As snowflakes fall and the holiday season approaches, it is time to cozy up and enjoy some classic Christmas movies. If you are on the hunt for heartwarming tales, festive magic, or a bit of seasonal humor, this article will introduce you to a handpicked selection of 90 wonderful Christmas movies that truly capture the spirit of Christmas. Let's dive into the joy, wonder, and timeless charm of these cinematic gems!
1. The best classic Christmas movies to watch
1.1. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
The Shop Around the Corner is a romantic comedy directed by Ernst Lubitsch. It is set in Budapest and follows two coworkers, Alfred Kralik and Klara Novak. They constantly butt heads and disagree on almost everything. But here is the twist: they are both pen pals, writing passionate letters to people they have never met. This mix-up creates a unique and charming love story, making it one of the most-watched Christmas movies.
1.2. Holiday Inn (1942)
What makes this film one of the most special Christmas movies is its holiday theme and the appeal of "White Christmas”, which won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1943. The film tells the story of Jim and Lila, performers in a trio who plan to run a country hotel. Their love triangle with Ted adds drama. This leads to heartbreak and transformation as they turn the inn into a holiday-only entertainment venue.
1.3. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) - one of the best Christmas movies
The movie tells the story of a family of four sisters, led by the talented Judy Garland. It is a story about growing up, learning about life and love, and the boy next door. This movie is filled with colorful song and dance and unique costumes, showcasing the charming costumes of the early 20th century.
1.4. Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
Christmas in Connecticut is a charming film that combines humor, romance, and holiday cheer. War hero Jefferson Jones ends up at a Connecticut farm, believing he is visiting the domestic goddess Elizabeth Lane, whose column he read while in the hospital. The catch is that Elizabeth's column is all made up, and she is far from a homemaker. The film explores the comical mix-ups and romantic entanglements that follow.
1.5. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
This movie is often on the list of classic Christmas movies. It is about George Bailey, who wishes he was never born. An angel, Clarence, comes to make that wish a reality. George discovers the big impact he has had on others and learns the value of his own life.
1.6. Miracle on 34th Street (1947) - one of the good Christmas movies
This is a heartwarming film that shows how genuine sentimentality can make a great story without getting too mushy. The plot follows Kris Kringle, who steps in as Macy's Santa Claus during the Thanksgiving Day parade. When he claims he is the real Santa, it leads to a court case about his sanity and authenticity, all while exploring the magic and meaning of Christmas.
1.7. A Christmas Carol/Scrooge (1951)
The movie is about Ebenezer Scrooge, a grumpy guy who does not like Christmas. When the ghost of his late partner, Jacob Marley, warns him of three more spirits, Scrooge goes on a journey of self-discovery. What is special is how faithfully it follows the classic tale, and Alastair Sim's performance as Scrooge is outstanding.
1.8. White Christmas (1954)
White Christmas is a touching holiday movie filled with sentiment and cheer. It is about two singers, Bob and Phil, and two sisters, Betty and Judy, who team up to put on a Christmas show in rural Vermont. When they learn that their old World War II commander is in financial trouble, they decide to stage a big musical performance to help him out.
1.9. A Christmas Story (1983) - one of the hallmark Christmas movies
A Christmas Story is a cherished holiday classic that brilliantly mixes nostalgia and humor. It is based on Jean Shepherd's funny stories and follows a young boy named Ralphie who's constantly dodging a bully and dreaming of a special Christmas gift—a "Red Ryder air rifle." Through all his ups and downs, Ralphie finds solace in his loving mother, even though his dad is a bit grumpy.
1.10. The Santa Clause (1994)
The Santa Clause is a moving holiday film that brings back that good old-fashioned Christmas spirit. It is about Scott, a divorced dad, who unexpectedly finds himself at the North Pole with his son. They learn that Scott has to become Santa Claus before the next Christmas. As time goes on, he starts to look more like Santa. Don’t forget to include this film on your list of Christmas movies.
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2. Top funny Christmas movies to watch again and again
2.1. Trading Places (1983)
Different from other Christmas movies, Trading Places is regarded as a clever social satire. The two main characters are Louis, a wealthy executive, and Billy Ray, a hustler. The story begins when brokers Mortimer and Randolph Duke make a bet involving Louis and Billy Ray. Louis is wrongly accused of a crime, and Billy Ray takes his place. When they figure out the scheme, they decide to get back at the Dukes.
2.2. Metropolitan (1990)
Metropolitan offers a clever and funny take on young socialites and their lives. It is about a group of wealthy New Yorkers who gather to talk about social issues and play bridge. Things change when a radical student joins them and challenges their way of life. The film is one of a few Christmas movies that blends humor and drama to explore class and social dynamics.
2.3. Jingle All the Way (1996) - among the most watched Christmas movies
Jingle All the Way follows Howard, a workaholic dad played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. He aims to make amends with his family by fulfilling his son's Christmas wish for the Turbo-Man toy. It is a hilarious and chaotic quest that tests his values. Along the way, he encounters Myron, a fellow parent in pursuit of the same toy. This movie has become one of the beloved Christmas movies that continues to tickle funny bones and delight audiences of all ages.
2.4. Get Santa (2015)
Get Santa is a wonderful family-friendly British comedy with a stellar cast. It tells the story of Santa Claus, who crashes his sleigh and seeks the help of a father, Rafe Spall, and his son, Kit Connor, to find his reindeer and get back home for Christmas. The movie combines humor and heart as it follows their adventures.
2.5. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
The film continues the adventures of Kevin McCallister. He ends up in New York by mistake, while his family goes to Florida. Alone in the big city, he checks into a fancy hotel and has some fun. But things get serious when he discovers two burglars, the Sticky Bandits, planning a Christmas heist. Similar to other Christmas movies, Home Alone 2 is a mix of humor, heart, and holiday spirit.
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2.6. Elf (2003)
Elf, one of the most special Christmas movies, is a heartwarming family comedy starring Will Ferrell as Buddy, one of Santa's dedicated helpers. Buddy was raised by elves at the North Pole but feels like he does not belong. He heads to New York to find his real father, Walter Hobbs, played by James Caan. Their attempts to build a relationship lead to lots of funny and chaotic situations.
2.7. Bad Santa (2003) - among the top Christmas movies to watch
Bad Santa is one of a few dark Christmas movies with an edgy sense of humor. It stars Billy Bob Thornton as Willie T. Stokes and his partner, Tony Cox. They pretend to be Santa and an elf to steal from stores on Christmas Eve. But things take a wild turn as Willie's life unravels due to depression and alcoholism. Yet, when Willie forms an unexpected bond with a young boy, it brings a glimpse of hope for redemption.
2.8. Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
Unlike other typical feel-good Christmas movies, the film boasts unique content. It is about Luther and Nora Krank, who decide to skip the usual Christmas traditions and go on a cruise. This does not sit well with their overly enthusiastic neighbors, who are obsessed with winning the "best-decorated street" competition. As a result, the Kranks become social outcasts in their neighborhood.
2.9. Four Christmases (2008)
If you have been on the hunt for highly-rated Christmas movies, you are likely familiar with this popular hit. Four Christmases is a 2008 holiday comedy featuring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon. In the movie, an unmarried couple's vacation plans are foiled, forcing them to attend four family gatherings on Christmas Day. As they meet quirky relatives, the couple learns lessons about love and acceptance amidst the festive chaos.
2.10. Office Christmas Party (2016)
The movie combines humor and holiday chaos while touching on workplace culture and the line between work and play. The story centers on a CEO, played by Jennifer Aniston, trying to shut down her brother's branch, managed by T.J. Miller. To save their jobs, Miller and Jason Bateman's characters decide to throw a massive office Christmas party to impress a crucial client.
2.11. The Night Before (2015)
This movie may not be as consistent as the classics, but it is still a good choice for holiday laughs. It is about three lifelong friends, Ethan, Isaac, and Chris, who have been celebrating Christmas Eve in style for years. When Isaac is about to become a dad, they realize it is their last chance for their tradition. To make it unforgettable, they set out for a legendary Christmas party in New York called the Nutcracka Ball.
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3. Top animated Christmas movies of all time
3.1. Klaus (2019)
This animated film is a rare gem among Christmas movies. While it did not win an Academy Award, it received a nomination for Best Animated Feature, and kids adore its heartwarming story. The movie is about a postal worker who befriends a toy maker in a cold, distant town. It offers a unique and charming twist on the origins of Santa Claus, blending humor, beautiful animation, and a heartwarming narrative.
3.2. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
This film is all about Charlie Brown's struggle to feel the holiday spirit. He takes charge of directing the Christmas play and gets a small, sad tree that everyone makes fun of. But as the story unfolds, it reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas - the joy of togetherness and simple pleasures.
