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Top 20 Streaming Holiday Movies to Watch in 2023 (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+)

As the holiday season unfolds, the cherished tradition of streaming holiday movies becomes a highlight of festive celebrations. This year, embrace the joy of cozy evenings with a collection of films that spans genres and generations, available at your fingertips.  

Our curated list brings together the best of holiday cinema, from heartwarming classics to contemporary favorites, all accessible through major streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.  

Whether you’re in the mood for the whimsical charm of “Elf” or the thrilling action of “Die Hard”, there’s a movie for every taste and occasion. Our guide covers choices across these streaming giants. This way, your holiday movie nights are as magical as the holiday season. 

1. Elf (2003)

Available on: Hulu, Max, Amazon Prime Video 

Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy 

Starring: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen 

Imagine growing up at the North Pole, thinking you’re an elf, only to discover you’re actually human! This is the whimsical tale of “Elf” (2003), a heartwarming and hilarious journey that begins in the enchanting world of Santa’s workshop and winds its way to the bustling streets of New York City. 

Buddy (Will Ferrell), a man raised by elves at the North Pole, is at the heart of this festive comedy. Towering over his pint-sized family, Buddy’s enthusiasm and elf-like antics are a constant source of comedy. But beneath the chuckles lies a touching story of self-discovery. Buddy’s journey begins when he learns about his origins and sets off to find his biological father, Walter Hobbs (James Caan), a pragmatic businessman with a serious shortage of holiday cheer. 

“Elf” is a delightful holiday romp that combines slapstick humor with a heartwarming message about family, identity, and the true meaning of Christmas. Will Ferrell shines in one of his most iconic roles, infusing Buddy with an irresistible blend of innocence and zany humor. 

2. Die Hard (1988)

Available on: Hulu 

Rating: R 

Genre: Action, Thriller 

Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia 

“Die Hard” is a thrilling blend of action and holiday spirit, set on Christmas Eve in Los Angeles. NYPD cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) finds himself in a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse when terrorists, led by the charismatic Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), take over the Nakatomi Plaza where his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) is attending a party. 

McClane, an everyman hero with a sharp wit, is forced to navigate this perilous situation alone. His resilience and resourcefulness shine as he battles against overwhelming odds. The film brilliantly juxtaposes intense action with human vulnerability, making McClane a relatable and enduring character in cinema history. 

Alan Rickman’s portrayal of Gruber stands out as one of the most memorable villains, adding depth and sophistication to the thrilling narrative. “Die Hard” is a story of redemption and the triumph of the human spirit. Its clever script, iconic one-liners, and well-developed characters make ‘Die Hard’ a timeless classic among streaming holiday movies.

3. Candy Cane Lane (2023)

Source: Amazon

Available on: Amazon Prime Video 

Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy 

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jillian Bell, Nick Offerman, Chris Redd, Robin Thede 

Chris Carver (Eddie Murphy) is determined to win the annual home decoration contest in the heart of a neighborhood known for its dazzling Christmas decorations. His quest leads him to make a deal with Pepper (Jillian Bell), a mischievous elf with a knack for chaos. But Chris gets more than he bargained for when Pepper’s magic spell brings the 12 Days of Christmas to life, turning his festive dream into a wild, whimsical nightmare. 

“Candy Cane Lane” promises a festive treat filled with humor, heart, and a dash of holiday magic. It’s a story about family, community, and the unexpected consequences of getting what you wish for.  

4. The Princess Switch (2018)

streaming holiday movies

Source: Netflix

Available on: Netflix 

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Family 

Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Palladio, Nick Sagar 

“The Princess Switch” is a festive romantic comedy that charmingly reimagines the classic tale of mistaken identity. Vanessa Hudgens stars in a delightful dual role, playing both Stacy, a talented baker, and Lady Margaret, a duchess yearning for a taste of everyday life.  

Set against the magical backdrop of the Kingdom of Belgravia, Stacy finds herself in a prestigious baking competition. Her life takes an unexpected turn when she meets her lookalike, Lady Margaret. They switch lives for two days, leading to heartwarming and humorous misadventures.  

As Stacy navigates royal life and Margaret explores the joys of a simpler existence, they find unexpected love and discover new facets of themselves. This enchanting film blends humor, romance, and holiday spirit, making it a perfect watch for those who love feel-good Christmas stories. 

5. The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022)

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Available on: Disney+ 

Genre: Superhero, Comedy 

Starring: Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker, Kevin Bacon 

For fans of the Marvel universe, our selection of streaming holiday movies includes “The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special”. It brings a festive twist to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Guardians, now the proud owners of Knowhere, are preparing to celebrate Christmas. However, Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), is feeling down, missing Gamora. To lift his spirits, Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Drax (Dave Bautista) embark on a mission to Earth to fetch Quill’s childhood hero, Kevin Bacon – playing a fictionalized version of himself. 

