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Must See Christmas Movies

Updated on October 26, 2016

I have always been a movie fan who watches movies around the holiday season. Christmas is a wonderful time of year to revisit some of my favorite movies from the past, and to discover some new gems. When I was younger I used to spend hours enjoying classics such as It's A Wonderful Life, which has a great life lesson for anyone who takes the great things in their life for granted. A Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation were new movies when I was a kid, but these are newer classics over the last two decades. For romance lovers there are movies such as Love Actually and The Holiday, which have now become two of my favorite romantic comedies around Christmas. There are many must see movies around the Christmas season, but in this hub I will be discussing only a few of my favorites. In the comments section you are welcome to share some of your own favorite Christmas classics.

I love to watch Christmas movies around the holidays.
I love to watch Christmas movies around the holidays.

A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story was one of my favorites as a child. Between the ages of four and seven I was not allowed to celebrate Christmas because we were part of a rigid religious group that thought this holiday was evil, so I used to live vicariously through kids on movies. We used to get Christmas presents from our grandparents and opened these on Christmas day, but we were not allowed to have a Christmas tree or call this Christmas. Thus, during those years I was in awe of movies such as A Christmas Story where characters such as Ralphie were able to pine over their hoped for Christmas present. Although I have always hated guns myself, even the toy ones creep me out, I could always sympathize with Ralphie wanting something people told him was not good for him. How do adults know what is always good for kids anyway? The answer: they pretend to do, but are often clueless.

During the years when we were Jehovah's Witnesses I kept telling my mom I wanted a Christmas tree and to go on field trips caroling, but I always had a group of adults to tell me I was wrong. Eventually my mom began to realize this group was ridiculous and we left, but not before I had a chance encounter to tell a JW at the grocery store I thought Christmas a fun and innocent holiday. She got very flustered and tried to tell me people did not have to celebrate Christmas because they could drink hot coco with their family instead.

That afternoon driving home my mom was really upset I had spoken up to an adult in such a fashion, but later on she realized I was just being a kid expressing my opinion. I never said that other people could not be Jehovah's Witnesses, I simply expressed the desire to be able to have a Christmas tree and go caroling with our school choir. As a child I did have a tendency to tell adults my opinion and I know this is not always socially acceptable, but looking back I am happy I stood up for myself. A Christmas Story was somewhat of an inspiration for me speaking my mind because Ralphie was never afraid to let silly adults know that sometimes kids are right about things.

It's A Wonderful Life

It's A Wonderful Life is a Christmas classic that I am sure pretty much everyone has seen it on television at least once a year. Has there ever been a time in your life when you ponder if you had made another choice, and if this fork in the road would have lead you to a better set of circumstances? We all tend to dream about what might have been, but It's A Wonderful Life is a great movie for reminding us of all the things for which we can be truly thankful.

James Stewart plays George Bailey in this movie, and he just happens to be one of my favorite actors and cute in a very stable/family guy sort of way. He does not have the rugged good looks of Clark Gable or the pretty boyish looks of Frank Sinatra, but Stewart reminds me of a handsome and secure man you would love to take home to mom. I have always felt this way when watching James Stewart and he is still one of my favorite actors to this day. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when George and Mary (Donna Reed) fall into the pool because they do not notice the dance hall is opening up. Maybe another reason I always like the It's A Wonderful Life was because the Donna Reed Show was one of my favorites on Nick at Nite as a child.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Now we are getting to my absolute childhood favorite because Chevy Chase has always been one of my favorite comedic actors, and I thoroughly love the National Lampoon's series ranging from Animal House, Vacation, European Vacation, Christmas Vacation, and Vegas Vacation. All of these movies are silly and zany in the true National Lampoon's fashion, but Christmas Vacation is a favorite because it brings a new and fun spin to the Christmas season.

Unlike the perfectly marketed family that always says and does the right things in Christmas movies, the Griswolds actually argue and the kids do not always get along. Not that kids should fight all the time, but it is highly unrealistic to expect that siblings will always agree. Watching Russ and Audrey argue about the mundane brings back some of the funny arguments I had with my sisters around Christmas.

One thing I always find humorous is Clark Griswold's (Chevy Chase) obsession with having the perfect family Christmas no matter how much bickering and chaos occurs. Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) makes me chuckle with his silly dog and his guilbility to do exactly what Clark asked, such as bringing his boss to to the house tied up in a big red bow. Yes Cousin Eddie is very much out there, but his character made the Vacation films highly watchable.

I like National Lampoon's European Vacation to some extent, but it lacked a little je ne sais quoi because Cousin Eddie was not there. The National Lampoon's movies are not for those who are sensitive or easily offended, but it is fun fare for those who like a laugh and try not to take everything so seriously. I will definitely be watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation this season.

