Best HBO Max Christmas Movies: 8 festive classics for you this holiday season

The Polar Express, one of the Best HBO Max Christmas Movies
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Ready to sit down and discover the best HBO Max Christmas movies? You've come to the right place. 

Now, while HBO Max might be the king when it comes to prestige dramas like House of the Dragon and Euphoria, and has a fine selection of movies, it might not be the first place you think of for festive flicks. In fact, you're more likely to look for the best Christmas movies on Netflix and Disney Plus, as both go hard on the holiday season. But, you'd be wrong, because there's a fine selection of Christmas movies and we've rounded up eight of the best of them here. 

From all-time feel-good classics such as Elf and The Polar Express to newer hits like 2022's A Christmas Story Christmas, there's plenty to enjoy. So sit back and let us guide you through the best HBO Max Christmas movies. 

Dr Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas

How The Grinch Stole Christmas, one of the HBO Max Christmas movies

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

The Grinch, the most famous creation of beloved author Dr Seuss, has been played many times over the years, but perhaps best by Jim Carrey in 2000 for director Ron Howard. 

Carrey goes all in for the role, which follows the miserable Grinch as he plans to ruin Christmas for every resident of the magical town of Whoville by stealing all of their presents, decorations, and food while they are asleep. His plan is successful, but can you really kill the spirit of Christmas that easily?

It's silly, but big-hearted, wholesome and features Carrey at his zany best. Worth a watch this and every year. 

A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story, one of the Best HBO Max Christmas movies

(Image credit: HBO)

Since its first release in 1983, audiences have loved following the adventures of Ralphie Parker, a young upstart who attempts to convince his parents, teacher, and Santa Claus that a Red Ryder Range 200 Shot BB gun really is the perfect Christmas gift.

Starring Peter Billingsley as Ralphie, the movie is the slapstick precursor to Home Alone, and one of the most beloved Christmas movies to ever hit the big and small screen. 

In fact, it is so beloved, in 2022...

A Christmas Story Christmas

A Christmas Story Christmas, one of the best HBO Max Christmas movies

(Image credit: HBO)

A sequel was finally released, with Billingsley back to star and Vince Vaughn and Erin Hayes among the supporting cast. 

Set in December 1973, 33 years after the events of A Christmas Story, Parker returns to his childhood home, hoping to give his kids a magical Christmas like the one he had as a child. It does not go to plan, not in the slightest. 

While this lacks the magic of the original, it is still rather good fun. 

Arthur Christmas

Arthur Christmas, one of the Best HBO Max Christmas movies

(Image credit: Dreamworks)

A zany good-time animated adventure featuring the voices of James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton, and Ashley Jensen, Arthur Christmas follows the slightly hapless son of Santa Claus. 

Here we find ourselves on Christmas Eve and Arthur, who naturally wants to prove himself to his rather famous father, discovers that he's failed to deliver one girl's present. Accompanied by his rather reckless grandfather, an enthusiastic young Christmas elf, and a team of reindeer, he vows to deliver that present. It sounds simple enough, it does not prove to be. 

Good knockabout fun with a sprinkle of magic, this is a fine choice if you're in the mood. 

The Polar Express

The polar express, one of the Best HBO Max Christmas movies

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

After he cast away Tom Hanks to great success in 2000, director Robert Zemeckis reunited with the star to adapt the much-loved book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. 

At the time of production, this movie, which features human characters animated using live-action and motion-capture CGI animation, was the most expensive animated movie ever made. 

It tells the story of a young boy who, on Christmas Eve, is astounded to find a mysterious train bound for the North Pole outside his window. Invited aboard by its conductor, the boy and a merry band of others embark on a journey to visit Santa Claus as he prepares for Christmas. 

Visually stunning with a great turn by Hanks and some great song and dance sequences, this is a real festive favorite. 

Christmas In Connecticut

Cbristmas in Connecticut, one of the Best HBO Max Christmas movies

(Image credit: MGM)

A vintage pick and a movie first released in 1945, Christmas In Connecticut is a comedy caper. 

The movie stars Barbara Stanwyck as Elizabeth Lane, a single New Yorker who has made an excellent living pretending to live and cook on a rural Connecticut farm with her husband and baby. 

Her publisher, who is unaware of the scam, demands Elizabeth host a celebration for a friend of his,  Jefferson Jones, a returning war hero who read all of her recipes while recovering from life-threatening injuries and is so fond of them that his fiancé wrote a letter to the publisher begging for an audience. Facing a career-ending scandal, Elizabeth is forced to comply, and, in desperation, agrees to marry her friend John Sloan who has a farm in Connecticut.

Trouble is, when she meets Jefferson, sparks fly...

The Holiday

The Holiday, one of the Best HBO Max Christmas movies

(Image credit: Netflix)

Nancy Meyers has created some of Hollywood's most successful romantic comedies, hits like Father Of The Bride and What Women Want. In 2006, she turned her keen eye to the holiday season and crafted a movie that's been a yearly must-watch for millions. 

The movie stars Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz as Iris and Amanda, two young women unlucky in love in different ways, who arrange a home exchange to escape heartbreak during the holiday season. Iris heads to sunny California where she meets Jack Black's Miles, while Amanda heads off to the picturesque countryside in England, where is she introduced to Jude Law's Graham. 

Iris and Amanda's vacations, which had been designed to avoid the subject of love entirely, naturally turn out to be rather different. 

It's schmaltzy, but charming and well-scripted and it'll sweep you along just fine. 

Jack Frost

Jack Frost, one of the Best HBO Max Christmas movies

(Image credit: A-Pix Entertainment)

One of the odder festive selections out there and a movie that struggled to find a crowd at the box office, but remains a cult classic. 

Released in 1999, Jack Frost stars Michael Keaton as the titular character, a busy musician who finds himself often away from home. One day, as he prepares to leave for tour, he tells his son Charlie that if he plays a note on a magical harmonica, he will always be able to hear him. 

After Jack is tragically killed in a car accident, a heartbroken Charlie gives the instrument a toot. Subsequently, Jack is brought back to life in the form of a snowman. Together the pair set off on an almighty adventure...

It sounds weird, it is weird, but it's full of heart and humor. 

Tom Goodwyn
Freelance Entertainment Writer

Tom Goodwyn was formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor. He's now a freelancer writing about TV shows, documentaries and movies across streaming services, theaters and beyond. Based in East London, he loves nothing more than spending all day in a movie theater, well, he did before he had two small children…