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11 Great Christmas Movies and Specials to Stream This Holiday Season

'Tis the season! Get the mistletoe and holly and as 2020 ends, try to be jolly.

Amanda Bell

The year 2020 has many of us ready and willing to start the holiday spirit early and in keeping with that, it's time to start queuing up those jingle-jangly films and specials that bring the spirit of Christmas home every year. Your favorite streaming services are packed with quality options for what to watch with your family to celebrate the season, so to help guide you in the right direction, here's a rundown of where you can find the very best Christmas movies to stream right now. There are live action and animated films as well as variety specials that may very well become new holiday traditions. 

(Disclosure: Links to retailers may earn money to support our work.)

Miracle on 34th Street (1994)


This heartwarming tale about Kris Kringle's stint as Coles' Santa Claus, and his legal battle to prove he is the real deal, will make a believer out of anyone.

Watch it: Disney+



Zachary Levi, Shazam!

Warner Bros/DC Entertainment

This superhero flick might not seem like a Christmas movie, but there is snow and it's all about being there for your family -- however you want to define that word -- and finding the best in others and yourself. Sounds like the Christmas spirit to us!

Watch it: HBO Max

Home Alone


Nowadays, a kid Kevin McAllister's age would probably have a cell phone to help his parents track him down faster, but that doesn't make this 1990 Christmas classic any less fun to watch. His sheer sense of invention in fending off the big bad burglars who want to ransack his ritzy neighborhood is worth the suspension of disbelief that any of this could ever actually happen.

Watch it: Disney+



There's so much joy to be had watching Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf as he makes his way from the North Pole to New York City to find his real dad. Buddy carries with him the true spirit of Christmas and manages to spread Christmas cheer for all to hear to even the most jaded city dwellers. In addition to the many goofy sight gags and joke lines, the movie is eminently rewatchable and sure to bring a smile. 

Watch it: Starz

Die Hard

Bruce Willis, Die Hard

Bruce Willis, Die Hard

Getty Images, Archive

Bruce Willis saves his family at Christmastime and he does it looking jacked and armed with artillery and wisecracks. Angelenos love to watch and rewatch this movie set in Century City's Fox Tower office building, known as Nakatomi Plaza in the film. The story is set at Christmastime, which makes the holidays a perfect time to watch Willis battle the late great Alan Rickman as the big baddie Hans Gruber. Yippee-ki-yay! And put a jingle on it! 

Watch it: HBO Max

It's a Wonderful Life


This classic Christmas movie centers on a man who's down on his luck and gets a much-needed pick-me-up from an unexpected source. And, fun fact, every time someone watches it an angel gets its wings.

Watch it: Amazon

A Christmas Carol (2009)


Motion capture movies might be much more common now, but when Robert Zemeckis used the technology to create his 3D animated adaptation of Dickens' iconic tale, it was still quite new. Even so, the film still holds up as Jim Carrey's quirky portrayal of the miser comes through in every frame.

Watch it: Disney+

Lethal Weapon

Danny Glover and Mel Gibson, Lethal Weapon

Danny Glover and Mel Gibson, Lethal Weapon

Getty Images

We already decided that Die Hard counts as a Christmas movie, and so we're going to include the buddy-cop comedy that broke the mold on the list as well. People who enjoy watching stuff blow up deserve Christmas viewing options as well! 

Watch it on: HBO Max

Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Touchstone Pictures/Sunset Boulevard

Henry Selick and Tim Burton's stop-motion animated musical film may seem dark at first glance but Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, is utterly charming as he tries to find something different at holiday time. During a walk in the woods, he finds a Christmas Town and tries to get his fellow Halloween Town citizens interested but it's an uphill battle. Charmingly spooky songs by Danny Elfman and a star-stuffed voice cast make The Nightmare Before Christmas a perennial favorite.  

Watch it on: Disney+

A Very Murray Christmas


Who better to head up his own musical Christmas special than Bill Murray? With an onslaught of supporting stars coming in to support his attempt to put on a show, despite being snowed in, the comedy special is unique and filled with great song performances.

Watch it on: Netflix

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas


Ron Howard's modernized take on Dr. Seuss' celebrated Christmas story might be a little zanier and less musically-oriented than the 1966 animated version of the same name, but it's still bound to leave the kiddos in stitches this season.

Watch it on: Netflix