(Pocket-lint) – Not only is Christmas a great time for getting families together, sharing gifts and gorging yourself on mince pies and Quality Street, it is also one of the best times of the year to watch some great films and TV shows.
Streaming services in particular are going festive movie mad and you can catch some of the very best holiday classics on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Now TV.
Here are our picks of the best Christmas films to catch on one of the online services.
A Netflix subscription costs from £5.99 / $8.99 per month for a standard, non-HD plan up to £13.99 / $17.99 per month for the full, 4K-ready package where you can watch on up to four devices concurrently. You can get one-month free if you are a new subscriber.
The Christmas Chronicles
Devised by the same production team behind Home Alone and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Christmas Chronicles stars Kurt Russell as Santa and is a Netflix exclusive. He gets a couple of kids to help him after his sleigh breaks down, which leads to a great adventure.
The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two
A sequel is now also available on the platform too, with Russell returning as Santa alongside real-world wife Goldie Hawn as Mrs Claus. Expect more action fun for all the family.
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Another Netflix exclusive – which it snapped up when a cinema release was not possible – this family musical is the kid-friendly, Christmas-themed equivalent to The Greatest Showman. Forest Whitaker stars as an eccentric toymaker who creates a magical invention.
With beautiful hand-drawn animation and a roster of fantastic voice actors such as J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones and Norm Macdonald, this flick has become an instant classic. Klaus is a heartwarming tale reimagining the classic Santa Claus mythology.
The first in a series of four films, Nativity is a heartwarming, funny tale starring Martin Freeman as a teacher who misguidedly fibs about getting his school nativity turned into a film, just to impress a girl. Hilarity ensues in this surprisingly fun, family British caper.
This 2020 Netflix Original is a self-aware rom-com that’s on the raunchy side, so definitely not one to watch with the kids. The film follows two strangers who agree to become year-long platonic plus-ones, but inevitably start to fall for one another as time goes by.
A Very Murray Christmas
Bill Murray’s Christmas extravaganza debuted on Netflix in 2015 and became an instant classic, albeit a rather odd one at times. Bill and some of his celebrity friends unite to sing some Christmas classics within a comedy film that will keep you entertained this year.
Not to be confused with the horror movie of the same name, this 1998 classic stars Michael Keaton and is a heartwarming tear-jerker for the whole family. The plot follows a father killed in a car accident, only to be brought back to life in the form of a snowman via a magical harmonica.
Deck the Halls
Buddy Hall (Danny DeVito) has just moved into the neighbourhood and plans to decorate his house with enough Christmas lights so that it can be seen from space. His new neighbour Steve (Matthew Broderick) has always been known as “the Christmas guy” and so doesn’t take kindly to Buddy’s plans. Thus ensues a comedy caper of Steve trying to sabotage the festivities, but things don’t always go his way.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime costs £79 / $119 per year but gives access to the retailers Prime Video streaming service, plus a stack of extra added bonuses, such as free one-day delivery and Amazon Music streaming. You can also opt to pay monthly at £7.99 / $12.99 per month.
New customers can sign up for a 30-day free trial period.
One of the most popular Christmas rom-coms ever sees Richard Curtis assemble a familiar cast of characters to play out 10 different story lines, all set at Christmas, many of which are interlinked in some way. It’s cheery British fun at its finest and can’t help but put a smile on your face. Also available on Netflix.
Not really for the kids but great for rom-com fans, The Holiday stars Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet and Jack Black in two, intertwining stories about love during the holiday season. There are tears, laughs and it’s an ideal flick for grabbing a mug of mulled wine and watching while curled under a blanket. Also available on Netflix.
The Night Before
One for adults only, this is a hilarious comedy starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anthony Mackie (Falcon in The Avengers) as a trio of friends meeting up for one last big Christmas Eve night before accepting adulthood.
Office Christmas Party
Anyone who has been to an office Christmas party knows how quickly things can get out of hand but in this film, things get really, really out of a hand. A fun comedy romp starring Jason Bateman, T.J. Miller and Olivia Munn.
Anna and the Apocalypse
If you fancy something a bit different this Christmas, how about a Scottish zombie apocalypse Christmas musical? In this movie, Anna and her friends have to fight, and sing, for survival in the sleepy town of Little Haven.
