There's nothing like gathering around the TV for the holidays, but in the age of cord cutting it is hard to know where to look for some of your favorites. Remembering to set your DVR to catch the holiday specials on TV can also be a stretch.

Merry viewing: A schedule of holiday specials you'll want to catch on TV this season

Think of this post like Rudolph's red nose, here to guide you to through the peppermint-scented fog to the gift of holiday movies. Some of these movies are free with Amazon Prime or on Netflix, others might cost you a few bucks to rent on Amazon or iTunes. 

But first, a note: There are a lot of Christmas movies — a disproportionate amount really compared to other holidays celebrated in December. So if you've got some Hanukkah or Kwanzaa suggestions, tweet me @hwise29. I really would love to watch more. 

With that, strap on your footie pajamas, pour yourself a warm beverage and get ready to Netflix and chill — holiday style.

White Christmas

This 1954 classic starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen is the perfect start to December. Crosby and Kaye play two ex-GIs who are a song-and-dance duo who are partnered with Clooney and Vera-Ellen to perform a Christmas show at a Vermont lodge. 

Watch it on: Netflix

An American Tail

Appropriate for the first night of Hanukkah (pssst Dec. 6) is An American Tail, the story of Fievel Mousekewitz (Phillip Glasser) and his family's emigration to the United States from Russia. Mousekewitz's father tells him during their last Hanukkah in Russia that America is a land with no cats. The trouble comes after they arrive and Mousekewitz is separated from his family and has to navigate the mean streets of New York to find them again. 

Watch it on: Amazon Prime

Love Actually

Invite Hugh Grant into your home this month with the classic holiday romance movie Love Actually. The 2003 movie follows eight couples in London as they try to navigate their complicated modern relationships in the holiday season. Will they find love, actually? After 136 minutes, hopefully you'll know. 

Watch it on: Netflix

A Muppet Christmas Carol

It wouldn't be the holidays without a screen adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic novella A Christmas Carol. The Muppets made one of the best versions in 1992. Don't let Kermit, Piggy and Gonzo call you Mr. Humbug, invite them in for a space in front of the fire this December.

Watch it on: Amazon Prime, rent for $3.99 or buy for $17.99.

Frosty the Snowman

Don't be fooled by the Frosty the Snowman on Netflix — it is a 2005 version that I refuse to dignify with watching. You want the OG Frosty from from 1969. The best way to view it is in a package deal with Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Little Drummer Boy  

Watch it on: iTunes, buy all three for $19.99

The Nightmare Before Christmas

If you're not a big fan of Santa then Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas is the best pick for you. Jack Skellington might be able to help you find some holiday cheer, or at least help you keep imagining it is Halloween. Find a nice costume and settle in for this ghoulish holiday flick.  

Watch it on: Netflix

The Black Candle

This documentary, narrated by Maya Angelou, celebrates the stories of African-American families, communities and culture through the seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity; self-determination; collective work and responsibility; cooperative economics; purpose; creativity and faith. The documentary explores the holiday from its earliest celebrations in the 1960s as part of the Black Power Movement to present-day celebrations around the world.

Watch it on: Youtube


Don't bring the popcorn with you if you're watching Gremlins after midnight staying up for Santa to arrive or you could be asking for a lot more than a BB Gun. The 1984 holiday horror comedy is perfect for those not particularly in the holiday spirit. Just don't get them wet.

Watch it on: Amazon Prime


Smiling is my favorite when I watch Will Ferrell in Elf. Who doesn't love watching a man in tights and a tiny green hat try to run around New York City in the winter. Tiny work desks at the North Pole? Yes, please. A story about loving your family? Give me more warm feelings! Seriously, there is a reason this show is on what seems like once a week after Thanksgiving until New Years. 

Watch it on: Amazon Prime, rent for $3.99 or buy for $12.99.

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