Greetings of the season, everyone! Even though the winter holidays feel a little different this time, it’s still the most wonderful time of this year.
We decided to celebrate by posting a survey on our Facebook page asking you about your favorite Christmas movies and holiday specials. Thanks to those of you who participated!
Here are the top 5 titles you recommended. Most of these are available for purchase or rental; many of them can be found on streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc.) or on-demand. We have noted when and where you can watch them on broadcast TV or basic cable — as always, broadcast times and dates are subject to change.
Take some time to enjoy an old favorite or find a new one. Happy holidays!
“It’s a Wonderful Life”
This classic hails all the way back from 1947. If you have never seen it, you owe it to yourself and your family to check out Frank Capra’s masterwork about the “true” meaning of life. If you have seen it, watch it again and share it! Bonus: Velocity did a special TV spot inspired by this movie that compares banks to credit unions. You can see it here.
Can I watch it for free? You can catch it on KXAN (Christmas Eve) or anytime on NBC.com and the USA Network website.
“A Christmas Story”
The Red Ryder BB-gun and the pink bunny suit never fail to entertain.
Can I watch it for free? TBS famously shows this film back-to-back-to-back-to … you get the idea, for 24 hours beginning at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve. TNT has the same marathon starting at 8 p.m. Christmas Eve and it’s also airing Ralphie’s tale on Dec. 21. Can’t wait? There’s a low-res version streaming for free on the Newport Buzz website.
The original that started it all. “Get outta here, ya filthy animals!” It just celebrated its 30th anniversary. Feel old yet?
Can I watch it for free? Yep! Freeform is showing it on Dec. 17, 19, 20, 22, 24 and 25 as part of its annual “25 Days of Christmas”.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
Strange and full of misfits, a beloved, stop-motion classic that teaches us that “Bumbles bounce!”
Can I watch it for free? Yes! Look for it on Freeform Dec. 19, 20, 24 and 25.
“Santa, here??!! I know him! I know him!” “I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite.”
Can I watch it for free? Yes, if you have access to AMC. Catch it Dec. 20, 23 or 24.
These titles didn’t make your top five, but are some of our favorites for this time of year (we added ratings as some of these titles are not suitable for viewers of all ages).
“White Christmas” (G)
Bing Crosby tap-dances with Danny Kaye! We dare you to not cry at the end.
Can I watch it for free? Yes. See it on AMC, Dec. 18 and 26; or Sundance, Dec. 24 and 25.
This modern (well, 1980s) twist on the Charles Dickens classic stars Bill Murray and Carol Kane. Put a little love in your heart!
Can I watch it for free? Yes. Courtesy of our old pal AMC, on Dec. 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21 and 24.
“Christmas Vacation” (PG-13)
Clark and Cousin Eddie are always a hoot, and this film really captures the sentiment and chaos that come with the holidays. Look for Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the yuppie neighbor.
Can I watch it for free? It’s airing on AMC Dec. 16.
“Love Actually” (R)
Racy, actually, but a sweet set of intertwining vignettes and English accents, too!
Can I watch it for free? Looks like AMC has cornered the market on another holiday flick. It’s showing this charmer on Dec. 18, 19, 22 and 23.
And finally, one of the first animated holiday specials:
“A Charlie Brown Christmas”
This 1965 classic (see picture at top of post) was way ahead of its time in depicting how commercialism can overshadow the meaning of Christmas.
Can I watch it for free? Kinda. We missed the free airings on PBS this year, and the classic is now exclusively available on Apple TV+. It costs $4.99/mo., but you can get a 7-day free trial, watch it, then cancel if you’d like.