The Top 50 Christmas Movies
The Top 50 Christmas Movies
Christmastime is a lovely time of year for celebration, family, giving, peace, love, and goodwill towards all of the world.
It is also a great time to watch movies! Watch with family, friends, pets, by yourself, whatever... However you enjoy your movies, watching a great Christmas movie during the holidays (or LOTS of great Christmas movies during the holidays) can really make the world seem like a brighter place and inspire you to do even more good at Christmas.
So without further ado, here are the top 50 movies to watch around Christmastime. Enjoy the movies and enjoy your holiday season!
Peace and Love to ALL!
It's a wonderful life after all; might as well enjoy some movies!
It's a Wonderful Life
George Bailey has spent his whole life giving to his family, friends, and the people of his hometown of Bedford Falls, and does not want to let anyone down. But on Christmas Eve, George's uncle loses $8,000 from their family business while intending to deposit it in the bank. When the money can't be found, and the business is in trouble, George, thinking that his wife, their children, and others he loves will be better off without him, contemplates suicide. He almost does it, but the prayers of his loved ones result in an angel coming to earth to help George by showing him what things would have been like without him. This is a beautiful, thoughtful, and touching Christmas movie classic starring James Stewart as George Bailey.
Miracle on 34th Street
At the Macy's Department Store Thanksgiving Day parade, a kind old man (Edmund Gwenn) discovers that the actor playing Santa Claus is drunk, and so Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara), the special events director, persuades him to take the drunk Santa's place, as he seems friendly and looks the part. The old man does a great job and becomes the store Santa at the main Macy's outlet. But Doris learns that the pretend Santa Claus actually calls himself Kris Kringle and claims to be Santa Claus. This makes her incredibly uncomfortable, especially since she has trained herself, and her daughter Susan (Natalie Wood) to reject all notions of make believe and fantasy. But people, especially Susan, begin to notice there is something special about Kris. Macy's staff psychologist however, believes that Kris is delusional, and has him committed to a mental institution. In order to get out, Kris must face a court hearing, where his sanity questioned, and the state of New York will decide if there really is a Santa Claus or not! This is a great classic Christmas movie to restore a belief in magic, fantasy, and dreams; and in the true meaning of Christmas.
This version of "A Christmas Carol," is considered the best of the Christmas Carol movies (based on Charles Dickens' classic Christmas story) by many critics and viewers alike. The story of Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim) and his Christmas Eve road to redemption as he is visited by three Christmas spirits is timeless, inspiring, though provoking, and heartwarming. It has been remade many times since 1951, including as a musical (in 1970), as a cartoon or two (most notably "Mickey's Christmas Carol"), and with muppets ("The Muppet's Christmas Carol").
A Christmas Story
In this funny, classic, heartwarming, Christmas favorite, Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) has to convince his parents, teachers, and even Santa Claus that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect gift for a kid like him in the 1940s. But everyone just keeps telling him that he'll shoot his eye out. See what happens in this family Christmas comedy classic.
Dr. Suess's How the Grinch Stole Christmas
This is a classic Christmas movie for people of all ages. The inspiring, fun, educational, and entertaining story of the Grinch (a creature who hates Christmas) and his quest to stop Christmas from happening, is a timeless, classic, and important story that reminds us what's truly important in life. Plus, it is filled with awesome songs like "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," and "Welcome Christmas."
Mickey's Christmas Carol
Based on the classic story by Charles Dickens, "Mickey's Christmas Carol" follows Ebenezer Scrooge (Scrooge McDuck) as he is visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve. Kids and adults alike will love this wonderful story as it is played out by some of their favorite Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse as Bob Crachitt, Goofy as Jacob Marley, Jiminy Cricket as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Daisy Duck as Belle, and Donald Duck as Ebenezer Scrooge's kindhearted nephew.
A Garfield Christmas Special
Garfield, Jon and Odie go to Jon's grandmother's house for Christmas, where Garfield finds a very special present for Grandma in this heartwarming Christmas short.
