Last Updated on December 19, 2020
We’ve gathered up just about all the Christmas period movies that are airing on television and streaming on your favorite channels this season in the US. When you are done here, be sure to visit our Best Period Dramas: Christmas Classics List for additional titles.
Whether you are looking for a romantic movie, a classic film, or something you’ve never seen, there’s no shortage of festive period films for the days before Christmas – and after.
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There’s a lot of information here – to make it easy to find something to watch now, scroll down to your preferred network (look for PBS, Acorn TV, Netflix, Hallmark, TCM and others) to see which period movies they are showing. We even include some titles that are available to stream for free. Merry Christmas!
This year’s “Call the Midwife” Christmas Special premieres on December 25, 2018 on PBS at 9/8c. See what happens when a new nun and four Chinese orphans arrive unexpectedly at Nonnatus House, causing both joy and chaos for the midwives. Meanwhile, Mother Superior falls ill, and it’s time for a new spiritual leader to be elected. (The 2017 Christmas special is available to stream.)
Some local PBS channels are airing “Little Women” this season. Look for the 1994 version with Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder and Kirsten Dunst, as well as the recent Masterpiece version. Read more about “Little Women” on Masterpiece here and check your local listings for availability.
It’s not strictly a period drama, but it’s Victorian era themed, and stars “Downton Abbey’s” Hugh Bonneville: “Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir “ will continue to air on some local PBS channels. Read about the special and then check the schedule.
You’ll find the 2017 “Victoria” Christmas special “Comfort and Joy” airing on most PBS stations in early January. It’s Christmastime and the festive spirit of the season sparks romantic tension throughout the palace. Check your local station.
Included with Prime Video
“The Man Who Invented Christmas,” starring Downton’s Dan Stevens, is a new take on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Read our review here. It’s available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Add to your WATCHLIST
“Dickensian” isn’t always cheery but it’s always Dickens! A bold reinvention of Charles Dickens’ timeless novels, the BBC’s “Dickensian” takes familiar characters on new journeys as their stories intersect in the same world. Discover the events that lead up to Miss Havisham’s wedding day (“Great Expectations”), the true sacrifices made by a young Lady Dedlock (“Bleak House”), what happens to ruthless moneylender Jacob Marley (“A Christmas Carol”), and more! You don’t need to know Dickens’ novels to fall in love with these stories – packed with romance, scandal and intrigue, they deliver a ride of twists and turns to the final episode. It’s available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Add to your WATCHLIST
“A Child’s Christmas in Wales”: is fun. Made for television from the Dylan Thomas classic, the film concerns a traditional Christmas in Wales around the turn of the 20th century with some scenes set in present day. It’s available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Add to your WATCHLIST
The recent PBS Masterpiece “Little Women” mini-series is available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott, it is the story of sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, as they navigate what it means to be a young woman: from gender roles to sibling rivalry, first love, loss, and marriage. Add to your WATCHLIST
While you are waiting for the “Downton” movie to come out, why not re-watch the two-hour Christmas special and the series finale of “Downton Abbey”? Mary endeavors to build bridges with her sister while Edith’s secret continues to pose a threat. As Henry settles into the role of husband and stepfather, finding his place at Downton proves more difficult. It’s available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Add to your WATCHLIST
Finally “It’s A Wonderful Life” has been added to Prime! It’s a classic but also is technically period set. After George Bailey wishes he had never been born, an angel is sent to earth to make George’s wish come true. George starts to realize how many lives he has changed and impacted, and how they would be different if he was never there. It’s available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Add to your WATCHLIST
For a family movie, try “Christmas For A Dollar.” America is in the Depression and the Kamp family is struggling to get by. Little Ruthie, with her father overwhelmed by doctor bills, expects another Christmas without presents or festivities. But when her father brings home one dollar in change and lets the children use it to buy special gifts, the Kamps come to find that money isn’t what fills Christmas with joy, love, and miracles. It’s available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Add to your WATCHLIST
Go old school: and watch the 1935 British version of” A Christmas Carol.” The classic film “Scrooge” is the original and considered the best adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” ever made. Seymour Hicks plays a classic Scrooge. Legend Films is proud to bring you this wonderful story of hope and redemption, beautifully restored and in color for the very first time. It’s available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Add to your WATCHLIST (Everyone can also watch it for free on the Willow and Thatch Period Drama YouTube Channel here. We also have the “A Christmas Carol” (1910) if you want to go really old school. That’s here.)