Their quest leads them through the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, resulting in hilarious encounters and a few unexpected twists. The special shines with its signature Guardians humor and a soundtrack that perfectly complements the festive mood. 

“The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special” is a perfect watch for fans looking to indulge in some holiday spirit with a Marvel twist. With its engaging performances, clever writing, and a heartwarming conclusion, this special is a festive gem that celebrates the joy of the season in true Guardians style. 

6. A Charlie Brown Christmas

Available on: Apple TV+

Genre: Animation, Family 

Starring: Voices of Peter Robbins, Christopher Shea, Kathy Steinberg, Tracy Stratford, Bill Melendez 

A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965) is a timeless classic that captures the essence of Christmas through the eyes of the beloved Peanuts gang. The story unfolds with Charlie Brown (Peter Robbins), feeling downcast despite the festive season’s arrival. His melancholy leads him to Lucy’s (Tracy Stratford) psychiatric booth, where she suggests he direct the neighborhood Christmas play. This task, however, only deepens his frustration, especially when his peers mock his choice of a humble, sparse Christmas tree. 

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” resonates with audiences across generations. Its message about the commercialization of Christmas and the rediscovery of its true meaning remains relevant. The special’s charming animation, memorable soundtrack, and sincere storytelling make it an enduring favorite, encapsulating the joy and warmth of the Christmas spirit. 

7. Love Actually (2003)
Love Actually

Available on: Netflix 

Genre: Romantic Comedy 

Starring: Hugh Grant, Martine McCutcheon, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy 

“Love Actually,” a romantic comedy that intertwines nine distinct love stories, is a heartwarming exploration of the complexities and joys of love during the Christmas season. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, this film directed by Richard Curtis remains a beloved holiday classic. 

Each story arc in “Love Actually” offers a unique perspective on love, be it unrequited, blossoming, or complicated by life’s challenges. The film masterfully balances humor and heartache, showcasing the highs and lows of love.  

The ensemble cast delivers performances that resonate with authenticity and emotion, making each character’s journey compelling and relatable. The London backdrop, combined with a festive atmosphere, adds to the film’s allure. 

8. A Christmas Carol (2009)

A Christmas Carol (2009)

Available on: Disney+ 

Genre: Animated, Family, Drama 

Starring: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth 

“A Christmas Carol” (2009), a visually stunning animated adaptation of Charles Dickens’ timeless classic, brings to life the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey), a miser whose cold heart is thawed by a series of ghostly interventions on Christmas Eve. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, this version stays true to the original story’s spirit while adding a modern twist with its groundbreaking animation and Jim Carrey’s multifaceted performance. 

On Christmas Eve in 1843 London, Scrooge, a grumpy old miser, dismisses the festive cheer around him. His life takes an unexpected turn when he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley (Gary Oldman), and three spirits – the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, all portrayed by Carrey. These spectral guides take Scrooge on a transformative journey through his bitter past, joyous present, and ominous future, revealing the consequences of his unkind ways. 

While the movie remains faithful to the novel’s darker elements, making it a bit intense for younger viewers, it ultimately delivers a powerful message of hope and humanity.  

9. The Naughty Nine (2023)

streaming holiday movies

Source: Disney+

Available on: Disney+ 

Genre: Family, Comedy, Adventure 

Starring: Danny Glover, Winslow Fegley, Camila Rodriguez 

“The Naughty Nine” is a whimsical holiday heist film that combines the charm of a Christmas story with the thrill of an adventure. 

The story revolves around Andy (Winslow Fegley), a clever fifth grader who finds himself at the top of Santa’s naughty list. Feeling wronged and present-less on Christmas morning, Andy decides to take matters into his own hands. He assembles a team of eight other kids, all notorious for their naughty list status, and plans an audacious heist in the heart of Santa’s Village at the North Pole. Their mission? To claim the Christmas presents they believe they deserve. 

Despite its tween-centric approach and a large ensemble cast that sometimes struggles for individual spotlight, the film’s heart lies in its message. Throughout their adventure, Andy and his team learn valuable lessons about teamwork, the spirit of giving, and the true meaning of Christmas. 

10. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Available on: Amazon Prime Video 

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Family 

Starring: James Stewart, Henry Travers 

“It’s a Wonderful Life,” a timeless holiday classic directed by Frank Capra, is a heartwarming tale of hope, redemption, and the profound impact one life can have on others.  

