Christmas Day may be over but holiday celebration doesn’t have to stop now. Stay in the holiday spirit by sitting down to a few Christmas movies with family and friends. And – thanks to the surplus of streaming services on the market – many classic Christmas films are now easily accessible.
If you’re looking for a way to brighten up your holiday party, consider tossing on one of these classic Christmas movies next to your fireplace. From Elf and A Christmas Story to The Polar Express and Jack Frost, these are the best holiday movies available across all streaming services.
Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
It doesn’t get more classic than this. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) is arguably the most recognizable Christmas movie around – and for good reason. The cold-hearted green character dresses up as Santa to ruin Christmas in Whoville, before eventually becoming the season’s biggest fan. Dr. Suess’ story is brought to life with gorgeous animation (even by today’s high standards), and your winter isn’t complete without streaming The Grinch at least once.
A Christmas Story
“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” might be the most well-known phrase from A Christmas Story (1983), but the hysterical film has much more to offer than one-liners. Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) wants nothing more than a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, and he’ll do just about anything to make sure he finds it under the tree on December 25. Aside from laughs, you’ll also be treated to powerful acting and a well-written script based on the work of author Jean Shepherd.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Chevy Chase stars as Clark Griswold in this hilarious look at a family get-together gone wrong. The holiday gets off to a rough start when Clark succumbs to a bit of “friendly” road rage, and everything seems to get worse from there. Obnoxious relatives, burnt dinners, and annoying neighbors are only the beginning of the Griswold’s problems, yet somehow they still manage to have a successful Christmas. Released in 1989 to positive reviews, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation remains a holiday classic – and HBO Max makes it easy to relive the holiday hijinks.
Iconic, hilarious, and full of Christmas cheer, Elf (2003) stands as one of the most popular holiday movies of all time. You’ll follow the story of Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell), as he ventures to New York City from the North Pole to meet his biological father. Along the way, Buddy will throw a raging party in a mailroom, become a best-selling author, and (most importantly) teach everyone he meets the true meaning of Christmas.
The Polar Express
Both children and their parents can enjoy this adventurous film, which stars impeccable voice acting from Tom Hanks as the conductor of a magical train headed for the North Pole. Aside from a standout performance from Hanks, The Polar Express (2004) boasts some of the best CGI of its time, along with a heartwarming tale that’ll stick with you well beyond the holiday season.
Although it didn’t launch to the best reviews, Jack Frost (1998) still managed to earn a cult following of Christmas fanatics. The film stars Michael Keaton as the eponymous Jack Frost, who passes away but later returns to life as a snowman. This gives him one last chance to reconnect with his son, although plenty of hurdles stand in his way. Keaton is without a doubt the best part of the film, and there’s plenty of charm be found in the decades-old Christmas movie.
Christmas with the Kranks
Like Jack Frost, Christmas with the Kranks didn’t win over many critics when it was released in 2004. However, a star-studded cast that includes Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Dan Akyroyd has allowed it to become mainstay in the month of December. The quirky film sees the Krank family abandon Christmas to go on a Caribbean cruise, although things don’t quite go as they had planned, and they’ll have to scramble to get everything ready for the upcoming holiday.
The Little Drummer Boy
As one of the few stop-motion Christmas movies available on streaming platforms, The Little Drummer Boy will probably drive a lot of traffic to Peacock this month. The classic 1968 film might not be the most-watched stop motion flick of the season, but there’s still a lot to love about the small screen adaptation of the popular song. And with most other Christmas movies of this genre unavailable to stream, The Little Drummer Boy on Peacock is an easy way to get your Rankin/Bass fix.
Miracle on 34th Street
A remake of the 1947 classic, Miracle on 34th Street (1994) follows a department store executive (Elizabeth Perkins) after she meets a man who claims to be Kriss Kringle (Richard Attenborough). The comedy-drama eventually ends up in court, with one of the characters tasked with not only proving Santa Claus is real, but that Kriss is exactly who he claims to be.
Alright – it’s not quite a Christmas movie, but that didn’t stop Peacock from heavily featuring it on its 2021 Holiday Hub. And while there’s not much caroling or holiday cheer to be found in Die Hard, the film does take place on Christmas Eve… so maybe that’s reason enough to check it out this December. If you’re looking for something totally different from the uplifting (and family-friendly) movies on this list, treat yourself to a movie night with John McClane (Bruce Willis).
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