The 10 best Christmas movies on Amazon Prime

Settle in for the festive season with Amazon's catalogue of Christmas classics (and one gigantic turkey)

Everyone knows the best thing about Christmas is sitting around on your backside, eating too much and watching a load of TV.

But while terrestrial TV channels fill their schedules with festive episodes of bad sitcoms and soaps with overly dramatic storylines, Amazon Prime has got loads of Christmas films to stream instead.

We've rounded up 10 of the best (well, nine and one that might just be so bad it's good) so you'll never have a spare minute for Uncle Jerry to try and engage you in tedious conversation about his collection of traffic cones. Phew.

Elf

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Will Ferrell’s best film by miles (don’t @ us) wasn’t on British TV last year, causing widespread consternation from its many fans. Amazon must’ve noticed, because it’s snapped up this festive comedy for Prime.

For the four of you that have never seen it, the SNL alumnus plays Buddy, who was adopted by elves as a baby and raised as one of their own. But his size, among other things, gives him away, and soon enough he’s off to New York to find his real parents.

A brilliantly silly slapstick performance from Ferrell, loads of quotable lines and just the right amount of sentimentality make Elf a modern-day Christmas classic.

Watch Elf here

It’s a Wonderful Life

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Probably the Christmas film that’s most referenced in other Christmas films, whether it’s the kids watching it in French in Home Alone (or Spanish in Home Alone 2), Rusty Griswold lounging in front of it in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, or as the in-flight movie in Turbulence, if you haven’t seen It’s a Wonderful Life the evidence suggests you probably should.

It tells the story of an angel’s attempts to save the life of a suicidal George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) by showing him how different the world would be without him in it. Quite possibly the greatest festive film ever made, this feelgood fable should be on everybody’s Christmas list.

Watch It's a Wonderful Life here

Gremlins

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If you’re one of those people who doesn’t think Die Hard is a Christmas film, move straight on to the next entry in this list, because like John McClane's first encounter with the Gruber family, Batman Returns and Lethal Weapon, Gremlins qualifies due to it being set at Christmas time rather than because it’s full-on festive.

That said, Gizmo, the small furry creature that mustn’t get wet, be fed after midnight or exposed to bright lights, is given as a Christmas gift at the start of what is essentially a remake of It’s A Wonderful Life, and there’s plenty of tinsel-draped chaos throughout. Yippee ki yay, mogwai lovers.

Watch Gremlins here

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

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Vacation is American for “holiday” and in National Lampoon’s Christmas one, they don’t go anywhere. In fact, nothing much happens at all. It’s really just an excuse for Chevy Chase to lark around for an hour and a half as the calamitous Clark Griswold. Clark’s preparations for the arrival of his extended family include driving out into the countryside to chop down a tree that’s far too big for the living room, covering the house in thousands of fairy lights and getting stuck in the attic.

Christmas Vacation has some slightly off-colour moments that date it quite badly, and it probably isn’t as funny as it should be, but you can bet with anyone else in the lead - and a supporting cast that didn’t include the likes of Randy Quaid and Julia Louis-Dreyfus - it would’ve been a total turkey.

Watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation here

Scrooged

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Ignore Netflix’s rather dull A Very Murray Christmas and stick on The Ghostbusters star’s original Christmas movie instead.

Bill plays Frank Cross, a greedy TV executive who forces his channel’s staff to work over Christmas, but the only ghouls Murray encounters in Scrooged are three festive ghosts who visit in an attempt to make him see the error of his ways. Yes, it’s another retelling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but it’s a particularly riotous one, made all the more watchable by its massively '80s aesthetic.

Watch Scrooged here

Jack Frost

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Or, to give it a better name, Snow Dad. Michael Keaton plays a neglectful father called Jack Frost who is killed in a car crash in the run-up to Christmas, before being brought back to life as a snowman a year later after his son plays a magic harmonica. Yes, they might as well have called it Nominative Determinism: The Movie, but you can really see why the studio greenlit this one, can’t you?

The problem is, the reincarnated Jack Frost is more than a little bit creepy, but if you like dad jokes (or should that be snow-dad jokes?) and '90s CGI, Jack Frost is the Christmas film for you.

Watch Jack Frost here

White Christmas

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You’d be forgiven for thinking 1954’s White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby as a singing soldier, is where the eponymous song comes from but here’s a bit of trivia for you to keep in your back pocket for that festive pub quiz: composer Irving Berlin actually wrote White Christmas for 1942’s Holiday Inn, which also stars the American singer.

Don't worry though, Michael Curtiz’s film, which follows Bing and a squaddie pal as they put on a show for their former commanding officer in post-war America, does include a rendition of the famous song. Well, it’s not a proper Christmas dinner without sprouts, is it?

Watch White Christmas here

The Holiday

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Netflix has got Love Actually, so naturally Amazon has snapped up its own schmaltzy love story for you Christmas romantics out there. In The Holiday, two rich white women swap homes for the festive season: Cameron Diaz comes to leafy Surrey, while Kate Winslet trades her cottage for a luxurious LA apartment. Both end up meeting men who may or may not be right for them and if you can’t predict how this one ends, every day of your life must be a source of constant delight and amazement.

Watch The Holiday here

Office Christmas Party

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What’s the most outrageous thing that’s ever happened at your office Christmas party? Chances are it’s never got more riotous than Sandra from HR being sick on the MD after one too many Chardonnays, but in this Office Christmas Party you soon get the feeling almost anything could happen.

If you saw it at the cinema you'd almost certainly wish you’d waited til it was on Amazon Prime, but an underused Kate Mckinnon almost makes this mindlessly OTT romp worth watching on her own, with a hilarious turn as the office's uptight HR manager.

Watch Office Christmas Party here

Reindeer Games

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There’s a line in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer about how he’s not allowed to take part in any of the reindeer games because of his oddly coloured conk. The assumption had always been that Santa’s four-legged engines were engaging in a spot of antler wrestling or long-distance sleigh-pulling, but if this Ben Affleck-starring action movie is anything to go by, it actually involves knocking off a casino on Christmas Eve. No wonder they didn’t want Rudolph involved; the cops would see that nose a mile away. (Just to be clear, Reindeer Games is not a good film, but we had to include it purely because its premise is so preposterous.)

Watch Reindeer Games here