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 Christmas movie mad and you can catch some of the very best holiday classics on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV.
Here then are our picks of the best Christmas films to catch on one of the three online services, all ready to stream right now and part of their respective subscriptions.
A Netflix subscription costs from £5.99 for a standard, non-HD plan up to £9.99 per month for the full, 4K-ready package where you can watch on up to four devices concurrently. You 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 was made by Netflix itself so is exclusive to the service. It stars Kurt Russell as Santa as he enlists a couple of kids to help him save Christmas after they crash his sleigh.
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 a 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.
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.
The first in a series of films that has just spurned a third sequel, Nativity is a heart warming, 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.
A Very Murray Christmas
Bill Murray’s Christmas extravaganza debuted on Netflix in 2015, but it instantly became a 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.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime costs £79 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, all of which you can read about here.
Amazon Video offers many films to rent and buy too, but the following are available as part of Prime streaming at no extra cost.
Elf became an instant classic when it launched in 2003 – maybe even the best Christmas movie of the last two decades. It tells the story of Buddy (Will Ferrell), one of Santa’s elves who learns he’s actually a human. He travels to New York City to meet his real father, spreading the Christmas cheer to everyone as he goes.
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.
A superb movie that can be a bit gruesome for little kiddies but is great fun for everybody else. Director Joe Dante crafted a superb, puppet-laden adventure back in the 80s that is still as endearing today. And who doesn’t want a Gizmo? Just remember though, don’t feed it after midnight and never, ever get it wet.
Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon play Brad and Kate, a couple travelling to see all of their divorced parents on Christmas Day. With each family comes a new revelation about Brad and Kate’s pasts that they didn’t know about one another, which begins to test their relationship.
Office Christmas Party
Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Olivia Munn and TJ Miller star in this rather adult comedy about a Christmas party that goes horribly wrong. It’s one of the most recent films on this list and has its moments – a lot that will have you laughing out loud and some that will make you cringe. Much like an actual office Christmas party then.
You will need a Now TV Sky Cinema Month Pass to watch films on any device with a Now TV app. The pass costs £9.99 per month.
The Polar Express
The live action animation of The Polar Express never fails to impress and the story is just as enchanting. It follows an unnamed boy who, dressed in his pyjamas, boards a magical train headed for the North Pole. Whilst on the train he meets an assortment of characters, including Santa, with the majority voiced by Tom Hanks.
This modern day retelling (well, an 80s retelling) of A Christmas Carol is a great example of why Bill Murray is revered by all. His deadpan style shines through as TV executive Frank Cross and the film is rightly held up as a classic holiday flick.
Alongside Elf, Bad Santa is one of our favourite modern Christmas films. Billy Bob Thornton puts in an excellent performance as Willie, the thief who uses a Santa get-up to rob department stores. His journey of redemption is both touching and utterly hilarious. It’s definitely not one for the kids.
It’s A Wonderful Life
Considered by many to not just one of the best Christmas films, but also one of the greatest films of all time. It follows the story of George Bailey, who wants to take his own life on Christmas Eve. A guardian angel is sent to show him all the good things he’s done in his life and how people would be had he not been born.
Also one of the greatest Christmas films of all time, the original Home Alone is available on Now TV 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.
Another Christmas classic 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 rom-com at its finest and can’t help but put a smile on your face.
Lastly, 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?