What are best holiday films to watch on Netflix, Disney+ and other streaming sites?
The Disney+ streaming service will make you feel like a kid again with "That's So Raven" and "Boy Meets World." USA TODAY
They visit our homes every year.
Well, besides relatives you haven't seen in a while, George Bailey, Ebeneezer Scrooge, Clark Griswold, Ralphie Parker and others show up on our televisions, and nowadays are streaming on our phones and tablets.
In the old days, you'd check the TV Guide to see what was on when and mark it in the weekly magazine with a highlighter or pen.
But now you have this handy guide to navigate where to watch your favorite holiday films and maybe a few you didn't know about. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather a highlight of some to consider watching.
In case you missed it: Netflix and Nickelodeon announce multiyear partnership in wake of Disney+ launch
Will Netflix still dominate streaming?: An ex-subscriber survey shows the challenges ahead
"Noelle" (2019) — Anna Kendrick plays the daughter of Kris Kringle, and she's charged with bringing her brother (Bill Harder) back to the North Pole and prepare to one day be Santa Claus.
"Disney's A Christmas Carol" (2009) — This is the one where Jim Carrey plays the main characters, Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley and his ghosts. The 3D computer-animated film offers a different take than most on the classic tale, with vivid scenes including Scrooge soaring the sky and trying to escape demons.
"Santa Clause 3" (2006) — Martin Short stars as Jack Frost, creating an often chilly character who finds Santa (Tim Allen) as more foe than friend.
"The Muppet Christmas Carol" (1992) — The famous puppets present their take on the classic tale "A Christmas Carol."
"Klaus" (2019) — Netflix begins its foray into the original animated feature directed by Sergio Pablos, who created the "Despicable Me" franchise. The story centers around a postman who helps unravel the origins of Santa Claus.
"The Christmas Chronicles" (2018) — Kurt Russell headlines this 2018 Netflix Original about two teens who hatch a scheme to kidnap Santa (Russell) and soon realize it's hard to trick the man in red and white. It's simple, innocent and fun enough to remain a holiday tradition.
"Planes, Trains and Automobiles" (1987) — Some would call this a Thanksgiving film, but it leans heavily on Christmas themes and has become a classic holiday "buddy" film starring Steve Martin and the late and great John Candy. The "pillows scene" is among many funny moments in a film that wraps up nicely with a heartwarming tale.
"White Christmas" (1954) — Any holiday film list must include this classic, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney. Crosby actually sang "White Christmas" on the big screen first in the 1942 film "Holiday Inn" but most everyone remembers the 1954 one and associate it with Christmas.
"How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (2000) — Ron Howard directs and Jim Carrey stars as the Grinch. Not a bad soundtrack either, including Busta Rhymes, Smash Mouth, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Faith Hill.
"The Santa Clause" (1994) — Tim Allen stars in the first of three, this one becoming Saint Nick himself that helps him to bond with his son. It's probably Allen's best holiday effort.
Others to watch: "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (also on Disney+); "Christmas With the Kranks"; "Serendipity"; "Scrooged"; "Love Actually" and "The Holiday."
"It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) (black and white or color) — A man learns the meaning of life when he sees what would've happened if he never grew older. You either love this film or it doesn't even make your top 10 favorites.
"Family Man (2000) (Available with Starz subscription) — An underrated holiday film, co-starring Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni, about a man who sees how his life would've been different if he had remained with his girlfriend from many years before.
"The Man Who Invented Christmas" (2017) (Available with Showtime subscription) — How did Charles Dickens write "A Christmas Carol" nearly 175 years ago? This drama comes close to telling that story.
"Bad Santa" (2003) — A dark Christmas comedy starring Billy Bob Thornton. Make that a really dark comedy. But it features the late and great Bernie Mac and John Ritter (his last live action-film appearance).
"Bob Hope Christmas Specials" — Anyone at least 40 years old likely remembers comedian Bob Hope and his holiday specials, a maintstay in the last half of the 20th century. Travel back in time to watch them, and there's a lot of them to enjoy on Prime.
You can watch shows when they're on regular TV with Hulu + Live TV. In other words, if you have no cable, watch when it's on network television. Some holiday movies such as "Christmas Vacation," "A Christmas Story" and "Elf" for now are not on streaming services, but they're available at various times on networks and available to Hulu + Live TV customers (or usually a day later with no Hulu Live).
AMC is showing "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," the 1989 classic co-starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo, including at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, and a few other times.
Christmastvschedule.com offers a thorough list of when to watch holiday films on TV.
Cable watching may still be more popular than streaming, but as Disney+ and others join the battle, will streaming remain the cheaper option? Just the FAQs, USA TODAY