The story unfolds in the quaint town of Bedford Falls, where George Bailey (James Stewart), a compassionate yet frustrated businessman, faces a dire crisis. On Christmas Eve, overwhelmed by despair, George contemplates ending his life. At this pivotal moment, Clarence (Henry Travers), an angel seeking to earn his wings, descends from Heaven. Clarence’s mission is to show George the incredible value of his existence. 

Through a magical journey, George gets the extraordinary chance to see what the world would have been like if he had never been born. This eye-opening experience reveals the countless lives he has touched, the differences he has made, and the love he has spread.  

This holiday classic is a tribute to our unseen but significant influence on each other’s lives. Its enduring appeal lies in its ability to resonate with audiences across generations, reminding us that, indeed, it is a wonderful life. 

11. 8-Bit Christmas (2021)

8-bit Christmas

Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Available on: Max 

Genre: Comedy, Family 

Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Winslow Fegley, June Diane Raphael, Steve Zahn 

“8-Bit Christmas” is a heartwarming and humorous dive into the nostalgia of the late 1980s, particularly resonating with those who have a soft spot for the early days of video gaming. This family comedy stars Neil Patrick Harris as adult Jake Doyle, who recounts to his daughter the epic quest of his ten-year-old self (Winslow Fegley) to secure the ultimate Christmas gift: a Nintendo Entertainment System. 

Set in suburban Chicago, the story unfolds through Jake’s vivid recollections of his childhood adventures and misadventures. The film captures the essence of a time when video games were a burgeoning phenomenon, making it a particularly appealing watch for gamers and those who remember the era fondly. The narrative is filled with humor, childhood schemes, and a touch of holiday magic, as young Jake navigates challenges and learns valuable lessons along the way. 

12. The Night Before (2015)

The Night Before

Source: NY Post

Available on: Amazon Prime Video 

Genre: Comedy, Stoner Film 

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie  

The Night Before” is a 2015 American Christmas comedy that blends the spirit of the holidays with a raucous stoner vibe. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and Anthony Mackie as a trio of childhood friends who embark on a wild Christmas Eve adventure in New York City. Their quest? To find the legendary Nutcracker Ball, the Holy Grail of Christmas parties. 

The story revolves around the trio’s longstanding holiday tradition and how they deal with the changes in their lives as they grow older. Each character faces his own set of challenges and fears, which are humorously portrayed against the backdrop of festive New York. 

Filled with laugh-out-loud moments, a touch of holiday spirit, and the usual antics expected from a stoner comedy, “The Night Before” is a unique blend of humor and heart. It’s a story about friendship, the passage of time, and making the most of every moment, especially during the holiday season.  

13. A Christmas Story (1983)

Available on: Amazon Prime Video 

Genre: Comedy, Family 

Starring: Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Peter Billingsley 

“A Christmas Story” is a cherished American Christmas comedy film directed by Bob Clark, based on Jean Shepherd’s semi-fictional anecdotes. Set in the 1940s, it captures the essence of a nostalgic, mid-century American Christmas through the eyes of a young boy, Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley). Ralphie’s singular Christmas wish is to receive a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle, a gift met with skepticism and the repeated warning, “You’ll shoot your eye out.” 

“A Christmas Story” has become a holiday classic, celebrated for its witty script, relatable characters, and the portrayal of an era gone by. It resonates with audiences for its depiction of the innocence and earnestness of childhood and the simple yet profound joys of family life. The film’s legacy is evident in its annual marathon airing, making it a staple of holiday viewing and a delightful journey into the magic of Christmas through a child’s eyes. 

14. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

muppet christmas carol - streaming holiday movies

Source: Hyperallergic

Available on: Disney+ 

Genre: Musical, Comedy, Family, Christmas 

Starring: Michael Caine, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz 

“The Muppet Christmas Carol” is a delightful and unique adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale, brought to life with the charm and wit of the Muppets. Directed by Brian Henson, this film marks a special entry in the Muppet franchise, blending the timeless story of “A Christmas Carol” with the humor and heart of the Muppets. 

The film is known for its catchy musical numbers, heartwarming moments, and the exceptional performance of Michael Caine, who plays Scrooge with a perfect blend of gruffness and vulnerability. It’s a festive treat that has become a holiday staple, beloved for its creative storytelling, memorable songs, and the timeless message at its heart. Whether you’re a long-time fan of the Muppets or discovering them for the first time, this film is a delightful addition to your holiday viewing. 

