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25 Days of Christmas Movie Marathon

Updated on December 27, 2016
Alec Zander profile image

Alec is a film critic with a true passion for the film industry & hopes his reviews and articles will help launch his career.

Christmas time is a great time of year. What's better than feeling a rush of excitement and seeing people get festive and spirited? Perhaps a cup of hot chocolate and a slew of movies! In this article, I have compiled all the movies I watched for the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. At the bottom, the films are listed alphabetically and I have rated them. Let's get started!

Thanksgiving: Films to Get Your Mouth Watering

Every season has movies based on or around it and Thanksgiving is no exception. Thanksgiving is the prelude to Christmas. It helps families to find unity and happiness as they eat a feast. Well, some families anyway. There are some that no holiday can cure. These movies show both sides of the spectrum, some hilarious and some not so much.

  • And Justice for All - Based around Thanksgiving time, this film has a lot going on but it does have a strong story and amazing acting.

  • Charlie Brown Thanksgiving - Charlie Brown is a must for the last three seasons of every year: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. This film helps Charlie and friends to learn the meaning of unity, friendship, and just what being thankful means.

  • Four Brothers - After a Thanksgiving tragedy, four brothers take revenge on their mother's killer. Entertaining, funny, and action-packed, the film delivers almost everything except a reason to feel bad for these guys.

  • Funny People - One of Sandler's sadder films, it's an unbalanced combination of trying too hard and not trying hard enough.

  • Hannah and Her Sisters - The film spans two years, telling the story of each of the sisters' lives. Sometimes tragic, sometimes funny, the film delivers a vast variety of emotions and strong performances.

  • Home for the Holidays - This is a hilarious look at a dysfunctional family that makes your family look like it has no problems. It can be heartwarming and it can be heartbreaking. Either way, it's worth seeing.

  • Mayflower Voyagers - This is the story of the Mayflower reimagined with the Peanuts cast. It's not your typical Charlie Brown animation, which actually works to its advantage.

  • National Lampoon's Holiday Reunion - Bryan Cranston revisits his comedic side as long-lost cousin Woodrow who wants to host Thanksgiving for the family he never knew he had. It's funny but not as funny as the infamous Vacation series.

  • Pieces of April - This film will relate to lots of people. It's the story of April who was previously a disappointment in the eyes of her family and decides to prove that she's turning her life around by hosting Thanksgiving. She goes through hell and back just to impress her snooty family. By the time the film's over, you realize that being thankful has more than one meaning.

  • Planes, Trains, and Automobiles - When someone says Thanksgiving Movie, most people will suggest this one. Steve Martin and John Candy make an unlikely hilarious pair. The two go through a lot just to get home to their families on Thanksgiving Day, and we love every second of the adventure.

  • Scent of a Woman - Strong performances from a perfect cast make this film dynamic. The plot is moving and the turnout makes the heart flutter with emotion. It's a perfect film that needs to be seen.

  • Sweet November - This film was all over the place. You'd expect more from a film that boasts the powerhouse performances of Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron, but sadly it underwhelms.

  • Time to Remember - This 2003 film is absolutely heartbreaking, especially when you've known or do know someone with Alzheimer's. Bring tissues because this one will make you tear up relentlessly.

  • Tower Heist - the film is funny, full of heart, and the characters basically do everything we've all ever wanted to do to snobby rich people.

  • War at Home - Probably one of the best war "aftermath" films ever made, the film tears your heart to pieces as it takes you on an emotional journey you'll never forget.

Christmas: The Seven Christmas Carols

In my journey through a mass amount of Christmas films, the best way to start is by watching the seven best (and worst) incarnations of A Christmas Carol.

  • A Christmas Carol (Jim Carrey) - Fantastic imagery and multiple strong performances from Carrey make this modern interpretation one incredible piece of art.

  • A Christmas Carol (Nicolas Cage) - This animated feature delves deeper into the world of Scrooge and helps us understand just what it was that Scrooge did and it gives us a feeling of completeness regarding his past love interest.

  • A Christmas Carol (Patrick Stewart) - The incomparable Patrick Stewart delivers one of the best versions of Scrooge out there. The man sure can act and he can make you feel all kinds of things just with the tone of his voice.

  • Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas - Scrooge McDuck meets his three spirits in Disney's earlier interpretation of A Christmas Carol. It's short but it's still impactful.

  • Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol - Another short version of A Christmas Carol features the bumbling Mr Magoo as Scrooge. It starts out loud and obnoxious but soon brings the heart and meaning that the story holds dear.

  • Muppet Christmas Carol - Michael Caine takes on the role of Scrooge surrounded by the Muppets who filled in the other roles. It may be a family version but it was still full of heart and wonderful music.

