The Christmas season is in full swing, and with it the annual celebration of all things Christmas-themed and suitably festive on streaming. Christmas is a holiday that has inspired a wealth of enduring comedies about the value of family, community, love and selflessness during the darkest and coldest time of the year. It’s also led to no shortage of movies that push the boundaries of those worn-out tropes, turning their holly merry exteriors inside out in cerebral and sometimes macabre tales that explore the darkness the holidays are meant to ward off.
In the spirit of the season and all its incarnations, we’ve put together a list of treasured classics and eclectic quirks for the public to check out in the run up to Christmas. Like Santa’s big toy sack, there’s something for everyone here! Here are 10 of the best Christmas movies available to stream on Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Disney Plus, and more!
A Christmas Prince
If you’re after 100 percent candy cane (and not pumping Hallmark’s Christmas schedule straight into your veins), give this Netflix Original so much better than you think it will be. amber (Zombie‘s Rose McIver) plays a journalist sent to the made-up land of Aldovia, the royal torchlight to the bad boy bachelor Prince Richard (Ben Lamb). Amber ends up undercover in the castle to get all the scoops, but… she goes too deep! The magic of the Christmas season makes everything too romantic, and awww, you know the rest.
A Christmas Prince is available to stream on Netflix.
Is Batman returns a superhero movie that happens to be set around Christmas, or a gothic Christmas movie that happens to feature superheroes and villains? In any case, Tim Burton’s sequel to the original 1992 Batman is a great movie full of cool visuals, thrilling action sequences, attempted murder and a nail-biting finale featuring kidnapped babies, a bat-shaped boat and an army. of kamikaze penguins with rocket strap. It’s also a story about two strange people who find comfort in each other’s strangeness, an orphan who grows up seeking revenge against the parents and society that shunned him, and a nefarious industrialist who wants to make a quick buck at any cost. While it may test the limits of what you might consider a “Christmas movie”, Batman returns is a fantastic seasonal watch and a fun weird movie for the whole family.
Batman returns is available to stream on HBO Max.
Pay more attention
Pay more attention feels like a comment piece 26 years away from the original Home alone. The latter is a family comedy whose premise could have easily been played out as a home invasion horror film, were it not for the plucky Ferris Bueller-esque charisma of Macaulay Culkin and the dope tawdry of Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. Pay more attention reverses that dynamic, introducing inventive twists that put the unspoken horror story at the center of the aforementioned film and transforming it into something much darker and more disturbing. This is not a good Christmas story; this is a psychological horror film that plays with the idea of whether a child like Kevin McCallister’s behavior could be considered a sign of latent sociopathy. Saying more would ruin the movie, but rest assured: Pay more attention is a riveting holiday horror drama if you’re up for the occasional gory suspense.
Pay more attention is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
If you’re looking for a straight forward, tinsel-lined horror movie, you can’t do better than Bob Clark’s Canadian slasher film. (Apologies to Jack Frost, the serial killer snowman movie – black christmas is just better!) Originally released in the US as Silent night, angry night, the low-budget horror film crackles like a warm fire blown by a chilly gust of wind. Clark uses shadows and lurking horrors to turn a sorority into something ripped from a Shirley Jackson paperback cover, and while the transgressions inside don’t take too much inspiration from the Christmas iconography, there’s a “wrapping job” where you breathe.
black christmas is available to stream on Criterion channel.
It’s a great life
If you haven’t seen it yet It’s a great life or if it’s only been a while, then you may not know how, from intro to end credits, the film is unashamedly weird and cross-border. All that Christmas Carol-esque stuff where an “angel” shows George Bailey (James Stewart) what his town would have looked like if it never existed is just a fraction of the movie. It is preceded by 30 years of Bailey’s life, interrupted by the Great Depression and World War II. And that helpful angel? He and his ‘boss’ are introduced as conscious cosmic dust. The movie is a holiday cobbler filled with bits from Charles Dickens, Rod Serling and Billy Wilder. Don’t let its reputation as juicy holiday trash get in the way of enjoying an exceptional movie – Christmas or otherwise.
It’s a great life is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
Jingle All The Way
What could be more Christmassy than a story of a loving parent who does everything in his power to preserve their child’s happiness? 1980s action icon Arnold Schwarzenegger, in an obviously bizarre turn of reverse typecasting, stars in Jingle All The Way as Howard Langston, a mattress salesman whose workaholic attitude comes at the expense of his duties as a family man and father. Desperate to fulfill his son’s Christmas wish, Howard searches for a Turbo Man action figure. The problem is, it’s Christmas Eve and they’re pretty much sold out. His mission is complicated by Myron (Sinbad), a postman and fellow neglectful father who shares the same goal. Jingle All The Way is a Christmas comedy that focuses on the annoyance and escalating stakes between Howard and Myron amid a gauntlet of ruthless Christmas buyers and a Jetpack-compatible finale. If that doesn’t scream “Christmas” at you, I don’t know what does.
Jingle All The Way is available to stream on Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, and hulu.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Holiday
I had never seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Holiday until a few years ago when a friend of mine, in disbelief at this fact, finally forced me to sit down and check it out with them. I now understand why my friend was so shocked: it’s a hilarious comedy, so hilarious in fact that I’m surprised I hadn’t seen it before. Chevy Chase is perfect for the role of Clark Griswold, a salaryman and narrow-minded father who is desperate to organize the perfect family Christmas party. As each of his carefully crafted plans either hits a problem or falls apart completely, so does Clark’s disposition; transforms from a mild-mannered family man into a living powder keg of seething rage that barely keeps it together under a facade of holiday cheer. At least he has a Christmas bonus, right?
National Lampoon’s Christmas Holiday is available to stream on HBO Max.
The nightmare Before Christmas
Christmas movie? Halloween movie? Split the difference: The macabre Christmas musical from Tim Burton and stop-motion animator Henry Selick is the perfect Thanksgiving movie. The story of Jack Skellington figuring out how to stay in his summer job is still a quirky sight to watch, with lots of strange details in every frame. If you’ve seen this one too many times, fall down the YouTube rabbit hole of Danny Elfman plays the soundtrack live.
The nightmare Before Christmas is available to stream on Disney Plus.
Santa is a classic Christmas comedy, one that offers a whimsical (if a little macabre) answer to how ‘ol Kris Kringle is such a perpetual symbol of the holiday, despite being ostensibly a bajillion years old. Tim Allen stars as Scott Calvin, a divorced father and toy salesman who lives in a… Highlanderlike twist of fate, accidentally kills Santa and then becomes the next man in line to keep his title and responsibilities. As he struggles to come to grips with his new identity while trying to convince others of his new role, Scott grows as a person and as a father; learning the true meaning of Christmas through the embodiment of one of its most central figures first hand. It’s heartwarming and hilarious in a way that has stood the test of time and a feel good Christmas movie for all the family.
Santa is available to stream on Disney Plus.
white Christmas deserves the biggest and best screen in the house. Director Michael Curtiz shot the 1954 musical in VistaVision, the high-resolution format of its time, and the impact of the decision is evident in its modern restoration, a presentation as rich in color and detail as any modern action film. A huge TV flatters the classic sets and elaborate dance numbers and although the audio is mono, a nice pair of headphones or speakers elevates the classic songs, enveloped by Christmas music legends Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. One gigantic star: the film does away with the explicitly racist blackface number of its predecessor, Holiday Inn, but it still includes an entire routine devoted to the joys of a minstrel show. Be prepared to explain the horrific context to younger relatives and fend off complaints of sensitivity from creepy relatives.
white Christmas is available to stream on Netflix.