We love the 2005 BBC period drama “Under the Greenwood Tree.” A wealthy man, a penniless musician (James Murray) and a cleric vie for the affections of a beautiful schoolteacher (Keeley Hawes). It’s not exactly a Chrismas movie, but it’s heartwarming, so well done, and very Christmasy! It’s available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Add to your WATCHLIST
The 2017 “Victoria” Christmas special “Comfort and Joy” (S2, ep9) is available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Victoria and Albert have very different expectations for a family Christmas, and the arrival of a young African orphan at the Palace puts them at loggerheads. After a terrifying accident calls the couple’s priorities into question, Victoria and Albert finally realize that they must leave behind the pain of their upbringings if they are to give their own children the Christmas that they never had. Add to your WATCHLIST
“Lark Rise to Candleford” fans can re-watch the Christmas special. The second series opens with a wonderfully captivating seasonal tale that unites the past and the present. When Dorcas and Emma each want to give Laura the same gift for Christmas, an old family wound is opened up and Laura finds herself torn between two mothers. As the inhabitants of Lark Rise and Candleford prepare for the festivities, loyalties are tested and, amid the gift-giving and carol singing, tensions are building. It’s available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Add to your WATCHLIST
For the kids, there’s “An American Girl Story – Maryellen 1955: Extraordinary Christmas.” It’s Christmas, 1955 in Daytona Beach, FL, and middle child Maryellen longs to stand out amidst the hustle and bustle of her big family. When Benji, a family friend afflicted with polio comes to stay with them, Maryellen is intent on making the holiday special. After her plans for a big celebration fall through, she discovers the best gifts are often simple, meaningful gestures of friendship. It’s available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Add to your WATCHLIST
Also for the family is “Mandie And The Forgotten Christmas.” When Mandie is thrust into Miss Heathwood’s School for Girls, she struggles to grasp the school’s new rules. As Mandie tries to stay out of hot water with Miss Heathwood and discover what the headmistress seems to have against Christmas, she stumbles upon a mystery in the school’s forbidden attic. Uncovering the truth may lead to unlocking the memories of a long-forgotten Christmas. It’s available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Add to your WATCHLIST
Sometimes you need a little “Nutcracker.” The colorful holiday classic “Nutcracker: The Motion Picture” is brought to the big screen, designed by famed children’s story author and artist Maurice Sendak, and written for the first time to be as close as possible to the original story. A lavish, exciting and heart-warming celebration of dance, of music, and of life. Based upon the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s original production. It’s available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Add to your WATCHLIST
For those of you who like the British reality series where regular people go back in time, watch “Victorian Farm Christmas.” It’s part of the BBC Television series, “Victorian Farm,” a historical observational documentary series following a team who live the life of Victorian Farmers for a year. In this Christmas special, Alex, Peter and Ruth return to the Shropshire farm to celebrate a traditional Victorian Christmas. There’s an enormous amount of farm work and new tasks to be tackled on the estate in the lead up to the festive season. It’s available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Add to your WATCHLIST
In the same vein is “Tudor Monastery Farm at Christmas.” Historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologists Tom Pinfold and Peter Ginn turn the clock back 500 years to rediscover how the farms of Tudor England celebrated the twelve days of Christmas. The culmination of Christmas was marked by a frenzy of music, food and alcohol. Tudor life was hierarchical and strictly organized but, at Christmas, the rules were relaxed and the roles reversed. It’s available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Add to your WATCHLIST
“Christmas Miracle at Sage Creek” is a family movie: Two families finally overcome prejudice and tragedy in 1888 when a Christmas miracle saves the life of a boy. It’s available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Add to your WATCHLIST (Everyone can stream “Christmas Miracle at Sage Creek” for free here.)
