Listen, we get it. You still have Halloween on the brain. You’re wondering whether or not you’ll be able to repurpose your green jumper from your Squid Game costume into something you can throw on to run weekend errands. Hell, you’re not even sure how Thanksgiving is supposed to work this year. (But you know you’ll be drinking.) Christmas? Unfathomable!
Well, friend, none of that means you can’t enjoy a good old fashioned Christmas movie. You’re reading this, after all. Really, any time of year is appropriate to find that rush you get when you pull out the string lights you used in your college dorm. So if you’re already hankering for an hour and a half of holiday cheer, look no further than the fledgling streaming service, HBO Max. You’ll find the hits. (Elf, A Christmas Story.) A wild card. (Batman Returns, yes, is a Christmas movie.) And a couple of surprises.
Here are the best Christmas movies on HBO Max, from us here at Esquire, to you.
A perfect day, according to Buddy the Elf: “First we make snow angels for two hours, and then we’ll go ice skating, and then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie Dough as fast as we can, and then to finish, we’ll snuggle.” We’d just like to add a rewatch of Elf to that list.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Over 30 years after its debut, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is still an absolute delight. Watching Chevy Chase, in his comedic prime, go on a disaster-after-disaster holiday trip will have you questionably wanting to do the same.
A Christmas Story
Yes, this is the one where the kid gets his tongue stuck to a flagpole. Have a laugh at that poor lad, before enjoying the sweet, always endearing story beneath the antics.
We know. All you want for Christmas this year is Robert Pattinson’s sad, sexy Batman. But that won’t drop until March. May we suggest following Michael Keaton’s Caped Crusader in 1992’s Batman Returns, which is delightfully set during Christmastime in Gotham.
The Polar Express
There are few films that’ll get you that dopamine rush of holiday spirit quite like The Polar Express. When Josh Groban’s “Believe” hits? Phew.
Christmas movie or not, any time you can take a trip down the memory lane of aughts Vince Vaughn, you’re in for an absolute present.
A Christmas Carol (1938)
Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol has been adapted, remade, and remixed to oblivion. Rightfully so, of course! It’s a classic. Though if you’re going to watch one take on A Christmas Carol this year (which isn’t the Muppets one, which you should watch every December), queue up MGM’s family-friendly, mostly-faithful adaptation of Scrooge and Co.
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