer to the end of the year, and that can only mean one thing: Christmas movies! That’s right, even if the last months of the year still mean occasional balmy temperatures or a complete lack of snow for you and your nearest and dearest, we can all enjoy the holiday season. And, obviously, many of us do that by retreating into our favorite Christmas movies.
Even though there are dozens (upon dozens) of new films on the Christmas movies and TV schedule every year, there’s nothing quite like curling up on the couch with a cozy blanket, your favorite hot beverage, and settling in for a night (or afternoon...I hope you have some time off) of watching some of the most popular Christmas movies streaming. Luckily for you, this list is made to help you do just that, as we’ll be giving you several options to help you set your holiday streaming schedule, below!
Elf (HBO Max)
I will be thoroughly surprised if you haven’t already seen this 2003 Will Ferrell film, where he stars as Buddy, a human who was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and had to be raised among Santa’s elves. As an adult, Buddy heads to New York to find his real dad, and comical Christmas shenanigans ensue. This Jon Favreau-directed comedy became a near instant classic for a reason.
The Best Man Holiday (Peacock)
This Black-led Christmas movie from 2013 sees a group of college friends (played by Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Terrence Howard, Monica Calhoun, Harold Perrineau, Regina Hall, and Morris Chestnut) gather after nearly 15 years apart to celebrate Christmas, but they find old romances and rivalries being reignited. The Best Man Holiday brought back the stars of 1999’s The Best Man, and will definitely make you long for a slightly chaotic friend-focused gathering during the holidays.
It’s A Wonderful Life (Amazon Prime)
Anyone who’s watched It’s a Wonderful Life marathoned on Christmas Eve or during one of its yearly holiday airings would probably be surprised to know that this now-classic was actually a big ol’ flop when it debuted in 1946. Fortunately, it was finally able to find the audience it deserved, and people who love watching Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey learn just how important he is to his family, friends, and his town will never be without it.
A Christmas Carol (Tubi)
This Charles Dickens classic has been adapted for the screen numerous times and in numerous ways (a couple of more which we’ll see later), but this 1984, made for TV version starring George C. Scott as Scrooge and Edward Woodward as the Spirit of Christmas Present, is my absolute favorite, and I don’t think enough people even know about it. The acting is amazing, and one thing that sets it apart, I believe, is the fact that the visit from Marley’s ghost in the beginning and the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come are truly creepy and help you see why Scrooge would have a big change of heart.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (Apple TV+)
A Charlie Brown Christmas has to be one of the best-known and most beloved animated Christmas movies of all time, and it’s a heart-warming delight. Where else can you get a story about a kid (Charlie Brown, of course) who tries to overcome his holiday depression by directing his neighborhood’s Christmas play, set to a wonderfully jazzy score? Nowhere, I tell you!
Jingle All The Way (Disney+)
It’s good to have a fun, silly Christmas movie, and Jingle All the Way is certainly that. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a workaholic who’s trying to make things up to his son and wife by buying the most hotly demanded toy, even though it’s already Christmas Eve, and his search is made even more complicated by a mailman, Myron (Sinbad), hunting for the same item. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one, so definitely give it a shot if you need to lighten your holiday mood.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney+)
This dark fantasy musical from producer Tim Burton is an odd mix of Halloween movie and Christmas movie, as it follows Jack (Chris Sarandon), the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town as he discovers Christmas Town and becomes obsessed with the holiday. Other voice cast members include Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Paul Reubens, and more, helping to make this 1993 classic quite the oddball treat.
Miracle On 34th Street (HBO Max)
This 1947 film was remade in 1994, but if you want some real Christmas magic, the original is where it’s at. When a divorced mother (Maureen O’Hara) hires a nice man (Edmund Gwenn) to play Santa at Macy’s, she and her daughter (Natalie Wood) are surprised by his claim to be the real deal. Trust me, this one is great for the whole family.
This Christmas (Peacock)
This 2007 family dramedy (starring Regina King, Loretta Devine, Idris Elba, Delroy Lindo, and more) follows the Whitfield family as they all gather for the holidays for the first time in four years, and some major secrets come to light. If you’re hoping to be able to easily deal with your own big family gatherings this season, This Christmas could help prime that well for you.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas! (Peacock)
Here’s another classic that’s been remade a few times now, but, again, I think going with the animated, 1966 original is the best idea. Watch as the bitter and hateful Grinch gets so annoyed at the holiday happiness of a nearby village that he dresses as Santa to steal all of their Christmas goods, only to see his efforts foiled by his own change of heart. Cool animation, a perfect message, and terrific voice work from Boris Karloff, June Foray, and singer Thurl Ravenscroft make this one a must-watch.
A Christmas Story (HBO Max)
This 1983 comedy continues to win hearts with its story of a boy (Peter Billingsley) who spends the Christmas season trying to stay out of a bully’s reach and dreaming of getting a Red Ryder BB gun for the big day.
While You Were Sleeping (Disney+)
Need some romance in your Christmas movies? The 1995 Sandra Bullock hit, While You Were Sleeping, has you covered! Bullock stars as a lonely Chicago transit authority token collector who saves her unrequited crush from an on-coming train, only to be mistaken for the now-comatose man’s fiancée by his family and ends up falling in love with his brother. All the feels!
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (Netflix)
This 2011 continuation of the Harold & Kumar franchise takes their stoner comedy to new holiday heights as the duo travel across New York City to try and find a replacement Christmas tree for Harold's father-in-law.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (HBO Max)
Things have never been more comically difficult for Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and family as when their hick relatives visit unannounced during the holidays and begin living on their property in an RV. This 1989 Vacation franchise entry quickly became a wacky Christmas classic.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (Disney+)
The Muppets take on Charles Dickens in this 1992 retelling of the holiday favorite, which casts our felted friends as characters from the popular tale, with the exception of Scrooge, who’s played by Michael Caine.
This 1988 modern take on Dickens’ story featured Bill Murray as the titular grump, a TV executive who’s driven away the love of his life with his ambition. But, he gets a chance to reconsider his path in life after firing a member of his staff on Christmas Eve.
The Holiday (Netflix)
More romance! The Holiday (which released in 2006) stars Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz as women with man problems who swap homes (one in an English village and the other in Hollywood) for a change of pace at Christmastime, only to find two men (Jack Black and Jude Law) who help them get their respective grooves back.
Home Alone (Disney+)
Last, but not least, we have the 1990 film that made a star of Macaulay Culkin, as his Kevin McCallister gets left behind when his family travels to Paris for Christmas, and he has to fend off two criminals (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern) who try to rob his home. Comedy stacked on top of slapstick comedy in this one.
Of course, these aren’t the only Christmas movies you can watch right now, but some popular choices (like The Preacher’s Wife, Almost Christmas, Arthur Christmas, and Love, Actually) either aren’t streaming or require a rental for you to watch. In addition, if you’re looking for other animated Christmas movies like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Frosty The Snowman, you can find several of them in your local listings on either cable or broadcast networks. But, this list should set you up nicely when it comes to your Christmas movie viewing options!
Bachelor Nation, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.
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