Top 20 Christmas Movies

I’m pretty sure the official rules of Christmas state that it’s not Christmas until you’ve seen the Coca Cola advert and watched a few festive movies.

Here are 20 movies guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit. If your favourite didn’t make the cut feel free to share it below and spread some Christmas cheer!

20. Four Christmases (2008)

This romantic comedy folks boasting a star-studded cast including Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn. When their plans for an exotic vacation fall apart, unmarried couple Brad and Kate must spend Christmas Day trudging around to a quartet of family get togethers. While Brad counts the hours till he can escape the onslaught of crazy relatives, Kate begins to wonder whether her family members are so crazy after all.

19. Bad Santa (2003)

I’m not the biggest fan of Billy Bob Thornton but his surly demeanour works to his favour in this movie. In this dark comedy, the crotchety Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) and his partner (Tony Cox) reunite once a year for a holiday con. Posing as a mall Santa and his elf, they rip off shopping outlets on Christmas Eve. Only a seasoned mall cop stands between them and a Christmas loot for the ages.

18. White Christmas (1954)

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. White Christmas is a fun movie perfect for holiday viewing. The Irving Berlin songs, the dance numbers, and yes, the cheesiness are just the right combination to put even the Grinchiest person in the Christmas spirit.

17. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

It’s Christmas time and the infamous Griswolds are preparing for a family seasonal celebration, but things never run smoothly for Clark, his wife Ellen and their two kids. Clark’s continual bad luck is worsened by his obnoxious family guests. The only that is getting him through the holiday season is an impending Christmas bonus. If like your Christmas movies to be a tad ridiculous then this is the movie for you.

16. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed. I know what you’re thinking, it all sounds a little bit Dickensian but trust me when it say it’s worth a watch.

15. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

One year after Kevin McCallister was left home alone and had to defeat a pair of bumbling burglars, he accidentally finds himself in New York City, and the same criminals are not far behind. I mean come on, he has terrible parents. Why haven’t they been reported to CPS? He must be a real pain in the ass. Home Alone 2 still packs a good punch and delivers some laughs, but not with the same impact of its predecessor.

14. A Christmas Carol (2009)

This movie from 2009 is an animated retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic novel about a Victorian-era miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions. The breath-taking animation makes this movie a must-see.

13. Scrooged (1988)

This movie screams 80’s low-budget production, but that’s why I like it. It has a certain charm that its more popular counterparts lack. In this take on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a wildly successful television executive whose cold ambition and curmudgeonly nature has driven away the love of his life. After firing a staff member on Christmas Eve Frank is visited by a series of ghosts who give him a chance to re-evaluate his actions and right the wrongs of his past.

12. Fred Claus (2007)

Fred (Vince Vaughn) has always been the troublemaker in the family. No one will hear a bad word said against his saintly sibling, Nicholas (Paul Giamatti). So what’s the catch? Nicholas just happens to be Santa Claus. When Fred’s criminal ways finally land him in jail, Nicholas bails him out and brings him to the North Pole to work off the debt by making toys. Little does he know that he has just jeopardized the jolliest holiday of the year.

11. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

In terms of humour or songs, this isn’t my favourite Muppet movie but it may be the most touching version of the Dickens classic story I’ve ever seen. Scrooge, played by Michael Caine, isn’t portrayed as a screaming maniac as he so often is in other versions. His transformation from cold-hearted tightwad to caring, generous person is done in a much more subtle fashion. So if you’re looking for some slapstick humour this Christmas pop this surprisingly funny and heart-warming classic on.

10. Santa Claus (1985)

This visceral and heart-warming Christmas classic is the story of a master toymaker who discovers a magical kingdom of elves in the North Pole and becomes Santa Claus. But when Santa’s eager-to-please elf Patch leaves the North Pole for the big streets of New York City, he becomes mixed up with a dastardly toy tycoon’s plans to take over Christmas. And so begins Santa’s greatest adventure of all – to rescue his faithful elf and to save Christmas for all the children of the world!

