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You’ve finished off your shopping, you’ve snagged the best last-minute gifts, and now it’s time to settle in for some serious wrapping (or bagging) sessions before the big 2-5. Don’t you deserve some festive viewing (and maybe an equally festive beverage) in your life? Whether you want to throw on a classic movie while finishing off those prezzies with a bow, or you’re looking to snuggle in with a few lighthearted Christmas comedies while unwinding for the season, there’s pretty much a movie—and a streaming service—for everyone.
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So grab a cuppa, the remote and your best bingeing blanket, because we’ve rounded up the best streaming services for Christmas movies, as well as 28 of our favorite Christmas selections that you can watch on them.
1. Home Alone, 1990
What would the holidays be without watching this classic family comedy five or six times? We never tire of the beloved flick from director Chris Columbus and writer John Hughes, which is probably why we can still recite every single line. Whether you’re re-watching it for sheer comfort or introducing your kids to Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) for the first time, this one is always one of our top picks come December. And if you do tire of it, the good news is there are four other sequels out there to watch as well (although we tend to stop after the first sequel, ourselves).
2. The Santa Clause, 1994
Tim Allen in a fat suit? Tim Allen in a fat suit. The idea is so outdated yet it still works because how else is the famed actor supposed to become Kris Kringle in this Toronto-shot flick? The story of a man who learns all about Christmas spirit while becoming closer to his son is still a classic, especially since it (kind of) pits him against the one and only Judge Reinhold. Underneath the laughs there are some good lessons about believing in your inner child and understanding blended families, so this one definitely still makes our list.
3. The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993
Tim Burton’s horror-filled, stop-motion take on Christmas in Halloween Town is basically one of our favorite family watches between October and December, because it tackles both holidays so perfectly. The all-star cast (Catherine O’Hara, Danny Elfman, Paul Reubens) is downright operatic, especially when the singing gets going. (Have *you* tried belting out the lyrics to “What’s This?” Because it’s definitely a journey.)
4. Prep & Landing, 2009
If you’re looking for something short and sweet to occupy the kids with while getting in a few laughs yourself, this 22-minute gem of a movie is the perfect thing. The story of the elves that help Santa get through the monumental task of delivering presents around the world is downright tinsel, plus it’s got a feel-good message and a sequel that you can cue up as well if you want to extend family screen time into a full hour.
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5. Jack Frost, 1998
Michael Keaton as a snowman? Oh, that was a thing back in the late 1990s, when he starred in this kind of dark comedy from director Troy Miller about a father who dies in a car accident. Of course if you’ve ever caught the film you know he returns a year later in snowman form so that he can right things with his son once and for all. It’s a solid reminder about the true meaning of Christmas, if nothing else.
6. Falling For Christmas, 2022
Is this the best Christmas movie we’ve ever seen? No. Far from it. Yet there’s something about Lindsay Lohan embracing her return to acting with hot chocolate and skiing that makes us warm and fuzzy inside anyhow. This film just dropped in November so we think it’s worthy of our 2022 list, especially since it’s also a return to acting of sorts for Lohan’s co-star and onscreen love interest, Chord Overstreet, of Glee fame. In Falling for Christmas, Lohan plays a hotel heiress who suffers total amnesia; luckily for her, the cute guy running the lodge next door is more than willing to take her in.
7. A Christmas Prince, 2017
This holiday staple about a reporter who goes undercover to get the inside scoop on a playboy prince doesn’t exactly re-invent the Christmas rom-com wheel, but when it debuted it definitely put Netflix on the map in terms of their presence in the genre. The Rose McIver, Ben Lamb-starring film was so successful that it also spawned two equally feel-good sequels, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding and A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby.
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8. A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965
Simple, classic, wholesome and fun, this special from the Snoopy crew stands the test of time. It used to be a crapshoot trying to figure out who would end up with the rights each year, but now that Apple has stepped up with its big tech money, we can happily watch this one in the same spot year after year.
9. Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special, 2020
You have to give it to the self-proclaimed Queen of Christmas—she really knows a thing or two about branding, and so many people are here for it. Mariah’s inaugural holiday special on the streaming service features magical guest-star appearances from friends like Tiffany Haddish, Snoop Dogg, Ariana Grande and Billy Eichner, and was successful enough when it dropped last year to inspire this year’s sequel, Mariah’s Christmas: The Magic Continues.
10. Ted Lasso: The Missing Christmas Moustache, 2021
What better way to cheer up the masses than with a Ted Lasso-themed holiday special? Okay so technically this is more of a TV episode rather than a Christmas movie, but we got all the feels watching Jason Sudeikis get animated in this cheer-filled short. Especially since it involves the departure of the beloved character’s famed moustache.
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11. A Christmas Story, 1983
Is a Red Ryder BB gun really the perfect Christmas gift? Don’t tell little Ralphie but these days, probably not. Still, that doesn’t stop us from enjoying this Bob Clark-directed feature in all its glory each and every holiday season. It’s the original coming-of-age Christmas movie, and even if some parts don’t necessarily hold up today, it’s still one of the greatest gems of its time.
12. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, 1989
Chevy Chase made a name for himself with the National Lampoon brand of comedies, but the Christmas movie will forever stand out as one of the—if not the—best. Writer John Hughes and director Jeremiah S. Chechik created a chuckle-filled caper as Clark Griswold taught us all about the dangers of cutting down wild Christmas trees, putting nog in oversized moose cups and revealing to your deranged brother-in-law that your biggest Christmas wish is to tell your boss where to stick it.
13. Elf, 2003
All together now: Buddy the elf, what’s your favorite color? This Jon Favreau-directed movie starring Will Ferrell may be the newest entry in terms of the classics on our list, but there’s no denying that it is, indeed, a classic. To this day people still scream lines from it at Ferrell when they recognize him in public, and we’re of the opinion that it’s not really Christmas until you’ve seen it at least once.
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14. Die Hard, 1988
Yes, it’s a Christmas movie, people. And to be honest, would the holidays really be the same without John McClane in our lives? Catch the original (with Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber) on the streaming service, but feel free to binge all five of the movies if you really want to get into the Christmas spirit.
15. Jingle All the Way, 1996
Arnold Schwarzenegger is fairly frantic as Howard Langston, a.k.a. a father who is determined to find his son a Turbo Man action figure for Christmas, even though the toy is sold out all over town. The Brian Levant-directed movie also stars comedic legends Sinbad, Phil Hartman and Jim Belushi, not to mention Rita Wilson as Howard’s more easy-going wife.
16. The Holiday, 2006
Shipping Kate Winslet and Jack Black wasn’t on our 2006 bingo cards, yet 15 years later we still look forward to an annual viewing of the Nancy Meyers offering. Cameron Diaz and Jude Law also star in the movie, which follows two women who swap houses for the holidays in hopes of solving all of their ongoing guy problems. Naturally, they all get a happy ending.
17. Happiest Season, 2020
We love that we live in a world where Kristen Stewart and Dan Levy play onscreen besties, but the bigger story behind this movie when it bowed last year was that it finally added some much-needed LGBTQ+ representation to the holiday rom-com scene. It’s also surprisingly delightful, with Mackenzie Davis holding her own onscreen against the two better-known actors.
18. Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch, 2018
Many have tackled this legendary Dr. Seuss character, and while we will always have a soft spot in our hearts for Boris Karloff’s 1966 animated take, this more recent offering from directors Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier is our favorite modern reimagining. Benedict Cumberbatch voices the title character quite convincingly, while Pharrell Williams offers tons of charisma as the new narrator.
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19. Christmas With the Kranks, 2004
Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis teamed for this anti-Christmas holiday movie from director Joe Roth, in which a couple whose daughter is away at school decide to skip the holidays altogether. That is until the daughter reveals she is coming home, setting off a chain of events that remind us all how funnily frantic the holidays really are.
20. It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946
Director Frank Capra created a downright masterpiece with this timeless film about an angel who helps a down-on-his-luck businessman by showing him what life would have been like had he never existed. To this day the movie has an impressive 95% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, because sometimes—and especially at Christmas—we all need a little faith.
21. Last Holiday, 2006
Who doesn’t love watching Queen Latifah do her thing? Here the performer plays Georgia Byrd, a woman who has spent her entire life putting her dreams on hold. Until now, when a diagnosis sends her reeling, and reconsidering her priorities. So she decides to live what could be her final holiday season to the fullest… all the way in Europe for a snowy, fun-filled getaway.
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22. Love Actually, 2003
Is there a more romantic Christmas movie than this star-studded offering from director Richard Curtis? For those who need a reminder, the flick follows the lives of eight different couples as they gear up for the holidays in London. It’s got all kinds of endings that will speak to you, no matter where you’re at in your own personal love journey.
23. Krampus, 2015
Sometimes you’re just not in the festive mood and you want an anti-Christmas Christmas movie to put on. Enter this dark tale from director Michael Dougherty about a boy with a shady holiday past who accidentally summons a festive demon to his family home. Adam Scott, Toni Collette and Allison Tolman star.
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24. Scrooged, 1988
There are many movies adapted from Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, but one of our nostalgic favorites to this day remains Bill Murray’s chaos-filled take. In this Richard Donner-directed film, he plays a selfish television exec who must change his cynical ways if he wants a happy afterlife. Naturally, there are three ghosts on Christmas Eve who help him along on that journey.
25. Surviving Christmas, 2004
You know those movies that are so bad they’re good? That’s the vibe we get after watching this box office flop, which was even nominated for a Raspberry Award. Yet it came before the current Hallmark rush and features top-notch actors like James Gandolfini, Ben Affleck, Christina Applegate and Catherine O’Hara, making it a nostalgic fave in our books. The film revolves around a rich dude who pays a family a ridiculous amount of money to stay in their house and re-create childhood memories, with everyone picking up some holiday values and lessons along the way.
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