• Evan Northrup

10 classics to stream this holiday season

It seems like around this time each year half of America is gearing up for the holiday season while the other half rages at the fact that “it’s not even thanksgiving and the damn neighbors already put their lights up!” If you’re part of the half who’s ready to dive into some holiday festivities, there’s no better way to get the season going then turning on a holiday classic. Sadly, it will still be a few weeks until cable channels starts running Elf, Home Alone and all your other childhood favorites on a mind numbing, couch locking, 24 hour loop. So for all you merry movie watchers that want to get an early start, we came up with a list of 10 great holiday movies and shows streaming for free on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Amazon Prime and the brand new Disney+. As always we aimed to create a list that had something for all of our readers, from comedy to romances, animated, horror and more.

Black Mirror: White Christmas (2014)

Available on Netflix

If you’re looking for something short, Christmas themed and downright disturbing to kick of the gift giving months, look no further than Season 2 Episode 4 of Black Mirror, “White Christmas.” Starring Mad Men lead actor Jon Hamm, two men share shocking stories of Christmas's past as they spend the holiday together in a remote frozen shack. In classic Black Mirror fashion the episode can be difficult to watch, but its filled with so many twists and turns you’ll never leave the edge of your seat. It may be on this list because of its holiday theme, but its also one of the best Black Mirror episodes, period.

Love Actually (2003)

Available on Hulu, HBO NOW, and HBO GO

Once upon a time I never thought that I could love a pure romance movie, but then one winter’s night I chanced upon Love Actually. Life=Changed. The movie follows 8 completely different couples as their relationships change in the months leading up to Christmas. It’s shamelessly sappy, heart melting and heartbreaking all at the same time and will leave you yearning for some holiday love, but hey, isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Available on Amazon Prime

Alright all you young Burbs readers, listen up because this is important. I get few people our age want to watch old black and white movies, but before you keep scrolling let me just say It's a Wonderful Life is not just the best Christmas movie on this list or the best Christmas movie on streaming services, its the best Christmas movie of all time. The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a family man who wishes he never existed. When his clumsy guardian angel Clarence grants that wish, George gets to see what the world, his hometown and his loved ones would be like without him. Do me a favor, when you’re about to watch one of our own generations favorites like Elf or Santa Claus, give It's a Wonderful Life a try. Its tear jerking, deeply touching, serenely beautiful and will have even the biggest holiday grinches thanking the universe for every new snowy sunrise.

BoJack Horseman Christmas Special (2014)

Available on Netflix

If you’re like me and are still craving more of the internet's favorite alcoholic horse after the recently released season 6 of BoJack Horseman, I’ve got just the thing for you. The Christmas special kicks off when Tod and BoJack decide to watch an old Christmas episode of Horsin’ Around. The episode gives us one of our only extended looks at the sitcom that made BoJack famous, while still employing the show’s usual dark and cynical humor. Its not the shows best work, but if have 25 minutes to spare this Christmas special is a perfect quick hit of witty humor and holiday feels.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Available on Disney+

Personally, Tim Burton movies creep the hell out of me, but that’s what makes his holiday dark comedy “The Nightmare Before Christmas” so great. This movie tells the story of Jack Skellington and the residents of Halloween Town as they grow tired of their own spooky holiday and decide to give Christmas a try. Dark, creepy and yet heartwarming, this movie has healthy doses of Christmas joy and horror for those of you who get tired of overly cheerful holiday flicks.

Bad Santa (2003)

Available on Amazon Prime

While at first a movie about a cigarette smoking thief who works as a mall Santa to find his next robbery target might sound like the last movie you want to watch during the holidays, I promise you, its really not as bad as it sounds. Billy Bob Thornton and Tony Cox make a pretty funny duo as Willie and Marcus and their journey to help a young kid from getting wedgied to death actually ends up tugging at the heartstrings a bit. I'm not going to tell you its perfect, but at an hour and a half its a quick way to get a few holiday Ho Ho Ho's in.

The Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Available on Disney+

More old movies, is this guy serious? Yes, and its another one you won't regret watching. When an old man claiming to be Kris Kringle shows up in a snowy 1940's New York he is institutionalized for his ludicrous claim, until young lawyer Fred Gailey agrees to defend the supposed Santa in court. Told from the perspective of young Susan Walker, no movie better captures the wonder and awe that a Christmas can give to a child, plus that final court scene never fails to make me smile.

Noelle (2019)

Available on Disney+

Admittedly I haven't seen this movie yet, but a Christmas movie starring Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader has to be worth the watch, right? Although the plot seems like a slight Elf rip off, Noelle (Anna Kendrick) must leave the North Pole for the first time to track down her missing brother Santa (Bill Hader), Disney had enough confidence in it to launch it as their new streaming service's first original movie. Disney's confidence, a great cast and an intriguing trailer has me hoping this could be a new Christmas classic.

The Santa Clause (1994)

Available on Disney+

Honestly, I'm not sure why anyone would want to subject themselves to an hour and a half of watching Tim Allen waddle around in a bad Santa suit, but since this insanely popular flick is now available on Disney+, I thought it deserved a spot on the list. The film follows Scott (Tim Allen), an ambitious business man who ruthlessly murders the current Santa Clause to take the top spot in his international, underground gift distributing organization, or something like that. Whether I love the movie or not, I can't deny that its a generational classic, so if The Santa Clause is that one film you need to see for it to really feel like Christmas time, head over to Disney+.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Available on Disney+

With how flooded the movie industry is with adaptations of the classic Dickens novel A Christmas Carol it can be surprisingly hard to find one worth watching. However, The Muppet Christmas Carol has solidified a spot on that sparse list. Released in 1992, this quirky adaptation starring Michael Caine (Alfred in the Dark Knight trilogy) stands out because of Caine's stellar performance as Scrooge plus the fact that it seamlessly blends the source material with slapstick humor. If you're looking to add A Christmas Carol adaptation to your yearly watch list, look no further than The Muppet Christmas Carol.