Avoid Your In-Laws With the Best Places to Stream Christmas Movies This Year

Christmas movies, Christmas Vacation, Ted Lasso
Courtesy of Warner Bros, Apple TV+, New Line Cinema

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.

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.

  

Disney Plus

BEST FOR FAMILIES

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 The idea is so outdated yet it still works because how else is the famed actor supposed to become Kris Kringle in this Toronto-shot flick?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. Frozen, 2013

Oh let it go, you know that deep down, you’re still into Frozen and the discovery of true love between sisters. And, if you are tired of watching this icy treat, the good news is that the franchise keeps going: you can also catch the sequel or Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, both very valid Christmas movie choices available on the streaming service as well.

  

5. 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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Netflix

BEST FOR ROMCOMS

6. 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.

  

7. 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.

  

8. Single All the Way, 2021

This new entry on the streaming service has everything we’d want from a modern-day rom-com. Director Michael Mayer unfolds the story of a man who brings his best guy friend home for the holidays and pretends they’re now in a relationship in order to avoid his family’s annual judge-fest. Michael Urie, Philemon Chambers, Luke Macfarlane and Jennifer Coolidge star.

  

9. 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.

  

10. Holidate, 2020

Last year Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey teamed to star in director John Whitesell’s contribution to Netflix’s library of holiday-themed rom-coms, unrolling the story of two singles who agree to be each other’s platonic plus-ones all year long. Well, we all know that by Christmas these two are going to be more lit for each other than the tree at 30 Rock, and that’s precisely why we’re into it.

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Apple TV+

BEST SPECIALS

11. 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.

  

12. 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.

  

13. 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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HBO Max

BEST FOR CLASSICS

14. Miracle on 34th Street, 1947

Christmas parades (and for that matter mall Santas) everywhere just haven’t been the same since this George Seaton offering hit theatres, and we’re okay with that. Sure, others have tried to recapture the magic of a man named Kris Kringle filling in for a drunk Santa and winning everyone over, but no amount of technology or big-screen updates have given us the same feel-good vibes of this original classic.

  

15. 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.

  

16. 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.

  

17. Meet Me in St. Louis, 1944

Okay, so less than half an hour of this Vincente Minnelli-directed film actually takes place around Christmastime. Still, since it’s responsible for the debut of the now-standard “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” that makes it a solid entry in our books. Judy Garland heads up the cast of this story of a family whose banker father contemplates moving them all to New York during the turn of the century, but she’s really just one reason to watch the feel-good flick.

  

18. 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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Hulu

BEST FOR COMEDIES

19. 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.

  

20. 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.

  

21. A Very Brady Christmas, 1988

Comedy and sheer nostalgia are at play in this special, which reunites TV’s most famous family for a holiday movie offering from director Peter Baldwin. In true Brady fashion, the story revolves around the family overcoming their own personal stuff to make the holidays a success, with a few good life lessons thrown in there for good measure.

  

22. No Sleep ‘Til Christmas, 2018

Real-life married couple Dave and Odette Annable teamed for this holiday-themed comedy from director Phil Traill, in which a bartender and a businesswoman bond over their insomnia. Before long they realize that they can only fall asleep next to each other because, you know, some things are just meant to be.

  

23. 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.

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Prime Video

BEST SMORGASHBOARD

24. 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.

  

25. 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.

  

26. Office Christmas Party, 2016

When this Josh Gordon and Will Speck-directed offering hit theatres a few years ago, we were pleasantly surprised by the top-notch cast and equally hilarious story. At the heart of this movie is the tale of a branch manager who tries to throw a big office Christmas party to land an important client and save the day, and there are tons of great characters (played by the likes of Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller, Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon and Courtney B. Vance, among others) that are definitely worth watching.

  

27. 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.

  

28. 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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