The holidays are here, and the family is all together once more, bored out of their minds, and wondering exactly how to entertain the smaller ones with the shorter attention spans and the greater likelihood of crashing out into a temper tantrum if they get overworked. Enter the family room's large screen TV and ability to stream. But what if Netflix isn't available? Are there Christmas movies on HBO Go that will suffice?
In fact, there are Christmas movies on HBO Go perfect for streaming for the whole family. Despite Netflix and Hulu having the larger name recognition in the field, since the 2015 launch of HBO Go, it's been one of the faster-growing services in the U.S. Most assume that's all thanks to Game of Thrones, and HBO has certainly piggybacked off that impression, using the Season 5 premiere of the series to launch their service in the first place, and centering their sign-up drives around Seasons 6 and 7.
But while it can take a show like Game Of Thrones to get people to initially sign up, it requires a real library of films and series to keep the customer the rest of the year. HBO has had one of those since it launched all the way back in the 1970s, and much of their stock is perfect for kids of all ages.
Let's run down the best choices on the list.
1. The Muppet Christmas Carol
It's the 25th anniversary of the first Muppet film made after Jim Henson's passing, and the first proof the Henson Company would be able to carry on his legacy. A true holiday classic.
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.
2. Fred Claus
A comedy from the "When Vince Vaughn Was Big" period, but surprisingly sweet nonetheless, with more office jokes than you'd think.
Of the two Claus brothers, Fred (Vince Vaughn) is the troublemaker and polar opposite of his saintly sibling, Nicholas (Paul Giamatti). When Fred's criminal ways finally land him in big trouble, Nicholas bails him out and brings him to the North Pole to work off the debt by making toys. The headaches mount for St. Nick, who not only must deal with his troublemaking brother, but also an efficiency expert who has come to evaluate Santa's operation.
A fantasy horror Christmas film, for those looking for something a little more offbeat, yet family friendly.
While the holiday season represents the most magical time of year, ancient European folklore warns of Krampus, a horned beast who punishes naughty children at Christmastime. When dysfunctional family squabbling causes young Max (Emjay Anthony) to lose his festive spirit, it unleashes the wrath of the fearsome demon. As Krampus lays siege to the Engel home, mom (Toni Collette), pop (Adam Scott), sister (Stefania LaVie Owen) and brother must band together to save one another from a monstrous fate.
4. Almost Christmas
For those who are looking for the contemporary, family-centric comedy, this one's one of the best.
Walter Meyer (Danny Glover) is a retired mechanic who lost the love of his life one year earlier. Now that the holiday season is here, he invites daughters Rachel (Gabrielle Union) and Cheryl (Kimberly Elise) and sons Christian (Romany Malco) and Evan (Jessie T. Usher) to his house for a traditional celebration. Poor Walter soon realizes that if his bickering children and the rest of the family can spend five days together under the same roof, it will truly be a Christmas miracle.
5. The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe
Despite the religious overtones, the original of C.S. Lewis' Narnia novels was also a Christmas tale.
During the World War II bombings of London, four English siblings are sent to a country house where they will be safe. One day Lucy (Georgie Henley) finds a wardrobe that transports her to a magical world called Narnia. After coming back, she soon returns to Narnia with her brothers, Peter (William Moseley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes), and her sister, Susan (Anna Popplewell). There they join the magical lion, Aslan (Liam Neeson), in the fight against the evil White Witch, Jadis (Tilda Swinton).
6. Jack Frost
Dead dad comes back to live as a slightly creepy looking snowman. Just go with it.
As a touring musician clinging to dreams of stardom, aging rocker Jack Frost (Michael Keaton) never had much time for his wife, Gabby (Kelly Preston), and young son, Charlie (Joseph Cross). A year after Jack's tragic death in a car accident on Christmas Day, Charlie plays a mournful tune on his father's harmonica. Much to his surprise, the elder Frost is magically brought to life as a snowman on the family lawn. Given a second chance, Charlie and Jack struggle to make up for lost time.
7. Once Upon A Sesame Street Christmas
HBO owns Sesame Street now, and though they don't have the original 1970s Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, they've rectified that by making a new one.
On Christmas Eve, Elmo's father Louie tells his son about how Sesame Street was a dreary place in the 19th century as it's inhabitants lack the Christmas spirit enough for Santa Claus to not make a stop there and is enforced by a constable that is Mr. Johnson's ancestor.