How to watch top Christmas movies in UK 2022: From Elf to The Grinch - here’s where the classic Christmas films are streaming

From Elf on Sky Cinema with NOW, to How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Netflix and Prime Video, here’s how to watch the top Christmas films in the UK in 2022.

By Sophia Moir Updated: 19 December 2022 - 4.13pm
Sky Cinema / Netflix / Prime Video Classic Christmas films

The trees are up, the mince pies bought and the jumpers on - it’s time to sit back and relax with a classic Christmas movie.

With so many streaming services available, you can’t watch every festive film on the same streamer - but we’ve rounded up the top Christmas films and where to watch them.

From Elf on Sky Cinema with NOW, to How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Netflix and Prime Video, here’s where to watch the best Christmas films in the UK in 2022.

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Elf

This hilarious Christmas movie starring Will Ferrell tells the tale of a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts on Christmas Eve and is transported back to the North Pole and raised as an elf. 

Years later, Buddy learns he is not really an elf and goes on a journey to New York City to find his true identity.

Where can I watch Elf?

Elf is available on Sky Cinema with NOW. It’s also available to buy or rent on Prime Video and the BT Store.

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Oscar-winning director Ron Howard brings Christmas' best-loved grump to life with the help of Jim Carrey as The Grinch. 

No one seems to know why The Grinch (Carrey) is such a grouch, until little Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) takes matters into her own hands.

She turns both Whoville and The Grinch's world upside-down and inside-out in her search for the true meaning of Christmas.

Where can I watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas?

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is available on Netflix and Prime Video. It’s also available to buy or rent in the BT Store.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is also available to watch on ITV1 at 3pm on Thursday 22 Dec, and on ITV2 at 7pm on Saturday 24 December, Christmas Eve.

The Grinch

Illumination's 2018 adaptation of Dr Seuss' festive tale The Grinch tells the story of a cynical grump (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) who goes on a mission to steal Christmas, only to have his heart changed by a young girl’s generous holiday spirit.

Rashida Jones also stars in the voice cast. 

Where can I watch The Grinch?

The Grinch is available to buy or rent on Prime Video and the BT Store.

The Grinch is also on ITV2 at 5pm on Saturday 17 December, and on ITV1 at 3.50pm on Friday 23 December.

Home Alone

When bratty Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) acts up the night before a family trip, his mother (Catherine O'Hara) mistakenly leaves for the airport without him.

He awakens to an empty house - but his excitement sours when he realises that two con men plan to rob the McCallister house, and that he alone must protect the family home.

Where can I watch Home Alone?

Home Alone is available to buy or rent on Prime Video and the BT Store. It’s also available on Disney+. 

Home Alone is also on Channel 4 at 5.25pm on Saturday 24 December, Christmas Eve.

Love Actually

Love Actually is the ultimate romantic Christmas comedy from the makers of Bridget Jones's Diary and Notting Hill.

Funny, irresistible and heartwarming, an all-star cast (including Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth and Emma Thompson) will take you on a breathtaking tour of love's delightful twists and turns. 

Where can I watch Love Actually?

Love Actually is available on Prime Video and BritBox. It’s also available to buy or rent on the BT Store.

Love Actually is also on ITV1 at 11pm on Sunday 25 December, Christmas Day.

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Arthur Christmas

This heartfelt animation follows Santa's young son, Arthur - along with retired Grandsanta, a rebellious young elf, an old sleigh and some untrained reindeer - on a crazy mission to deliver a present to one girl who was accidentally missed off the list. 

The impressive roster of A-list voice talent includes Jim Broadbent, Michael Palin, Bill Nighy, Laura Linney, Hugh Laurie, Imelda Staunton, Eva Longoria, James McAvoy, Ashley Jensen and Marc Wootton.

Where can I watch Arthur Christmas?

Arthur Christmas is available on Prime Video. It’s also available to buy or rent in the BT Store.

Arthur Christmas is also on ITV1 at 12.45pm on Saturday 24 December, Christmas Eve.

The Polar Express

On Christmas Eve, a young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express, while learning about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas.

Tom Hanks, Daryl Sabara and Josh Hutcherson lead the voice cast.

Where can I watch The Polar Express?

The Polar Express is available on Sky Cinema with NOW. It’s also available to buy or rent on Prime Video and the BT Store.

The Holiday

Dumped and depressed, English rose Iris (Kate Winslet) agrees to swap homes with similarly unlucky-in-love Californian Amanda (Cameron Diaz) for a much-needed break.

Iris finds herself in a palatial Hollywood mansion while Amanda navigates the lanes of a picture-perfect English village.

Soon enough, both lovelorn ladies bump into local lads (played by Jude Law and Jack Black) perfect for a romantic pick-me-up.

Where can I watch The Holiday?

The Holiday is available on Prime Video and BritBox. It’s also available to buy in the BT Store.

The Holiday is also on ITV2 at 8pm on Thursday 22 December, and 12.45am on Christmas Day.

Jingle All The Way

Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in this hilarious comedy as a father desperate to buy a must-have present during a frantic Christmas Eve shopping spree.

And so begins a frenzied quest that pits him against a stressed-out mailman, a sleazy Santa impersonator and every other harried parent in town.

Where can I watch Jingle All The Way?

Jingle All The Way is available to buy or rent on Prime Video and the BT Store. It’s also available on Disney+. 

Jingle All the Way is also on FILM4 at 2.35pm on Sunday 25 December, Christmas Day.

The Santa Clause

Divorced dad Scott (Tim Allen) has custody of his son (Eric Lloyd) on Christmas Eve.

After he accidentally kills a man in a Santa suit, they are magically transported to the North Pole, where an elf explains that Scott must take Santa's place before the next Christmas arrives - and Scott has a lot of work to do.

Where can I watch The Santa Clause?

The Santa Clause is available to buy or rent on Prime Video and the BT Store. It’s also available on Disney+. 

It's A Wonderful Life

George Bailey (James Stewart) sets aside his dreams of world travel to run his father’s small community bank, and protect the people of Bedford Falls from greedy businessman Mr Potter (Lionel Barrymore). 

When a costly mistake pushes George to the brink of despair, a visit from a kindly angel (Henry Travers) will show George how the life of one good man can change the world forever.

Where can I watch It’s A Wonderful Life?

It’s A Wonderful Life is available on Prime Video, Amazon Freevee and All4. It’s also available to buy or rent in the BT Store.

It's a Wonderful Life is also on Channel 4 at 1.25pm on Saturday 24 December, Christmas Eve.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

The Muppets perform the classic Dickens holiday tale, with Kermit the Frog playing Bob Cratchit, the put-upon clerk of stingy Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine). 

Other Muppets - Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear and Sam the Eagle - weave in and out of the story, while Scrooge receives visits from spirits of three Christmases - past, present and future. 

They show him the error of his self-serving ways, but the miserable old man seems to be past any hope of redemption and happiness.

Where can I watch The Muppet Christmas Carol?

The Muppet Christmas Carol is available to buy or rent on Prime Video and to buy in the BT Store. It’s also available on Disney+. 

Last Christmas

Kate (Emilia Clarke) harumphs around London, a bundle of bad decisions accompanied by the jangle of bells on her shoes, another irritating consequence from her job as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop. 

Tom (Henry Golding) seems too good to be true when he walks into her life and starts to see through so many of Kate’s barriers.

As London transforms into the most wonderful time of the year, nothing should work for these two. But sometimes, you gotta let the snow fall where it may, you gotta listen to your heart.

Where can I watch Last Christmas?

Last Christmas is available on BBC iPlayer and to buy or rent in the BT Store.

Last Christmas is also on BBC One at 11.15pm on Friday 23 December, and on BBC Three at 9pm on Saturday 24 December, Christmas Eve.

Fred Claus

Fred Claus (Vince Vaughn) has lived almost his entire life in his little brother’s very large shadow. As much as Fred tried, he could never live up to the example set by the younger Nicholas, who was just a perfect, well, Saint. 

True to form, Nicholas grew up to be the model of giving, while Fred became the polar opposite: a repo man who then steals what he repossesses.

Where can I watch Fred Claus?

Fred Claus is available on Sky Cinema with NOW. It’s also available to buy or rent on Prime Video and the BT Store.

Nativity!

Primary school teacher Paul Maddens (Martin Freeman) decides to take on the biggest challenge of his life - staging his school's musical production of the Nativity.

Competing against his arch rival at the local private school for the coveted best reviewed show in town, the stakes are raised when a potential visit from a Hollywood agent sends everyone involved into a festive frenzy.

Stars Martin Freeman, Ashley Jensen, Ricky Tomlinson and Alan Carr.

Where can I watch Nativity!?

Nativity! is available on BBC iPlayer, Netflix and Prime Video.

Nativity! is also on CBBC at 10am on Sunday 25 December, Christmas Day.

The two Nativity sequels are on Prime Video.

Nativity! Rocks is available to buy or rent on Prime Video and the BT Store.