Frosty the Snowman
This movie is the entertaining and heartwarming tale of Frosty the Snowman, who came to life with the help of a magic hat. The friendship that develops between him and a young girl, as they run away across the country side in order to try to avoid a magician after Frosty's magic hat, is truly beautiful. Plus, it's loads of snowy, magical fun!
A Charlie Brown Christmas
In "A Charlie Brown Christmas," Charlie Brown finds a pathetic looking Christmas tree but also finds the true meaning of Christmas.
Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
This "Beauty and the Beast" Christmas story is supposed to take place somewhere in the middle of the original Disney animated movie "Beauty and the Beast," when the Beast and Belle are starting to become friends. It's great fun to watch (and listen to) because it has so many of the original movie's best characters (like Belle, voiced by Paige O'Hara, Beast, voiced by Robby Benson, Lumiere,voiced by Jerry Orbach, and Mrs. Potts, voiced by Angela Lansbury) as well as a few new additions (like Angelique, voiced by the ever wonderful Bernadette Peters, and Forte, voiced by the also ever wonderful Tim Curry.)
Alex, Marty, Gloria, and the rest of the gang from "Madagascar" are back for a fun, touching, holiday movie, and this time around, they are lamenting that they cannot return to New York for Christmas. Things get complicated though (and suddenly they have options...) when Santa Claus drops in and gets a bit of amnesia... (I personally like this one better than the original! It's super cute and fun.)
Olive: The Other Reindeer
This great Christmas movie is about Olive (voiced by Drew Barrymore), a dog, who mishears that Santa is going to cancel his Christmas Eve travels due to an injured reindeer. Being the goodhearted dog she is, Olive decides to go to the North Pole to volunteer to fill in.
The Tangerine Bear: Home in Time for Christmas!
This Christmas movie tells the story of Tangie, the Tangerine Bear (voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas) who is a misfit toy placed in a discount store because his smile is upside down. This sweet and simple tale touches on issues of friendship, family, self-love, and what "home" really means and is deeper than you may realize on first viewing.
The Nutcracker Prince
This animated Christmas movie is a retelling of the classic story/ballet, "The Nutcracker." It includes Tchaichovsky's beautiful music and voices by Keifer Sutherland, Megan Follows, Peter O'Toole, and Phyllis Diller.
Claymation and Puppetry for Christmas...
Claymation and Puppets
The Muppet Christmas Carol
This is a great version of the classic Dicken's story of "A Christmas Carol," starring the Muppets! There are also some human actors here as well, including Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
This is the story of Rudolph, the reindeer who was born with a bright red nose, and his quest to find a place to fit in. But while on his quest, Rudolph discovers that being different is much better than just fitting in.
The Year Without a Santa Claus
Mrs. Claus tells the story of the year that Santa got sick and decided that no one cared if he went on with Christmas or not. Made in a similar style to that of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," "The Year Without a Santa Claus" is enjoyable to watch and it features the Heat Miser and the Snow Miser.
A Miser Brothers Christmas
This great Christmas comedy, a plan by the North Wind to fill in as Santa backfires when the Heat Miser and Snow Miser are held responsible and told by Mother Nature that THEY have to fill in for Santa. This is a great movie for rediscovering the importance of family.
A Claymation Christmas Celebration
Technically a TV special, this is truly a Christmas Celebration. There is humor, music, touching moments, and two dinosaurs as hosts. There are some hot jams on here (I personally love the camels!) and it really just is so much fun to watch.
May all your Christmases be white...
After leaving the Army following World War II, former military men Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) team up and become a top song-and-dance act. When they meet a pair of beautiful sisters, Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy (Vera Ellen) Haynes, who also have a song-and-dance act, they become enthralled. And when Betty and Judy travel to a Vermont lodge to perform for a Christmas show, the guys follow, only to find that their former commander, General Waverly, is the owner of the lodge! They also find out that the lodge is in trouble! Romantic mix-ups, memorable songs and dances, and tender moments follow as they all try to help the beloved General and themselves. Included are the songs "Sisters," "Snow," "Counting Blessings Instead of Sheep," the classic "White Christmas" and many more. (I try to watch this one multiple times during the holiday season, including right before bed on Christmas Eve. I love it so much!)
