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7 great Christmas movies you can watch for free

by Contributor

There’s nothing quite like getting together with the family and watching Christmas movies to celebrate the holidays (except maybe watching them free of charge).

Thankfully, there are a handful of terrific seasonal films that can be streamed online without the need to pay, so viewers don’t have to wait for TV channels to broadcast some of their favorite holiday classics. However, they may not be free of charge when December ends, so audiences should watch these seven Christmas films while they still can.

A Christmas Story (1983)

MGM / MGM

“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” Even people who don’t celebrate Christmas are likely familiar with this iconic catchphrase. This classic film follows nine-year-old Ralphie Parker and his many misadventures leading up to Christmas Day in 1940, when he hopes to receive a dangerous gift.

Featuring everything from BB guns to leg lamps, Ralphie’s holiday antics are nothing short of hilarious, and many audiences likely have fond memories of this film airing on TV every Christmas.

Free on: Sling Freestream

Black Christmas (1974)

Jess answers the phone call from a stalker in "Black Christmas" (1974).
Warner Bros. / Warner Bros.

Starring Hollywood icons like Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, and John Saxon, Black Christmas follows a group of sorority sisters who find themselves stalked and threatened by a mysterious killer.

Though many credit John Carpenter’s Halloween with jump-starting the slasher genre, this holiday-themed cult classic very much laid the template that such films have followed for the past 50 years. Fun fact: This film and A Christmas Story were both directed by Bob Clark (talk about range).

Free on: Tubi, Pluto TV

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey holding his wife in one arm and his daughter in another in "It's A Wonderful Life."
Liberty Films / Liberty Films

In one of the first great Christmas movies, director Frank Capra tells the tale of George Bailey, who regains the will to live after his guardian angel, Clarence, shows him how his life has touched so many others and what the world would have been like without him.

Though it’s shocking to think this film was a critical and commercial disappointment upon release, It’s A Wonderful Life has since become a beloved staple of Christmas media, and its ability to move and inspire audiences has only grown stronger with time. Audiences who don’t feel especially cheerful this season can surely find joy and love in watching this heartwarming tale.

Free on: Plex, The Roku Channel

A Christmas Carol (1984)

Ebenezer Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol" (1984).
CBS / CBS

There have been countless interpretations of Charles Dickens’s legendary Christmas novella, and this made-for-TV film from director Clive Donner (What’s New Pussycat?) still holds up among them all.

With George C. Scott (Dr. Strangelove, The Exorcist III) delivering a terrific performance as Ebenezer Scrooge, this dark, but soulful vision still makes for one of the most realistic and faithful adaptations of Dickens’s tale, and will it surely tug at the heartstrings this season.

Free on: Tubi, The Roku Channel, Plex

Scrooged (1988)

Bill Murray in "Scrooged."
Paramount / Paramount

In this more modern reinterpretation of A Christmas Carol, a jaded, self-centered TV executive is visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, who try to make him see the error of his ways and help him rediscover his holiday spirit.

This glitzy fantasy presents a dark satire of the commercialization of Christmas in an entertaining package, making it an unconventional, but relevant Christmas classic. And there’s simply no disputing that Bill Murray knows how to play a hilarious crank.

Free on: Pluto TV

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Clark and Ellen Griswold in "National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation."
Warner Bros. Pictures / Warner Bros. Pictures

When the Griswolds host their relatives at their house for Christmas, all sorts of hilarious chaos ensues as Clark struggles to make it the best Yuletide ever. This film may not feature the traditional Griswold family road trip, but it still shows another one of their exploits gone horribly wrong in a hysterical blaze of glory. Despite this, this sequel still makes room for some genuinely heartwarming moments as the Griswolds embrace the spirit of Christmas, making it as good, if not better than the original film.

Free on: Sling Freestream

A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong (2017)

Two men trying to kidnap an actor playing Ebenezer Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong."
BBC / BBC

It may seem like overkill to include three versions of A Christmas Carol. However, this film couldn’t be a more hilariously unsuccessful attempt at bringing the iconic story to life.

The incomparable Mischief Theatre (Peter Pan Goes Wrong) tries and fails to take over the BBC’s production of Dickens’ classic tale, as actors fight for the role of Scrooge, props and effects break down, and behind-the-scenes drama seeps onto the stage. It’s a gut-busting holiday romp that features the British comedy troupe at its best as it breathes new life into a tale told time and time again.

Free on: Tubi, Pluto TV, YouTube, Freevee

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