If you are up for starting a new series, you’ll find a Christmas episode in each of the two seasons of “Little Men.” Set in rural Massachusetts, the series chronicles the heroic struggles of Jo Bhaer as she attempts to manage Plumfield, a boarding school for boys, after the tragic death of her husband Fritz. Based upon Louisa May Alcott’s classic sequel to “Little Women.” In Season 1, the episode is “The Christmas Angel,” and in season 2 look for the finale “Home for Christmas.” It’s available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Add to your WATCHLIST
There’s also the 2005 Indie “Mr. Christmas.” In 1941, a young father can’t afford to buy his 5-year-old daughter the bicycle she expects Santa Claus to bring her for Christmas. It’s available to stream and included with your Prime Video membership. Add to your WATCHLIST
The only true Christmas period drama on Netflix right now is “The Christmas Candle.” In 19th-century England, a minister’s quest to modernize his village puts him at odds with people who believe that whoever lights the candle that an angel touched will receive a miracle on Christmas Eve. Watch the TRAILER
“Angela’s Christmas” is set in Limerick, Ireland, in 1914. A trip to church with her family on Christmas Eve gives young Angela an extraordinary idea. based on Angela and the Baby Jesus, the only children’s book written by Angela’s Ashes author Frank McCourt. It’s lovely, but is probably not for children under the age of 6, despite it being animated.
There’s “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.” In this live-action adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s fantastical ballet, young Marie awakens to find that toys and mice have grown much larger, and a villainous rodent ruler begins to torment her. Coming to Marie’s aid, however, is the Nutcracker Prince who protects her from the evil mouse amidst lively dance sequences. Also inhabiting this dreamy realm is the Sugarplum Fairy and her dashing cavalier. Watch the TRAILER
“The Spirit of Christmas” is contemporary set but there’s an attractive ghost from the past! As Christmas approaches, attorney Kate Jordan travels to Vermont to oversee the sale of an inn, where she falls for a handsome but cursed ghost. Think Hallmark meets “Somewhere In Time.” Watch the TRAILER
“White Christmas”: Set beginning on Christmas Eve, 1944, during the Second World War. After leaving the Army, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis team up to become a top song-and-dance act. Davis plays matchmaker and introduces Wallace to a pair of beautiful sisters (Betty and Judy) who also have a song-and-dance act. When Betty and Judy travel to a Vermont lodge to perform a Christmas show, Wallace and Davis follow, only to find their former commander, General Waverly, is the lodge owner. A series of romantic mix-ups ensue as the performers try to help the General. Watch the TRAILER
You may also like “The Great British Baking Show: Holidays”: Deck the halls with sugar, butter and chocolate as Paul and Prue welcome some favorite bakers back to the tent for a holiday confection competition.
On Acorn TV
Mystery fans should catch “Murder Under the Mistletoe: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries”: Phryne and company head to a chalet to celebrate Christmas in July, but when they get there they find one of the residents dead, electrocuted while hanging festive lights. Two other deaths quickly follow, though not before Jack and Constable Collins arrive on the scene and Phryne begins to figure out which of the chalet’s residents might be the next victim. Stream it here.
Look for the following “Murdoch Mysteries” specials: “A Merry Murdoch Christmas”: At a Christmas charity gala for sick children, the host, dressed as Santa Claus, is found with a broken neck and all the presents are stolen. When witnesses report hearing a wild animal near the scene, Crabtree suspects the legendary creature Krampus. Stream it here.
“Once Upon a Murdoch Christmas”: When brazen robberies target Toronto’s wealthiest businessmen just days before Christmas, Murdoch and Brackenreid’s jobs are under fire if they don’t quickly solve the case. Stream it here.
“Home for the Holidays”: Murdoch and Ogden travel to Victoria, B.C. to visit Murdoch’s brother, RCMP officer Jasper Linney. Stream it here.
There’s also “Oweneen the Sprat,” which is an episode from “The Irish R.M”: Christmas proves a tense time for the Yeateses when Philippa collides with Oweneen while driving the carriage. When it’s discovered that one of the people injured in the carriage accident is an evil mountain man known as Oweneen the Sprat, the family is overcome with fear. Stream it here.
“When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing,” a two-hour Christmas event, is premiering Christmas day on Hallmark Channel as part of “Countdown to Christmas.” Read about it here. (Last year’s Christmas special “The Christmas Wishing Tree” is available to stream here.
The Austen-inspired “Christmas at Pemberley Manor” and “Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe” on The Hallmark Channel will continue to air this week. Read about them and see the schedule here.