This movie is the musical re-telling of the classic Charles Dicken's story "A Christmas Carol," in which an old, lonely, selfish miser named Ebenezer Scrooge (in this case, played by Albert Finney) learns that there is more to life, and to Christmas, than money and self-service through his encounters with three Christmas spirits on Christmas Eve. Included are the songs "Father Christmas," "I Like Life," "Thank You Very Much," the touching "I'll Begin Again," and many more.
Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby) and Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire), are friends and entertainers working at a club in New York City with Lila Dixon (Virginia Dale)as the third person in their entertainment trio. Jim loves Lila and has plans of retiring, marrying her, and moving to a house in the country, but he is surprised to find out that Lila really loves Ted and intends on marrying him instead! Jim, heartbroken, moves out to Midville, Connecticut, and after a year of lonliness and sadness, decides to turn his farmhouse into a nightclub. He decides to make it a night club that is only open on holidays and he calls it: The Holiday Inn. Jim later hires former flower shop girl Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds), as an entertainer at the club and becomes smitten with her. Meanwhile, after Lila breaks their engagement, a depressed (and consequently drunk) Ted comes to Jim's Holiday Inn and meets Linda. And we all wonder... will history repeat itself? With music for many holidays of the year, this film is great all year round, but with the Academy Award winning song "White Christmas," being featured, it is definitely a perfect fit for Christmas time.
"Rent" is a great musical to watch during the holiday season. Not only does most of the story take place on two Christmas Eves a year apart in New York City, but "Rent" also teaches us a lot about friendship, love, forgiveness, struggle, and living for "no day but today," which are all great things to think about during the holiday season. Jonathan Larson's "Rent" is based on Puccini's opera "La Boheme." It tells the moving story of a group of modern bohemians struggling to get by while still trying to live life on their own terms, be creative, have fun, and follow their dreams. The story centers around roommates and best friends Roger and Mark and their circle of friends, former friends, lovers, and former lovers, all who are all dealing with issues from poverty to drug abuse to AIDS. With amazing songs like "One Song Glory," "Light My Candle," "Christmas Bells," "I'll Cover You," "Without You," and the inspirational, pop radio sensation, "Seasons of Love," "Rent" is a musical to enjoy over and over, during the Holiday season and all year round.
Mrs. Santa Claus
In this fun, made for tv, movie musical, Mrs. Santa Claus (Angela Lansbury) is feeling neglected by her husband, Santa Claus, during the pre-Christmas rush. So she decides to take the reindeer and the sleigh out for a little drive; only to end up stranded! Will she make it home in time for Christmas?
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
In this great Christmas comedy, written by John Hughes, the Griswold family's plan for a big family Christmas turns into a big disaster including accidents, kidnapping, and a crispy cat. But somehow everything seems to work out alright.
Christmas in Connecticut
In this funny Christmas movie classic, Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck), is one of the country's most famous food writers; who really knows very little about food! In her "Smart Housekeeping" columns, she describes herself as a hard working, Connecticut farm woman who takes care of her husband and family and is an excellent cook. But this is all lies. Everything she writes seems to be lies! Because in reality, she is an unmarried New Yorker with no cooking skills, no Connecticut farm, no adoring husband and definitely no children. But the owner of the magazine she works for doesn't know the truth and has decided that a heroic sailor will spend his Christmas holiday on Elizabeth's farm in order to have a nice, traditional, family Christmas. Hilarity ensues. This is a fun comedy that would be a really fantastic addition to a Christmas movie collection.
The Santa Clause
When Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) inadvertantly kills Santa on Christmas Eve, he finds himself automatically (and magically) recruited to take Santa's place. At first he resists but eventually he accepts his fate and prepares to take on Christmas Eve. This movie is both funny and heartwarming, so it's a great Christmas comedy to watch (and own) during the holiday season.
Bad Santa (or: Badder Santa)
Santa is rude, crude, and lewd. At least Billy Bob Thornton's mall Santa is. But that doesn't stop him from hooking up with all sorts of women (including a woman a little *too* excited by Santa Claus, played by Lauren Graham) robbing stores, and bonding with a little boy. This one may be a little too much for some, but if you like dirty jokes, commentary on sex, and dumb humor, you'll love "Bad Santa." And if you like all that and "Bad Santa" seems like a baby movie to you, you'll probably REALLY love "Badder Santa," which is much more disgusting, vulgar, and stupid than "Bad Santa..." but in a good way.
