I’m not sure about you, but we’ve been listening to Christmas music for a few weeks already. That means it’s time we start watching Christmas movies. And since there are a crazy number of them, I have put together a list of my family’s favorites. I hope these classics bring you and your loved ones a ton of holiday cheer.
‘SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN’ (1970)
From the perspective of a mailman, this movie tells the story of how Santa Claus and several Santa-connected Christmas traditions came to be. He tells the tale of a small baby named Kris who was left on the doorstep of a certain Kringle family. The rest is Christmas history.
‘HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS!’ (1966)
The story might be familiar, but there’s nothing quite like this original animated movie. I think everyone, no matter their age or generation, needs to see.
‘HOME ALONE’ (1990)
After 8-year-old Kevin misbehaves the night before a family vacation to Paris, his mother has him sleep in the attic. When he’s accidentally left home alone by his family the following morning, he’s thrilled to have the house to himself. That changes, though, as before too long he must protect his house from a pair of dimwitted burglars.
‘RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER’ (1964)
Sam the Snowman narrates a tale of a charming young red-nosed reindeer who is continually rejected for being different. After teaming up with Hermey (the rare elf who wants to be a dentist), the pair look for a place that will accept them. They soon discover a whole island of misfit toys and ask Santa for help.
As a toddler, Buddy was inadvertently shipped to the North Pole. After being raised by Santa’s elves, the affable human/elf is on a mission to find his real dad, Walter Hobbs, in New York City. The problem? Walter is on the naughty list and isn’t even slightly interested in forming a relationship. Things go expectedly (and hilariously) downhill from there.
‘THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS’ (1993)
Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, has somehow become completely bored with the spookiest of holidays. Once he stumbles into Christmas Town, he becomes so infatuated with the idea of Christmas that he decides to make up his own version.
‘MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET’ (1947)
Kris Kringle steps in to replace a drunken Santa Claus in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and people love him. Until, of course, he starts claiming to be the real deal. Once institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is, in fact, the real deal.
‘A CHRISTMAS STORY’ (1983)
Ralphie is an awkward young boy who unsuccessfully attempts to convince his parents, his teacher, and even Santa that he should receive a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Charmingly nostalgic and laugh-out-loud funny, this film is the perfect Christmas family flick.
‘THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL’ (1992)
This adaptation of A Christmas Carol features a set of beloved characters: the Muppets. This feature-length film also includes original songs, so be prepared for them to be stuck in your head all day.
‘THE SNOWMAN’ (1982)
No, Frosty is not the only snowman in town. This warm adventure follows a boy who builds a snowman that comes to life right after his family pet passes away. This one has very little dialogue and is only 26 minutes long, so it’s pretty much perfect for younger kids.
‘IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE’ (1946)
After George Bailey wishes that he had never been born, an angel appears to show him exactly how life would be without him. The rest is pure cinematic gold.
‘NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION’ (1989)
In this third edition of the National Lampoon series, the Griswold’s plan for a Christmas vacation quickly descends into a big old mess. This one’s worth watching solely for the big barrel of laughs it brings.
‘A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS’ (1965)
This classic will help teach your kids the true meaning of Christmas. Follow Charlie Brown and his lovable Peanuts gang who are quite bummed by the commercialization of Christmas. Their mission? To figure out a way to get to the holiday’s deeper meaning.
Yes, I do consider this a Christmas movie even though folks watch it year round. Anna and her pals try to save their home from the infinite winter caused by the queen, who just so happens to be her sister. It’s most definitely what I’d call a modern classic.
When postman Jesper is given an ultimatum to start a post office in the Arctic Circle in order to keep his share of his family’s fortune, he’s about ready to throw in the towel. After he meets Alva, however, the two build an unlikely bond with a mysterious carpenter who lives in a cabin full of handmade toys. Their goal? They must bring the holiday spirit to a cold and dreary town that desperately needs it.