There’s nothing quite like Christmastime. When the cold, snowy season comes, what better time to curl up on the couch and watch some Christmas classics? Come along as we rate the 12 best Christmas movies ever made.
So many Christmas movies to choose from, but you can’t go wrong with these 12.
In one of his funniest roles, Will Ferrell gives us a laugh a minute in this Christmas classic. An abandoned child who was “adopted” by Santa Claus, Buddy the Elf decides to leave the North Pole and find his real family in New York City. His raw exuberance and love for the holidays make this movie loved by both young and old. Admit it, you tried syrup on your spaghetti after this flick.
2. Jingle All The Way
Every 90s parent could relate to the problems that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character has in this seasonal movie. Wanting to give his child a coveted gift of Turbo Man, an action figure that is sold out everywhere, he does anything he can to get one in his hands. Sinbad also plays a starring role, as another dad who needs a Turbo Man doll. The tagline, Two Dads, One Toy, No Prisoners, should give you just the incentive you need to download this memorable Christmas classic.
3. Miracle on 34th Street
It’s important to get to know your classic Christmas movies too. Miracle on 34th Street from 1947 tells the story of a man named Kris Kringle who fills in for Santa at a department store. Many magical things start happening, and ultimately a court has to decide whether this is the real Santa Claus or an imposter with a mental illness. A heartwarming film, and also a good reminder of the true meaning of the holiday.
4. The Santa Clause
This family-friendly comedy is fun for both children and adults alike. The Santa Clause stars Tim Allen as Scott Calvin, an ordinary man who accidentally causes Santa Claus to fall from his roof on Christmas Eve. With Santa down for the count, Scott and his young son, Charlie, are tasked with finishing up where St. Nick left off. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if your dad was Santa Claus, you’ll surely enjoy this yuletide classic.
5. A Christmas Story
“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” Poor little Ralphie Parker only wants a Red Ryder, carbine-action, 200-shot, range model air rifle for Christmas. Unfortunately, his pleas are rejected by his mother, his teacher, and even a Santa Claus at Higbee’s department store. With a perfect blend of humor and nostalgia, this film is a must-watch for anyone who roots for the underdog at Christmas.
6. Home Alone
Macauley Culkin plays Kevin McCallister, a young boy who is accidentally left at home for the holidays by his parents. Kevin initially relishes in the idea of being home alone, but that all changes as he battles two bandits who want to burglarize his home. With strong acting performances, lots of laughs, and some heartwarming Christmas spirit, this film is a must-watch around Christmastime.
7. Die Hard
Contrary to what you may think, an action movie can indeed be a Christmas movie. Starring Bruce Willis as off-duty New York City police officer John McClane, and set on Christmas Eve, all McClane wants to do is reconcile with his estranged wife. Instead, he is interrupted by German terrorists who take her entire office hostage. McClane spends the night trying to thwart the terrorists, and generally just save the day. Interestingly enough, it was classified as one of the best action and Christmas themed films ever made.
8. It’s a Wonderful Life
Based on the short story The Greatest Gift, by Philip Van Doren Stern, this film is considered one of the most loved in American cinema, and has become traditional viewing during the Christmas season. James Stewart stars as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams in order to help others. Down on his luck, his imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence. Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be had he never been born.
9. White Christmas
Released in 1954, White Christmas starred the biggest celebrities of its time, including Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. Set on Christmas Eve of 1944 during war-torn Europe, this rom-com musical was the first to use VistaVision and be played on the widescreen, and a host of other White Christmas movie trivia tidbits. There have been a number of releases of this film since the original, including a Diamond Anniversary Edition that should make your Christmas playlist this holiday season.
Every holiday deserved a little Bill Murray, and thankfully back in the late 80’s, Richard Donner brought us this updated take on the classic A Christmas Carol story with Scrooged. It covers all the classic A Christmas Carol plot points with the 3 ghosts (present, past, future), but also throws in cameos by Mary Lou Retton and Bobcat Goldthwait. And beneath it all, it’s really just a romantic comedy in Christmas movie clothing, and a must see holiday season flick.
11. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas flick? There are fans of both sides, but either way, this film is simply memorable. A stop-motion animated film, The Nightmare Before Christmas, although a family favorite, can also be a bit spooky at times. The idea for the movie came to Tim Burton when he saw the meshing of Halloween and Christmas decorations in stores. If you can’t choose which holiday you like more, watch this both around Halloween and Christmas.
12. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Clark Griswold just can’t get a break, as was witnessed in the two previous National Lampoon’s vacation movies. Starring Chevy Chase at his prime, he is just a dad who wants to give his family a good Christmas. With annoying extended family members, bad bosses, and Christmas lights that just won’t twinkle, Clark has a bit of a breakdown before carving his deflating turkey and electrocuting a cat. This movie has become an annual must-watch for families all over.
Whether you’ve seen these family-friendly flicks or not, try out our Christmas movie quiz to see if there are more memorable movies that you need to put on your list.