So, maybe there isn’t enough Christmas and holiday programming on TV for your liking. We get it. You can’t be stuck at the mercy of broadcasters and cable networks all the time, not when there are so many Christmas movies to watch, right?
Well, because we’re a little crazy, we’re working on an index of every Christmas movie and other piece of seasonally appropriate holiday-themed film available on various streaming services. Just bookmark this page, scroll on through the alphabetical list, hit the links, and it can be Christmas whenever you need it to be! And if you spot some stuff that we missed, just let us know in the comments and we’ll see about getting it all added for you.
Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)
What is it about the holidays that makes it feel like we’re on the verge of the end of the world? Regardless, if you’re going to capture Christmas season ennui in a movie, you might as well go all out. That’s exactly what British holiday film Anna and the Apocalypse aims to do. Anna is a Christmas zombie musical comedy. Because why have one genre when you can have them all?
Ella Hunt stars as Anna Shepherd, a secondary school graduate who plans to embark on a grand travel tour before heading to university. Those plans come to a grinding halt, however, when a zombie infection starts to spread throughout her town. Anna gets together with some friends as they try to survive both the holidays and the encroaching zombie apocalypse.
Black Mirror: White Christmas (2014)
Those looking for Christmas cheer won’t find it here. Black Mirror isn’t necessarily known for its happy endings and it’s 2014 Christmas special, “White Christmas” is no different.
Still, there is an audience out there that definitely wants this level of Scroogery. Plus it stars Jon Hamm! “White Christmas” follows three seemingly disparate stories. Jon Hamm is Matt, a mysterious man with a mysterious job who viewers watch in three different environments: once as a gross pick-up artist helper, once as a digital “cookie” salesman, and once as an occupant in a cozy cabin on Christmas Day.
What do all of these have to do with Christmas? Watch and find out. Then weep for the collapse of humanity.
A Charlie Brown Christmas Special (1965)
“A Charlie Brown Christmas Special” is one of the most enduring holiday classics in the pop culture canon. Originally airing in 1965 on CBS, it was an experiment from The Coca-Cola Company to see if Charles M. Schulz’s beloved Peanuts characters could carry their charm over to a new medium…and boy could they.
The half-hour picks up with Charlie Brown down in the dumps and unable to capture the Christmas spirit. Thankfully, his friends know just what to do. Soon ol’ Chuck is directing the school Christmas play and nabbing a pitiful Christmas tree with Linus. This is “A Charlie Brown Christmas Special’s” first year as primarily a streaming entity, though Apple TV+ is allowing it to air on PBS on Dec. 13.
The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
If a Christmas movie is only as good as its Santa (surely someone out there abides by this rule), then Netflix’s The Christmas Chronicles is one heck of a Christmas movie. This family film produced by Chris Columbus features Kurt Russell ascending to his final form as Hot Santa Claus.
The plot follows two children who are struggling to believe in the magic of Christmas after the death of their firefighter father. But the spirit of the season seizes them when they encounter the ultimate stand-in father figure: Kurt Russell Santa. The Christmas Chronicles is your classic, by-the-book family holiday yarn with a fun actor at the center and elevated production quality. Its sequel is also available to stream on Netflix.
Doctor Who Christmas Specials
If the British know one thing, it’s tea. If they know two things, it’s tea and Christmas specials. Many big-time U.K. television shows have their own excellent holiday specials. Decades-old sci-fi institution Doctor Who, however, takes the cake when it comes to Christmas excellence.
HBO Max has 12 seasons worth of Doctor Who Christmas specials dating all the way back to the modern continuation’s first Doctor, Christopher Eccleston. Each episode is an hour-long treat of Doctor Who and Christmas goodies and should the joy of watching them ever peter out, there are plenty of bonus materials to watch as well.
Frozen, an animated movie you might have heard of, technically takes place during summer. But it sure doesn’t feel that way after Queen Elsa freezes the fjord and belts songs about the snowmen she and her sister want to build. Indeed, there is hardly a more festive film for the holidays than this celebration of self-love and familial love. Rather than being the story of a princess falling for a prince, Frozen is about the love between two sisters, Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell), and how that bond can transcend fear, isolation, and lifelong trauma like losing your parents at an early age.