  • Scrooged - Bill Murray's modern spin on the Christmas Carol tale is discombobulated and an absolute mess. There's a couple funny parts, but not enough to keep the film from falling apart.

Christmas: Animation & Claymation

Some of the best Christmas films are the old Claymations. They are timeless classics that even today's kids would enjoy along with the modern animations.

  • Charlie Brown Christmas - In a timeless classic, Charlie Brown discovers the true meaning of Christmas.

  • Cricket on the Hearth - A heartwarming, beautiful story that reminds people what it really means to put your friends before yourself.

  • Frosty the Snowman - The children's song comes to life (kinda) in this animated short film about a magical hat that brought the world's friendliest snowman to life.

  • Frosty the Snowman 2: Frosty Returns - Frosty the Snowman has come back from the grave to a new group of kids. It's not as great as the first, but it does have a good story and a big heart.

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Everyone's favorite green grouch tries to steal Christmas but instead discovers the true meaning of Christmas.

  • It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown - Charlie Brown returns in a sequel to the previous Christmas episode. This one is nowhere near the caliber of the first, nor does it have as much heart and meaning.

  • Little Drummer Boy - This heartbreaking story based on the song of the same name shows us who the drummer boy was and why meeting Jesus changed him forever.

  • Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas - This compilation of shorts was rather dull. One out of the 4 shorts was incredible, the others were just lifeless.

  • Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey - Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and hated something about your physical appearance? Maybe it was something that people even mocked you for? Well, Nestor had that problem. He had overly long ears and was discarded as useless. That is, until he was given the greatest task of all.

  • Nightmare Before Christmas - Lively, spirited, and multi-seasonal, this film and its catchy tunes are a must-see (and must-hear) for the whole family.

  • Polar Express - The ground-breaking use of Motion Capture was put to use in this family film based on the popular book. Tom Hanks played at least 6 roles in this film, and he captures your heart with each one.

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - This heartwarming film based on the popular song gives us even more reason to love and root for Rudolph.

  • Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Santa's origins are revealed in this old claymation that is both heartbreaking and beautiful.

  • Shrek the Halls - The short film is just about what you would expect from Shrek - anger and hilarity rolled into one big ball of mischief.

  • Year Without a Santa Claus - Catchy songs and a beautiful story make this film one of the best of the older claymation short films.

Christmas: Family-Friendly Films

  • Beethoven's Christmas Adventure - It has a good story, but making Beethoven suddenly talk after 6 movies is a little weird.

  • Christmas Card - It has a decent story, but it's overrun with coincidence and happenstance rather than being built on a strong plot.

  • Christmas Do-Over - The remake of Christmas Every Day is nowhere near as funny and drags itself out with no real lessons learned.

  • Christmas Every Day - The acting is a bit choppy but the story has heart and a deep meaning.

  • Christmas Story - This is the quintessential Christmas film about a boy who will stop at nothing to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. It seems like everyone is against him - including his mom, teacher, and even Santa!

  • Christmas Story 2 - It has a few funny moments, but it doesn't have the same heart and brilliance that the first had.

  • Christmas with the Kranks - Tim Allen is almost always hilarious, but there were times when this film was more annoying than funny. Jamie Lee Curtis was the real star in this film.

  • Dennis the Menace Christmas - Dennis the Menace ruins Christmas in this hilarious film based on the famous comic-strip series.

  • Heart of Christmas - This film will rip your heart in pieces. It's beautiful, tear-jerking, and it makes you reevaluate your own life by the end.

  • Home Alone - Probably one of the most famous Christmas films of all time, it tells the story of a kid who is left home alone and has to fend off two burglars. Funny and full of heart, it'll have you laughing throughout.

  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York - Everyone's famous kid genius is back and lost in New York. As much as we love seeing Harry and Marv again, it's a bit too coincidental for the burglars and Kevin to be in the same city at the same exact time. Otherwise, the film brings back the hilarity and the heart of the first.

  • Home Alone 3 - Part 3 feels more like a kid-version of Rear Window rather than a Home Alone film. It's not as well-made and the acting is most definitely inferior.

  • Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House - Just when you thought Home Alone 3 was bad, Part 4 comes out and really makes it all so much worse. Kevin's back but it's a different kid who somehow grew younger and lost half his family. It's full of continuity issues and bad acting.

  • Home Alone 5: The Holiday Heist - Finally, a Home Alone sequel that deserves its title. The acting was much better and the plot was rather good. Malcolm McDowell and Debi Mazar make the film all the more enjoyable.

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Jim Carrey brings the Grinch to life in a hilarious tale that explores the Grinch's origins and just why he actually hates Christmas.

  • I'll Be Home for Christmas - 7th Heaven stars Jessica Biel and Adam LaVorgna join Jonathan Taylor Thomas in a fun film that doesn't have much heart but it does have lots of funny moments.

