Holiday nostalgia season is upon us and there’s no better way to comfort your inner child, or entertain your actual child, than with these Christmas classic movies. Though some have been snatched up by exclusive streaming services, there are plenty of classic Christmas movies to fill the long winter days. There’s a classic in here for every age in your family, be it your cranky toddler, cranky teen, or cranky spouse, and these warm and fuzzies are sure to brighten your family’s mood like the fragrant evergreen tree in your living room.
No more fighting over the remote, we’ve got your seasonal movie nights covered. From Rudolph to Frosty to The Grinch, and yes, that movie where the kid’s maybe gonna get his eye shot-out, here’s where to find 16-holiday classics that somebody in your family is bound to ask for.
Mickey’s Christmas Carol
Mickey stars in his best performance as good-natured Bob Cratchitt, but he’s no Kermit the Frog.
Mickey’s Christmas Carol is available to stream on Disney+
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Parents love the 2018 animated version starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Jim Carrey is a must-skip, and to quote my brother-in-law, “Broadway should remain closed indefinitely as punishment for the musical.” Stick with what you know and love.
The classic 1966 Grinch is available for rent on iTunes, the 2000 Jim Carrey version is on Netflix, The Grinch (2018) can be found on Prime for rent and, Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Musical! is streaming on Hulu and NBC
Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Your holiday won’t be the same without these nostalgic classics about bullying and absolute terror.
Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are tough to find this year. CBS has them airing throughout December, through CBS All Access, or you can purchase a Christmas Classics bundle on iTunes.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
You have one more chance to catch this for free before Apple TV+ locks it up. That’s the spirit! Merry Christmas!
“In addition to streaming on their new home Apple TV+, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas will air ad-free on PBS and PBS Kids Sunday, Dec. 13, at 7:30 pm local time/6:30 pm CT.”
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Is it for Halloween or Christmas? Or is it somewhere in between? Skip it if your kids aren’t into elder abuse.
The Nightmare Before Christmas available to stream on Disney+
The Nutcracker: The Motion Picture
Maurice Sendak designed the sets for the timeless ballet, which was then filmed as a feature-length movie in 1986. It is without a doubt the best-filmed version to watch, with all the proper creepiness and mischief of Sendak’s books.
The Nutcracker: The Motion Picture is available to stream on Prime
One of our writers called the Robert Zemeckis monstrosity “a creepers death-ride through an Arctic hellscape.”
Polar Express is available to stream on Prime with a premium subscription, for rent basically anywhere, or free on AMC with cable. Don’t try too hard.
Muppet Christmas Carol
What is the best version of A Christmas Carol and why is it the Muppets?
Muppet Christmas Carol is available to stream on Disney+
No, this is not the creepy Dad-as-snowman Michael Keaton movie Jack Frost; it’s the beloved 1982 film that was nominated for Best Animated Short. The film was so popular before it’s US release, that David Bowie, a fan of Raymond Briggs’s original story, starred in the movie’s intro when it came to America.
The Snowman is available to stream on Prime
The Santa Clause
My first-grader recently asked what happens when Santa dies and I didn’t have the heart to tell her Tim Allen takes his place. The third installment of the series involves time travel and an alternate dimension.
The Santa Clause is available to stream on Disney+
After your littles are in bed, these are holiday classics you’ll want to watch without a constant stream of questions about suicide or child abandonment.
It’s a Wonderful Life
Drop-in a few of these woke, timely quotes to annoy the Boomers in your life. Start with this perfectly pissed-off George Bailey:
“What’d you say a minute ago? They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait? Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they’re so old and broken down that they… Do you know how long it takes a working man to save $5,000? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about… they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community.
It’s a Wonderful Life is available to stream on Prime
Come for the Will Ferrell antics but stay for Amy Sedaris’s line about declawing kittens.
Elf is available everywhere for rent, or on Hulu premium
A Christmas Story
Confession time: I’ve never actually seen this, but it remains one of the most-watched Christmas movies year over year and is not about wanting a gun, after all.
A Christmas Story is available everywhere for rent, on Hulu premium, or free on cable
Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
My tween recently channeled her inner Pollyanna and said the only good thing she could find about Donald Trump was his cameo in the sequel.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Much like this 2020, the shitter’s full.
Miracle on 34th Street
Take your pick from the original 1947 or the 1994 adaptation with Richard Attenborough as the real Kris Kringle who fills in for Drunk Santa. Don’t tell my mom, but I’ve never seen this one either…