Must See Christmas Movies
I don’t know about you, but along with shopping, baking, and decorating; movie watching is an important part of my Christmas traditions. There are a certain amount of movies that I simply must watch each and every Christmas. They are just as much a part of my yearly celebration as my mom’s sugar cookies and sipping cocoa in front of the tree.
Here is my list of must-see Christmas movies:
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965, NR)
Charlie Brown is a permanent fixture in Americana. His classic Christmas movie was the first prime time television special created by Charles M. Schulz. In twenty-five minutes Charlie Brown manages- as only he can- to shake loose his disenchantment with the commercialism surrounding Christmas and, with a little help from Linus, bring himself and his friends back to the true meaning of Christmas.
Elf (2003, PG)
Christmas tale starring Will Ferrell as a man raised by elves at the North Pole
who leaves to New York to find his real- human- father. However, his elf
personality and customs don’t fit in so well in the real world, much less New York City and the
movie resounds with laughter as hilarity ensues. Buddy the Elf's giving heart and innocence end up affecting a whole city and Christmas itself.
Family Man (2000, PG-13
While this is not necessarily a “Christmas movie”, it has nonetheless become a movie that is played on cable annually during the Christmas season, and a favorite of my husband’s and mine. A very creative and modern rendering along the lines of A Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life, you walk away from this movie with a renewed sense of gratitude for the blessings we often overlook.
Home Alone (1990, PG)
The movie that made Macaulay Culkin famous is now a modern Christmas tradition. The unlikely tale of a young boy accidentally left home alone when his family heads to France for vacation ends with him outsmarting a couple of bumbling crooks trying to rob his house while it’s (supposedly) empty. In the midst of his adventures, Macaulay Culkin’s character, Kevin, develops and great appreciation for his parents and extended family and even develops a little chutzpah.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, NR)
Jimmy Stewart’s most beloved role as George Bailey lends his character the extraordinary opportunity to see how the world would have been different had he not been in it. A cinematic masterpiece, It’s a Wonderful Life has become a part of pop culture lending us such wisdom as, “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets it’s wings!” A movie that will truly warm your heart.
Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983, G)
Once again, A Christmas Carol will ever be retold, and it’s a story worth taking in again and again. In Disney’s retelling of the tale, Mickey Mouse and friends are the stars of the show. Ebenezer Scrooge is played by Scrooge McDuck, Donald Duck is his nephew, Fred; and the whole gang makes their own appearance in this sweet rendition of a Christmas standard.
Miracle on 34th Street (1994, PG)
Little Susan, wise beyond her years, discovers that despite her doubts, there really is a Santa Clause. Although some may prefer the older version of this Christmas movie, I adore the modern remake starring Richard Attenborough, who is an extremely lovable- and believable- Santa Claus. When a store-employed Santa Claus is put on trial as to his reality, a whole city comes to believe in Old Saint Nick! You’ll find yourself believing right along with them.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992, G)
Of course, A Christmas Carol is a classic Christmas tale that will be told over and over through many decades, even centuries, to come in a variety of venues. Amongst all the versions of A Christmas Carol is have read, watched onscreen, or seen acted out on a stage, the Muppets rendering remains my absolute favorite. Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley, and the three ghosts of Christmas are all included, but in a uniquely Muppet way.
One Magic Christmas (1985, G)
Here’s one you may not have heard of. A young mother (Mary Steenburgen) is stressed when her family falls on hard times during the Christmas season, which only brings out her bitterness toward the holiday even more. When her world comes crashing down around her, can an angel named Gideon and her young daughter, Abbie, succeed in drawing her back to the love and joy that Christmas is really about? A touching movie that should be on your Christmas watching list.
The Preacher’s Wife (1996, PG)
Another movie that is not necessarily about Christmas, but centered around the Christmas season, with wonderful messages to share about community, family, and gratitude. (And also akin to Miracle on 34th Street in that it is a newer version of the old classic The Bishop’s Wife.) An angel named Dudley, played by Denzel Washington, comes to help a minister whose family and church is struggling. A bonus to an enjoyable movie is several solos by the unmatchable Whitney Houston, who stars as the minister’s wife.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964, NR)
Of course, I can’t leave off those wonderful children’s classics that we all look forward to seeing on TV when Christmas rolls around. Rudolph is undoubtedly one of the best. Though the stop motion animation is now outdated, and some scenes are incredibly corny, it seems to only add to the movie’s charm. This one is a yearly must-see for the whole family.
The Santa Clause (1994, PG)
The creative tale, starring Tim Allen as an unwilling Santa-in-training, was an instant classic upon its release. Scott Calvin, a toy designer by trade, whose initials- not coincidentally are also S.C., is a divorced father who has grown out of touch with his son and disenchanted with Christmas. When he accidentally causes Santa Claus to fall off his roof on Christmas Eve, he inadvertently steps into the jolly man’s boots.
