Although there's an endless array of Christmas films, does it even really matter if those films have been cruelly left off Netflix Instant? Do they expect us to mail order it like an old person? Awful. Fortunately, there are a handful of festive goodies you can stream right now, even enough where you can hold a mini film festival right off your computer.
When the weather outside is frightful, and nobody invited you to any Christmas parties (again), what else is there to do but group up a few holiday specials and call it a weekend? Maybe you need something classic while you're cuddling up with your significant other. Perhaps you want to turn a Charles Dickens standard into a descent of debauchery with your friends. Or maybe you prefer Halloween and want to goth it up alone (clearly that one is for me). No matter what your poison is, there's definitely films you can pair for double-features, specials that can resurrect your childhood, and Dwight Shruite as Belsnickel waiting for you online.
But who would I be to make you search for this? To make it easy, here are seven suggestions of Christmas-themed couplings: What you should watch, when you should watch it, and what drink you should pair it with (duh).
1. A Very Vintage Christmas
Stream: White Christmas and Babes in Toyland
Drink: A hot toddy or spiked cider should suffice.
Perfect For: White Christmas is an incredibly beautiful technicolor classic, maybe one of my top five favorite films of all time. Babes in Toyland is... perfectly fine if you can't get March of the Wooden Soldiers on instant stream, which you can't. Likewise you can't get the earlier, inferior prototype version of White Christmas, Holiday Inn, but considering that one features Bing Crosby in blackface, it's no loss.
2. A Bizarro Christmas Carol Combination
Stream: A Muppets Christmas Carol, Scrooged, Blackadder's Christmas Carol, All American Christmas Carol
Drink: Beer, in mass quantities.
Perfect For: A drinking game. The Dickensian classic, A Christmas Carol, is one of the most generic, reproduced stories in history. Everyone from Mr. Magoo to Fred Flintstone to my dad has done a take on it. Likewise, beer is the most generic of alcohols, so you know what? Let's get weird. Turn the often-repeated lines into a sip, and allow each version to decline in quality as your sobriety steadily drops. By the time you have to watch Pennsatucky from Orange is the New Black spout out Ebenezer Scrooge platitudes, you'll be too shit-faced to care.
3. Hatred for the Holidays
Stream: Bad Santa, The Ice Harvest
Drink: Whiskey, straight.
Perfect For: When you come home after a particularly rough shift at Best Buy, consumerism be damned. Most people won't go out of their way to see one, let alone two Billy Bob Thorton films, but if the mood strikes, here's where to start. Bad Santa in particular features Thorton as he sexiest: gray, stubbly, drunk off his ass before noon. Move over, Channing Tatum.
4. Merry Christmas, Tim Burton!
Stream: The Nightmare Before Christmas, Batman Returns
Drink: A bottle of red wine, the cheapest you can find in your parents' liquor cabinet.
Perfect For: Your inner 13-year-old mallgoth (or, if you're me, your constant 23-year-old mallgoth). The Nightmare Before Christmas is an unparalleled masterpiece and Batman Returns has both Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and a soundtrack featuring Siouxsie and the Banshees. Bonus points if you can bring a Blu-ray of Edward Scissorhands into the mix!
5. Less Christmas, More Crying
Stream: Love, Actually and Sleepless in Seattle
Drink: All the chardonnay.
Perfect For: When your boyfriend breaks up with you on December 23 to get out of buying a Christmas present. Sleepless in Seattle begins the night before Christmas, but spans considerably beyond that into Valentine's Day. Love, Actually begins five weeks prior to Christmas. Both have very little to do with the holiday itself. HOWEVER, they are notorious symbols of the rom-com genre, Love, Actually being a particularly hokey example. This is the kind of embarrassing marathon you have by yourself, with the lights turned off, tears streaming down your face as you drink away the pain. We've all been there, sister.
6. Christmas in Disneyland
Stream: Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas and Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed In at the House of Mouse
Drink: Hot chocolate with extra marshmallows.
Perfect For: When you want a few small bites of wholesome Disney fun but can't find your VHS of Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Enchanted Christmas anywhere. Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas and Mickey's Magical Christmas all feature short, slapstick-y episodes. The latter has just about every character in the Disney kingdom, which is a special treat.
And a bonus for ya:
7. Christmas at The Office
Stream: The Office episodes "Christmas Party," "A Benihana Christmas," "Morroccan Christmas," "Secret Santa," "Classy Christmas," "Christmas Wishes" and "Dwight Christmas."
Drink: Eggnog, with or without a shot of rum
Perfect For: Everyone, seriously. I wanted to give the option of streaming a show with a collection of solid Christmas episodes. A few obvious ones came to mind (The Simpsons, South Park, Community save for that gas leak year) but I really wanted something that had longevity, broad appeal, consistently good holiday specials, and most importantly, was actually available on Netflix Instant. The Office satisfies all of these qualities. It's just a little bit offbeat but still, anyone can like it, and it has seven hilarious Christmas installments. You could watch it with the family, or stream it in the background at your work's holiday party. It's never a bad idea.
Image: Buena Vista Pictures