December is the time of festive celebration and fun seasonal activities. One of our favorite ways to get into the holiday spirit is by watching Christmas movies. We’ve gathered up a few of our favorites here, from scary new titles to classic animated flicks the whole family can enjoy.
Each movie in our list is available to watch but on different streaming services. They might be available through a service you’re already subscribed to or through a different service as a rental or purchase. Because everyone has a unique combination of streaming services available to them, we have provided a general link for each movie to a site called JustWatch. This site lists every platform a movie can be streamed or rented on, making it easy to find the viewing solution that works best for you.
Update, 11/9/21: Swapped out Fatman for The Grinch.
Home Alone, 1990
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, 1989
Jingle All the Way, 1996
Die Hard, 1988
A Christmas Story, 1983
The Year Without a Santa Claus, 1974
How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 1966
The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993
A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965
After distinguishing himself as the Postal Academy’s worst student, Jesper is sent to Smeerensburg, a small island above the Arctic Circle, to set up a post office. Here, he finds himself face-to-face with the town’s unfriendly locals, who don’t talk to anyone or even write letters. Just as he is about to give up on his mission, Jesper happens upon a local teacher and a mysterious carpenter, and the three team up to bring friendship and laughter back to the town.
This horror-comedy flick is inspired by the ancient legend of Krampus, a pagan creature who brings punishment to Christmas non-believers. A young boy who becomes disillusioned with Christmas accidentally summons the mischievous demon to his dysfunctional home, where all-festive hell breaks loose.
After accidentally getting left behind on a family vacation before Christmas, eight-year-old Kevin McCallister tries to make the best of the situation. However, he soon learns that he’ll have to defend his house against the attacks of semi-incompetent burglars. This lighthearted movie and its Rube Goldberg-ian antics have made it a popular, family-friendly classic.
Aww, it’s so cute—just don’t feed it after midnight! This exciting creature feature centers around Billy Peltzer, who receives a strange, albeit adorable, pet named Gizmo on Christmas. But after accidentally breaking one of the three important rules that go along with taking care of a Mogwai, Billy is left dealing with the horde of gremlins that take over his town.
In this cult classic flick, the Griswolds are preparing for a Christmas family get-together, but things quickly begin to go wrong for Clark, his wife Ellen, and their children. Clark tries to shrug things off, focusing on the nice Christmas bonus he’s about to receive, but his bad luck only continues to grow with the addition of annoying family members and other mishaps.
There’s nothing is more American than fighting with perfect strangers over a toy during the Christmas shopping season. Sometimes the struggle can get so intense that not even the Terminator … that is to say, Howard Langston, can defeat the mad crowds. Always busy at work, Howard misses his son’s karate competition. He tries to make up for it by getting his son the action figure he wants as a Christmas gift, but it’s sold out everywhere. What lengths will he go to in order to get his mitts on the popular action figure?
NYPD cop John McClane tries to reconcile with his estranged wife at her Christmas work party, but his attention is quickly refocused after the entire building is locked down by a group of terrorists. McClane then realizes it’s up to him to save the day. Yippee-ki-yay! Oh, and if you’re looking for other great action movies that aren’t Die Hard, we’ve got you covered.
Buddy—a normal-sized human—falls into Santa’s gift sack as a child on Christmas Eve and is teleported to the North Pole. Here, he grows up and works as one of Santa’s toy-making helpers. He is happy as a clam until he begins to feel like he doesn’t fit in. One day, he decides to venture to Manhattan to find his biological father, a workaholic publisher, and create a new life there. And even though his dad is put off by Buddy’s saccharine optimism, we just love it!
Watch A Christmas Story—I triple-dog-dare ya! Christmas is rapidly approaching and the only thing nine-year-old Ralphie wants is a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range air rifle. But to Ralphie’s dismay, his Christmas dream is rejected by his mother, his teacher, and even Santa Claus, who all warn him “You’ll shoot your eye out.” Will his Christmas wish come true anyway?
This Rankin-Bass stop-motion wonder is a Christmas classic that pretty much everyone has seen, but it’s still worth watching again. Feeling forgotten by the children of the world, Santa decides to skip Christmas one year in favor of a vacation. Mrs. Claus and two elves try to figure out where the season’s cheer went and what needs to be done to reawaken it.
Yes, Christmas isn’t for everyone. Who understands that better than the Grinch. How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a movie that most of us have grown up watching every year, and it’s still a ton of fun to watch him dress up as Santa, steal Christmas, then see his heart grow three sizes.
Is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? Nobody knows. All we know is that it’s awesome and that some people like to watch it around Christmas, so it made our list. The Tim Burton classic follows Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, who stumbles into Christmas Town and decides to kidnap Santa Claus. He then tries to bring Christmas to Halloween Town to shake things up, but it just doesn’t quite work out as planned.
Last but not least is A Charlie Brown Christmas—the beloved holiday classic that has entertained families for decades. The lighthearted cartoon film follows Charlie Brown, who complains about the materialism he sees during the Christmas season. Lucy suggests that he should become the director of the upcoming school Christmas pageant, an effort that becomes rife with struggles, especially when the Christmas tree falls. In turn, Charlie Brown has to turn to Linus for help.