We all could use some extra Christmas cheer, no?
Most years, many people complain about Christmas commercials, lawn decorations, and holiday music showing up too soon. But this year feels at least a little different. It’s been a long, challenging, and unique year. Anything you can do to bring a bit more light into your home and make the smiles you show on your Zoom calls a little more genuine, you should do. And if filling your streaming time with Christmas stories is one way to warm your heart this winter, you could do a lot worse than checking out the best Christmas movies Amazon Prime has to offer.
Regardless of what kind of Christmas story you’re looking for, there’s a good chance Amazon Prime has something to fit the bill. Whether you want a holiday classic, a Christmas romance, or a family-friendly tale that everyone can watch, here are the best Christmas movies streaming right now on Amazon Prime.
Christmas on Holly Lane (2018)
Every year Sara, Riley, and Cat get together at Sarah’s house on Holly Lane to celebrate the holidays. This year is bound to be different. The same house where the trio gathers might belong to someone else by next year. Sara (Sarah Lancaster) is weathering a painful divorce and, among other complications, she might not be able the afford the house on Holly Lane for much longer. But Riley (Karen Holness) and Cat (Gina Holden) are determined to make sure, no matter what, no financial or marital complications are going to stop their friend from feeling the joy and warmth of the season.
Stars: Sarah Lancaster, Karen Holness, Gina Holden
Director: Michael Scott
Runtime: 90 minutes
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without the holiday mainstay It’s a Wonderful Life. The immortal classic stars James Stewart as George Bailey — a man ready to end it all before the intervention of an angel (Henry Travers) reveals to him exactly how the lives of the people of Bedford Falls would have unfolded without him. The vision is a revelation to George, whose second chance at life comes with rare, ecstatic gratitude. Ironically, It’s a Wonderful Life was a commercial bomb upon release, while today it’s as much a mandatory part of our annual traditions as A Christmas Carol.
Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
Director: Frank Capra
Runtime: 130 minutes
The Spirit of Christmas (2015)
In the romantic comedy The Spirit of Christmas, junior attorney Kate Jordan (Jen Lilley) learns that some Christmas ghosts don’t haunt people just to scare them into being more compassionate. Hoping it will help her earn a promotion at her firm, Kate agrees to oversee a last-minute appraisal of a house that proves to have an unexpected resident. For almost a century, the handsome Daniel has appeared in the house on the 12 days before Christmas and promptly disappeared at midnight every Christmas Eve. Hoping both to impress her superiors and free Daniel from his haunting, Kate looks into the mystery surrounding his death and finds love along the way.
Stars: Thomas Beaudoin, Jen Lilley, Steven A. Miller
Director: David Jackson
Runtime: 91 minutes
The Christmas Toy (1986)
You can’t go wrong with a family-friendly flick about toys coming to life — particularly not when the Jim Henson Company is involved. Originally airing on ABC in 1986, The Christmas Toy chronicles the adventures of a group of toys causing trouble on Christmas Eve. Rugby the Tiger was Jamie’s favorite toy last Christmas, and he’s not about to be replaced by some new guy. Rugby sneaks out to hide among the new toys, hoping to once again be the favorite, but he doesn’t realize that as a toy, if he’s found out of place, he’ll be frozen forever. Apple the Doll leads a group of toys into the house to rescue Rugby. Funny and as wholesome as you’d expect from a Jim Henson Company production, The Christmas Toy is perfect viewing for the kids (even if “the kids” are fairly grown-up).
Stars: Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Kathryn Mullen
Director: Eric Till
Runtime: 50 minutes
The Christmas Contract (2018)
Jolie (Hilarie Burton) is dreading going back home to Lafayette for the holidays. She moved to New York City after a bad breakup, and she doesn’t want to go back home single, especially now that she’s heard through the grapevine that her ex-boyfriend found someone new. Jolie’s friend Naomi (Danneel Ackles) has a novel idea — she sets up Jolie with her friend Jack (Robert Buckley) to go with Naomi to Lafayette and pretend to be her new main squeeze. Naomi goes so far as to write up a contract for the pair, with Jolie agreeing to design a website to help Jack’s burgeoning writing career. They both agree to the unusual plan but are in for more than they bargained for. More than just a Christmas movie, The Christmas Contract proved to be a reunion of sorts, as many of its leading actors worked together on the long-running drama One Tree Hill.
