We are now very close to the end of the year, and that can only mean one thing: Christmas movies! That’s right, even if the last month of the year still means occasional balmy temperatures or a complete lack of snow for you, your family and friends, we can all enjoy the magic of the holiday season. And, obviously, many of us do that by retreating into our favorite festive Christmas movies.
Even though there are dozens (upon dozens) of new films on the 2022 Christmas movie schedule this season, with the premieres of October and November still replaying regularly in some cases, 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 do 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 exactly that, as we’ll be giving you lots of options so that you can set your holiday streaming schedule with no problems at all. Now, let’s get to the good stuff!
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 taken to the North Pole as a toddler and then raised among Santa’s elves. As an adult, Buddy heads to New York to find his biological father, and comical Christmas shenanigans ensue. This Jon Favreau-directed comedy became a near instant classic for a reason.
Stream Elf on HBO Max (opens in new tab).
The Best Man Holiday (Peacock)
This Christmas movie favorite 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) reunite after almost 15 years apart to celebrate the holiday, but quickly 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 at Christmastime.
Stream The Best Man Holiday on Peacock (opens in new tab).
It’s A Wonderful Life (Amazon Prime)
Anyone who’s watched It’s a Wonderful Life in a Christmas Eve marathon or during one of its standard holiday season 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 (we’ll even see a couple more on this list 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 near the end are truly creepy and help you see why Scrooge would have a big change of heart.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (Apple TV+)
People love A Charlie Brown Christmas, and it has to be one of the best-known and most beloved animated Christmas movies of all time. And, it really is a heart-warming delight. Where else can you get a story about a kid (Charlie Brown, obviously) who tries to overcome his holiday depression by directing his neighborhood’s Christmas play, set to a wonderfully jazzy (and equally classic and beloved) score? Nowhere, I tell you! Luckily, you can watch A Charlie Brown Christmas streaming, and there will even be a brief window when you won't need a subscription to do it.
Available streaming with an Apple TV+ subscription (opens in new tab).
Jingle All The Way (Starz)
It’s good to have a fun, silly Christmas movie, and Jingle All the Way is certainly that. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a workaholic dad in this 1996 comedy, 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.
Available streaming with a Starz subscription (opens in new tab).
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.
Stream The Nightmare Before Christmas on Disney+ (opens in new tab).
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.
Stream Miracle on 34th Street on HBO Max (opens in new tab).
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 family secrets come to light. If you’re hoping to be able to easily deal with your own large family gatherings this season, This Christmas could help you realize that it probably won’t be as frustrating as you think.
Stream This Christmas on Peacock (opens in new tab).
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 hateful and unbelievably grumpy Grinch gets so annoyed by the holiday happiness of a nearby village that he dresses as Santa so that he can steal all of their Christmas goods, only to see his efforts foiled by his own change of heart. Cool animation, a great message, and terrific voice work from Boris Karloff, June Foray, and singer Thurl Ravenscroft make this one a must-watch.
Stream How The Grinch Stole Christmas! On Peacock (opens in new tab).
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.
Stream A Christmas Story on HBO Max (opens in new tab).
While You Were Sleeping (Disney+)
Need a sweet, quirky romance in at least one of your Christmas movies? The 1995 Sandra Bullock hit, While You Were Sleeping, has you covered! Bullock stars as a lonely Chicago transit worker who saves her unrequited crush from an on-coming train, only to be mistaken for the now-comatose man’s fiancée by his lovely family, and then ends up falling in love with his brother. All the feels!
Stream While You Were Sleeping on Disney+ (opens in new tab).
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (HBO Max)
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…in 3D
Stream A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas on HBO Max (opens in new tab).
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 unexpectedly living on their property in an RV. This 1989 Vacation franchise entry quickly became a wacky Christmas classic.
Stream National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on HBO Max (opens in new tab).
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.
Stream The Muppet Christmas Carol on Disney+ (opens in new tab).
Scrooged (Amazon Prime)
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 all-encompassing ambition. But, he gets a chance to reconsider his path in life after firing a member of his staff on Christmas Eve.
Stream Scrooged on Amazon Prime (opens in new tab).
Home Alone (Disney+)
Next we have the 1990 film that made a star of Macaulay Culkin, as 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.
Stream Home Alone on Disney+ (opens in new tab).
Arthur Christmas (HBO Max)
Last, but not least, let’s take a look at a popular holiday offering that’s much newer than several on this list. In this animated tale, Santa somehow forgets to deliver presents to one child on Christmas Eve, and his son, Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy), takes off to make sure the job is done so that the magic of the season is ruined.
Stream Arthur Christmas on HBO Max (opens in new tab).
Of course, these aren’t the only Christmas movies you can watch in the weeks leading up to the big day, but some popular choices (like The Preacher’s Wife, Almost Christmas, and Love, Actually) either aren’t streaming or require a rental for you to watch. In addition, if you’re looking for more animated fare like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Frosty The Snowman, you can find several of those movies with your local listings on either cable or broadcast networks. But, the titles here should set you up nicely when it comes to your Christmas movie entertainment choices!