Fairly sophisticated stuff for an animated movie, Frozen became a bona fide classic in large part due to its songbook by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, with “Let It Go” standing out as an anthem for self-empowerment and the realization of identity. And if you overlook the fact you heard that song probably five thousand times, it still has that same resonance, which is why children are drawn to its message, as well as Elsa’ irresistible ice powers brought to dazzling life. When you factor in Anna’s own awkward charm, the power the two radiate together is warming in any season.
Home Alone (1990)
Another holiday classic from Fox, Home Alone remains a millennial touchstone for this time of year, and a gift that keeps on giving. Yes, everyone remembers the end where Macaulay Culkin tortures two bumbling goons (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) as if they’re Elmer Fudd, but the movie has a lot more going for it than just slapstick sociopathy. Indeed, when Kevin McCallister isn’t being a sadist, this film has an earnest appeal about celebrating the fantasy of a kid living by himself at home.
When his parents leave Kevin McAllister home alone for Christmas—it was an accident!—he has a luxury house to himself that he lounges about as if it were a giant playground with free ice cream, pizza, and R-rated movie viewing parties. Things go a little pear-shaped though when crooks try to rob the joint, but he handles that in glib fashion, all while sweetly pining for his mother. In fact, as you get older, Catherine O’Hara’s trials and tribulations to get back home to her baby boy in time for Christmas are as amusing as Kevin’s hijinks. (John Candy! Polka music!! Polka Christmas music!?!) But probably the reason this is a real classic has a lot to do with John Williams’ eternally heartwarming score.
Into the Dark: Pooka! (2018)
The concept of Hulu horror anthology series Into the Dark is a simple one. Starting in October, every month would see the release of a new horror movie, usually revolving around a theme or holiday within that month. So naturally December 2018’s entry, Pooka!, brings its chills to Christmas. Directed by Nacho Vigalondo from a script by Gerald Olson, Pooka! introduces one of the cutest creepiest critter since Gremlins.
Struggling actor Wilson Clowes (Nyasha Hatendi) takes on a job operating a giant fur suit of a toy company’s upcoming holiday season to, Pookah. Pookah has two modes, naughty or nice. Soon Wilson comes to find that the suit is starting to effect his overall mood and the naughty mode may last outside the confines of the suit.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Now if you could only watch one Christmas movie every holiday season, it’s gotta be this one, right? It’s a Wonderful Life has been a winter staple ever since…shortly after its 1946 release. The film infamously took a little while for audiences to catch on they they were in the presence of a classic. And now it lives on Amazon for the time being as the go-to spot for holiday cheer.
If you haven’t watched this movie in a while, it can be surprising just how tenuously tied the whole thing is to Christmas. Though the story of George Bailey begins on Christmas Eve 1945, the movie takes audiences throughout the entirety of his life, Christmas Carol-style. But of course, in the end the angels have gotten their wings and Christmas is in full thrall. Certainly, It’s a Wonderful Life will be all over the traditional TV calendar, but it’s nice to know that it’s on streaming as well for those who just can’t wait.
Since the hallowed days of Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated Christmas specials, there hasn’t been much movement or innovation in the realm of animated Christmas movies. Klaus, written and directed by Sergio Pablos, seeks to change all that in Klaus.
This crisply animated feature serves as an alternative history version of the story of Santa Claus. Jesper (Jason Schwartzman) proves himself to be the worst student as a postal academy and is sent to the North Pole where his lack of letter-delivering abilities won’t do anyone any harm. There he discovers Klaus (J.K. Simmons), a mysterious carpenter who lives alone and likes to make handmade toys. Sounds pretty familiar.
Klaus is both a technical marvel and an effective little Christmas story.
Last Christmas (2019)
Shortly after taking in the cheerful trailer for Emma Thompson and Paul Feig’s 2019 holiday hit Last Christmas, the Internet stood up as one and agreed on an important point: there’s a twist in here, isn’t there? And of course, the Internet was right…as it so often is.
Last Christmas features a very prominent and important twist in its plot that you’ll have to watch the movie (or read Wikipedia) to figure out. But twist or no, this is a perfectly enjoyable entry into the modern Christmas canon. Emilia Clarke takes some time off from torching King’s Landing to star as Kate, an aspiring young singer going through hard times around Christmas. That all changes when she meets the alluring and devastatingly handsome Tom (Henry Golding). What follows is a minor Christmas miracle.
