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How to watch the best Christmas films for free

From Elf to It’s A Wonderful Life, here’s how to watch the festive classics for free

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Christmas is here and that means a never-ending roster of cheesy Christmas movies. But who wants to shell out money for a DVD or Blu-Ray they’ll only play during one month of the year?

That’s why streaming services are so great – they let us get our heart’s fill of all the greatest festive classics without having to pay for each one. Below we’ve compiled some of the best Christmas films for the festive season, and how you can watch them for free.

Bear in mind “free” means “without paying anything just for the film” — you’ll still have to pay the small cost to use various streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. But this cost is negligible compared to buying the films themselves. It’s also worth remembering that not all films are available for free online legally, so if you want to watch Home Alone, How the Grinch stole Christmas or Jingle All The Way you’ll have to wait for the inevitable Boxing Day repeat on TV.

How to watch the best Christmas films for free

Elf

Amazon Prime Video

The story of Buddy the Elf as he makes his way to find his father in the big city is one of the most popular Christmas classics, thanks in part to an amazing performance from Will Ferrell.

Deck the Halls

Netflix

Is this film a goofy Christmas comedy or a dramatic festive arms race between two power-crazed maniacs? Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick go head to head in this weird and wonderful family comedy.

The Polar Express

NOW TV, Sky Go

This charming animated film tells the story of a boy who travels to the North Pole (no prizes for guessing how). It retains that magical Christmas spirit – you’ll feel like you’re hurtling along those icy plains right there with them, so be sure to wrap up warm.

Love Actually

Netflix

Love Actually is basically a who’s-who of British film stars, all wrapped up in a Christmassy bow, and most people *actually* love it.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

NOW TV, Sky Go, Disney Life

Famously misattributed to Tim Burton, The Nightmare Before Christmas is just as much a festive film as it is a halloweeny one. Watch it for its beautiful animation and score as much as the film itself.

The Muppets Christmas Carol

NOW TV, Sky Go, Disney Life

In case there wasn’t one famous story the Muppets hadn’t infected with their puppety charm, this retells Dickens’ famous story in a child-friendly and fun way.

Die Hard

NOW TV

There’s an ongoing debate between people who think Die Hard is a Christmas film, and people who are wrong. But for people who don’t want another cheesy slideshow of “Christmas cheer”, this classic action thriller is a welcome antidote.

Arthur Christmas

Netflix

This film doesn’t quite get the buzz it deserves every year, but with an amazing cast of voice actors and great animation, it’s worth a watch. It tells the story of Santa’s underperforming son as he races to save Christmas.

Nativity!

Netflix

The year before he played Sherlock’s sidekick, Martin Freeman was saving a school nativity in this offbeat family comedy. It’s not the greatest festive film ever, but there are only so many times you can see Elf before you need a break.

It’s A Wonderful Life

NOW TV, Sky Go

This is one of the oldest Christmas films but it’s still one of the most popular, with some really famous lines and an enduring message that’ll resonate with kids – even though it’s in black and white.

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