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© Andrey Kiselev |
TV & streaming

Best Christmas movies: Classics to modern favorites

Every family has unique holiday traditions they share with their loved ones. Whether it’s delicious feasts, warm drinks or opening gifts at midnight on Christmas Eve, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy the season with your friends and family.

That said, movies are always a winner when it comes to holiday entertainment. Nearly every family has a favorite Christmas movie to watch each year, and the choices range from classics to modern films. You can catch the best of the season, just tap or click to see the top Hallmark Christmas movies.

To celebrate the holidays, we’re bringing you a list of our favorite Christmas movies. These films span the decades, and go perfect with a tall glass of eggnog. Put on your Santa hat and grab your milk and cookies, because this holiday season just got a lot more entertaining.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (1946)

The Christmas classics to end all Christmas classics, “It’s a Wonderful Life” continues to charm audiences with its rags-to-riches storytelling more than 70 years after it debuted. But this film’s legacy is richly deserved, thanks to its powerful message of community, kindness and the inherent goodness of mankind.

Watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” for free on Prime Video with your Amazon Prime subscription.

‘Miracle on 34th Street’ (1947)

Do you believe in Santa Claus? You might think you’re a bit too old, but “Miracle on 34th Street” will make you believe again. This heartwarming classic brings the tale of Santa to the big city, along with all of the legal and commercial complications that come with it. It will melt your heart like snow on Christmas morning.

Watch “Miracle on 34th Street” on Disney+.

‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ (1966)

This animated landmark from the 1960s remains a holiday favorite for all ages. Animated by Warner Bros. Studios, “The Grinch” tells a delightfully twisted tale with songs you’ll want to sing along with — even if you can’t understand the lyrics. Seriously, what on earth are the Who’s even singing?

Watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” on Amazon Prime Video.

‘Christmas Vacation’ (1989)

Dreading your family get-together this holiday season? “Christmas Vacation” is the perfect movie for those of us who don’t always feel so holly-jolly as the holiday approaches. The madcap comedy of Chevy Chase as Clarke Griswold is a wonder to behold in this laugh-out-loud holiday comedy.

Watch “Christmas Vacation” on Amazon Prime Video .

Die Hard (1988)

This ain’t your ordinary Christmas story. Set in Los Angeles during the holiday season, off-duty cop John McClane must defeat a band of terrorists attempting to hold an entire skyscraper hostage. Gritty humor and holiday spirit collide in this action-packed thriller.

Watch “Die Hard” for free on Sony Crackle.

Home Alone I (1990) & Home Alone II (1992)

The quintessential Christmas caper, the “Home Alone” series is beloved by families and mischievous children across the nation. Featuring a breakout performance by Macaulay Culkin as Kevin, his elaborate traps and revenge schemes against the Wet Bandits make for hilarious cinema. Make sure keep your eyes open for a unique cameo by a certain U.S. President in “Home Alone II.”

Watch the ‘Home Alone’ series on Disney+.

‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ (1992)

Generally considered one of the best adaptations of Charles Dickens’ immortal Christmas story, “The Muppet Christmas Carol” is a charming addition to the holiday film pantheon. See your favorite Muppet characters in a range of hilarious roles alongside Michael Caine as the perfect Ebeneezer Scrooge.

Watch “The Muppet Christmas Carol” on Disney+.

‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (1993)

Arguably one of the most popular holiday movies (for two different holidays, no less), “The Nightmare Before Christmas” tells a story of clashing cultures and holiday mayhem. Jack Skellington, a celebrity of Halloweentown, decides to give Santa Claus a vacation in this joyous animated spectacle that still looks great more than 20 years later.

Watch “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on Disney+.

‘Elf’ (2003)

A larger-than-life story about a human adopted by Santa’s elves, “Elf” brings loads of joyful Christmas spirit to a world of cynics and humbugs. Will Ferrell is delightfully goofy as Buddy the elf, and his show-stealing antics make this a great film to watch with the kids or grandkids.

Watch “Elf” on Amazon Prime Video.

‘The Christmas Chronicles’ (2018)

Kurt Russel makes his debut as Santa Claus in this thrilling family tale made exclusively for Netflix. “The Christmas Chronicles” tells the story of how one family can come together after tragedy to make the season magical. Plus, there’s a sequel on the way for a Christmas yet to come!

Watch “The Christmas Chronicles” on Netflix.

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