In this funny Christmas movie a couple attempts to visit all four of their parental "sets" during the holiday season, despite the fact that they really don't want to. Much laughter follows. Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn star.
"Elf" is a fun movie for the whole family. In it, Buddy (Will Ferrell), a man raised as an elf at the North Pole, is sent to the United States as an adult in order to find his real father and his true identity. There is a great supporting cast, including James Caan, Bob Newhart, Ed Asner, Mary Steenburgen, and Zooey Deschanel. Be prepared to be moved by this comedy because it is a film filled with humor AND heart.
In this take on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," a cynical and selfish TV executive (Bill Murray) gets haunted by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. This is a bit more of a dark comedy, but it is a good take on "A Christmas Carol" none the less. Plus, it has Robert Goulet as... Robert Goulet, which is awesome.
Ernest Saves Christmas
In this Christmas comedy, well-meaning, funny, and dim-witted Ernest (Jim Varney) is back for a Christmas adventure, working to help Santa find a replacement. This is pure fun fluff, and full of laughs; so it's a great movie for the holiday season.
All I Want for Christmas
In this family friendly comedy, all Ethan (Ethan Embry) and Hallie (Thora Birch) want for Christmas is to get their parents back together. Hallie even asks Santa (Leslie Nielson) for help. Yes, you read that right: Leslie Nielson is Santa.
The romance of the season...
Two women, the hopeless romantic Iris (Kate Winslet) and the emotionally cold Amanda (Cameron Diaz), are both dissatisfied with their romantic situations and so they decide to swap houses for the holiday season. Iris flies to Amanda's house in California and Amanda tries to settle in to Iris's small cottage in England. And even though both women are not looking for love, they may just both find it (with Jack Black and Jude Law).
"Last Holiday" tells the story of a poor store clerk named Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) who is diagnosed with an incurable condition that will take her life. So after some lamenting and mourning to God, Georgia decides to change her whole life around, live her dreams, and do what she has always wanted to do. She goes to Europe, stays in a fancy resort, has spa treatments, meets (and bonds with) a world famous chef (played by Gerard Depardieu), helps everyone (seriously, everyone!), and learns how to truly live. LL Cool J plays Georgia's sweet love interest, Sean, with whom Georgia wishes she could build a future.
Several different love stories all come together into one romantic Christmas movie, set during the holiday season in London. There are many famous actors and actresses in this movie, including Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Andrew Lincoln, and Keira Knightley. (A side story with Bill Nighy is also well worth the watch every year.)
The Gift of Love
Based off of the O. Henry story (often called his "Christmas Valentine,") entitled "The Gift of the Magi," "The Gift of Love" is a beautiful story that shows the power of love and sacrifice. It stars Marie Osmond, Timothy Bottoms, June Lockhart, and James Woods.
The Shop Around the Corner
In this Christmas movie, two employees at a gift shop (Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart) can barely stand one another, but in the midst of their loathing one another, they are also simultaneously falling in love as pen pals through the post... only neither one of them knows that their love is also their shop enemy! This movie was later reworked for Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan (using e-mail instead of "snail mail" and having the two leads conflict over bookstores, not a gift shop), and it became the equally charming, "You've Got Mail." But nothing beats the original, especially at Christmas time.
Remember the Night
Just before Christmas, Lee Leander (Barbara Stanwyck) is caught shoplifting. It is her third offense and she is prosecuted by a man named John Sargent (Fred MacMurray). Because it is difficult to get a conviction at Christmas time, he gets the trial postponed. But he begins feeling sorry for Lee and arranges for her bail, takes her home for Christmas, and they fall in love. But life is never easy...
Bridget Jones's Diary
"Bridget Jones's Diary," is not quite a Christmas movie, but many pivotal scenes take place at Christmas time and/or in the snow, so it makes this list! The story of the movie centers around Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger), a thirty-something singleton who is trying to figure out what she wants. Is it bad boy boss, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) or the somewhat snooty childhood friend who wears Christmas sweaters, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth).
