Where to watch your favourite Christmas films

'Tis the season of avoiding your family by watching a film. We have a list of when and where to catch the best Christmas films

8th December 2018

You look forward to watching your favourite Christmas film every year and assure yourself it will be on TV this year — you’re so sure of it —  so how frustrating is it when you check the TV guide and, like opening a Christmas gift that turns out to be socks (again), you’re let down. Look ITV, nobody wants to watch The Polar Express again. Please, for the love of god, put something else on.

If this sounds like you, and you’re too lazy to google this shit yourself, don’t worry; we have all the information on where to find your favourite Christmas films this year! Or, rather, we have all the information we could find when we googled this shit.

Home Alone

Now, you wouldn’t believe two parents would be able to misplace their child while they go on a family vacation, but Kate (Catherine O’Hara) and Peter McCallister (John Heard) do just that. Two years in a row. Yes, the plot is hard to believe  (the fact Peter is able to afford that house and those vacations is even harder to believe), but these movies are not to be missed this Christmas.

You could have saved us all Kevin. You could have stopped him and saved us from this madness 📸 Hughes Entertainment

In Home Alone, Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is forgotten about while the rest of his family travels to Paris and SHIT. GOES. DOWN. After freaking out a little, pranking a pizza guy and shoplifting a toothbrush, Kevin is forced to defend his home — somewhat violently — from The Wet Bandits, Marv (Daniel Stern) and Harry (Joe Pesci).

Where to find it:

Home Alone will be shown on Channel 4 on Sunday 9 December at 5.35pm and is also available to through Amazon Prime.

Home Alone 2

A year later, Kevin is separated from his family at the airport and accidentally boards a plane to New York instead of Florida, like the rest of his family. After blagging his way into the Plaza Hotel, with a little help from Donald Trump, Kevin begins his usual antics (he doesn’t steal any toothbrushes this time).

After generally enjoying his time in the Big Apple, Kevin runs into Marv and Harry, now The Sticky Bandits, and tries to brutally punish them for attempting to rob an elderly man’s toy shop. This film also features Piers Morgan as a woman with a pigeon fetish.

Where to find it:

Home Alone 2 is showing regularly on SkyChristmasHD.

Elf

A personal favourite. Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) discovers he was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a baby and raised to adulthood by Santa’s elves. In search of who he really is, Buddy returns to New York and learns his real father is Walter Hobbs (James Caan), a businessman who, frankly, doesn’t want to believe he’s the father of a giant, childlike elf-man.

After a DNA result proves Buddy is his real son, Walter tries to form a relationship with his elf offspring, causing endless amounts of chaos. If this film doesn’t already sound amazing enough… Will Ferrell is wearing a full elf costume and Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage dropkicks him in the chest.

Where to find it:

Elf is on TV this year, showing on ITV 1, Sunday 16 December at 6pm and is also available free — yes, free —  on Amazon Prime Video.

Christmas with the Kranks

With their daughter away for the holidays, Luther Krank (Tim Allen — also of The Santa Clause) and Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Curtis) are finally alone and decide to ditch their Christmas traditions for a Caribbean cruise.

The decision doesn’t sit well with their neighbours, Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd) and Walt Scheel (M. Emmet Walsh), who are hoping to win the “best-decorated street” award. Chaos ensues when neither Luther or Vic will back down, leading to Vic and his army of children decorating the Krankses’ house for them.

Sure, someone trying to decorate another person’s house for them doesn’t sound interesting, but Nora is so spooked by an inanimate snowman she fights a lady over a tin of ham.

Where to find it:

Christmas with the Kranks is shown regularly on SkyChristmasHD and is also available on Sky Cinema and is available through on Amazon Prime.

Scrooged

Possibly the best adaptation of Dickens’s classic ghost story that doesn’t feature Kermit. Essentially, it’s a just vehicle for Bill Murray at his Eighties peak, but it’s genuinely creepy, surreal and acerbic. Ebenezer Scrooge is now Frank Cross (Murray), a jaded and cynical TV executive who wants enough sex and action in his live performance of A Christmas Carol to scare people to death. He is a right shit.

The Christmas ghosts are as filthy and rotten as the city the action takes places in, but Cross’s descent into madness is hilarious all the same. Cross learns the error of his ways and understands the true message of Christmas, blowing bubbles on Bobcat Goldthwaite’s tummy.

Where to find it:

Scrooged is available to watch on SkyCinema and Netflix.

The Polar Express

Contrary to what I said earlier, some people do want to watch The Polar Express. The first animated film on this list stars Tom Hanks as several characters, including Santa Claus, a homeless man, Scrooge and the conductor of, you guessed it, The Polar Express. Tom Hanks’s many characters take a group of children to the North Pole, teaching them about bravery, friendship and the spirit of Christmas.

