If your favorite way to celebrate the holidays is to cozy up on the couch watching your favorite Christmas movies, you are in the right place!
As I was doing some research, I noticed that movie-makers use Christmas as the perfect setting for the most cheesy rom coms ever written. However, because it’s around the time of the Holidays (with a capital H), Hollywood producers can pass anything as treasured. And that’s not always true.
I know my nine-year-old and eleven-year-old sons would rather hide under their beds then watch another “kissy” movie. And to tell you the truth, while I appreciate a cheesy romantic comedy, most days I would probably join them.
We gathered our favorite 20 family-friendly streaming entertainment options–movies or holiday-themed shows–and which app is hosting them this holiday season. When it comes to choosing your favorite app, there are three things to consider. Click here if you are looking for suggestions.
For more holiday happenings, check our 2019 Christmas & Holiday Guide. It’s chock full of Santa sightings, festivals, theater and musical performances, Christmas lights displays, and Christmas shopping tips.
Holiday TV Seasons
Some of our favorite shows are cooking shows. Each person in our family invests in a baker or a cook on these shows. And some of our favorite shows produce special Christmas competitions. Our top two are listed below.
The Great British Baking Show: Holidays: Season 2 (Netflix)
The original show, hosted by Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding (who are hilarious!), features at-home, amateur bakers from around the UK competing through three rounds of baking challenges. After each round they are judged by Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith (for the most recent seasons, Mary Berry in the early ones). At the end of the show, one baker is eliminated and by the end of the season, a champion is named. In the Holidays special, our favorite bakers return and bake around a holiday theme and the season is drastically abbreviated as each episode in has a different slew of bakers and a different champion of the Holiday Bake is named for each.
Sugar Rush Christmas (Netflix)
Sugar Rush, the original series, features bakers of all varieties from around the baking world (but mostly the USA). Again there are three rounds, but in a twist, the bakers can bank time for the consecutive rounds. So they make spectacular desserts and confections as fast as they can so that they can get as much time as possible in the final cake round. At the end of each episode, the ultimate Sugar Rush Champion is crowned. In the Christmas special, expect the same with a holiday twist.
Classic Christmas Movies
It’s A Wonderful Life (Amazon Prime Video)
Go on a life-saving journey with George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) and the angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers). If this movie isn’t already a holiday tradition at your home, now’s the time to make it one.
The Miracle on 34th St (Amazon Prime Video)
Does Santa Claus really exist? You better believe he does and he’s in Macy’s on 34th Street. Watch the 1947 classic movie this year ,and you won’t be disappointed.
Holiday Inn (Amazon Prime Video)
Open during the holidays only, two men Ted and Jim–played by Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby–try to win the heart of Linda. It’s a classic rom com, but it’s worth it.
Holiday Classic Christmas Cartoons (Amazon Prime Video)
For an hour enjoy eight classic Christmas cartoons including Somewhere In Dreamland, Santa’s Surprise, Hector’s Hectic Life, Snow Foolin, Jack Frost, Christmas Comes But Once A Year, The Night Before Christmas, The Shanty Where Santy Lives
The Grinch (Netflix)
This 2018 Illumination animated feature film can be enjoyed this holiday season from the comfort of your home. Watch this grumpy Christmas Cynic melt as Dr. Seuss’s Grinch comes to life on your TV.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Netflix)
If you are looking for another version of this classic Dr. Seuss tale, Netflix has the classic Jim Carrey version (2000) as well to enjoy. This one is a little bit darker, but it’s still the story you know and love.
White Christmas (Netflix)
A Bing Crosby and Danny Kay classic. Bob Wallace and Phil Davis were in the army together during WWII, and from then on, they join forces and become successful entertainment producers. They get themselves into a few pickles, but their songs, dances, and relationships ultimately save the day. This is personally my favorite Christmas movie. I watched it dozens of times during my childhood alone. And now I can’t get through a Christmas without singing, “Sisters….sisters…there were never such devoted sisters.”
A Very Brady Christmas (Hulu)
The Brady kids are all grown up and if they want to spend Christmas together, they are going to have to do some quick thinking and scheming to bring them all together. It’s the cheesy Brady Bunch that we all know (in some way or another) and love.
The Polar Express (Hulu)
Based on the classic picture book by Chris Van Allsburg, this story with no words on the printed page is seriously compelling on screen (with minimal dialogue and narration). The artwork and animation are beautiful. Extremely beautiful and the story takes you for a fantastical ride on the Polar Express.
A Muppet Christmas Carol (Disney+)
Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and Bob Crachit bring you the most classic Christmas story of them all (notwithstanding the Nativity story) with the spin that only the Muppets can bring. If you have never introduced your kids to the muppets, now’s the time.
The Santa Clause (Disney+)
What happens when Santa is no longer with us? There’s a clause, a santa clause. Learn all about it in this 1994 classic.
Santa Clause 2 (Disney+)
What happens when Santa needs a wife?
Santa Clause 3 (Disney+)
There’s trouble at the North Pole!
Releases November 12, 2019
It’s another “We’ve Gotta Save Christmas” movie but with an incredible twist. Anna Kendrick is one of my favorite musical actresses. She’s perky and sassy with the just right amount of sweetness and snark. I’m super excited for this Christmas movie that will be streaming on Disney+.
Releases November 15, 2019
When Jesper (Jason Schwartzman) distinguishes himself as the postal academy’s worst student, he is stationed on a frozen island above the Arctic Circle, where the feuding locals hardly exchange words let alone letters. Jesper is about to give up when he finds an ally in local teacher Alva (Rashida Jones), and discovers Klaus (Oscar® winner J.K. Simmons), a mysterious carpenter who lives alone in a cabin full of handmade toys.
-Netflix Press Release
This is the Christmas movie I’m most excited for. It looks a little exciting and a sweet twist on the Santa Claus story.
The Christmas Chronicles (Netflix)
Last year, my kids forced me to watch this movie. I wasn’t so sure I was ready for a Kurt Russell Santa, but I was surprised how delightful it was. We all enjoyed the unexpected movie about a grumpy old Santa who gets thrown in jail and does a fair impression of Elvis Presley.
The Man Who Invented Christmas (Amazon Prime Video)
I have not seen this movie yet, but it makes me super excited! This is definitely a show to enjoy with your older kids.
If you are trying to determine which streaming app to use, here are a few tips in making that decision. Our family currently has subscriptions to Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. We subscribed to Netflix when our kids were tiny and haven’t regretted it since. We also have a Prime membership for our family’s basic shopping needs, so we take advantage of the use of Prime Video. We don’t have Prime FOR the streaming, but it is certainly a nice perk. As for Disney, it’s the least expensive and there are so many shows and movies on that service. I’m so tempted to subscribe.
- Entertainment included: Beyond the holiday season, do you enjoy the shows and movies that are offered? As a homeschooling mama, we really do take advantage of what there is at our fingertips with documentaries and docuseries. Are there shows that we cannot live without? Which service includes those?
- Price: This is always a factor. Disney’s monthly rate is $7/month. That’s fabulous but only if you are planning on using it. If you don’t use it, then it’s $7 you are throwing away.
$5.99/month: Hulu (you can add on packages for up to $44.99)
$7/month: Disney (launches November 12th)
$12.99/month: Amazon Prime
- Overall worth of service: Like I said with Amazon Prime Video, we view it as a bonus. Do we plan on getting rid of Amazon Prime? Not likely, so we will continue to use their streaming service as a perk.
Family Fun Twin Cities has an affiliate relationship with Amazon.
We receive a small commission on sales if you sign up for Prime or
purchase other products with our links.