  • It's a Wonderful Life - This is a film that everyone should see. If you've ever felt down or like you don't matter or that the world would be better off without you, watch this and remind yourself that the world wouldn't be as bright if it never had your light.

  • Jack Frost - There are two different films called Jack Frost. One is a horror about a killer snowman and the other is a family film full of heart. This is the latter. What would you do if your dad died and came back as a snowman?

  • Jingle All the Way - Arnold Schwarzeneggar joins the commercialism side of Christmas and becomes a superhero all in one film. It's hilarious and it's heartwarming to an extent, but the best parts are when Arnold and Sinbad are competing against one another for the perfect Christmas present.

  • Love's Christmas Journey - A beautiful tearjerking story about one aunt who refuses to let her nephew and niece have a bad Christmas, even if that means pitching in and helping revive the town's festive spirit.

  • Miracle on 34th Street (original) - The original film was touching, moving, and even a bit magical.

  • Miracle on 34th Street (remake) - The remake has some humor, even some unnecessary humor, and doesn't live up to the original's magnificence.

  • Nutcracker - This new stage performance of the famous play is just as magical as ever, even enticing kids with a young Macaulay Culkin.

  • Richie Rich's Christmas Wish - The film has a decent story but the acting is underwhelming and Richie's rival is beyond intolerable - he's obnoxious.

  • Santa Clause - Tim Allen transforms into Santa Claus all while trying to fight for custody for his kid. The film does have a few sad moments but it's mostly funny and full of heart.

  • Santa Clause 2 - Most sequels tend to suck, but this one was almost just as good as the first and the addition of Elizabeth Mitchell made it all worthwhile.

  • Santa Clause 3 - This sequel actually did suck. Martin Short's Jack Frost was annoying and the plot wasn't deep enough to warrant a full hour and a half.

  • Three Days - If you lost the person closest to you, and you were allowed to relive the last three days with them, what would you do to ensure they lived? The film is emotional, beautiful, and is seriously underrated.

  • To Grandmother's House We Go - Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen run away from home and go on a quest to get to grandma's house, but get mixed up in some hilarious situations along the way.

  • Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas - Madea never disappoints. The opening scene of Madea working at Macy's is probably the most hilarious part. There is one scene that was going a bit too far, but the rest of it was worth the watch.

Christmas: Adult Films

Sometimes, you just need a break from the kids and break out some of the more adult Christmas films. Even the best moms and dads can't live on kid humor all the time.

  • Bad Santa - Hilarious, rude, crude, and unexpected. Billy Bob Thornton was brilliant, The man was born to be Bad Santa.

  • Bad Santa 2 - The critics hated this film but I personally was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. The story was good and, while some jokes were a bit gross, the film overall was still very good albeit not as good as the first.

  • Family Man - I loved almost everything about this film. A business mogul is given a glimpse into what he could have had and realizes what's really important. The only issue I have with it is the ending.

  • Four Christmases - I think I laughed once during the course of this film. I love Reese Witherspoon but this has to be her worst movie ever.

  • Holiday - Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz swap countries in this romantic comedy about finding love in the most unexpected places.

  • Ice Harvest - Billy Bob Thornton loves to do heist movies. What makes this one even better than his others is that this is a Christmas Eve heist. The paranoia and suspense builds perfectly and the acting is superb.

  • Just Friends - Ryan Reynolds does comedy best and this is no exception. Paired with Ana Faris and Amy Smart, Ryan Reynolds is caught in the wrong town at the right time, determined to break free of his psycho girlfriend and win over his high school sweetheart.

  • Krampus - Interesting plot, just horribly executed. It's more stupid than scary and I'm actually sad for Adam Scott for doing this role.

  • Love Actually - My all-time favorite adult Christmas film. It's romantic, realistic, full of life and love and humor throughout.

  • Merry Friggin' Christmas - The film has a special kind of humor that not everyone will appreciate. The story is good and the messes Robin and Joel get into just add to the hilarity.

  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - Clark Griswold strikes again as the dad who tries so hard and loves so much but just can't seem to win. The film has a good story and wonderful acting, and it's full of hilarious moments that rival even the funniest of films.

  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2 - The sequel is nowhere near as good as the first film and Randy Quaid is certainly no Chevy Chase; however, the film does have heart and tries hard to be funny.

  • Night Before - It's been a while since I've seen a raunchy comedy that had me rolling from laughing so hard. I am so glad I watched this film. The story and humor was perfected by its cast.

  • Noel - Talk about a film that's all over the place. Noel tries, possibly too hard, and doesn't hit the mark it was aiming for from the start.

  • P2 - Sometimes films about stalkers are riveting. This one gets old after a while, is predictable, and is not acted very well. It had potential but just couldn't rise above its issues.

