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Highest-rated Christmas movies now streaming on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu

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Posted at 12:23 PM, Dec 05, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-23 23:07:57-05

It’s time to bundle up on the couch and get some well-deserved use out of that streaming video subscription you’ve had all year.

There are dozens of Christmas movies streaming now on Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus but not all are a gift from Santa Claus. Here are the 10 best-reviewed Christmas movies now available streaming through those popular services, according to their critics' scores on RottenTomatoes.com:

‘A Christmas Carol’ (1938)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 100 percent
Where it’s streaming: Amazon Instant Video

While this 76-year-old classic is perhaps the most sanitized version of Charles Dickens’ beloved story, it’s also the most critically hailed Christmas movie currently streaming. Reginald Owen (“Mrs. Miniver,” “Mary Poppins”) stars as Ebenezer Scrooge, the stingy workaholic who sees the error of his ways after being visited by a trio of ghosts.

‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (1993)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94 percent
Where it’s streaming: Netflix

One of the most unique animated movies ever made, Disney’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” follows Jack Skellington, a resident of Halloween Town, who discovers Christmas may be an even better holiday than All Hallows’ Eve. Produced by Tim Burton and with darkly fun original music by Danny Elfman, this is one of the rare Christmas flicks that even teenagers will feel cool watching.

‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ (1965)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92 percent
Where it’s streaming: Hulu Plus

Who doesn’t love this one? The always-depressed Charlie Brown discovers the true meaning of Christmas while directing his friends in a holiday pageant. The program’s skinny, droopy Christmas tree has become an icon and no matter what age you were when you first saw “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” you’ll still enjoy it today. Better to stream the full 25-minute film than watch the version they show on television, which is edited for commercials.

‘A Christmas Tale’ (2008)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 86 percent
Where it’s streaming: Hulu Plus

Equal parts funny and sad, this French movie hits a bit harder than many Christmas pictures. A family gathers together for the holidays, only to discover their mother has been diagnosed with cancer. The movie was a hit with critics and remains a strong story about family and the human condition.

‘Becoming Santa’ (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 80 percent
Where it’s streaming: Hulu Plus

A sweet documentary that may have you believing in Santa Claus again. This funny indie movie follows a man as he steps into Kris Kringle’s boots for a season, enrolling in Santa School, appearing in parades and collecting wishes from children. He also learns about the origin of the Santa Claus legend and why people keep it alive every year.

‘While You Were Sleeping’ (1995)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 80 percent
Where it’s streaming: Netflix

This romantic comedy, a lighthearted look at the hijinks that can occur when you fall into a coma, shot Sandra Bullock into stardom in 1995. It’s not technically about Christmas but takes place during the holiday season and that’s good enough for us!

‘Bad Santa’ (2003)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 77 percent
Where it’s streaming: Amazon Instant Video, Netflix

You might not want to watch this one with grandma but it’s arguably the best Christmas flick to put on during a night of drinking. Billy Bob Thornton stars as Willie T. Stokes, without question the last person whose lap you’d want your kid sitting on. The Coen Brothers produced the movie and it remains the king of raunchy holiday comedies.

‘Joyeux Noel’ (2005)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 76 percent
Where it’s streaming: Amazon Instant Video

Another French Christmas favorite, this one will be a hit with any history buff. Starring Diane Kruger (“Inglourious Basterds,” “National Treasure”), this movie is about the 1914 Christmas ceasefire that took place during World War I. Many German, British and French soldiers were able to fraternize without danger during the truce, depicted in this critical darling.

‘White Christmas’ (1954)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 76 percent
Where it’s streaming: Netflix

One of the all-time Christmas classics, “White Christmas” is a fun musical featuring the beloved songs of Irving Berlin. Bing Crosby, the king of Christmas crooners, teams up with Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney in this favorite of Clark Griswold.

‘Sleepless in Seattle’ (1993)
Rotten Tomatoes score: 72 percent
Where it’s streaming: Amazon Instant Video, Netflix

Perfect holiday viewing for a snowed-in date night. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan star as a pair in need of romance but separated by thousands of miles.

Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.