Tis the season to deck the halls, grab the popcorn, park yourself on the couch, and enjoy some Yuletide eye candy with your loved ones. If we’re just talking about Christmas specials, A Charlie Brown Christmas has to be included on a family viewing holiday must-view list, as does the retro chestnut Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol. However, we’re focusing on Christmas-related movies that are fun for the entire family with this particular list. So, now that the ground rules have been set, keep reading to discover our recommendations for the top five best family Christmas movies to binge, available to stream on your favorite streaming services. Eggnog is optional.
Will Ferrell shines in this hilarious 2003 comedy. The story centers on an adopted, delightfully awkward elf named Buddy who heads to New York City to find his real father. Acting legends Bob Newhart and Ed Asner have notable roles as well. Elf is available for viewing now on HBO Max and Starz. You can also buy it from Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu. If you do a little digging, you can also find some places online to stream the related Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas, a 2014 NBC special based on the original film.
From the classic Miracle of 34th Street to the often-panned cult fave Santa Claus: The Movie, there are many notable movies that focus on the big guy from up north. Klaus is worthy of a spot on this list since it’s a charming and entertaining original take on the Santa story. This 2019 animated film, which is currently streaming on Netflix, involves a selfish postman and a reclusive woodsman who happens to make toys. On a side note, the late Norm Macdonald provides the voice of the sarcastic ferryman.
3. Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch
This is the 2018 3D animated version of the beloved Dr. Seuss story, which has also taken the form of a 1966 cartoon and a 2000 feature film with Jim Carrey. This particular movie is a charming take on the classic story of the cranky, green-furred Grinch who’s not a fan of the holiday happenings going on in the town of Whoville. This time Cindy Lou Who’s story is expanded a bit. The endearing little girl now has two twin infant brothers, which is what inspires her to write a letter to Santa to help her overworked mother. Interested? Purchase it from Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, iTunes, or Vudu, and enjoy!
4. Mickey’s Christmas Carol
Disney+ is where you’ll find this delightful ’80s gem right now. Originally shown on television as part of a Disney-themed special in 1983 and for several years after that, this animated version of the classic Dickens’ tale has Mickey as the under-appreciated Bob Cratchit and Scrooge McDuck as the crotchety miser Ebenezer Scrooge. Goofy is an equally welcome addition as Jacob Marley’s ghost. There are also appearances by other vintage Disney faves, including Donald and Daisy Duck and Jiminy Cricket.
5. Home Alone
Young Kevin McCallister’s parents and siblings head to the airport for a Christmas getaway only to discover one member of their brood is missing. Largely considered a fun Christmas-related throwback today, this 1990 blockbuster (which was once the highest-grossing live-action comedy movie of all time) is still fun to watch together as a family. A note of caution: the slap-sticky violence involving Kevin’s attempts to thwart home break-in efforts may be a bit much for younger kids, but nobody is seriously hurt. This one is also available for viewing on Disney+ now. You can also purchase it from the places already mentioned above.
Of course, there are many other family-friendly movies that can be just as enjoyable and binge-worthy during the holiday season. Sling TV, for instance, is where you’ll also find Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, which has Forest Whitaker getting his Christmas mojo back after receiving a visit from his granddaughter. Two Muppets-based holiday movies, Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa and It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, are also worth seeking out and watching.