Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ are also shining with a Christmas glow, treating us to movies that will get us in the festive spirit before Christmas Eve. Here are NextPit’s picks for the best Christmas movies on the major streaming platforms.
You’ve just trudged home through the snow with your Christmas tree under your arm, stirred the extra-large amount of mulled wine, and are about to ceremoniously decorate the tree. What do you do then to take the pre-Christmas spirit to the extreme? That’s right, you watch a nice Christmas movie with your loved ones.
Sure, thanks to Netflix and the like, there’s an overabundance of Christmas-themed flicks to do just that. But that’s exactly why it takes someone to curate the best movies for you and give you an all-around happy package. That’s why I’ve watched heaps of trailers, pored over best lists, and memorized Rotten Tomatoes’ Top 65 – only to throw all the recommendations to the wind and present to you here now a very, very subjective list of our favorite Christmas movies.
Where can you watch the movies?
You’ll find movies that you can usually stream on either Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Disney+. After all, it does us all no good if I suggest the most wonderful Christmas movie, and we can’t stream it anywhere, right? So don’t be surprised if, for example, a classic like It’s A Wonderful Life isn’t mentioned – you just can’t stream it at the moment, unfortunately, only rent or buy it*.
Some movies are available on one of the mentioned platforms, but not always in every country. In these cases, I’ll give you alternatives on how else you can get the movie.
PS: If you haven’t signed up for any of the streaming services, you can frequently take a trial month first. Click here for the subscriptions:
But enough blabbering: here are what we think are the best Christmas movies you can stream this year. Shimmy through the whole article, or jump straight to the movie you want to see to find out which platform you can watch it on:
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Let’s kick things off with a classic that I’ve really grown to love. Tim Burton has mastered like no other the art of giving his films their very own look (even if he only produces and does not direct this one). This is also true of 1993’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, which features stop-motion animated puppets.
The film definitely has tragic moments, but also heartfelt and joyous ones, and you should be able to handle both the morbid charm and the songs in this “horror musical.” I think it’s quite an enchanting flick and would like to recommend it to you. You can currently stream the film, which has an age rating of six years and is therefore also suitable for children, at Disney+.
Don’t be alarmed by the Japanese language in the trailer above. “Tokyo Godfathers” (2003) is a Japanese animated film but can be seen on Netflix in other languages such as English, French, and German in addition to the original language. This anime is about a baby who is found by three homeless people. They set out in the episode to find the child’s parents.
I don’t like to give away more about the story, but trust me: it’s a really fabulous Christmas movie that tells its story without getting too cliché. If you feel like you’re always gawking at the same Christmas movies anyway, then you should give this beautiful film a chance. Watch it on Netflix, it runs 88 minutes and is suitable for ages 12 and up.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Does anything really need to be said about this John Hughes classic from 1989? The Griswolds have been part of my Christmas celebrations for many years, and by the time the title song comes on, I’m finally in the Christmas spirit. By the way, it took me years to realize that Chevy Chase’s movie son – Russell – would later make a splash as Dr. Leonard Hofstadter in The Big Bang Theory.
This movie, of course, is filled to the brim with slapstick, cheap gags, and all sorts of bizarre situations. Nonetheless, it’s a nice Christmas movie where everyone gets back to the really important things about the holiday of love by the end. It’s suitable for ages six and up and runs 93 minutes.
Does anything really need to be said about this John Hughes classic from…. Wait a minute, that’s how I started with the last movie too. Home Alone was not only the absolute hit in 1990 but also spawned a franchise that received its sixth movie in 2021.
So long before leading man Macaulay Culkin (did anyone ever get that name right without copy/pasting?) took refuge in drugs and alcohol, here he is finding that his family has forgotten him at home (alone). Okay, you probably know the story anyway, right? Anyway, it’s one of those movies you can watch again and again, especially at Christmas. Currently, you can do that if you drop by Disney+. The fun goes 103 minutes and is rated for kids older than 12 years.
This 131 minutes 1988 opus is one that divides opinion: Is it a Christmas movie or not? For me, it’s not, but for countless fans worldwide, it’s not truly Christmas until the events at Nakatomi Plaza roll across the screen.
Here, things don’t get very Christmassy or fairytale-y as Bruce Willis takes on terrorist Hans Gruber. But hey: the movie takes place on Christmas, there are even Christmas carols – and that John McLane survives this action spectacle is at least a little Christmas miracle too, isn’t it? You can currently watch the film at the free Peacock streaming service. With a running time of 131 minutes, the film is perfect for relaxing on the couch after the festive roast.
Miracle on 34th Street
This movie comes twice and both times it does its thing well as a heartfelt Christmas classic – Both the 1947 version and the 1994 remake, which you can see in the trailer above. Incidentally, John Hughes once again has a hand in the remake. He’s the man who almost single-handedly got me through childhood with his films!
Both the original and the remake are heart-warming, although I personally think the 1940s version is the better one. In either case, you’ll believe in Santa Claus after watching the film, I’m almost certain. Both versions are available on Disney+ without any age restrictions.
This animated film is probably the only Spanish representative in this list. With a 2019 release year, it’s also the most recent film in our top ten, has a running time of 96 minutes, and is suitable for ages six and up. The film is about Jesper, who does his job as a postman rather badly than well.
His father is stupidly the boss of all postmen and transfers him to a small town north of the Arctic Circle as punishment. There he meets Klaus – and the rest you can watch for yourself, on Netflix.
A Muppet Christmas Carol
Oh, how I love the old Muppets movies! This one dates back to 1992, so it’s almost 30 years old. The original is even older, as the story is based on “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens from 1843. The old miser Scrooge is played by a human actor, but most of the other roles are played by the Henson puppets Kermit, Miss Piggy, and many more.
Also inspired by Dickens’ Christmas story: Antoine’s A very techie Christmas story
Scrooge is also chastened by the three ghosts in this version, which has no age restrictions and is therefore completely family-friendly. So the Muppet version of this classic is definitely based on the original, although the whole Muppet gang makes for a delightful amount of chaos, as you can imagine. You can also find this beautiful but with 82 minutes quite short film at Disney+.
The Christmas Chronicles – Netflix
The Christmas Chronicles is from 2018, so it’s still pretty fresh. It premiered on Netflix at the time and – surprise, surprise – can therefore still be found on the streaming platform today. Reviews have been somewhat split on this film. There are those who can not do anything with it at all, while others were enthusiastic.
Since Netflix cannot avoid its share of really crappy Christmas productions, this is certainly still one of the more recommendable. Basically, the movie is worth it just to see Kurt Russell as Santa Claus, who is clearly cooler than most movie Santa’s before him. If you like the 94-minute flick, you can even find a second installment on Netflix, directed by the legendary Chris Columbus.
With that, we’re through with our very subjective top ten best Christmas movies you can currently find on the major streaming platforms. Care to let us know in the comments which are your top movies for Christmas? I would love to hear!