Most people have at least one Christmas special they are fond of. Sadly, just about all of those programs aired in a time when everyone was tethered to a cord. Fortunately, many of those beloved specials have found new homes on streaming platforms, which for those of you trying to save money, is significantly better value than paying for cable. Last year, we talked about our fondness for Hallmark and ways to stream those holiday Hallmark movies we all predict, but love.
We’ve listed a rundown of some fantastic movies and shows available to stream to get you in the festive mood!
The Simpsons, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” (1989)
Our list begins with a benchmark of primetime animation, The Simpsons. It just so happens that Matt Groening and company were smart enough to double-dip on a strong opening by having the first episode of this animated series double as a Christmas special. The premise of this episode involves Homer picking up extra work as a mall Santa and eventually winds up with Bart and Homer at the dog track, coming home with a new family pet.
Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire and the rest of the Simpsons episode catalog is available for streaming on DirecTV, Disney+, Fox, fuboTV, FXNow, Hulu and Spectrum On Demand.
Home Alone (1990)
The film that made Macaulay Culkin a household name was popular enough to spawn several sequels, even trading out for younger actors as Culkin aged, a board game and even several video games. This one film is all about the sort of parental negligence that occurs when a large family plans a massive gathering and flight, leaving a child to fend for himself and to also defend his home from a pair of no-good crooks, even if the basement heater gives him serious anxiety. While many remember the various booby traps, we think that most forget how Kevin’s willingness to reach out to the elderly bogeyman of his neighborhood pays off when he sneaks up and incapacitates the burglars who finally grab Kevin.
Home Alone is available for streaming on HBO Max.
Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)
This may be a short but it has lived on and become one of those staple Christmas specials that most of us grew up watching multiple times, either at home or even in school right before the winter break. For the unfamiliar, this is exactly what you think it might be, a retelling of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” but with all of the characters being played by Mickey Mouse and friends. While most people recognize Scrooge McDuck from this special, what with him having the same name as the main character of the Dickens play, Scrooge had been a Disney character since his creation in a Carl Barks comic back in the late 1940s.
Mickey’s Christmas Carol is exclusively available for streaming on Disney+.
Justice League, “Comfort and Joy” (2003)
This is a fun little episode that takes most of the core members of the Justice League and shows how each of them cuts back to enjoy the holidays. Superman brings Martian Manhunter over to spend Christmas with his adoptive parents, Hawkgirl and Green Lantern decide to go to a bar and enjoy a brawl and Flash and Ultra-Humanite decide to set aside their differences to bring joy to some children. While it seems odd that we see nothing of what Wonder Woman does during this time, Batman’s absence makes sense; Bruce Wayne rarely knows how to truly relax. Honestly, one of the best moments for us is when Martian Manhunter decides to embrace the moment, assume his native Martian form and perform some Martian singing because of what that singing symbolizes.
Comfort and Joy and the rest of the Justice League episode catalog are exclusively available for streaming on HBO Max.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
This is one of those specials that has been parodied and homaged countless times while remaining just as appreciable on its own. Charlie Brown spends the whole episode pondering the significance and meaning of the holiday despite being assaulted with commercialism from all sides. Of course, almost every family or gathering appropriately grows quiet once Linus says “lights, please” and retells the story of Jesus’s arrival into the world.
A Charlie Brown Christmas is exclusively available for streaming on Apple TV Plus.
Hey Arnold!, “Arnold’s Christmas” (1996)
We have never been able to make it through this episode without crying. The tenants of Arnold’s apartment complex engage in Secret Santa and Arnold winds up having to buy something for Mr. Hyunh. Relatively unfamiliar with the man, Arnold asks him what he likes and we get a heart-breaking tale about a South Vietnamese man giving up his baby girl to an American soldier whose helicopter only has room for one. Despite being given only the barest of details, Arnold decides to give Mr. Hyunh a truly special gift and seeks to reunite him with his daughter. This is an episode that definitely makes you feel good about humanity and even reminds us that some government employees really do care.
Arnold’s Christmas and the rest of the Hey Arnold episodes can be streamed on DirecTV, Hoopla, Hulu and Paramount+.
A Christmas Story (1983)
Without cable to give you access to a 24-hour marathon of this holiday staple, you may be worrying about how you might get a near obligatory viewing of this rose-tinted view of a past era around the holidays. Fortunately for us all, because this is one of our faves, this special known for the Red Ryder BB gun, being triple-dog dared into sticking your tongue to a frozen pole and the word “fudge” being tantamount to a swear, is available for streaming on HBO Max.
You can find many more resources for watching other faves, all times of year, via KilltheCableBill.com This resource has become a staple for us since cutting the cable cord years ago. We think you will find it useful, too! Let us know other ways you stream without cable. We’re all ears!