These are the best Christmas films you can watch right now on Netflix, Disney Plus, NOW TV and more

Christmas is always a time to relax and put your feet up, but this year, more than ever, it’s going to look a little more insular than usual.

That's OK, because modern day society has gifted us all manner of streaming services, each with their own impressive selections of festive content to dive into.

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These are the best Christmas films you can stream right now in the UK.

It’s A Wonderful Life

Beautifully affirming at the best of times, It’s A Wonderful Life really comes into its own during the festive period, when its tale of a man whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel takes on added poignancy.

Starring James Stewart as George Bailey, the film shows viewers how he has touched the lives of others, and how different life would be for his wife Mary and his community of Bedford Falls if he had not been born.

Not just one of the best Christmas films, It’s A Wonderful Life is considered one of the best movies of all time, and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Where to watch it? Now TV

Miracle on 34th Street

Another Academy Award nominated Christmas film (it won three), Miracle on 34th Street stars Edmund Gwenn as a department store Santa who claims to be the real Father Christmas.

Its story takes place between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day in New York City, and is a long-standing Christmas favourite; if you can’t stream it this year, rest assured that it will be on TV at least once over the festive period.

Where to watch it? Now TV

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Tim Burton’s Christmas classic simply has to be seen to be believed, with amazing stop-motion animation that’s impressive whatever the time of year you choose to watch it.

It tells the story of Jack Skellington, the King of "Halloween Town" who stumbles through a portal to "Christmas Town" and becomes obsessed with celebrating the holiday.

Where to watch it? Disney+

Die Hard

Christmas almost takes a back seat in this action classic that tells the story of Nakatomi Plaza, a Los Angeles skyscraper at the centre of a terrorist takeover on Christmas Eve.

‘Almost’ – Die Hard has retroactively been called one of the best Christmas films ever, and were the festive setting to be removed, it’s unlikely the movie would have quite the same heft as it does.

Where to watch it? Now TV

Arthur Christmas

Aardman Animation (of Wallace and Gromit fame) takes a step into 3D CG territory with this modern day classic that imagines the business of Santa Claus and present delivery as a kind of super-efficient industrial process in which Santa has become a benevolent CEO figurehead for a multinational-like corporation.

It’s more sentimental than that makes it sound though, and when Arthur – the clumsy but goodhearted son of Father Christmas – discovers Santa's high-tech ship has failed to deliver one girl's present, he embarks on a mission to save her Christmas

Where to watch it? Netflix

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

Combining live action sequences with stop-motion and CGI animation, Netflix’s 2020 Christmas offering has already won critical praise, and looks set to be a festive classic for years to come.

That it was filmed in humble Norwich shouldn’t detract from its heart-string tugging premise, in which Jeronicus Jangle, an inventor and toymaker, creates Don Juan Diego, a sentient matador doll.

Where to watch it? Netflix

Klaus

Why Netflix’s Klaus isn’t a household name already is beyond us, but the streaming service’s contemporary animated classic – an alternate origin story of Santa Claus independent from the historical take of Saint Nicholas – should soon be seen as one of the best festive features going.

The film was Netflix’s first animated original film to be nominated for an Academy Award – it lost out to Toy Story 4 – and also won Best Animated Film at the BAFTAs.

Where to watch it? Netflix

Bad Santa

Something a bit more alternative now, this black comedy stars Billy Bob Thornton as a con-man who poses as a mall Santa to rip off shopping outlets on Christmas Eve.

Bad Santa actually received critical acclaim upon its 2003 release, and remains an offbeat Christmas classic to enjoy – once the kids have gone to bed.

Where to watch it? Now TV

Anna and the Apocalypse

A zombie musical film set in Scotland might not sound the most festive of offerings, but Anna and the Apocalypse is a film that delivers in every aspect of its genre mashing premise.

When a zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven Anna and her friends rare forced to fight, slash and sing their way to survival, facing the undead in a desperate race to reach their loved ones. Trust us, this is Christmas silliness at its best.

Where to watch it? Now TV

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Who would have thought a cast of fuzzy puppets could outdo a Charles Dickens classic?

That’s exactly what The Muppets did in the early 90s with this esoteric take on the Victorian novel, which employs plenty of artistic license to suit the aesthetic of the Muppets, but otherwise follows Dickens's original story closely.

Some even say this is Sir Michael Caine’s finest onscreen performance…

Where to watch it? Disney+

A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, the Scotsman