The holiday season is a time of being with friends and family, what better way to do so than sit down with those people and watch a classic Christmas movie. Although there may be many memorable Christmas movies throughout the years, here are the best ones to watch come holiday time.

  1. Elf (2003): It may star Will Ferrell as a dim-witted elf, but the movie’s payoff is old-fashioned, familiar, and welcome to all.
  2. Home Alone (1990): A game changer for the Christmas-movie category: it has action, like a zip line to the neighbors’ house.
  3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1965): Boris Karloff’s dulcet baritone lends sinister charm to everyone’s favorite Who-hater in this short, sweet Christmas special.
  4. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964): This sixties stop-motion-animation movie is impossibly cute, right down to Sam the Snowman.
  5. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965): Charlie Brown sets out to find the true meaning of Christmas in this animated anti-commercialism classic.
  6. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946): Whether or not you have your own guardian angel hovering, the lesson here is that it’s not money that makes you rich.
  7. Frosty the Snowman (1969): This holiday staple features one of the most memorably catchy Christmassy theme songs ever.
  8. The Santa Clause (1994): Tim Allen deconstructs Saint Nick– and reconstructs his waistline– as a hapless Santa in training.
  9. A Christmas Story (1983): This comedy satisfies two sets of audiences: kids (Ralphie gets his BB gun) and parents (it does exactly what they warned him it would).
  10. Miracle on 34th Street (1947): Uplifting without being corny, it’s no wonder that this movie is a much-beloved holiday film.


Honorable Mentions:

  • The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992): The Muppet adaptation of the classic story is fun, sweet, and definitely appropriate for the whole family.
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989): Decking the halls and other traditions are all colossal failures for the Griswold family — riotous because it hits close to home.
  • Die Hard (1988): Although not everyone knows, this is a Christmas Movie, It takes place at a holiday party!
  • A Christmas Carol (2009): George C. Scott plays Scrooge in this classic made-for-TV version of the Charles Dickens holiday tale.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993): Tim Burton and Henry Selicks enchanting tale has all the familiar, er, bones of a holiday classic — love, redemption, and Santa.
  • Gremlins (1984): Yes, this too, is a Christmas movie. Believe it or not this holiday classic took place over Christmas Vacation.
  • Holiday Inn (1942): Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire celebrate a year’s worth of holidays, against a steady flow of Irving Berlin tunes.
  • White Christmas (1954): The follow-up to Holiday Inn is once again full of Irving Berlin tunes, with Bing Crosby providing the vocals. What’s not to love?
  • The Polar Express (2004): A classic holiday story, one that will teach you to never stop believing.

So when things get icy and dicey over the next few weeks, sit down and enjoy these classics with the ones you love most (in the holiday spirit, of course).


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