The Santa Clause (1994)
Tim Allen really was on top of the world in the 1990s, wasn’t he? The star of ABC’s popular Home Improvement sitcom, and just a year away from becoming a Pixar legend in Toy Story, Allen could get any family entertainment greenlit. Thus enters Disney’s The Santa Clause, a movie that posits “what if Tim Allen became Santa?” That’s pretty much what happens when Allen’s schmo-y Scott Calvin inadvertently is responsible for the death of the previous Santa who slips off his roof.
The consequence of Scott’s mistake is he puts on the red and white outfit to finish Santa’s sleigh ride that night, much to the delight of his son Charlie (Eric Lloyd). Little does he know that by donning the suit, he has entered into a “Santa Clause” which means he becomes the big guy—literally so as he gains 100 pounds of weight and a white beard overnight. It’s still amusing now, but our favorite bit will always be David Krumholtz as the no-nonsense North Pole elf from Brooklyn.
Surviving Christmas (2004)
One enduring hallmark of the Christmas movie genre is how bad many of its entries are. Of course, there are some well-executed classics that command one’s attention and respect, but for the most part they all blend together into a pleasant cheerful mush that can be on in the background while one decorates their tree.
But even by the dismal standards of Christmas movies, 2004’s Surviving Christmas is particularly dismal. This Ben Affleck/James Gandolfini starring vehicle very much earns its 7% Rotten Tomatoes score. In a way, however, that makes it a must-watch holiday classic. Affleck stars as a rich advertising executive looking to reconnect with his past. What better way to do so than to pay the current occupants of his childhood home to spend Christmas with them? Much James Gandolfini grumpiness ensues.
A Very Brady Christmas (1988)
A Very Brady Christmas was a 1988 made-for-TV movie that brought together the entire original cast of The Brady Bunch save for Susan Olsen (Cindy Brady). Olsen was on her honeymoon at the time and I cant’ figure out if that’s a great reason or a weird reason to miss a once-in-a-generation TV event.
A Very Brady Christmas centers on a very simple and very relatable concept: getting the whole family back together for Christmas. This is a hard enough logistical challenge for a “normal” family, and a damn near impossible one for a family with six kids. Will the Bradys be able to pull it off? Watch and find out!
Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus (1991)
“Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” is one of the most enduring sentences in Christmas history. It comes from an 1897 newspaper editorial in which The Sun (of New York) editor Francis Pharcellus Church responds affirmatively to young Virginia O’Hanlan’s question about the existence of Santa Claus.
This 1991 TV movie of the same name dramatizes the already-quite dramatic story. Charles Bronson, of all people, stars as Church, who is dealing with the death of his wife and the trauma he endured as a war correspondent during the Civil War. It turns out that one little girls credulous belief in the impossible is all that many adults need to get back into the spirit of the season.
And here’s the complete list, just in case you don’t like our choices!
5 Star Christmas (2018)
Barbie: A Perfect Christmas (2011)
Beyond Christmas (1940)
Black Christmas (2019)
Black Mirror: White Christmas (2014)
A Bell for Christmas (2014)
Bob’s Broken Sleigh (2015)
BoJack Horseman Christmas Special (2014)
A Bride for Christmas (2012)
Chico Bon Bon and the Very Berry Holiday (2020)
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Mid-Winter’s Tale (2018)
Christmas, Again (2014)
Christmas with the Andersons (2016)
Christmas Belle (2013)
Christmas Break-In (2019)
The Christmas Calendar (2017)
A Christmas Carol (1938)
A Christmas Carol (2019)
The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two (2020)
Christmas in Compton (2012)
Christmas Crush (2019)
Christmas Cruise (2017)
The Christmas Dragon (2014)
Christmas in the Heartland (2013)
Christmas on Holly Lane (2019)
Christmas Inheritance (2017)
A Christmas Kiss II (2015)
The Christmas Lodge (2014)
Christmas Matchmakers (2019)
A Christmas Movie Christmas (2019)
Christmas Mystery (2014)
Christmas Perfection (2018)
Christmas with a Prince (2018)