With Hallmark Movies NOW, you can stream these period Christmas movies:
“The Angel of Pennsylvania Avenue”: During the Great Depression, Angus Feagan leaves home to find work and gets arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, so his three kids hatch a plan to travel to Washington D.C. to get President Hoover’s help before Christmas. Stream it here.
“A Christmas Carol – The Musical”: Charles Dickens’ classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge (Kelsey Grammer) and his haunted Christmas Eve night gets the musical treatment with original songs from the composer of “Beauty and the Beast.” Stream it here.
We reviewed Hallmark’s “A Christmas Memory” for you here. Stream it here.
“An Old Fashioned Christmas”: The story of “An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving,” based on a short story by American novelist Louisa May Alcott, continues with “An Old-Fashioned Christmas.” Isabella and Tilly pay a visit to Ireland, hoping Isabella’s long-ago suitor, the Earl of Shannon, can assist Tilly in getting her writing published. Stream it here.
“One Christmas”: Based on the Truman Capote story, 8-year-old Buddy is sent to spend the holidays with his irresponsible father in New Orleans, who uses the boy to ingratiate himself to the esteemed Cornelia Beaumont. Stream it here.
“Silent Night”: Based on a true story. In 1944, as American soldiers are making their way through Europe, a platoon find themselves lost behind enemy lines. On Christmas Eve, with little hope remaining in their hearts, they discover a refuge, a small cabin inhabited by a German woman and her young son. Stream it here.
“The Spirit of Christmas” is contemporary set but there’s an attractive ghost from the past! As Christmas approaches, attorney Kate Jordan travels to Vermont to oversee the sale of an inn, where she falls for a handsome but cursed ghost. Think Hallmark meets “Somewhere In Time.” Stream it here.
The movie version of “Little Men” stars Mariel Hemingway as a grown up Jo March married to Fritz Bhaer (Chris Sarandon). Together they run Plumfield, a school for orphans, but a troublesome young boy named Dan might be too much for them to handle. The late 19th century set movie ends at Christmastime. Stream it here.
On Turner Classic Movies
Some of these are classic, and not period, but are well worth the watch.
“Fanny and Alexander” (1982): A widowed actress and her children suffer hardships when she mistakenly marries a conservative church leader.
“A Christmas Carol” (1951): Ghosts visit a miser during the holidays to teach him the errors of his ways. Watch the TRAILER
“All Mine to Give” (1957): Pioneer children fight to build a new family after their parents die. This may be too sad for some.
“The Bishop’s Wife” (1947): An angel helps set an ambitious bishop on the right track. Watch the TRAILER
“Christmas in Connecticut” (1945): A homemaking specialist who can’t boil water is forced to provide a family holiday for a war hero. Watch the TRAILER
“Holiday Inn” (1942): When he loses in love, a song-and-dance man retires from show business to run a country inn. Watch the TRAILER
“The Holly and the Ivy” (1952): A minister’s family torn apart by World War II reunites for the Christmas holidays.
“Little Women” (1933): The four March sisters fight to keep their family together and find love while their father is off fighting the Civil War.
“Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944): Young love and childish fears highlight a year in the life of a turn-of-the-century family. Watch the TRAILER
On Gazebo TV
Fans of “Anne of Green Gables” may enjoy “An Avonlea Christmas”: As World War I rages in Europe, the citizens of Avonlea prepare for their annual Christmas festivities. Hetty King, always ready and willing to do her part for king and country, is planning a Christmas concert with the schoolchildren to raise funds for the war effort. Janet King, whose son Felix is away fighting in the trenches, would prefer to forget about the war altogether.
There’s also the family friendy “A Wind at My Back Christmas”: Christmas in New Bedford is not how it should be. Grace and her mother have gone to Europe to recover her husband’s belongings when war breaks out and they are stranded. At home, Toppy is in a tizzy because she is directing the town pageant. Hub, who is planning on becoming a priest, returns home from school for the holidays and brings a surprise with him – a girlfriend who is a Jewish refugee.
A list of 10 Victorian Family Christmas Movies is here.
Our Best Period Dramas: Christmas Classics List, which also includes some classic films, is quite the resource for period Christmas movies. All the titles are linked to where they can be streamed or are available on DVD.
If you enjoyed this post, you’ll want to wander over to The Period Films List. You’ll especially like the Best Period Dramas: Christmas List.