Big networks used to put out spectacular 25 Days of Christmas countdowns but as rights change hands, I feel like the lists get weaker and I see my favorite classics fall from the spotlight. It’s time to share with you some of the absolute BEST Christmas movies to celebrate the season! Some of these movies you may have never heard of but have been part of a tradition for me since I was a kid. Others have their own marathon sessions on television every year. You’ll have to let me know if I miss any of your favorites!
1. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
I’m partial to the Jim Carrey version of this movie, based on the book. His personality fits this quirky, misunderstood character with a lovely moral at the end of the story.
It’s maybe a little bit creepy but I’ve always loved Bill Murray at the miserable Mr. Scrooge and this modern-day take on the story.
3. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Applicable for both Christmas and Halloween, this fun but eerie musical will make you grateful that Santa runs Christmas and not the people of Halloween Town!
4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
I have a really hard time choosing favorites but I think this one is it. I own a t-shirt and an ornament of Clark finally lighting up the house. It’s hilarious and packed with one-liners. Hey, there’s even a moral in there! I think it’s that you can get away with kidnapping bad guys as long as it’s Christmas Eve? Or wait, it’s don’t cut down trees outside. No, the best take away is to check every light switch and outlet before you check each individual light. And don’t let family come for Christmas. I think I could do an entire post about this movie…maybe next year.
5. The Santa Clause trilogy
This trilogy is pretty high up there in my favorites list and I like all three of them, unlike some people. All three of them are different with their own interesting conflicts to resolve and packed with great Tim Allen acting and jokes. It’s cool to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Santa’s life might look, too!
6. It’s a Wonderful Life
I only saw this movie for the first time a couple of years ago and I can’t believe I hadn’t seen it sooner considering the mass amount of references to it in pop culture. George wishes he’d never been born and gets to see the impacts he’s made on the lives of other people. It’s a moving movie!
7. Home Alone 1 & 2
For me, the first two Home Alone movies were great. Unrealistic? Absolutely. Fun? Definitely! Who wouldn’t want to watch a kid booby trap his entire house and capture robbers to celebrate Christmas, right?!
An instant classic, Will Ferrell is a very funny adopted elf on the search for his biological father!
9. Four Christmases
Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn play a single couple trying to avoid their family for the holidays but instead get roped into visiting both sets of their divorced parents. Imagine a dramatic family holiday times four!
10. A Christmas Story
If you don’t have cable, you’ve hopefully not been worn out by this one! It’s full of classic imagery like the leg lamp and bunny costume! A Christmas Story is definitely worth watching once every year.
11. Jack Frost
Michael Keaton is awesome as a snowman back from the dead to be a better father to his son. My synopsis makes it sound ridiculous but really, it’s an entertaining and sweet film!
12. Miracle on 34th Street
There are a few versions of this one out but I grew up on the one with Mara Wilson as the little girl because she was always great at playing a mature child. I love the magic displayed by adults believing in Santa here!
13. Jingle All the Way
We’re all rushing around to find that special toy they asked Santa for but the trouble that the dad, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, gets into is over the top and hilarious!
14. Christmas with the Kranks
As much as I love Christmas, this movie reminds me of me! Once the kids are grown, I could see myself skipping Christmas to go on a tropical vacation instead. Except in my version, the community wouldn’t get upset and wreak havoc on me until I desperately needed them to help me put together a dinner party.
15. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
You know that Rudolph was bullied before he became the hero of Santa’s sleigh and this timeless classic brings it all to life!
16. Frosty the Snowman
My husband says that Christmas can’t go on without the tradition of Frosty the Snowman! In case you haven’t seen it, this one is similar to the Christmas song except Frosty needs to escape the warm weather.
17. Arthur Christmas
In this original tale, Arthur is the caring, lovable, and accident-prone son of Santa Claus. Santa Claus is trying to avoid retirement while Arthur’s brother is ready to step in and Arthur is just focused on the gift that went undelivered!
18. Fred Claus
Santa Claus has a brother? And his brother resents him because he lived in his shadow all of his life. Watching all of the craziness in their lives unfold is enjoyable!
19. Disney’s A Christmas Carol
Jim Carrey makes his Christmas rounds again and this time he’s virtual, doing the voice of Mr. Scrooge. They even made Mr. Scrooge look like him and boy, does he look angry! The three ghosts will have to fix that for him.
20. Christmas Every Day
You have likely never even heard of this movie but it’s like Groundhog Day for Christmas! A teenager has to relive Christmas over and over until he can make everything right. I saw this on television as a kid and always liked it!
21. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
Another classic from the 70s, a mailman tells us his story of the origin of Santa Claus and how he came to be!
22. A Charlie Brown Christmas
The Peanuts like to bring all of the holidays to you and Christmas is no exception! The antics are typical of this gang but at the end, they learn a lovely moral about the true meaning of Christmas!
23. An Elf’s Story: The Elf on the Shelf
New but fitting since so many households have an Elf on the Shelf (or something like it), this story tells about how the elves work and what happens to them if you touch them!
24. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas
A lovely collection of stories containing Mickey-related characters, like Goofy and Donald Duck. It contains the gift of the magi tale, which is my husband’s favorite. This one is usually available on Netflix and the kids always enjoy it!
25. The Polar Express
The music and story here make me feel like it is one of the most magical, beautiful Christmas movies. It’s like a A Visit from St. Nicholas tradition in so many homes!
Tell us, what are your favorites?!