A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding (2018)
A Christmas Princess (2019)
The Christmas Ride (2019)
A Christmas in Royal Fashion (2018)
A Christmas Solo (2019)
A Christmas Snow (2011)
A Christmas Tree Miracle (2015)
Christmas Twister (2012)
Christmas in Vermont (2016)
Christmas in Wonderland (2007)
A Cinderella Christmas (2016)
Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas (2009)
Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker (2020)
Dash & Lily (2020)
Dear Santa (2011)
Deck the Halls (2006)
Disney Channel’s Epic Holiday Showdown (2020)
Disney Channel Holiday House Party (2020)
Disney Holiday Magic Quest (2020)
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square (2020)
A Doggone Christmas (2016)
A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale (2015)
The Dog Who Saved Christmas (2009)
The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation (2010)
Dragons: Rescue Riders: Huttsgalor Holiday (2020)
Dreamworks Happy Holidays from Madagascar (2005)
Dreamworks Holiday Classics (2011)
Dreamworks Home For the Holidays (2017)
Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas (2014)
Elf Pets: Santa’s Reindeer Rescue (2020)
Every Other Holiday (2018)
Eve’s Christmas (2004)
Free Rein: The Twelve Neighs of Christmas (2018)
A Flintstone Christmas (1977)
A Flintstone Family Christmas (1993)
Get Santa (2014)
Girlfriends of Christmas Past (2016)
A Go! Go! Cory Carson Christmas (2020)
The Heart of Christmas (2011)
High School Musical: The Musical: The Holiday Special (2020)
His and Her Christmas (2005)
Holiday Affair (1949)
The Holiday Calendar (2018)
Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas (2020)
The Holiday Movies That Made Us (2020)
Holiday Road Trip (2013)
Holiday Rush (2019)
Holiday in the Wild (2019)
Holly’s Holiday (2013)
Home Alone: The Holiday Heist (2012)
Home For Christmas (2019)
How to Ruin Christmas (2020)
Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas (2011)
Into the Dark: Pooka! (2018)
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)
The Knight Before Christmas (2019)
Last Holiday (2006)
Let it Snow (2019)
Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)
The March Sisters at Christmas (2012)
Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special (2020)
Married by Christmas (2016)
Merry Happy Whatever (2019)
Miracle on Christmas (2020)
Mighty Express: A Mighty Christmas (2020)
My Dad is Scrooge (2014)
My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas (2005)
My Santa (2013)
Nailed It! Holiday! (2018)
A Nanny for Christmas (2010)
Naughty and Nice (2014)
A Nasty Piece of Work (2019)
Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas (2018)
New Year, New You (2019)
A New York Christmas Wedding (2020)
A Norman Rockwell Christmas Story (1996)
Nothing Like the Holidays (2008)
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)
The Oath (2018)
Once Upon a Time for Christmas (2017)
Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas (2016)
Operation Christmas Drop (2020)
Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special (1988)
Power Rangers: Megaforce: The Robo Knight Before Christmas (2013)
Power Rangers Super Samurai: Stuck on Christmas (2012)
Prince of Peoria: A Christmas Moose Miracle (2018)
A Prince for Christmas (2015)
A Princess for Christmas (2012)
The Princess Switch: Switched Again (2020)
A Puppy for Christmas (2016)
Rare Exports (2010)
A Royal Christmas Ball (2017)
Santa Buddies (2009)
Santa Pac’s Merry Berry Day (2016)
Santa Girl (2019)
Scooby-Doo! Haunted Holidays (2012)
The Search for Santa Paws (2010)
Second Chance Christmas (2017)
The Secret of the Nutcracker (2007)
The Smurfs Christmas (1982)
So This is Christmas (2012)
The Spirit of Christmas (2015)
A StoryBots Christmas (2017)
Sugar Rush Christmas (2019)
Super Monsters: Santa’s Super Monster Helpers (2020)
Super Monsters Save Christmas (2019)
Super Monsters and the Wish Star (2018)
Surviving Family (2014)
The Swan Christmas Princess (2012)
This Christmas (2007)
The Town Santa Forgot (1993)
True: Winter Wishes (2019)
The Truth About Christmas (2018)
A Very Country Christmas (2020)
A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas (2011)
A Very Murray Christmas (2015)
A Wedding for Christmas (2017)
Wonderoos: Holiday Holiday! (2020)
Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Christmas (1982)
Yogi’s First Christmas (1980)