When Harry Met Sally
Like "Bridget Jones's Diary," "When Harry Met Sally," is not quite a Christmas movie, but many key moments take place throughout the holiday season, so it works. In the movie, Harry and Sally try to see if it is possible for women and men to just be friends.
In this Christmas movie, Terry (Gary Sinise) comes home to settle his father's estate but ends up sticking around. Soon memories and people from his past are back in the picture, and they change his life forever.
This holiday movie focuses on the Whitfield family, who are all getting together for Christmas for the first time in four years. There are some great actors and actresses in this movie including Delroy Lindo, Loretta Devine, Mekhi Phifer, and Regina King.
Love yourself and have an appetite for life!!!
Family Friendly Fare...
The Polar Express
In this magical movie based off of the book by the same name, a boy takes a ride on a train to the North Pole that he will never forget. For the nostalgia and for the reminder to never stop believing in magic, this is a great movie to watch during Christmastime.
A Dennis the Menace Christmas
In this great family film, Dennis the Menace tries very hard to do nice things for Mr. Wilson for Christmas, even though he is dealing with being bullied himself, but nothing seems to be working out. An angel steps in to help save things and everyone involved learns some valuable lessons.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
This great holiday movie is based off of Barbara Robinson's novel of the same name. In both, the story centers around a community church's child production of a Christmas play. Grace Bradley (Loretta Swit from M*A*S*H) is called in to direct, but she is not prepared for the challenge she is about to face: this is the year that the six Herdman children, the dirtiest, most feared children in town, have decided to play major roles in the Christmas pageant. Will it be a mess? Or will it be the best Christmas pageant ever?
The Nativity Story
This movie presents the story of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. It is a great addition to any Christmas movie collection. (By the way, you don't have to be religious or a Christian to enjoy the story of Jesus Christ. The lessons he teaches are good ones, and the tales of his lifetime are fascinating, interesting, and educational. Using Christmas as a time to learn about Jesus only makes sense...)
Diva's Christmas Carol
This is another take on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," this time with Vanessa Williams taking on the "Scrooge" role. Williams plays Ebony Scrooge, a nasty, self-absorbed pop singer who gets a reality check when three spirits pop into her life right before Christmas. (I don't own this one, and no one in my family owns this one, but I seem to watch this movie every year whether I try or not! It is entertaining. I'll have to get it someday.)
Add some high culture to your holiday celebrations with the American Ballet Theatre's presentation of "The Nutcracker," starring Mikhail Baryshnikov. The dancing is stunning and the story is a classic; it's truly wonderful Christmastime entertainment for the whole family.
Macaulay Culkin stars as Kevin McCallister, a troubled 8-year-old kid who doesn't quite mesh with his large family (A large family that accidentally leaves Kevin behind and flies off to Paris without him for a Christmas holiday.) Confused and home alone (see what I did there...), Kevin must learn how to make do on his own. As his mother desperately tries to get back to him, Kevin does some fast maturing and decorates for Christmas, does some cleaning and shopping, and even overcomes his fear of the basement! But he is lonely, and has bigger things to fear than the basement when some burglars come sneakin' around the place. Will he be reunited with his family in time to stop the burglars and have a great Christmas?
Please Vote in the Christmas Movie Poll
What kind of Christmas movie is your favorite?See results without voting
Did I Miss Any of Your Favorites?
Did I miss any of your favorite Christmas movies that you think deserve a spot on the list?
Please feel free to comment and let me know! I love to hear from my readers!
I may even edit my list if enough people demand a particular movie! Seriously! Everyone has their favorite Christmas movies, and if I missed a big one that resonates with LOTS of people, I would want to correct that.
(Even my cat Zaneeta has her favorites! In the picture to the right, she is watching "The Holiday" with me!)
Merry Christmas and Peace and Love to ALL, at Christmastime and all year 'round!!!
More by this Author
1. Meryl Streep Meryl Streep is no stranger to lists such as these. She has been placed among the best of the best for years, due to her solid acting skills, her ability to take on any role, and just her sheer...