9. Love Actually (2003)

This romantic comedy has become somewhat of a Christmas favourite. Nine intertwined stories examine the complexities of the one emotion that connects us all: love. It’s normally everything I avoid in a movie, but then Bill Nighy turns up and rocks your socks off. Plus, the doorstep confession is the sweetest thing.

8. Jingle All The Way (1996)

Workaholic Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a pretty shitty Dad and husband. But he vows to put it right by getting his son the most popular toy of the season, Turbo-Man. He spends Christmas Eve is a frantic battle across town to hunt down the beloved toy before Christmas is ruined.

7. The Polar Express (2004)

On Christmas Eve a young boy climbs aboard a magical train that’s headed to the North Pole and Santa Claus’s home. What unfolds is an adventure of discovery and magic. What the boy doesn’t realise is that he has just embarked on a journey of self-discovery that will show him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. The Polar Express is one of the most beautifully animated movies I have ever seen, so it’s worth giving it looksie purely based on that.

6. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

Six-year-old Susan Walker (*ahem* what a great surname) is sceptical of the Christmas myth surrounding Santa Claus, a trait she has learnt from her mother, Dorey. When tasked with hiring the Santa who will pose with kids at Macy’s, Dorey enlists a man with the curious name of Kris Kringle (played by the late Richard Attenborough) who claims to be Santa himself. Miracle on 34th Street is what all other Christmas movies should aim to be. It’s magical, funny and full to the brim with love.

5. Arthur Christmas (2011)

No one ever really stops to consider how Santa Claus delivers presents to every child on Earth every Christmas Eve. What everyone doesn’t know is that Santa accomplishes the feat with a very high-tech operation beneath the North Pole. But when the unthinkable happens, and Santa misses one child out of hundreds of millions, someone has to save the day. It’s up to Arthur (James McAvoy), Santa’s youngest son, to deliver a present to the forgotten tyke before Christmas morning dawns.

4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Inside a snowflake exists the magical land of Whoville. In Whoville live the Whos, a jolly bunch of Christmas-obsessed munchkin-like people. Just outside of their beloved Whoville lives a nasty creature called the Grinch who hates Christmas. The green recluse decides to ruin Christmas for the cheery citizens of Whovilles. But then a small and endearing child, Cindy Lou Who, decides to try and befriend the Grinch. Could she be the one to revert the Grinch, or is he just a lost cause? This live-action adaptation of the beloved children’s tale by Dr. Seuss is funny and heart-warming in equal measure.

3. Die Hard (1988)

New York cop John McClane visits his estranged wife’s Christmas party to try and make amends. Little does he know that he’s about to become embroiled in a terrorist plot to take down the Japanese business. Can McClane save the day, and Christmas? There’s only one way to find out.

2. Elf (2003)

After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man named Buddy who has been raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to the New York to find his birth father, Walter Hobbs. Whilst Buddy experiences the delights of New York City (and human culture) as only an elf can, Walter is moving up higher to the top of Santa’s naughty list. When Walter’s relationship with Buddy begins to interfere with his job, he is forced to re-evaluate his priorities. Elf should definitely be on your must-watch this holiday season. It’s fun for all the family and is so damn quotable. If this doesn’t you in the Christmas spirit then I don’t know what will

1. Home Alone (1990)

When bratty 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) acts out the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother (Catherine O’Hara) makes him sleep in the attic. After the McCallisters mistakenly leave for the airport without Kevin, he awakens to an empty house and assumes his wish to have no family has come true. But his excitement sours when he realizes that two con men (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) plan to rob the McCallister residence, and that he alone must protect the family home. A war ensues and it’s hilarious.

How many of these will you be watching this holiday season?  Whatever Christmas movies you choose to watch I hope you have a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

For more festive fun take The Big Fat Christmas Movie Quiz or put your Christmas feels to the test by finding out how many Ultimate Christmas Movies you’ve seen.

By Ruth Walker

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