15. Klaus (2019)

Klaus (2019)

Source: Netflix

Available on: Netflix 

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy 

Starring: Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, Will Sasso, Neda Margrethe Labba, Sergio Pablos, Norm Macdonald, Joan Cusack 

Set in a fictional 19th-century setting, “Klaus” revolves around Jesper Johansen, a spoiled and lazy postman, who is sent to the remote and feuding town of Smeerensburg. There, Jesper meets Klaus, a reclusive toymaker with a house full of toys. Their unlikely friendship leads to the creation of a new tradition of gift-giving that brings joy and unity to the town. 

“Klaus” received critical acclaim for its storytelling and animation, winning several awards and even earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature. With its beautiful animation, compelling characters, and heartwarming story, “Klaus” is a modern Christmas classic that is sure to become a staple in holiday movie watching. 

16. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Streaming holiday movies

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Available on: Amazon Prime Video  

Genre: Comedy 

Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid 

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is a beloved holiday comedy that has become a staple of the Christmas movie genre. Set in the Chicago area, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) is determined to have a memorable Christmas with his family. His plans include extravagant house decorations and a traditional family gathering. However, things start to go awry with the arrival of various family members, including Clark’s eccentric cousin-in-law, Eddie (Randy Quaid). 

Since its release, “Christmas Vacation” has gained a cult following and is considered a classic in the holiday movie genre. Its portrayal of the highs and lows of family holidays resonates with audiences, making it a film that many return to year after year. The film’s mix of humor and heart, along with its portrayal of the holiday spirit, continues to bring laughter and joy to viewers. 

17. The Polar Express

The Polar Express - streaming holiday movies

Source: Franklin Theatre

Available on: Max 

Genre: Animation, Family, Adventure 

Starring: Tom Hanks, Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett 

Embark on a magical train ride to the North Pole with “The Polar Express”, an animated adventure that brings a beloved children’s book to life.  

At the center of this wondrous tale is a young boy (Daryl Sabara), skeptical about the existence of Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, his doubts are challenged when a mysterious train, The Polar Express, stops at his house, inviting him on an extraordinary journey. Guided by the wise and charismatic Conductor (Tom Hanks), the boy embarks on an epic adventure that explores the depths of belief and the spirit of Christmas.  

The film’s blend of adventure, fantasy, and heartwarming moments, coupled with its memorable soundtrack, makes it a unique cinematic experience. It’s a story that invites viewers of all ages to believe in the magic of Christmas, making it a timeless holiday classic that resonates with the wonder and excitement of the season. 

18. Home Alone (1990)

Home Alone

Available on: Disney+ 

Genre: Comedy, Family 

Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern 

“Home Alone” is the quintessential holiday classic that combines humor, adventure, and a touch of heartwarming family sentiment. The story follows eight-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin), who is accidentally left behind when his family jets off to Paris for Christmas.  

Kevin initially relishes being home alone, but he must soon defend his house from two bumbling burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) in an array of inventive and hilarious ways. The film’s perfect blend of comedy and holiday warmth makes it an all-time favorite for viewers of all ages. 

19. The Holiday (2006)

The Holiday (2006)

Source: Can We Still Be Friends

Available on: Netflix 

Genre: Romance, Comedy 

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black 

“The Holiday” offers a charming take on holiday romance. This film interweaves the stories of two women, Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Iris (Kate Winslet), who swap homes for the holidays to escape their relationship issues.  

Amanda finds herself in a quaint English cottage, while Iris enjoys a luxurious L.A. mansion. Love unexpectedly finds them both, leading to heartwarming and humorous moments. The film’s picturesque settings and engaging storyline make it a delightful holiday treat. 

20. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)

streaming holiday movies

Source: Netflix

Available on: Netflix 

Genre: Musical, Family, Fantasy 

Starring: Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Madalen Mills 

“Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” is a vibrant and heartwarming musical that brings a fresh perspective to holiday storytelling. The film centers around Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker), a once-great toymaker whose fanciful inventions bring joy to all.  

However, when his apprentice (Keegan-Michael Key) betrays him, it’s up to his bright granddaughter (Madalen Mills) to reignite the magic. With its stunning visuals, catchy music, and a message of hope and resilience, “Jingle Jangle” is a delightful holiday spectacle for the whole family.

Streaming Holiday Movies with Race Communications

In conclusion, these best streaming holiday movies play a pivotal role in bringing the holiday spirit to life. From timeless classics to modern favorites, there’s a movie for every mood and preference. However, to fully enjoy this festive tradition, a reliable internet connection is essential. Don’t let buffering screens interrupt your holiday cheer.  

If you’re looking for uninterrupted streaming of your favorite holiday films, consider upgrading your internet to Race Communications’ fiber internet today. Place your order and get ready for a seamless holiday viewing experience.