Love Actually

Love Actually is a British comedy-drama for adults who can be cynical and even jaded about love. However, the wonderful thing about this film is it shows how love can be in real life, not just how romance is in a fantasy fairy tale. I appreciate the humor and characters in Love Actually because they are believable, which is a comfort to know around the holiday season when many movies take on a fakedy fakey happy facade. For example, my favorite character Colin (Kris Marshall) appears to be dorky and socially awkward when it comes to approaching women, but I like his faith in himself and his ability to take a chance by going to America to find romance.

Hugh Grant is also one of my all time favorite actors and in this movie he plays the British prime minister in love with his assistant, which shows how politics can be a sordid and very mixed up affair, but this movie does it in a very entertaining way. Daniel (Liam Neeson) plays a touching man who has just lost his wife, but he is able to renew his belief in love by giving his step-son tips on how to woo a new crush. Karen (Emma Thompson) is a faithful and dedicated wife/mother who always does the right thing for her family, even when it means her husband is forgetful and is contemplating having an affair.

However, what I find most true about this movie is sometimes love is not reciprocated, loved ones die, loved ones cheat, but this does not mean we stop believing in love. The Christmas season is a time when we can renew our conviction that love will come into our life one day in one form or another, and it is better to have loved than to be afraid to love. Love Actually is a great film for adults who want comedy with a bit of realism in the mix. Unfortunately my wonky noodle DVD player ate my Love Actually DVD, so I will have to be replacing it in the near future.

The Holiday

Last, but not least, is one of my new Christmas favorites called The Holiday. This movie features to of my favorite actresses, Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, who respectively play a British and an American woman who have been jilted in love. I have never had a boyfriend cheat on me in a relationship, but I can completely identify with being taken for granted as Kate Winslet's character was in this movie. The ladies decide to get away from their surrounding and house swap for the Christmas season, which results in comedy and new romance in their journeys.

When I first watched this movie it vaguely reminded me of the novel Tara Road by Maeve Binchy, which is a story of an American and an Irish women who house swap to take a breather from some life changing circumstances. However, this movie is much different, but for some reason I always think of the book Tara Road when I watch it, which is a good read if you are looking for a new novel. The Holiday is not a complicated film, but it is enjoyable to watch over a cup of hot coco during the Christmas season. I hope everyone has fun watching Christmas movies and feel free to share some of your favorites below.

Christmas Movie Survey

Which of the above movies from this Christmas movie hub are your favorite?

See results


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    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Christmas has never been a religious holiday for me, either. It was no fun going to the Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall and having to sit still and listen to those two hour sermons, and then not getting to do fun holiday stuff like other kids. They did not even have activities for kids. Everyone had to sit still in this auditorium hall and listen to sermons for two hours. School was a wet blanket as well. I still remember one time in 1983 when everyone else got to go to the classroom next door to watch a fun Halloween movie and eat candy, and I had to sit in my classroom alone and read a book about a chicken. We did not even have a Christmas tree in our house until I was eleven because after leaving that group it took awhile for my mom to feel it was okay to celebrate these holidays. The first time I went trick or treating I was nine, and it was only because my dad agreed to take me because my mom still felt like it was a satanic holiday. To this day I have a bit of an aversion when I see Jehovah's Witnesses coming by with Watch Tower tracks. I wrote a hub about it once, but then I got messages from Jehovah's Witnesses telling me I was satan, so I took it down. I did not have time for dealing with religious wacky noodles. They love to say the word pagan holiday a lot, and I remember the talk I had with my mom before starting kindergarten about not saluting the flag because the witnesses consider it an idol. A truly wacky noodle group of people who have changed their beliefs several different times in history.

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 

      3 years ago from The Ozarks

      I can relate to your experience of wanting to celebrate Christmas because it is a fun holiday. I had to persuade my parents of this when I was six, and after that we did celebrate with a tree when living in the US, despite not being Christians. It really is a non-religious holiday for us, and the best national holiday in the US, in my opinion.

    • ponchomeg profile image


      8 years ago from Lansing, MI

      The Holiday is great! I really like watching a lot of classic cartoons too (like "Mickey's Christmas Carol" and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer") and musicals... especially "White Christmas." I actually made a hub of The Top 50 Christmas movies because I love Christmas movies so much. Check it out if you get a chance.


      Peace and Love,


    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA


      At least see one if time avails for this. I also love a good Christmas movie.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Maybe when my errands are done, I could finally watch these movies. LOL I love Christmas stories! :-)

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Thos are all great movies. I think Love Actually is my favorite these days. i just saw the 1994 version of Little Women the other day. Anything and everything with Shirley Temple is also pretty fun. She was such a cute little girl :).

