12 Best Christmas Movies and Specials to Stream in 2022

We present the 12 best Christmas movies and specials to stream in 2022. The goal is to show the different facets of the Christmas experience. We even have some special gifts at the end of the list, you’ll see.

1. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

You’ve undoubtedly seen the clip of George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) running down the street shouting his regained appreciation for the shops in his town – and life in general. This Frank Capra’s 1946 more dramatic spin on a Twilight Zone-ish premise of “What would life be like if I were never born?” I must admit that watching the bad George Bailey portion is hard to take, but it makes the reborn George that much more sweeter.

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Trivia: Ranked as the #1 Most Inspirational Movie of All Time by the American Film Institute (2006). Link for more trivia: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038650/trivia

2. Scrooge: A Christmas Carol (1951) with Alistair Sim

Whether it’s an angel or a specter, Christmas seems to be rife with opportunities to rethink and rework our lives. This story of a mean miser that is led through the errors of his life and given another chance has been done a number of time, but this is my favorite. Alistair Sims is as mean as they come, an as contrite as a man should be after given a second chance. Yes, I may get a bit misty-eyed when I watch it. It must be the dust in the air…

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Trivia: Right after Scrooge is told that Marley is dying, he is seen in his office through the windowed door with the words “Mr. E. Scrooge” written on it. A molding casts a vertical shadow on the wall that lines up with the “S” in “Scrooge”, giving the impression of a dollar sign. Link for more trivia: https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0044008/trivia/?ref_=tt_ql_trv

3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Clark Griswold is the archetypal father that wants every vacation and holiday to be perfect, but alas it rarely is – especially for the Griswold family. All the hilarious Christmas comedy tropes are here and so is a who’s who of fantastic cameos by fantastic actors. If you’ve ever been stressed out by the holidays and wanted to take it out on the Christmas lawn decorations, then this movie is for you.

12 Best Christmas Movies and Specials to Stream in 2022

Christmas Vacation (1989)

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Trivia: When Clark is in bed, trying to read People Magazine with sticky fingers from the tree sap, the person shown on the cover of the magazine is director Jeremiah S. Chechik. Link for more trivia: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097958/trivia/

4. Home Alone (1990)

What if a family took a family vacation and there were so many people, you left one of the children ‘home alone’? That’s the premise of this Christmas classic. You will need a healthy dose of ‘suspension of disbelief’ with this one, but it’s still hilarious. Now kids, don’t try any of these booby traps for real, ok?

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Trivia: The pages on the Playboy Magazine Kevin looks through were taped together so young Macaulay Culkin wouldn’t see any nudity. The cover was from the July 1989 issue. Link for more trivia: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099785/trivia/

5. The Santa Clause (1994)

We have another Twilight Zone-y story about the process of choosing a new Santa Clause. Tim Allen struggles (like other Joseph Campbell’s heroes (Ahem, Luke Skywalker, etc.)) to accept his new-found calling and how it affects everything in his life – and his scale. It was a fun look at all the inter-workings of the South Pole before, during and after Christmas.

Trivia: Tim Allen has a criminal record, and Disney has a strict no hiring of ex-cons policy. An exception was made in this case. Link for more trivia: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111070/trivia/

12 Best Christmas Movies and Specials to Stream in 2022


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6. Elf (2003)

As you grow older and :cough: learn the truth about Christmas :cough:, you tend to become more cynical about it all. Elf is a great antidote for that cynicism. Will Ferrell plays an elf that still has the child-like Christmas wonder as he leaves the South Pole to find and reconnect with his cynical father, played brilliantly by James Caan. So many great scenes and cameos by great actor, including Game of Thrones, Peter Dinklage.

Trivia: In the feature film, Elf (2003), the North Pole depicted, and the elf costumes for Buddy (played by Will Ferrell) and the other elves, were modeled after the clothes the elves wear in this production. Furthermore the character of Leon the Snowman bears a strong resemblance to Burl Ives’ Sam Snowman, despite being a caricature of Leon Redbone. Link for more trivia: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058536/trivia/

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7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

I’ll bet this was the first Christmas special I ever saw as a kid. It tapped into the struggles we all went through as kids: Not fitting in, that time someone said we were cute, the pressure to excel at something, facing our fears, and learning that some of us want to be dentists. This special had funny parts, sad parts and scary parts – all narrated by the wonderful Snow Man, Burl Ives.

Trivia: The actor who voiced Comet is often mistaken for Don Adams. It’s actually Paul Kligman doing a Don Adams impersonation. Link for more trivia: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058536/trivia/

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8. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

This is probably the only Christmas special that atheists and church folk can agree on. This was the first Peanuts special ever made, and what a way to make an entrance. So many memorable scenes: Charlie Brown’s pitifully small Christmas tree, the peanuts gang dancing, and of course, the Christmas play.

Trivia: This special broke many of the rules prevalent for animated holiday specials during the 1960s: it didn’t make use of a laugh track; real children were used for the character voices instead of adult actors imitating children’s voices; and Biblical references were used to illustrate the true meaning of Christmas. Link for more trivia: https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0059026/trivia/?ref_=tt_ql_trv

12 Best Christmas Movies and Specials to Stream in 2022

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

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9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

A spirit brother of Scrooge, for sure – we present Dr. Seuss’s, Grinch. This green, grumpy miser traverses through his redemption arc without the guidance of the 3 spirits, but still made it to the finish line as a new, reborn Grinch.

Trivia: Dr. Seuss disputed casting Boris Karloff for fear that he would make the Grinch too scary. Link for more trivia: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060345/trivia/

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10. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Tim Burton, the patron saint director for characters that don’t really ‘fit in’, crafted a witty movie mashup of Halloween and Christmas. It would be in the realm of possibility that Mr. Burton had seen the ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ as possible inspiration. It is refreshing to see a creepy character come at Christmas from a different point of view than we are used to.

Trivia: This is the first stop-motion animated film to be rated PG by the MPAA. Link to more trivia: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107688/trivia/

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Extra Gift! Haunted Mansion Holiday Ride Thru

11. Die Hard (1988)

This movie choice may cause some lively discussions around the Christmas tree, but some believe that this action flick starring Bruce Willis from 1988 is a Christmas movie. However, as you can guess, there are those that strongly disagree with that assessment. You may debate that amongst yourselves – with or without Eggnog being imbibed.

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12. Star Wars: A New Hope

This might be a long shot, and it might not be for all, but some families have started a tradition to watch this space opera classic from 1977 during Christmas. George Lucas baked in Joseph Campbell’s ‘Hero’s Journey’ storytelling points into this good vs evil action extravaganza. You might want to do some research on Joseph’s Campbell’s writing (paid link) (to get the deeper meaning of Star Wars : A New Hope that you may have missed upon your initial viewing).

Trivia: James Earl Jones and David Prowse, who play the voice and body of Darth Vader respectively, never met. Link for more trivia: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076759/trivia/

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So, what did you think of the list of the 12 best Christmas movies and specials to stream in 2022? Where any of your favorites missed? What were they?


12 Best Christmas Movies and Specials to stream in 2022

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