3.3. A Christmas Carol (2009)
In the 2009 adaptation of "A Christmas Carol," directed by Robert Zemeckis of "Back to the Future" fame, innovative motion-capture technology is a highlight. It records real-life actors' movements and turns them into animated characters. Jim Carrey takes on multiple roles in this retelling of Charles Dickens' classic. Zemeckis' use of this technology adds a visually captivating element to the well-known story.
3.4. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) - among the best Disney Christmas movies
This stop-motion animated film is a visually stunning and original story. It is about Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloweentown, who gets tired of scaring people every Halloween. When he discovers Christmastown, he decides to take over Christmas by kidnapping Santa Claus. But things do not go as planned, leading to a unique and enchanting tale with a mix of dark humor and whimsy.
3.5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
This 1966 TV special is a timeless and heartwarming classic that generations enjoy year after year. It adapts a classic story and features impressive talent. Based on Dr. Seuss' book, it is all about the Grinch, who despises Christmas and wants to spoil it for the Whos in Whoville. But, as the story goes, he discovers the true meaning of the holiday - love and togetherness.
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3.6. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
The movie is filled with vibrant visuals, catchy tunes, and a heartwarming message about accepting our differences. In this stop-motion version of the Christmas tale, Rudolph goes on an adventure and even meets an abominable snowman, adding some extra excitement.
3.7. Arthur Christmas (2011)
Arthur Christmas shows us a high-tech operation under the North Pole that Santa uses to deliver gifts to every child. But when Santa misses one child, it is up to Arthur, Santa's youngest son, to save the day by delivering the forgotten gift before Christmas morning.
3.8. Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)
This movie puts a Disney twist on the classic tale. Mickey Mouse is Bob Cratchit, and Scrooge McDuck is Ebenezer Scrooge. It is a short 26-minute movie, perfect for a quick dose of holiday cheer.
3.9. Santa's Apprentice (2010) - one of the best cartoon Christmas movies
The film tells the heartwarming story of Santa Claus getting ready to retire. He follows the Christmas rules and selects a young orphan boy to train as his successor. The film is a touching reminder of Christmas magic, tradition, and the joy of passing on the holiday spirit.
3.10. Dr. Seuss' The Grinch (2018)
Dr. Seuss' The Grinch updates the classic Seuss story with colorful animation for younger viewers. The Grinch and his dog, Max, live quietly on Mount Crumpit. But when Whoville's noisy Christmas celebrations annoy him, the Grinch hatches a plan to steal Christmas by pretending to be Santa Claus.
3.11. Robin Robin (2021)
As one of the shortest Christmas movies, this half-hour special has a cozy stop-motion feel. It is about a bird named Robin who's raised by mice and wants to be a mouse. The story follows her as she tries to prove herself as a mouse through a daring adventure but ends up discovering her true self. The film earned an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short and carries a heartwarming message about embracing who you are.
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3.12. LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special (2020)
The movie blends LEGO humor with the Star Wars universe. It is about Rey, Finn, and Poe trying to organize a Life Day celebration. But Rey gets sidetracked by an adventure, while Finn and Poe just want to enjoy a tasty treat. The 2020 special brings together well-known Star Wars characters on a fun journey.
3.13. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
This 1992 movie is a heartwarming Muppet twist on the classic Dickens holiday tale. Kermit the Frog is Bob Cratchit, working for the grumpy Scrooge, played by Michael Caine. Other Muppets, like Miss Piggy and Gonzo, join in the fun. Scrooge is visited by Christmas spirits who try to show him the error of his ways and bring some cheer to his life.
4. Top horror Christmas movies for your spooky cravings
4.1. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
This Christmas slasher film tells the story of an orphan who grows up to be a killer Santa Claus working at a toy store. When he was a child, he witnessed his parents being murdered by a man in a Santa suit, which traumatized him. As he grows up, he goes on a killing spree while dressed as Santa.
4.2. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is a Finnish horror film that adds a unique twist to Christmas viewing. In the story, an excavating company accidentally unleashes a powerful force from indigenous folklore, turning a myth into a terrifying reality. It is a dark and atmospheric holiday movie that offers a different and chilling perspective on the season.
4.3. Wind Chill (2007)
The film tells the tale of a young woman and her classmate. They find themselves stranded on a remote, snow-covered highway after a car accident just before their university campus closes for winter break. As the night gets colder, they encounter eerie apparitions and must fight to survive. However, the film's attempt to build suspense is hindered by an awkward script, making it fall short as a satisfying ghostly thriller.
