10 must-stream holiday movies

Holiday movies have a special ability to channel and set the mood for the entire festive season. They vary dramatically in theme and topic, with everything from cheery musicals and vaguely religious dramas to delightful comedies and dark horror films that get people tingling with festive excitement.

It won’t feel like the holiday season is in full flow until you’ve watched two or three of these classics. Luckily, a multitude of video streaming services have you covered, so you can see your favorite holiday movies, whenever, wherever. On the downside, the best holiday options are currently spread across various streaming services, so it might be a challenge to watch every movie on this list.

Here is our list of the best holiday movies you can stream to get you in the holiday mood.

10 must-stream holiday movies

Disney’s A Christmas Carol

What is it?: Disney’s animated version of the classic movie, which isn’t currently listed on any streaming service. Jim Carrey plays the spiteful, Christmas-despising Ebenezer Scrooge, who changes his tune when three ghosts show him the errors of his ways on Christmas Eve.

Holiday movie category: Animation

Where to stream: Netflix ($8.99/mo.), plus Hulu ($5.99/mo.) and Amazon Prime ($8.99/mo.) via Starz

Similar holiday movies: The Polar Express and Scrooged

Home Alone

What is it?: The McCallister family enjoys a Christmas vacation in Paris. The only problem is they’ve left eight-year-old Kevin, played by Macauley Culkin, back at home in New York. The movie follows the trouble he gets into, including thwarting two criminals who try to rob the house on Christmas Eve. The movie’s two sequels are available on Disney+ this holiday season, offering the perfect festive family movie session.

Holiday movie category: Family, Comedy

Where to stream: Disney+ ($6.99/mo.)

Similar holiday movies: The Family Stone and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

 It’s A Wonderful Life

What is it?: A true classic and one of the best-loved holiday movies. George Bailey, played by James Stewart, is facing the possibility of jail and the collapse of his company when his uncle loses $8,000 on Christmas Eve. He contemplates suicide, believing his family would be better off without him, but is saved by a Christmas miracle when angel Clarence comes to Earth to help him. 

Holiday movie category: Family, Drama

Where to stream: Amazon Prime ($8.99/mo.) 

Similar holiday movies: Scrooge and The Bishop’s Wife

Love Actually

What is it?: The ultimate romantic comedy with a holiday theme thrown in for good measure. It follows nine people whose lives intertwine amid multiple budding romances and a classic nativity scene. These include the British Prime Minister falling for a young staff member, a married man obsessed with his attractive new secretary and a beautiful declaration of love between Andrew Lincoln and Keira Knightley.

Holiday movie category: Romantic comedy

Where to stream: HBO GO ($14.99/mo.) and Hulu ($5.99/mo.)

Similar holiday movies: Bridget Jones’s Diary and The Holiday

Miracle on 34th Street

What is it?: A heartwarming holiday tale. Kris Kringle, played by Richard Attenborough, takes over as a department store Santa Claus. All the local children, except for six-year-old Susan, believe he’s the real Santa. However, she begins to change her mind as Kringle teaches her the greatest gift of all is having something to believe in. This 1994 version is a remake of the 1947 original. 

Holiday movie categories: Family

Where to stream: Amazon Prime ($8.99/mo.) and Disney+ ($6.99/mo.)

Similar holiday movies: Jack Frost and  Arthur Christmas

The Muppet Christmas Carol

What is it?: The Muppets’ take on a classic tale. Michael Caine joins everyone’s favorite puppet characters in this rendition of the Charles Dickens story of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet To Come.

Holiday movie category: Drama, Family, Musical

Where to stream: Disney+ ($6.99/mo.)

Similar holiday movies: A Christmas Carol and Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas

The Man Who Invented Christmas

What is it?: A biography of the A Christmas Carol creator. This fascinating tale tells the story of Charles Dickens and his struggle with writing block while creating A Christmas Carol. It introduces Dickens at a low point in his career before he decides to write and self-publish his famous work. The film follows the often painful process behind the writing of the beloved novel.

Holiday movie category: Biography, Comedy

Where to stream: Amazon Prime ($8.99/mo.) and Hulu ($5.99/mo.)

Similar holiday movies: A Christmas Carol

The Nightmare Before Christmas

What is it?: A typically twisted tale from the mind of Tim BurtonThe king of Halloween town is bored with doing the same thing every 31st October and stumbles on the concept of Christmas. He tries to bring the tradition to his hometown but doesn’t quite get it quite right.

Holiday movie category: Animation, Fantasy

Where to stream: Disney+ ($6.99/mo.)

Similar holiday movies: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Santa Clause

What is it?: A classic feel-good movie. Scott Calvin, played by Tim Allen, discovers his ex-wife tried to tell his six-year-old son that Santa isn’t real. On Christmas Eve he reads his son a holiday story, hears someone on the roof and ends up at the North Pole with elves claiming he’s the new Santa.

Holiday movie category: Family, Comedy

Where to stream: AT&T TV NOW ($65/mo.) and Disney+ ($6.99/mo.) 

Similar holiday movies: Christmas With The Kranks and Fred Claus

White Christmas 

What is it?: An all-time holiday classic. A successful male song-and-dance duo, who’d served together in World War II, meets a female song-and-dance duo. Romantic involvement ensues, and everyone joins forces to save an inn owned by the two men’s former commanding general.

Holiday movie category: Musical, Romance

Where to stream: Netflix ($8.99/mo.)

Similar holiday movies: Holiday Inn and Christmas In Connecticut

The takeaway

Sitting down to watch a classic holiday movie is the perfect way to get the festive season started. The various streaming services have you covered when it comes to watching the greatest, best-loved holiday movies ever made this holiday season. There are tons of movies out there, from family favorites and animated films to all-time classics and comedies to get you into the holiday mood.

Rob Latham

Contributing Writer

Rob Latham is a writer focused on technology, music, entertainment and sports. He is particularly passionate about the role that technology plays in improving peoples’ lives and helping businesses to work more effectively. He’s written marketing content for global B2B technology brands and start-ups, founded his own music blog and is a regular contributor to soccer publications. His professional background is in content marketing, public relations and journalism, and he has a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism.