It’s that time of year again: Warm-weather adventures have shifted to cozy winter evenings at home with a warm blanket and your favorite movie. Colder nights also mean the holidays are here, and for many, that requires a tighter budget as they buy gifts and travel to visit family. If you’re considering cutting the cord to save some money, you have nothing to fear — you can still watch some of the season’s best Christmas movies and holiday classics. Read on for tips on watching Christmas-themed and holiday content without a cable subscription.
This popular streaming service has made a name for itself with a robust on-demand library, including top original content. Its holiday lineup is no exception, with classic movies and modern originals providing something for everyone. The service really shines in the romance department, but there are plenty of options for anyone looking for some Christmas spirit. Here are a few of the best Christmas movies streaming this year:
— “A Christmas Prince:” This royal romance was all over social media last year, and this year’s sequel, “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding,” aims to keep the holiday romance alive.
— “The Christmas Chronicles:” A Netflix original, this family flick features Kurt Russell as a Santa with modern sensibilities.
— “How the Grinch Stole Christmas:” The live-action retelling of the famously grumpy Grinch stars an almost-unrecognizable Jim Carrey as the Grinch himself.
[See: 10 Steps to Cut the Cable Cord.]
A Netflix streaming subscription is one of the more budget-friendly streaming options available today, largely due to its on-demand-only nature. It comes in three different package options, based on the number of simultaneous streams.
— Basic package: $8 a month, one screen.
— Standard package: $11 a month, two screens.
— Premium package: $14 a month, four screens.
Amazon Prime offers great benefits to subscribers this time of year, including free shipping and exclusive deals on select items. Another benefit of Prime membership is access to its streaming library at no additional cost. This year, Prime is loaded with a slate of Christmas classics:
— “Miracle on 34th Street:” This black-and-white film is a staple of many families’ holiday traditions, with a hopeful message tied up in a bow.
— “It’s a Wonderful Life:” Another longtime favorite, this movie’s message is full of Christmas cheer.
— “The Man Who Invented Christmas:” This recent movie, starring Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens, shares the story of Charles Dickens and his famous “A Christmas Carol.”
Prime comes in several different subscription options, with better pricing available if you subscribe for a full year.
— Annual membership: $119 a year, three screens.
— Monthly membership: $13 a month, three screens.
Amazon also offers content to rent or buy, so if you’re looking for a specific title not included with Prime, you’ll probably be able to rent or buy it on a per-movie basis through Amazon Video.
This streaming service offers both live and on-demand options, but if you’re looking for extra savings during the holiday season, the on-demand subscription is your best bet. Along with some standard holiday fare, Hulu offers Christmas movies for broad tastes:
— “Deck the Halls:” Starring Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick, this tale of neighborly rivalry is a funny look at Christmastime consumerism.
— “The Nightmare Before Christmas:” Tim Burton’s multi-holiday masterpiece doubles as a Halloween romp and a Christmas classic.
— “Charlie Brown” collection: These cartoons about an earnest but unfortunate kid are often part of holiday traditions, and you’ll be able to catch “It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown;” “Happy New Year, Charlie Brown” and “I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown” on Hulu this year.
Hulu has two on-demand package options, with prices dependent on commercial breaks.
— Hulu with Limited Commercials: $8 a month, one screen.
— Hulu with No Commercials: $12 a month, one screen.
Networks such as the Hallmark Channel are big contributors to holiday movie slates, so if you plan to watch them live this season, you’ll need a live subscription of some kind. Of course, that subscription doesn’t have to be cable — live-streaming services such as Sling TV and YouTube TV can give you access to content as it airs, though those prices will be higher than for on-demand-only services.
If you don’t want to spring for a subscription of any kind this holiday season, you won’t have to miss out on all the movie fun. If you have a digital antenna, you’ll be able to catch holiday episodes on local networks such as MeTV and even more movies on channels like ION Television, which are available for free over the air depending on your area. It’s worth checking your local TV listings to see when the best holiday content will air near you.
As we head into the holidays, watching Christmas movies can nurture the holiday spirit, and it doesn’t have to be at the expense of your budget. Using streaming services and local programming, you can stick to a budget while still getting your annual dose of Christmas cheer.
More from U.S. News