    • Cherish77 profile image


      10 years ago

      Let me think, well I do love both the Home Alone Movies, Love Actually, Little Woman, Jack Frost, Bridget Jones Diary. Beauty & the Beasts Enchanted Christmas, Nightmare before Christmas. Miracle on 34th street(the one with Shirley Temple) All the Santa Clause Movies with Tim Allen

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I like Home Alone also. Thanks for sharing Betherickson!

    • betherickson profile image


      10 years ago from Minnesota

      Nice hub! My personal favorite, HOme Alone! I had fun watching this movie.

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I have not seen Polar Express, but I will see it now that you have suggested it. This picture was just taken by myself at home a year ago when I was playing around with the candle light. I have no one who really is interested in taking pictures of me, so I learned how to take pictures of myself :). Self-portaits are easy once you master the art of it :). I like you picture too by the way.

    • countrywomen profile image


      10 years ago from Washington, USA

      I saw Polar Express last year and it was so into the spirit of Christmas. Btw this picture shows you as a very beautiful person (was it taken in a music candlelight dinner setting)?

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Mighty Mom,

      I love those movies also. I like British and American comedies, so a good mix of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Sleepless in Eattle all sound good to me :). Soemtimes I even have been known to watch a Disney and Lifetime movie when I am in the mood. Not sure what I will watch later, but a few light hearted movies sound good to me.

      Constant Walker,

      A Christmas Story is a classic for sure. Who cannot love it? My former best friend always used to say bad things about it, which made me defensive of it. I am not sure why, but because I grew up with that movie I feel it belongs to me.

    • Constant Walker profile image

      Constant Walker 

      10 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

      Definitely A Christmas Story!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 

      10 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Was thinking more about the "feel good" Christmas movies like Love Actually and The Holiday earlier today. Sleepless In Seattle is something of a Christmas love story -- at least it takes place at Christmas.

      There's another movie starring Crystal Bernard who is engaged to the son of Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus (I either saw this on Disney Channel or Lifetime). It's silly but cute...

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA


      Love Actually is a very cute movie, so I hope you enjoy it if you see it. It has some sad and serious parts overall, but I find it a nice balance compared to some of the more cheesy Christmas romance movies, plus it appeals to both men and women and is not just a chick flick. Just to let you know though Love Actually is more of a movie for grown ups, so you might not want to show it to your younger kids. However, that is up to you, but I was just warning you because you said you like to watch Rudolph with your kids.


      I love British comedies, so if you like these type of comedies you should also enjoy Love Actually. Thanks for commenting :).

    • dayzeebee profile image


      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      thanks sweetiepie. i'm off to find me a copy of love actually and holiday. the two movies i have not seen yet. thanks for sharing. Godbless:)

    • jim10 profile image


      10 years ago from ma

      I have never seen Love Actually, But it sounds like I should check it out. The rest I tend to watch every year near Christmas. I also enjoy The Grinch Who stole Christmas and the various stop-motion movies like Rudolph with the kids.

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I enjoy many of your favorites as well, but these five just happen to be my favorites. I did not even realize you had written a Christmas movie hub until I wandered through the hubs, but I am glad I discovered it. Yes I realize the Vacation movies are not for everyone, but I like these because of the nostalgia of being young and Chevy Chase is one of my favorite comedians.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 

      10 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi SP, I see you and I are of very different generations so it's kinda neat that 2 of our faves overlap. My hubby is a HUGE fan of Chevy Chase and all the National Lampoon "vacation" movies. I like the Christmas one, but not the way he does and personally can take of leave the other "Vacation" movies.

      The Holiday I have not seen. Love Kate Winslet. Can't quite picture Jack Black in a romantic lead role, however (even though I adore him in comedies). But based on your suggestion I will check it out!

      Glad you are able to enjoy Christmas as an adult. I can't imagine life without this holiday. MM

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Yes Love Actually is one of my favorites, and I am still really upset my DVD player ate it. Oh well, gives me a good excuse to go buy a new copy. Surprisingly I have never seen Jack Frost, but I love Michael Keaton, so I will definitely check this one out. Thanks for commenting :).

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 

      10 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      I'm so grateful you included Love Actually. It's on my Christmas movie list, along with A Christmas Story. I also love the movie Jack Frost with Michael Keaton.

      Great hub :)

      PS. My sister in Scotland is a Jehovah's Witness, they aren't even allowed to celebrate birthdays...

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Thank you for stopping by. I also love The Holiday and Love Actually, both are great!

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 

      10 years ago from New Brunswick

      Love Actually is a great film we own a copy, I also liked the Holiday. a fun hub.

    • SweetiePie profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Thank you sirdent :). A Christmas Story is one of my favorites as well, but I also like the others as well. All of these movies will probably be on TV this season I would imagine :).

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Good hub. Three of the moives I have seen but two I have never heard of. I still love to watch Ralphie. I may have to try and find the two I haven't seen and watch them.


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