Can’t find your favorite Christmas DVD? Don’t worry. Most of your holiday favorites are available on any and every streaming service available. So light the fire, warm up some hot chocolate, and sit down with family for one of these holiday favorites.
Best to Watch With Older Kids:
The Nightmare Before Christmas, Netflix
Tykes will appreciate any cartoon you sit them in front of, but kids “too old for that baby stuff” will love watching Jack Skellington and the rest of Halloween Town try to make every holiday their own. Of course, they realize that it’s not the decorations, songs, and other traditions that make a holiday special, but real joy comes from being with those you love and killing off a monster made of insects. They’ll probably sing along, or watch half the film between their fingers.
Best to Watch With the Whole Family:
Home Alone, HBOGo
Part of you probably hoped your family would leave you behind one Christmas and you’d get to turn your home into a deathtrap to fend off criminals. Fortunately (or unfortunately) you now understand what Christmas is all about, and even though pizza and a giant ice cream sundae sounds like a great way to celebrate while home, alone, watch this one with everyone around the TV. Just don’t spill the Pepsi.
Best For the Christmas Cynic:
Bad Santa, Netflix
Billy Bob Thornton turns in a perfect performance as Willie, a mall santa, thief, and top-flight asshole who does his first and probably last good deed by bringing a strange, tormented kid under his wing. Other than that, Willie learns zero lessons and basically makes Christmas miserable for everyone, himself included. Honestly, though, it’s a surprisingly sweet film.
If One Cynical Film Won’t Do:
The Ref, Netflix
In an attempt to evade capture, a fugitive named Gus hides out and holds hostage a dysfunctional Connecticut couple that’s on the verge of divorce while prepping for a holiday party with relatives they can’t stand. Being a criminal on the run is bad, but even jail doesn’t compare to watching a family that hates one another share a holiday meal.
Best to Watch With Friends:
“A Very Sunny Christmas,” Netflix
The group from Paddy’s Pub reminds us that trying to re-create the magic we remember from our childhood Christmases might not be what it’s cracked up to be. Parents will do anything to make their kid’s Christmas special (except for Frank, of course), but sometimes it’s better to not know how they did it and just attribute it to the spirit of the season.
Best Just Before Your Girlfriend’s First Christmas With Family:
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, iTunes
Scared that your grandmother might say something offensive? Convinced your father is on the verge of a nervous breakdown? Worried your drunk uncle might surprise you by parking his house in your driveway? Pop in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and when all hell breaks loose around your dinner table, you won’t feel as bad when she storms off.
Worst Way to Follow Up The Force Awakens:
Star Wars Holiday Special, YouTube
The latest Star Wars film was great. Conversely, George Lucas once said he wanted to personally destroy every copy of The Star Wars Holiday Special with a hammer. The 1978 CBS event, which gathered the entire original cast, was panned, but for all the awkwardness of Chewie’s wife trying to cook with a four-armed chef and Bea Arthur playing a late-night bartender at the Cantina, we can thank this special for introducing us to the iconic Boba Fett, who debuted in an animated short.
Best to Watch When You’ve Watched Everything Else:
Ernest Saves Christmas, Netflix
Even Santa procrastinates. He waits until December 23 to ask an unassuming Florida actor to leave his life behind and take the reins as Father Christmas immediately and indefinitely. Playing an out-of-work cab driver, Ernest teams up with a runaway teen and Santa Claus to clean up their own mishaps and make sure Christmas is saved!
Best to Have on Loop at Holiday Parties:
A Very Murray Christmas, Netflix
Bill Murray takes us on a journey of Christmases past in the most Bill Murray way possible, summoning the soul of an old-time crooner in search of the holiday spirit. Joined by a quirky group of supporting characters including George Clooney and Miley Cyrus, as well as a few indie scene stars, Murray finds the meaning of Christmas through song, Sophia, and Suntory.
Best to Watch When the Party Goes Late:
Liberace’s Christmas Special, Amazon
Once you’re overly sauced on Christmas punch, let Liberace do his best work for your closest friends sticking around to clean up, and the stragglers waiting for their Uber home. You probably don’t possess his flair, but feel free to sing along to the Christmas standards with one of America’s greatest entertainers.
Best to Watch While Doing Anything Else:
A Fireplace in Your Home, Netflix
In our constant attempt to create nostalgia out of anything, turn up your favorite Christmas songs and cuddle up next to the only warm thing many of us remember form our childhood: the TV. Use this time to eat those final few crumbs of your gingerbread house and send off that letter to Santa, for the deadline approaches.
Best to Watch While Cooking Christmas Dinner:
White Christmas, Netflix
When no one can agree on what to watch, a classic is always the best option. And there’s no character more deserving of Christmas cheer than Major General Waverly. He’s the only Army officer your grandfather liked during the war, and his men have made your holidays bright for decades. Want to know what the season is about? Watch this movie.
Best to Watch With Someone You Love:
Love, Actually, Netflix
More than anything, Christmas is about spending time with the ones you love, whether it’s your brother, a chubby employee, a housekeeper, your best friend’s wife, or Wisconsin college girls. This film reminds you that no matter what’s going on in your life, love actually is all around.