5 best Christmas movies on Max to watch now

Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
(Image credit: Alamy)

We're coming upon one of the most wonderful times of the year. From tasty baked goods to gift-giving to festive decor, there is a lot of cheer to go around. Whatever is on your to-do list, kicking back with your favorite Christmas movie is a highlight of the season. Even the harshest Grinch tends to warm up while watching the joyous celebrations play out in holiday films. 

However, the definition of a Christmas movie can vary based on the viewer, especially if you ask fans of Die Hard. But no matter how you define it, it's a remarkable way to escape the realities of the world and any stressors of the season. So, grab your hot cocoa, wear cozy socks, and put your feet up. Whether you are watching at home or streaming while waiting to board your flight, we're sharing some of the best Christmas movies on Max.

A Christmas Story

Peter Billingsley in A Christmas Story

(Image credit: MGM)

Starring Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker, Melinda Dillon as his father, Darren McGavin as his father, and Ian Petrella as his little brother Randy, A Christmas Story is a movie for the ages. It centralizes around Ralphie's desire for one particular Christmas present: the Red Ryder Range 200 Shot BB gun. He tells Santa, his parents, his teacher, and anyone else who would listen. 

Although it's set in the 1940s, it resonates amongst audiences of every age. It could be that just about everyone remembers having a special gift in mind they pined for as a child. However, that's not the only focus of the movie. It also highlights the family relationships, childhood friendships, and the simple joys of the season. Watching this classic Christmas movie has become a time-honored tradition in countless households.

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Will Ferrell in Elf

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

There's something inexplicably charming about seeing Will Farrell dressed as Buddy, an oversized elf raised by Santa in the North Pole. He captures the joy of the holiday season with his big smile and over-the-top excitement. Of course, his intensity is only made stronger by the serious lack of holiday joy in his co-stars, such as Zooey Deschanel as his love interest and James Caan as his father. 

The movie Elf focuses on the moment Buddy finds out he is only human and not an elf at all. Sadly, he also learns his father is on the Naughty List. That's when he takes the opportunity to meet him in New York and help him with his Christmas spirit. It's a fun movie that's impossible not to have fun while watching, especially with all of Farrell's antics as he shows off a child-like delight of the holiday season.

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The Polar Express

The train in The Polar Express

(Image credit: Alamy)

One of the best children's books to capture the holiday season is The Polar Express. To compare the movie to such a wondrous piece of literature is a challenge, but it does well to provide the same magical experience. Much like the book, it focuses on a group of children's journey to the North Pole. While the film expands on the original story, in part to make it the appropriate length, it incorporates the same spirit you find in the book.

Tom Hanks is the voice of many characters in the film, including the Conductor and the Hero Boy. Chris Coppola, Michael Jeter, Nona Gaye, Leslie Zemeckis, and Eddie Deezen are amongst the many character voices you'll hear in the movie. The beautiful artistry found in the animation and the spirit of the season in the movie make it one of the best Christmas movies on Max.

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National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Chevy Chase and Beverly D. Angelo in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

(Image credit: Alamy)

If you are looking for extra laughs this holiday season, you'll love the National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. It stars Chevy Chase as Clark Griswald, the father we all know so well from the numerous National Lampoon movies. However, this time they are spending their Christmas at home. Unfortunately for them, things still devolve into absolute mayhem. What follows throughout the movie is a hilarious depiction of everything going wrong despite how desperate you may try otherwise.

The comic timing and the strong acting make this one of the best Christmas movies available on Max. Beverly D'Angelo reprises her role as Clark's wife, Ellen. Meanwhile, Juliette Lewis stars as their daughter, Audrey and Johnny Galecki as their son, Rusty. However, what will sure make you smile, especially if you are familiar with the other National Lampoon movies, is the sudden appearance of Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie Johnson.

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A Christmas Story Christmas

Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker, hanging ornaments in A Christmas Story Christmas

(Image credit: HBO Max via YouTube)

Fans of the original A Christmas Story are sure to love the charming follow-up movie, A Christmas Story Christmas. It focuses on Ralphie Parker, reprised by Peter Billingsley, as he returns to his childhood home and comes to terms with his father's passing. His mom asks him to create a magical Christmas for everyone and Ralphie accepts that challenge. 

The movie includes much of the original cast, including Zack Ward as Scut Farkus, Scott Schwartz as Flick, and countless other familiar faces. Unfortunately, Melinda Dillon, the actress who played Ralphie's mom in the original film, was unavailable. However, Julie Haggerty does an excellent job in her place. It's a rewarding movie that is sure to remain a Christmas favorite for many families who loved the first movie. 

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Nicole Pyles is a writer in Portland, Oregon. She loves movies, especially Lifetime movies, obscure TV movies, and disaster flicks. Her writing has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Mental Floss, WOW! Women on Writing, Ripley's Believe it or Not, and more. When she isn't watching movies, she's spending time with family, reading, and writing short stories. Say hi on Twitter @BeingTheWriter.