Merry Christmas! For those that celebrate, today is a big day filled with family, friends, and of course, presents. Many celebrate today by eating lots of food, exchanging gifts, and for many it’s traditional to watch their favorite Christmas movies. Some of the best Christmas movies are available on the various popular streaming services, including Disney Plus, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.
Let’s take a look at the best 8 Christmas movies you can stream on those major services. Plus, if you still have your cable or satellite TV setup, we have some of the best Christmas films you can watch on various networks.
Best Christmas movies on streaming services
Best Christmas movies on Disney Plus
Writer John Hughes and director Chris Columbus released Home Alone in 1990. It was a massive hit and turned its lead actor, Macaulay Culkin, into a huge star overnight. It’s easy to see why. Culkin’s portrayal of 8-year old Kevin McCallister is comedy gold. He’s left at home while his family mistakenly leaves him behind when they go to Paris for Christmas. Kevin quickly enjoys the new freedom of being home alone, but soon has to defend his house against the threat of the “Wet Bandits”. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern match Culkin in comedy acting and timing, as they fall victim to his traps at home. After all this time, the movie still holds up.
If you really want to, you can also stream the 1992 sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, on Disney Plus.
Miracle on 34th Street
The classic 1947 version of this holiday tale deserves to be in our list of the best Disney Plus Christmas movies. Macy’s department store in New York City, like many stores, has its own Santa Claus for Christmas. However, the man who has Macy’s Santa gig, Kris Kringle (played by Edmund Gwenn), insists that he’s the real deal. It all comes together in a now-famous court scene, where we find out whether or not Santa Claus is real. Be prepared with some tissues.
Best Christmas movies on Netflix
The Christmas Chronicles
One of Netflix’s biggest original movies of 2018 was this Christmas film, which stars Kurt Russel as Santa Claus himself. However, due to the antics of a couple of kids, Santa finds himself stranded in Chicago on Christmas Eve, and there’s a race against time to get him back together with his sleigh and reindeer. If he doesn’t complete his yearly gift giving before Christmas Eve ends, the world will lose that great holiday spirit. Russel’s depiction of Santa as a hip grandpa is perfect for him, and the movie itself is fun to watch with your family and friends.
What can you say about White Christmas that others haven’t said already? Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye play two former WWII soldiers who become successful musical producers. They tag along with two singers played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen to a holiday inn in Vermont, only to discover it’s owned by Crosby and Kaye’s former military commander. The inn is in danger of shutting down due to a lack of snow and guests. The foursome try their best to stage a musical at the inn to save it. The storyline doesn’t matter much; what matters are the Irving Berlin songs that are featured in White Christmas and sung by the cast, including the title tune (which actually debuted in an earlier movie, Holiday Inn).
Best Christmas movies on Hulu
Home for the Holidays
Actress Jodie Foster directed this 1995 holiday comedy classic. (It actually takes place on Thanksgiving, but we will give it a pass). Holly Hunter plays a woman who just lost her job in Chicago. She decides to head back to her home town of Baltimore to spend some holiday time with her parents and extended family. As you might expect, lots of mishaps occur as family members get in the way of each other at home. Look for Robert Downey Jr. in a pre-Iron Man role here.
Daddy’s Home 2
This is the 2017 sequel to the hit family comedy. Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are back as the step-father and father, respectively. Both are trying to be the best fathers they can be to their loving daughter and son. For the sequel, set during the Christmas holiday, Ferrell and Wahlberg also have to deal with their own fathers, played by John Lithgow and Mel Gibson. Yes, even John Cena shows up to make problems in this Christmas movie on Hulu.
Best Christmas movies on Amazon Prime Video
It’s a Wonderful Life
There’s not much that needs to be said about this movie. Released in 1946 and directed by Frank Capra, it’s hard to believe It’s A Wonderful Life wasn’t a huge box office hit. It only began to become popular once local TV stations began rerunning the film constantly in the 1970s. Beyond the Christmas themes and setting, this movie is also all about how one person can affect the lives of so many other people. Jimmy Stewart’s portrayal of George Bailey is truthful to its core. George is a humble man who always looks out for others in the town of Bedford Falls. However, a fateful Christmas Eve puts George over the edge, and it’s up to a helpful angel named Clarence to show him that his life is truly wonderful.
Oh, and let’s not forget one of the best movie villains of all time. Lionel Barrymore is perfect as George Bailey’s opposite, the super-rich Henry Potter who tries his best to take down George.
You can watch the classic black and white version of this film but Amazon Prime also has a colorized version to stream as well.
This 1942 musical introduced the world to one of the best Christmas songs ever. Yes, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas made its debut in this movie. He also wrote 11 more original songs for Holiday Inn. The plot features Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire as two entertainers who are going after the same woman. This romantic war takes place at the Holiday Inn, a supper club that’s only open during the Christmas season. However, the plot really doesn’t matter. You watch one of the best Christmas movies on Amazon Prime Video for the songs and for Astaire’s dancing.
Other great Christmas films on cable TV
Not all of the best Christmas movies are currently available on streaming services. Here are some of the best movies you can watch on cable TV this Christmas Day.
- Love, Actually – The 2003 rom-com has become a Christmas staple for many people, with its many different but connecting storylines. Watch it at 9:45 am Eastern time on HBO 2 and at 10:15 pm ET on HBO December 25.
- Elf – 2003 was a great year for Christmas movies. Will Farrell stars as a human raised as an elf in Santa’s toy factory who searches for his real dad. Watch it at 5 pm Eastern time on AMC on December 25.
- A Christmas Story – The 1983 release feels like a truly American Christmas tale as young Ralphie gets into all sorts of situations while he also waits for his beloved Red Ryder air rifle as his holiday gift. Watch this all day on both TBS and TNT this Christmas Day.
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – The best of the Vacation movies as the Griswold family try to have a perfect Christmas. Hijinks are aplenty here. Watch it at 5:45 pm Eastern time on AMC.
- Die Hard– We will say it with pride: this 1988 release is a Christmas movie and one of the best. John McClane must rescue his wife and lots of other hostages from some mean and highly armed thieves in a huge skyscraper on Christmas Eve. You can watch this all day Christmas Day on Paramount Network.