Scrooge is a 1970 musical adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens’ tale ‘A Christmas Carol’ and many believe it’s one of the best. If you’ve somehow avoided this one up until now, maybe it’s time to dive in and see what all the fuss is about.
Disney+ is a relative newcomer but thanks to the multiple studios owned by the house of mouse, it has plenty of Christmas treats.
A subscription costs £5.99 / $6.99 per month, £59.99 / $69.99 per year. However, those prices will rise in March 2021 so the current 12-month deals are worth a look if you want to save a lot of cash down the line.
Without a doubt one of the greatest Christmas films of all time, the original Home Alone is available on Disney+ this year. It’s unlikely you will have never seen it before, but we thoroughly recommend you give it a spin again as it delights every time – cartoon violence and all.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Also available on Disney+ is the Home Alone sequel that sees Kevin McAllister stranded in New York. He even gets to meet ex-US President Donald Trump, who appears in the film. It’s aptly titled too, as Trump did indeed lose in New York. And Michigan. And Georgia. And…
Home Sweet Home Alone
This one might not be as beloved as its predecessors, but if you fancy a new spin on the classic Home Alone formula then why not give this brand new 2021 sequel a try? This entrant into the series stars Rob Delaney and Ellie Kemper as the criminal duo and Archie Yates as the kid who, you guessed it, gets left at home, alone.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Michael Caine stars as Ebenezer Scrooge in the Muppet’s version of the classic Christmas Carol film. Great for the kids but it isn’t just a kids film with some familiar characters including the Great Gonzo, Kermit and Miss Piggy in traditional roles.
Disney’s A Christmas Carol
Disney’s 3D animated take on the same source material, as you might imagine, is a tad darker than the Muppets version. With an all-star cast featuring the likes of Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman and Bob Hoskins and some incredible visuals – it’s a great watch.
The Santa Clause
Tim Allen is great as the dad who accidentally kills Santa and must therefore take his place. There are a couple of sequels too, but neither are as good as this original.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Tim Burton and Henry Selick’s stop motion animation masterpiece is one we enjoy every year. It has amazing songs throughout, while the tale of Jack Skellington trying to fill Santa’s boots as he’s tired of Halloween is as heartwarming as it is fun.
While some refuse to admit that Die Hard is a Christmas movie they are wrong. It takes place during a Christmas party and has the immortal line “now I have a machine gun, ho, ho, ho” in it. What more do you want?
Now TV and Sky Go
You will need a Now TV Sky Cinema Month Pass to watch films on any device with a Now TV app. The pass costs £11.99 per month.
All of the following are available on the Sky Go app too, which is free for Sky Q subscribers.
This excellent British film by Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park’s studio has some serious emotional clout and is a fresh take on what could be considered a traditional Christmas story. It follows Santa’s son Arthur on his mission to deliver a present to a little girl to save her Christmas, helped along the way by a team of trusty sidekicks.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Whatever happened to Chevy Chase? We can’t understand why he faded from the big screen in the 90s because, on this showing, he was at the very top of the comedy ladder. The Griswold family movies were always great fun, but this Christmas outing was on another level. It’s still as funny today as it was in the 80s.
A Boy Called Christmas
A brand new British film that tells the origin story of Father Christmas, and his cute pet mouse of course. This one has proven to be a hit with critics and viewers alike, well worth checking out this Christmas.
A Christmas Number One
Starring Iwan Rheon, of Game Of Thrones fame, and Freida Pinto, from Slumdog Millionaire; this Sky Original is a music-biz themed romantic affair that sees a thrash metal musician trying to take to make a hit Christmas record.
Starring Neil Patrick Harris (who you may recognise from How I Met Your Mother) 8-Bit Christmas is set in the 80s and follows a young boys antics to secure the greatest Christmas present of all time, the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Christmas At Cattle Hill
This Norweigan animated feature is set in a town full of cows and includes a rampaging gnome all hopped up on oatmeal. Confused? We are too, but it looks like great fun, especially for younger viewers.
Writing by Rik Henderson. Editing by Britta O’Boyle. Originally published on .