Where to find it:

For once, this film isn’t (yet) scheduled to be on ITV this Christmas. However, it can be found on Sky Cinema and can be bought or rented on Amazon Prime.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Released in 2000, this live-action adaptation of the classic Dr Seuss book holds up pretty well 18 years later. Labelled as a “monster”, the Grinch (Jim Carrey) is a misunderstood, lonely guy who decides he’s had enough of the citizens of Whoville and tries to ruin their festive celebrations. He sneaks into town and steals everything Christmas related in the hope it will stop them from annoying him with their constant Christmas celebrations.

The Grinch doesn’t actually hate Christmas, he just hates people. To be honest, can you really blame him? Given the opportunity, I doubt he’s the only person that would rather live alone in a mountain with only his dog for company.

Where to find it:

This Christmas classic is surprisingly hard to come by on TV and online. It was on TV on Sunday 2 December (sorry if you missed it) but it can be bought or rented on Amazon Prime.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

The daddy of Christmas films 📸 Jim Henson Productions

The classic Dickens holiday story is given a Muppet twist. Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine) is given a chance to change his ways when he is visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present and future. Kermit the Frog plays the clerk of the stingy Scrooge; he, Miss Piggy, Sam the Eagle, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo and other Muppets try to help an old, self-serving man see that is more to life than being miserable and rich.

This Dickens classic has been portrayed many different times but for fans of the beloved Muppets, this is a classic Christmas film that can’t be beaten.

Where to find it:

The Muppet Christmas Carol is streaming on NowTV until 24 December and can also be viewed on Sky Cinema.

Jingle All the Way

Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is guilty of spending too much time at work and not enough time with his son, Jamie (Jake Lloyd), and his wife, Liz (Rita Wilson). To make it up for it, he promises to buy his son the best gift on the market, Turbo-Man. However, it’s Christmas eve and the toys are almost sold out (this was in a time before mass production of toys was a thing, clearly).

Howard goes on a wild goose chase to find the only toy that will make up for his workaholic lifestyle, when he meets and subsequently battles Myron (Sinbad), who is on the same quest for his son.

Where to find it:

As one of the less popular Christmas films, Jingle All the Way is another film that’s hard to come by online but it can be bought or rented on Amazon Prime.

The Holiday

I believe this film is less of a Christmas movie and more of a film that you should only watch at Christmas, you know? Iris (Kate Winslet) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz) are two unlucky-in-love women who temporarily decide to swap homes in search for a break. Trusting some random person to live in your house and not steal shit while you’re away is bad enough, but not being in the country while they do it is just ridiculous. You deserve to be robbed at that point.

We would say he’s punching above his weight but let’s face it, Jack Black is adorable 📸 Relativity Media/Waverly Films

However, they both go through with it and Iris is surprised to find her new home is a Hollywood mansion, far from the cute little cottage in the middle of the English countryside that Amanda inherits. With a couple of cliché romances, this holiday classic is an easy, loveable film to keep you away from the cold, Christmas winter outside.

Where to find it:

Amazon Prime customers can stream this for free on Amazon Prime Video.

Those of you without the streaming service can watch it on ITV2, Tuesday 11 December at 9pm.

Love Actually

If you’re looking for another Christmas-related rom-com with soppy love stories and a star-studded cast, then look no further. This festive classic follows nine intertwined stories that, aside from chucking up a lot of emotion for the audience, identify that love is an emotion that connects us all. Don’t worry, it isn’t as cringy as I’ve described it.

Admittedly, “it’s hard” is not as romantic as “to me you are perfect”

Love stories range from the prime minister falling for a junior staffer, to a graphic designer who struggles to maintain her love life due to her brother’s mental illness; from a married man who can’t help himself when he gets an attractive new secretary, to bloke that rips off Bob Dylan while sharking after his mate’s wife. Classic stuff.

Where to find it:

Love Actually is on ITV2, Wednesday 12 December at 9pm and can also be bought or rented on Amazon Prime.

Nativity!

It’s not quite a case of saving the best for last — as this is neither the last nor best film on the list — but Nativity! is an underrated, must-see Christmas film. Martin Freeman stars as Paul, a primary school teacher with a history as a failed actor, who is tasked with directing the school’s nativity play. Paul dislikes the festive period because his former girlfriend (Jennifer Lore) broke up with him at Christmas.

The play’s reputation isn’t great due to a less than positive track record, but everyone is excited to make it work when it transpires that a Hollywood film producer will be filming the play (for some reason).

Where to find it:

Nativity! is available to view on Netflix.

And finally…

Die Hard

IT IS A CHRISTMAS FILM. New York City policeman John McClane’s (Bruce Willis) festive celebrations are interrupted when a group of terrorists take over the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles, the headquarters of his wife’s (Bonnie Bedelia) work.

This guy is wearing a Christmas Jumper, case closed

John is the only member of the party not captured by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman, that cheating bloke from Love Actually) and with a lack of police response and an inability to escape, he is the only one who can save the hostages.

Where to find it:

Die Hard is regularly showing on SkyChristmasHD.

The film is also available on Sky Cinema and can be bought or rented on Amazon Prime.

8th December 2018