Thanksgiving’s over. Chanukah is under way. The Christmas season is just beginning. And with it, the time of year to watch your favorite holiday movies. We’ve scoured the Internet far and wide to find some of the best holiday entertainments — places you can watch classic Christmas movies either for free, or for the minimal cost of a subscription (Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime) that you’re probably already paying anyway.
Here are some of our favorites:
• Charles Dickens’ The Christmas Carol
Lots of Dickens to be found all over the web. We like this version, from TV’s earliest days, because it clocks in at 25 minutes and features Vincent Price on narration.
• John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together
My wife’s family plays this album every Christmas. There are much worse traditions.
• It’s a Wonderful Life
You can pay to see this on other services, but (probably because of its complex copyright history) a full, high-quality version is always available on YouTube. Fun thing to realize in retrospect: There are a lot of sex jokes in this movie. Really.
• Miracle on 34th Street
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
• Love Actually
Not sure the rom-com genre ever recovered from this movie, which distilled all the elements of the romantic comedy to their purest forms. Also, Christmassy, and if you know somebody who loves it, you know … they really love it.
• National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
This is the last time we ever found Chevy Chase remotely charming instead of angry and creepy.
This is the first time realized that Bill Murray might be able to pull off “soulful” and “snarky” and be successful.
• White Christmas
Love almost everything about this, except for the “Minstrel Show” set piece that stops juuuuuust short of going to some very racist places. (That it stops is why this movie remains beloved while Holiday Inn is somewhat more obscure.) Otherwise: Charming as hell.