Merry Movie Guide

“Elf” (2003), starring Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf, is among a plethora of Christmas classics and unique holiday offerings available to stream on various platforms this season.

 

It is the most wonderful time of the year once again. The holiday season is officially in full swing, meaning it’s the perfect time to celebrate with a watchlist of merry movies. Whether Santa is bringing you plentiful presents or lousy lumps of coal, these festive films will make you sing “fa-la-la” all through this holly jolly Christmas season.

Netflix

The legend of Santa Claus is told in an unconventional way in “Klaus,” an Academy Award-nominated film released in 2019. This animated adventure follows a jovial postman as he befriends a legendary toymaker, leading to a reemergence of joy in a snowy town torn between sides of a feud. This unique Christmas comedy is beautiful to the eyes and heart of any curious kid during the holidays.

Whether you are alone under all your cuddly blankets or with a special someone, a bit of romance is a great way to warm up the house this December. Nancy Meyers’ “The Holiday” is a love-filled treat that follows two guy-troubled women who spontaneously switch homes in each other’s countries. Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black and Jude Law helm this sweet, goofy gift to romantic comedy fans.

Amazon Prime Video

Christmas classics are a family tradition for many during the holiday season, but it’s safe to say 1946’s “It’s A Wonderful Life” hugs people’s hearts the most. Icon Jimmy Stewart plays a distracted businessman who is visited by an angel during the holidays, showing him what life would have been like if he never existed. Always met with teary eyes and lifted spirits, this timeless classic proves the importance of family, even in the bitter cold.

Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in some nonstop, skyscraper-scaling action. This is exactly what you get from the thrilling genre classic “Die Hard,” led by a barefoot Bruce Willis whose character fights to save hostages from German terrorists in a Los Angeles high-rise. To those doubting this film’s merry-movie qualifications, I will note that it takes place during an office Christmas party. No more questions.

HBO Max

In “Elf,” audiences get to see Will Ferrell wear yellow tights and run around New York City eating spaghetti drenched in syrup, and some people still wonder why Christmas is viewed as the best holiday. “Elf” is a fan-favorite that follows Santa’s oversized helper Buddy as he leaves the North Pole to find his real father. It’s a cheerful treat that embraces the craziness of the holidays in innocent, childish fashion.

Hulu

“Happiest Season” stars Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis as a couple, plus a quirky Dan Levy and nonstop family drama, in a film centered on acceptance and staying true to one’s self during the stress of Christmas. The leading ladies struggle to display their love in a not-so-joyous household, leading to awkward tension galore. A multilayered gift basket, this 2020 comedy celebrates the ways in which Christmas brings people together both literally and figuratively.

Speaking of bringing family together, the holidays are always a dramatic time of year for relatives. In the underseen “Ben Is Back,” a teenage boy addicted to drugs returns to his family’s home on Christmas Eve. This heavy subject matter is not for the faint of heart, though, as Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges are a serious force of unfamiliar emotional gut punches amid December festivities.

Disney+

Youngsters and adults alike are surely familiar with a young Macaulay Culkin, hands on his cheeks with his jaw to the floor, screaming because his family left him behind during the holiday season. “Home Alone” is a staple in households that shows kids how to protect themselves in wacky ways as 8-year-old Kevin fends off burglars until his family gets home. Plus, nothing beats seeing Joe Pesci panic as a little kid sets his hat aflame.

Brilliantly mixing the spookiness of Halloween with the sincerity of Christmas makes Tim Burton’s stop-motion feature “The Nightmare Before Christmas” a wicked fun family fantasy. King of Halloween Town Jack Skellington is exposed to the colorful world of Christmas Town and falls for its festivities, but as he tries to show his dark, gloomy world this magical discovery, he is met with dismay. Scaring never gave such sweet smiles.

In Theaters

The pressures of having a perfect family Christmas can be tough, but surely they are not the end of the world. In Camille Griffin’s new film “Silent Night,” they quite literally are. Starring Keira Knightley, Lily-Rose Depp and Roman Griffin Davis, this unconventional holiday horror-comedy follows a family get-together that’s overshadowed by everyone’s eventual death-by-apocalypse. The cheerfulness hits theaters Dec. 3.

Movies are the gifts that keep on giving, so whether you want some holiday romance or a couple of Christmas laughs, these festive flicks will surely provide.

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