4.4. Better Watch Out (2017) - one of the scary Christmas movies
Better Watch Out is a holiday horror film that combines Christmas with the classic babysitter-in-danger theme. When 12-year-old Luke and his 17-year-old babysitter, Ashley, are left alone for the night, they have to protect themselves from unexpected intruders. It is a suspenseful and sinister story with a charismatic young cast.
4.5. Anna and the Apocalypse (2018)
This is a one-of-a-kind film that mixes comedy, horror, music, and zombies, all set during Christmas. When a zombie outbreak threatens their town, Anna and her friends must stick together, using their wits and singing talents to survive and reunite with their loved ones in this new, chaotic world.
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4.6. Black Christmas (2019)
Black Christmas is a contemporary horror film set during the holidays. Students at Hawthorne College are heading home for the break, but a mysterious, cloaked figure starts a bloody rampage on campus. In response, Riley and her sorority sisters decide to fight back instead of becoming helpless victims.
4.7. 13 Slays Until X-Mas (2020)
13 Slays Until X-Mas is an unusual Christmas horror movie. On Christmas Eve, five men get mysterious emails inviting them to a dive bar. To pass the time, they start telling scary stories. However, as the night goes on, it becomes clear they might have a dark secret. The film mixes yuletide tales with suspense, making it a chilling addition to holiday movies.
4.8. Silent Night (2021) - one of the recent Christmas movies for fans of horror films
The movie is about a group of people gathering for what could be their final Christmas as an environmental catastrophe looms. Starring Matthew Goode and Keira Knightley, the film blends holiday themes with a sense of impending doom, making it a unique and thought-provoking addition to Christmas movies.
4.9. The Advent Calendar (2021)
The Advent Calendar is a holiday-themed horror movie with a twist. Eva, who has been paralyzed for three years, gets a strange advent calendar as a birthday gift. But it is not filled with sweets. Each day reveals something different, from nice surprises to terrifying and bloody events.
4.10. Krampus (2015)
This movie is inspired by the legend of Krampus, a creature that punishes naughty kids during Christmas. When a family's holiday arguing ruins their Christmas spirit, they unintentionally invite the wrath of Krampus. The creature terrorizes their home, and the family has to come together to survive. It is a unique and darkly entertaining take on the holidays.
4.11. The Children (2008)
In the 2008 movie The Children, two families gather at a fancy English estate for a holiday get-together in December. Everything seems normal until one child falls ill, and all the kids start acting strangely. What the adults do not realize until it is too late is that a mysterious disease has turned these children into violent, psychotic killers. It is a chilling thriller that shows how innocent kids can become deadly predators.
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5. List of must-watch Christmas movies for all ages
If you want to get into the holiday spirit with some heartwarming Christmas movies, you are in the right place. In this Christmas movies list, we will check out a bunch of classic and much-loved Christmas films from over the years that are sure to make your season merrier.
- The Holiday (2006)
- Love Actually (2003)
- The Polar Express (2004)
- Serendipity (2001)
- Gremlins (1984)
- Edward Scissorhands (1990)
- The Family Stone (2005)
- The Grinch (2000)
- Joyeux Noël (2005)
- Mixed Nuts (1994)
- Little Women (1994)
- A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011)
- Scrooged (1988)
- Holiday Rush (2019)
- The Preacher's Wife (1996)
- In Bruges (2008)
- The Snowman (1982)
- Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas (1999)
- The Family Man (2000)
- A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish (2019)
- Last Christmas (2019)
- The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
- The Christmas Chronicles 2 (2020)
- Noelle (2019)
- A Very Murray Christmas (2015)
- Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)
- Happiest Season (2020)
- The Best Man Holiday (2013)
- Die Hard (1988)
- The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
- Almost Christmas (2016)
- Babes in Toyland (1986)
- The Star (2017)
- Ernest Saves (1988)
- Christmas in Vienna (2020)
- The Christmas Doctor (2020)
- A Godwink Christmas: Second Chance, First Love (2020)
- A Nashville Christmas Carol (2020)
- Christmas Waltz (2020)
- Christmas Tree Lane (2020)
- A Timeless Christmas (2020)
- One Royal Holiday (2020)
- The Angel Tree (2020)
- Holly & Ivy (2020)
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The world of Christmas movies is a delightful and diverse one, offering something for everyone, from heartwarming classics to spine-tingling thrills. They are a perfect way to get into the festive spirit, so gather your loved ones, make some hot cocoa, and let these films fill your heart with joy and wonder.