Stars: Hilarie Burton, Robert Buckley, Danneel Ackles
Director: Monika Mitchell
Runtime: 89 minutes
Surviving Christmas (2004)
What happens if you don’t have a family to go home to for Christmas? Well, if you’re wealthy ad exec Drew Latham (Ben Affleck) in the romantic comedy Surviving Christmas, you buy one. Fresh from a breakup, Drew meets the Valco family during a therapeutic trip to his childhood home. In spite of taking a shovel to the head from Tom Valco (James Gandolfini), Drew offers the Valcos a mountain of money to let him spend Christmas with them as part of their family. He goes so far as to write scripts for the family and hire a local actor to play his grandfather. Sparks fly between Drew and Tom’s daughter Alicia (Christina Applegate), but things are destined to get more hilariously muddled when Drew’s ex-girlfriend shows up, wanting to get back together.
Stars: Ben Affleck, Christina Applegate, James Gandolfini
Director: Mike Mitchell
Runtime: 91 minutes
An American Christmas Carol (1979)
You couldn’t exactly call An American Christmas Carol an “updated” version of the Charles Dickens classic, but it does push the story forward a bit in time as well as moving it to American shores. Instead of 19th-century England, this 1979 TV movie transplants the iconic tale to Depression-era New Hampshire. Henry Winkler plays Benedict Slade, the petty businessman who is irrevocably changed after he’s visited by Christmas ghosts. It’s interesting to remember that when An American Christmas Carol aired on ABC, Winkler was still appearing regularly on Happy Days as his signature character, The Fonz. Taking the role of an American Ebenezer Scrooge stand-in was a risky play against type, and it’s a wonderful performance.
Stars: Henry Winkler, David Wayne, Chris Wiggins
Director: Eric Till
Runtime: 98 minutes
Christmas in Mississippi (2017)
They say you can never go home again, but in Christmas in Mississippi, Holly (Jana Kramer) learns differently. A hurricane struck Gulfport five years ago, and that was the last time the town put on their popular Christmas light show. Holly wants to help make sure it happens this year, but so does her high school sweetheart Mike (Wes Brown). Considering how poorly he treated her heart last time, Holly doesn’t want a repeat performance. But with her mother (Faith Ford) pushing her in one direction and Mr. Kriss (Barry Bostwick) joining in for good measure, it won’t be long before these two old lovebirds start flying together once more.
Stars: Jana Kramer, Wes Brown, Faith Ford
Director: Emily Moss Wilson
Runtime: 90 minutes
A Bride for Christmas (2012)
Jessie (Arielle Kebbel) has just broken up with her third — that’s right her third — fiancé. Commitment, she decides, just isn’t for her. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Aiden (Andrew W. Walker), who hardly ever gets to the “going steady” phase before moving on to the next woman. Indignant when his friend Matt (Peter Benson) claims women can tell that he’s unwilling to commit, Aiden agrees to a strange bet — that he can get a woman to agree to marry him before Christmas. Matt already knows about Jessie’s recent ban on long-term relationships, so he steers Aiden in her direction. Matt thinks he’s got things sewn up, but he’s in for a surprise in this Christmassy romantic comedy.
Stars: Arielle Kebbel, Andrew W. Walker, Kimberley Sustad
Director: Gary Yates
Runtime: 84 minutes
Christmas on the Bayou (2013)
Sometimes life comes at us with impossible choices, and Katherine (Hilarie Burton) has some to face in the romantic comedy Christmas on the Bayou. Katherine has worked hard to become a successful marketing executive, but she starts to think all of the time she spends at work is having a negative impact on her son Zack (Brody Rose). She decides that bringing Zack with her back to her hometown for the holidays would be a welcome change for them both. While she’s there, she runs into her old childhood love Caleb (Tyler Hilton), who does everything he can to convince her to leave the big city behind and come back home. Shot dead center by Cupid and seduced by a less hectic way of life, Katherine will need the guidance of her mother (Markie Post) and the wise Papa Noel (Ed Asner) to figure out what path to take.
Stars: Hilarie Burton, Tyler Hilton, Randy Travis
Director: Leslie Hope
Runtime: 86 minutes
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