The streaming wars make it difficult to find all your Christmas movies in one place. While I can't promise you a streaming service that's got the lot, I can whole heartedly recommend the one that I think has every filmic festive emotion covered, and then some. From black and white classics to modern day masterpieces, big blockbusters to life-affirming tear-jerkers, there's really only one choice as far as I'm concerned.
Stop frittering away what little remains of your hard-earned cash on subscriptions to Netflix, Prime Video, Paramount Plus and everything else for a month or two, at least. If all the gift buying has cleaned you out, then cancel the lot and just keep the one that's hands down the best streaming service for Christmas movies this year: Disney Plus.
Let's get the bad part out the way first. Disney Plus doesn't have Scrooged and it doesn't have How the Grinch Stole Christmas and these are two of my favorite Christmas movies. But I can live with that, and I think you can too. The first of those you can buy for next to nothing on Apple TV to watch and own forever. The second is free on Prime Video which you might still have while you're waiting for your Amazon Christmas shopping to arrive.
Those two aside, I think Disney Plus has one of the best and most comprehensive collections of Christmas-themed movies – and Christmas-adjacent content – compared to its VOD competitors.
That’s thanks to Disney scooping up some of the biggest studios such as 20th Century Studios, Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm, providing a huge breadth of Christmas catalogue to sit alongside its own decades-old library of festive crowd-pleasers. There's pretty much every age, emotion and genre covered, doubly so for those territories outside the US where Disney Plus membership includes the STAR hub with much of what you'd find on Hulu in the States.
So, in the UK and Europe, for example, you can also watch that most contentious of festive flicks, Die Hard, which is most definitely a Christmas movie, by the way. Yippee Ki-yay, Christmas lovers!
But even if you just take the company's core content, there's enough there to make Disney Plus the only choice for this time of year. There's something endemic in Walt Disney story telling that captures the essence of Christmas. Fantastical tales, extraordinary worlds, brave heroes battling huge odds, and adorable anthropomorphic animals.
These themes are magic and excitement personified, with plotlines, characters arcs and denouements that, if a little too sweet to swallow from January to November, go down very nicely indeed with blob of brandy butter.
You'll find a slew of indispensable Christmas fodder including The Muppet Christmas Carol, The Nightmare Before Christmas, the 1947 original of A Miracle on 34th Street (as well as the 1994 remake), Jingle All the Way, and Home Alone – because it’s not really Christmas until you’ve heard the panicked cry of “Kevin!” or watched Rizzo the Rat do the Charleston on a hot rotisserie chicken.
Add in more holiday specials than you can eat mince pies – LEGO Star Wars, Weekend Family, Ice Age, Guardians of the Galaxy, High School Musical and Beauty and the Beast to name just a few – and you've got more Christmas content than you could possibly get through.
And if content isn't enough, then quality is worth remembering too. Many of the modern big hitters on Disney Plus are available in the best video and audio technologies too (including 4K HDR, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos), meaning that there's the potential for one of the best home cinema experiences available from any streaming service right now. Need I say more? Over to you, then.
There are a few ways to play this. You can pick up Disney Plus, if you don't already have it, for £7.99 per month in the UK and just cancel it when you're done. If you think you're in for the long haul, then go for the annual subscription of £79.90 for the year which locks in the price ahead of a predicted hike some time in 2023.
In the States, there are bundles and ad-supported plans to consider. The cheapest is $7.99 per month but the Disney Bundles probably offer the best value with the Disney Plus and Hulu Duo Basic package two dollars more.
How to subscribe to Disney Plus
If all you want for Christmas is a subscription to Disney Plus, then you’re in luck. It's available in over 60 countries across Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Head to the Disney Plus website to sign-up.
Disney Plus membership provides hits from Marvel, Pixar, and 20th Century, while serving up every film from the Star Wars saga, classic Disney animations, new Disney Plus Original series, and every episode of The Simpsons. You can enjoy all of that for just $7.99/£7.99/AU$13.99 a month
Plus, you can get more bang for your buck when you sign up for an annual subscription and get 15% off the monthly price. You're looking at $79.99/£79.90/AU$139.99 for a 12-month membership.
Save money with the Disney Bundle
But if you want to stretch your dollars and yield even more seasonal cheer, then there are a number of Disney Plus bundle options available.
For $9.99 a month, the Duo Basic plan offers both Disney Plus and ad-supported Hulu membership, meaning you’ll get thousands of hours more grown-up content for just a few dollars more, including The Handmaid’s Tale, Nine Perfect Strangers, Christmas horror film Rare Exports, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
The $12.99 Trio Basic option bundles up ad-supported Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN Plus. But splash out for Trio Premium at $19.99 a month and you can do away with the annoying ads too.
Ho ho ho! So, now you’ve got a Disney Plus subscription? Below are just a few of our recommendations on what you should start streaming:
What Christmas movies and TV can I watch on Disney Plus?
There's a festive abundance of candy cane-colored cheer on Disney Plus. You've got feature-length films and TV specials, Christmas episodes of your favorite series (The Simpsons, Modern Family), new Disney Plus Originals like The Santa Clauses, whimsical short-form animations, and much more. The list below is just a smattering of some of the yuletide titles available to stream now:
- Home Alone
- Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
- Home Alone: The Holiday Heist
- Home Sweet Home Alone
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
- Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish
- Mickey and Minnie Wish Upon a Christmas
- Mickey’s Once/Twice Upon a Christmas
- Mickey’s Christmas Carol
- Mickey Saves Christmas
- Duck the Halls: A Mickey Mouse Christmas Special
- Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year
- Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009)
- Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
- The Santa Clause
- The Santa Clause 2
- The Santa Clause 3
- The Santa Clauses
- Best in Snow
- The Hip Hop Nutcracker
- Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
- Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
- The Muppet Christmas Carol
- A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa
- A Muppets Christmas
- Frozen II
- Ice Age
- Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas
- Olaf’s Frozen Adventure
- Olaf Presents
- Once Upon a Snowman
- Earnest Saves Christmas
- I’ll Be Home for Christmas
- The Christmas Star
- LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special
- The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
- The Simpsons Christmas episodes
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
- The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
- Edward Scissorhands
- The Disney Holiday Sing Along
- Disney Channel Holiday House Party
- Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws
- The Search for Santa Paws
- Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups
- Jingle All The Way
- The Family Stone
- Hip-Hop Nutcracker
- The Nutcracker & The Four Realms
- Pentatonix: Around the World for the Holidays
- Weekend Family: Christmas Special
- Pluto’s Christmas Tree
- High School Musical: The Musical: The Holiday Special
- Prep & Landing
- Prep & Landing: Naughty vs Nice
- Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa
- 12 Dates of Christmas
- Die Hard
- Die Hard 2
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Daniel Pateman is a freelance writer, producing articles across the cultural spectrum for magazines like Aesthetica, Photomonitor, The Brooklyn Rail and This is Tomorrow. He also provides text-writing services to individual curators and artists worldwide, and has had work published internationally. His favourite film genre is horror (bring on Scream 5!) and he never tires of listening to Absolute 80s on the radio.