‘Tis the season to gather around the TV, warm up the hot cocoa, and watch all sorts of Christmas-themed programming. It’s a holiday tradition!
Of course, there are movies, TV shows, and specials airing every day on every cable channel. But what if you cut the cord and don't get cable anymore? You don’t have to be a Scrooge when it comes to watching holiday TV. We found a slew of family-oriented holiday movies and TV shows streaming on Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. Here are some of our favorites.
Despite the 1954 release and WWII backdrop, this is a film that all ages can appreciate. It doesn’t have special effects, unless you count the talents of Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen.
Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney in "White Christmas." Photo: Paramount HE
Most kids may associate "White Christmas" with a classic ballad, but the movie should keep them engaged with music, dancing, a few laughs, and a big Christmas show. If you’re dreaming of a classic Christmas, gather the family around this film. [Netflix]
The Year Without a Santa Claus
“They call me heat miser... whatever I touch... starts to melt in my clutch. I'm too much!”
A scene from the classic, "The Year Without a Santa Claus." Photo: Warner Bros.
Pretty much everyone over the age of 40 knows that song word-for-word, seeing how this Rankin/Bass classic was annual required viewing. However, the tale of Mrs. Claus trying to get Santa’s groove back is something all ages should enjoy. [Amazon]
Pee-wee’s Big Holiday
It’s been a long time since Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens) has been on the big screen. Instead of going for another theatrical release, the classic character’s third big adventure debuted as a Netflix original that’s perfect holiday viewing for the whole family.
Paul Reubens stars as the title character in "Pee-wee's Big Holiday." Photo: Netflix
The funny movie finds Pee-wee happy to be working in a diner in his hometown of Fairville. Then one day, he meets up with "Magic Mike" star Joe Manganiello, who encourages Pee-wee to take his very first vacation, travel to New York, and attend the actor’s birthday party. [Netflix]
The Snowy Day
Earlier this year, Amazon adapted the award-winning book by Ezra Jack Keats into an animated special—and it’s an absolute must-see.
The award-winning Ezra Jack Keats book comes to life in "The Snowy Day." Photo: Amazon Studios
The story follows Peter, a boy in a red snowsuit, who travels to his Nana’s house to pick up the family’s traditional Christmas mac-and-cheese dinner. Along the way, Peter enjoys the snowy day, encounters people in his neighborhood, and even meets up with a group of acapella sings (voiced by Boyz II Men). It tackles traditions in a wonderful way, with the voices of Laurence Fishburne, Regina King, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and Angela Bassett. [Amazon]
Bill Murray’s very 80s version of "A Christmas Carol" may be better received by older kids. That said, if they can handle "Ghostbusters," they should be able to enjoy this take on the Charles Dickens story.
Bill Murray gets into the holiday spirit in "Scrooged." Photo: Paramount Pictures
Murray plays Frank Cross, a materialistic jerk of a TV executive, who thinks the true meaning of Christmas is all about TV ratings. Of course, he’s about to sing a different tune (literally), when he gets visits from the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Future. [Netflix]
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas
This release is a trio of holiday treats with so many classic Disney creations, including Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Pete, Scrooge McDuck, Chip 'n Dale, and many more.
All of Disney's classic characters come together for "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas." Photo: Disney
While reminiscing about Christmas past, the cuddly characters deliver the short stories of "Donald Duck Stuck On Christmas," "A Very Goofy Christmas," and "Mickey and Minnie's The Gift of the Magi.” [Netflix]
Just like the actual gremlins, if your wee ones can’t be fed after midnight, maybe they shouldn’t watch this movie. It’s quite the creepy Christmas tale—and was actually one of two movies (the other being "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom") to directly lead to the formation of the PG-13 rating.
This holiday gift needs extra-special care in "Gremlins." Photo: Warner Bros.
Clueless dad and budding inventor Randall Peltzer (Hoyt Axton) thinks he's found the perfect Christmas gift for his son Billy (Zach Galligan). However, the cuddly, singing “mogwai” comes with a set of instructions that, when broken, start to wreak havoc on the tiny town of Kingston Falls. Happy holidays. [Amazon]
Classic Christmas TV
Technically, this entry is more than one TV show, but you may want to watch all of those holiday-themed episodes with the family in one massive marathon.
The Cunninghams welcome a special guest to a holiday episode of Happy Days." Photo: ABC Television
That’s because all sorts of ghosts of Christmas past can be found on Hulu, which currently has several classic TV episodes available for streaming. Pop some corn, get the marshmallows ready, and treat the family to holiday episodes of "The Brady Bunch," "The Twilight Zone," "Mork & Mindy," "Dennis the Menace," "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," "Happy Days," and more. [Hulu]