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970, NR)
Like Rudolph, another children’s Christmas movie that is bound to show up on network television every December. Fred Astaire voices the narrator in the legend of how Santa Claus became, well, Santa Claus. The movie manages to put a story behind all Santa’s familiar qualities, from why he sports a beard to why he puts toys in stockings. Fun stories accompanied by fun music.
While You Were Sleeping (1995, PG)
This movie is set during the Christmas season and stars Sandra Bullock as Lucy Moderatz who is the nice girl, often forgotten and unnoticed, and very much alone in the world. After rescuing a handsome businessman she fell in love with from her subway token booth, she is mistaken by his family as his fiancée and finds herself suddenly a part of their lives. A great movie filled with humor about family and love in unexpected places.
White Christmas (1954, NR)
A quintessential Christmas musical from the golden age of Hollywood starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Judy Haynes in which a successful pair of performers (Crosby and Kaye) and former Army privates happen upon their former commander running a hard-pressed inn. Along the way the meet and help two sisters (Clooney and Haynes) revive their musical career- and their love lives. Moments of comedy are interspersed in all things Christmas.
- White Christmas (1954)
Directed by Michael Curtiz. With Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney. A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general. Visit IMDb for
- While You Were Sleeping (1995)
Directed by Jon Turteltaub. With Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher. Ticket collecting romantic pretends to be engaged to an unconscious man but can't fool his brother Visit IMDb for Photos, Showtimes, Cast, Crew, Reviews, Plot Summary, Co
- Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (1970) (TV)
Directed by Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.. With Fred Astaire, Mickey Rooney, Keenan Wynn. A mailman reveals the origin of Santa Claus. Visit IMDb for Photos, Showtimes, Cast, Crew, Reviews, Plot Summary, Comments, Discussions, Taglines, Trailers, Pos
- The Santa Clause (1994)
Directed by John Pasquin. With Tim Allen, Wendy Crewson, Judge Reinhold. When a man inadvertantly kills Santa on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place. Visit IMDb for Photos, Showtimes, Cast, Crew, Reviews, Plot Summar
- Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) (TV)
Directed by Kizo Nagashima, Larry Roemer. With Burl Ives, Billie Mae Richards, Paul Soles. A misfit reindeer and his friends look for a place that will accept them. Visit IMDb for Photos, Showtimes, Cast, Crew, Reviews, Plot Summary, Comments, Discus
- The Preacher's Wife (1996)
Directed by Penny Marshall. With Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, Courtney B. Vance. Visit IMDb for Photos, Showtimes, Cast, Crew, Reviews, Plot Summary, Comments, Discussions, Taglines, Trailers, Posters, Fan Sites
- The Polar Express (2004)
Directed by Robert Zemeckis. With Tom Hanks, Leslie Zemeckis, Eddie Deezen. On Christmas Eve, a doubting boy boards a magical train that's headed to the North Pole and Santa Claus's home. Visit IMDb for Photos, Showtimes, Cast, Crew, Reviews, Plot Su
- One Magic Christmas (1985)
Directed by Phillip Borsos. With Mary Steenburgen, Gary Basaraba, Harry Dean Stanton. An angel must show a mother the true meaning of Christmas. It's not just presents and materialistic things, but the people she cares about. Visit IMDb for Photos, S
- Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
Directed by Les Mayfield. With Richard Attenborough, Elizabeth Perkins, Dylan McDermott. Visit IMDb for Photos, Showtimes, Cast, Crew, Reviews, Plot Summary, Comments, Discussions, Taglines, Trailers, Posters, Fan Sites
- Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)
Directed by Burny Mattinson. With Alan Young, Wayne Allwine, Hal Smith. The classic Disney animated characters play the roles in this animated retelling of the Charles Dickens masterpiece. Visit IMDb for Photos, Showtimes, Cast, Crew, Reviews, Plot S
- It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Directed by Frank Capra. With James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore. An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would had been like if he never existed. Visit IMDb for Photos, Showtimes, Cast, Cr
- Home Alone (1990)
Directed by Chris Columbus. With Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern. An eight year-old, who is accidentally left behind while his family flies to France for Christmas, has to defend his home against idiotic burglars. Visit IMDb for Photos, Show
- The Family Man (2000)
Directed by Brett Ratner. With Nicolas Cage, Ta Leoni, Don Cheadle. A fast-lane investment broker, offered the opportunity to see how the other half lives, wakes up to find that his sports car and girlfriend have become a mini-van and wife. Visit IM
- Elf (2003)
Directed by Jon Favreau. With Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart. After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity. Visit
- A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) (TV)
Directed by Bill Melendez. Repelled by the commercialism he sees around him, Charlie Brown tries to find the true meaning of Christmas. Visit IMDb for Photos, Showtimes, Cast, Crew, Reviews, Plot Summary, Comments, Discussions, Taglines, Trailers, Po
- The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Directed by Brian Henson. With Michael Caine, Dave Goelz. The Muppet characters tell their version of the classic tale of an old and bitter miser's redemption on Christmas Eve. Visit IMDb for Photos, Showtimes, Cast, Crew, Reviews, Plot Summary, Comm