  • Serendipity - Christmas romances are the best. The film captures the heart and makes you hold onto the hope that your soul mate will make their way back to you.

  • A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas - If this wasn't made for 3D, it would have been better. The 3D "grasping for straws" effects made the movie feel forced and dumbed down.

  • A Very Murray Christmas - The music was great, but the plot was very thin and sometimes felt like it was dragged out. Bill Murray is usually brilliant but this could have been better.

Complete Holiday Film List

  • And Justice for All - 3 out of 4
  • Bad Santa - 3.5 out of 4
  • Bad Santa 2 - 3 out of 4
  • Beethoven's Christmas Adventure - 3 out of 4
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas - 4 out of 4
  • A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving - 4 out of 4
  • The Christmas Card - 2.5 out of 4
  • A Christmas Carol (Jim Carrey) - 4 out of 4
  • A Christmas Carol (Nicolas Cage) - 4 out of 4
  • A Christmas Carol (Patrick Stewart) - 4 out of 4
  • Christmas Do-Over - 2 out of 4
  • Christmas Every Day - 3 out of 4
  • A Christmas Story - 4 out of 4
  • A Christmas Story 2 - 2.5 out of 4
  • Christmas with the Kranks - 3 out of 4
  • Cricket on the Hearth - 3.5 out of 4
  • A Dennis the Menace Christmas - 3 out of 4
  • The Family Man - 4 out of 4
  • Four Brothers - 3 out of 4
  • Four Christmases - 1 out of 4
  • Frosty the Snowman - 3.5 out of 4
  • Frosty the Snowman 2: Frosty Returns - 2.5 out of 4
  • Funny People - 2 out of 4
  • Hannah and Her Sisters - 3.5 out of 4
  • The Heart of Christmas - 3.5 out of 4
  • The Holiday - 3.5 out of 4
  • Home Alone - 4 out of 4
  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York - 3.5 out of 4
  • Home Alone 3 - 2.5 out of 4
  • Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House - 1 out of 4
  • Home Alone 5: The Holiday Heist - 3 out of 4
  • Home for the Holidays - 3 out of 4
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animation) - 4 out of 4
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (live-action) - 3.5 out of 4
  • I'll Be Home for Christmas - 2.5 out of 4
  • The Ice Harvest - 3.5 out of 4
  • It's a Wonderful Life - 4 out of 4
  • It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown - 2.5 out of 4
  • Jack Frost - 3.5 out of 4
  • Jingle All the Way - 3 out of 4
  • Just Friends - 3 out of 4
  • Krampus - 1.5 out of 4
  • The Little Drummer Boy - 4 out of 4
  • Love Actually - 4 out of 4
  • Love's Christmas Journey - 4 out of 4
  • The Mayflower Voyagers - 4 out of 4
  • Merry Friggin' Christmas - 3 out of 4
  • Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas - 4 out of 4
  • Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas - 2 out of 4
  • Miracle on 34th Street (original) - 4 out of 4
  • Miracle on 34th Street (remake) - 2.5 out of 4
  • Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol - 3 out of 4
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol - 4 out of 4
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - 4 out of 4
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2 - 2 out of 4
  • National Lampoon's Holiday Reunion - 3 out of 4
  • Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey - 4 out of 4
  • The Night Before - 3.5 out of 4
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas - 4 out of 4
  • Noel - 2 out of 4
  • The Nutcracker - 4 out of 4
  • P2 - 1.5 out of 4
  • Pieces of April - 3.5 out of 4
  • Planes, Trains, and Automobiles - 3.5 out of 4
  • The Polar Express - 4 out of 4
  • Richie Rich's Christmas Wish - 2 out of 4
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - 4 out of 4
  • Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - 4 out of 4
  • The Santa Clause - 4 out of 4
  • The Santa Clause 2 - 3 out of 4
  • The Santa Clause 3 - 1 out of 4
  • Scent of a Woman - 4 out of 4
  • Scrooged - 1.5 out of 4
  • Serendipity - 4 out of 4
  • Shrek the Halls - 3 out of 4
  • Sweet November - 1.5 out of 4
  • Three Days - 3.5 out of 4
  • A Time to Remember - 4 out of 4
  • To Grandmother's House We Go - 3 out of 4
  • Tower Heist - 3 out of 4
  • Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas - 3 out of 4
  • A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas 3D - 2.5 out of 4
  • A Very Murray Christmas - 2 out of 4
  • The War at Home - 4 out of 4
  • The Year Without a Santa Claus - 3 out of 4

What's Your Favorite Thanksgiving Movie?

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What's Your Favorite Christmas Movie?

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Christmas is a time for joy and the occasional drama, but all-in-all, it's the best time of the year. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year's!

© 2016 Alec Zander


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