HBO is now probably best known as the place where “prestige TV” was born, but it started out as a place for movie fans to watch new movies from the comfort of their couch. The letters HBO stand for “Home Box Office.”
Since a big part of Warner Bros’s back catalog is on HBO Max, it’s no surprise that the streaming service has a lot of classic holiday movies. Here’s a list of all the best Christmas movies you can watch on HBO Max this December, so you can get cozy and watch them.
This Will Ferrell comedy is just as popular as it was when it came out 20 years ago. In fact, it’s always been one of America’s favorite holiday movies. Buddy is a human who was raised by elves and is played by Will Ferrell.
After feeling like he didn’t belong all his life, he goes on a crazy trip to New York City to find his biological father.
The Polar Express (2004)
This animated adventure is fun for both kids and grown-ups. On Christmas Eve, a young boy (played by Tom Hanks) looks out his bedroom window and sees a strange train going by. He decides to get on board.
Soon, he finds out that he is about to go on a very special trip. The Polar Express is going to the North Pole, which is also known as Santa Claus’s home.
A Christmas Carol (1938)
Charles Dickens’s 1943 book about a cheapskate who gets what’s coming to him is one of the most adapted books of all time. However, you may not have seen the 1938 version, which you can now stream.
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Alastair Sim, a Scottish character actor, plays Ebenezer Scrooge, a mean man who has to change his ways after being visited by three increasingly evil ghosts on Christmas Eve who show him his past, present, and bleak future.
The Holiday (2006)
Iris (Kate Winslet), who just broke up with her boyfriend right before Christmas, makes plans to trade her English cottage for Amanda (Cameron Diaz), who also just broke up with her boyfriend.
Both women find love in the places they move to, and Jude Law and Jack Black play their British and American love interests, respectively.
Jack Frost (1998)
Like a lot of beloved children’s movies, Jack Frost is both sweet and sad. It’s about a young boy who loses his father in a sudden accident (Michael Keaton).
But it’s a lot harder for him to get over his loss when his dad comes back from the dead… as a snowman.
Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
It’s a Wonderful Life isn’t the only classic holiday movie in black and white that you should think about. In this old romantic comedy, Barbara Stanwyck plays a single writer for a magazine who has found success by writing a column about a made-up life as a farmer’s wife.
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When she has to keep up the act at a dinner party, the evening turns out to be a lot of fun.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Even though it is a nostalgic MGM classic, the plot of this movie is not really about Christmas. But it’s one of the shows that always comes on during the holidays, so it’s an important part of the season for a lot of people.
Dorothy (Judy Garland) is whisked away from her Kansas farm and taken to the magical land of Oz, where she is joined only by her loyal dog, Toto.
A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (2011)
In this happy third book in the H&K series, everyone’s favorite stoner couple gets back together after a long time apart. Harold’s (John Cho) scary father-in-law gives him a Christmas tree to take care of, but he and Kumar (Kal Penn) destroy it by accident.
This sends them on a mad dash across New York City on Christmas Eve to find a new tree.
Even though it came out in the summer of 1984, this cheesy family classic is definitely a Christmas movie. It also has a lot of references to It’s a Wonderful Life, another classic Christmas movie.
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Gremlins are about a young man whose father gives him a mysterious creature called a “mogwai” as a gift. Unfortunately, he breaks the three most important rules about owning a mogwai and brings Christmas chaos to his quiet town.
Four Christmases (2008)
In this holiday rom-com, Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn play a couple whose dream Christmas becomes a nightmare when they have to cancel their vacation plans.
Instead of the tropical vacation they had planned, they end up having to go to all four of their divorced parents’ houses on Christmas Day, which leads to all kinds of dysfunctional family shenanigans.
A Christmas Story Christmas (2022)
Fans of A Christmas Story, which came out in 1983, have been waiting almost 40 years for this long-promised sequel, which finally came out last month. The movie is set 33 years after the events of the first one, and Peter Billingsley plays Ralphie Parker again.
Now that Ralphie is an adult, he goes back to the house where he grew up to give his own kids a Christmas that is just as magical as the one he had. If you need a refresher on the first one before going back to it, don’t worry—you can also stream that one.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
This classic is based on a short story that ran in the Christmas 1980 issue of National Lampoon.
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Chevy Chase plays a good-hearted father who wants to give his kids the best Christmas ever, but his plans go awry when his crazy relatives show up.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Jim Carrey plays the Grinch in this live-action version of the well-known Dr. Seuss story. The Grinch is a lonely and angry creature who lives on a remote mountaintop.
During the Christmas season, he comes down from his home to try to ruin Christmas for as many people as he can. But when he starts making friends for the first time in his life, he starts to have second thoughts.
Arthur Christmas (2011)
This heartwarming underdog story is about Arthur, Santa Claus’s awkward but nice son, who saves the day when he finds out that a little girl’s Christmas present has been lost.
It’s the British cast, from Jim Broadbent as Santa to Hugh Laurie as Arthur’s cynical older brother to Imelda Staunton as Mrs. Claus, that really makes this a classic.
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