9 Great Holiday Movies and Where to Watch Them
In a holiday season where everything has changed and nothing feels the same, holding onto as many holiday traditions as possible is more important than ever. For me, that means watching a lot of holiday movies. From classics like It's Wonderful Life and Elf, to brand new movies like Happiest Season, nothing gets that winter spirit going like a great holiday flick. That's why for the second year in a row, I've put together a list of great holiday movies that you can throw on during a snowy afternoon. From comedy and horror, to romance and drama, check out this widespread list of shows and movies to find and enjoy whatever new (or old) holiday movie suits your taste.
Happiest Season - Hulu
In a holiday season full of firsts, it felt right to start this list off with a couple of new additions to the Christmas genre. The first is Happiest Season, a Hulu original romcom starring Kristen Stewart, who goes home with her girlfriend Harper on Christmas only to find out that her parents don’t know she is gay. With a star-studded supporting cast of Dan Levy, Mackenzie Davis, Aubrey Plaza, and Allison Brie, this holiday movie does a great job of juggling heavy topics along with hilarious and heartwarming moments. Not only does Happiest Season stand out of the crowd as a Christmas movie, but it is also one of the best new romcoms I’ve seen in years, and an instant add to my list of yearly holiday rewatches.
Holidate - Netflix
Truthfully, Holidate can’t hold a candle to Happiest Season, so if you’re trying to choose a new Christmas movie to watch, head to Hulu first. If you’re still itching for some 2020 Christmas romcom action after that, check out Holidate. A twist on the classic “friends with benefits fall for each other” story, Holidate follows Sloane (Emma Roberts) and Jackson (Luke Bracey), a pair of friends who agree to be each other's platonic holiday party dates to get overbearing relatives off their backs. It’s not perfect, but it’s a fun, lighthearted romance that will get you in the holiday spirit.
It's a Wonderful Life - Amazon Prime
Like I’ve said before, I know there’s a lot of young movie viewers who don’t like black and white, but before you keep scrolling, let me just say one thing. It's a Wonderful Life is not just the best Christmas movie on this list, or the best Christmas movie on streaming services—it's 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 if he had never been born. Do me a favor, when you’re about to watch one of our own generation’s favorites like Elf or Santa Claus, give It's a Wonderful Life a try. It's tear jerking, deeply touching, serenely beautiful and will have even the biggest holiday grinches thanking the universe for every new snowy sunrise.
The Nightmare Before Christmas - 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.
Home Alone - Disney+
Already solidified high in the ranks of Christmas classics, there’s not much I can say about Home Alone, except that if you haven’t seen it, watch it. If you somehow have come this far in life without seeing or hearing about Home Alone, the movie is the story of Kevin (Macaulay Culkin), a young boy who is left (spoiler) home alone on Christmas and has to defend the house from burglars (played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern). One of the most popular Christmas movies among kids born after 1990, this is the first year Home Alone has been available on streaming services. So if you’ve never seen it before, now’s the time.
The Muppet Christmas Carol - 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 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.
Miracle on 34th Street - Disney+
Another old movie? Yes, and once again, it’s one that you won't regret watching. When an old man claiming to be Kris Kringle shows up in a snowy, 1940s 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 Christmas can give to a child. Plus, that final court scene never fails to make me smile.
Elf - Amazon Prime, Starz
Like Home Alone, Elf needs no introduction. 17 years after its 2003 release, it has easily become the most popular Christmas movie amongst kids and adults alike. Sadly, if you’re wanting to watch Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) cause Christmas spirited chaos in New York, the streaming options are pretty limited. However, this classic is available for rent on Amazon Prime, or for free if you have the Starz extension.
Black Mirror, "White Christmas" - Netflix
If you’re looking for something short, Christmas-themed and downright disturbing to kick off 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 Christmases 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 it's filled with so many twists and turns that you’ll never leave the edge of your seat. It may be on this list because of its holiday theme, but it's also one of the greatest Black Mirror episodes, period.