Thanksgiving is over; it’s time to focus on the next big holiday, Christmas. So take out decorations, cue your holiday playlist, and watch your favorite Christmas movies.
In the past, I would wait until December 1st before taking out decorations and participating in the holiday fun. This year I started celebrating in November. I went to a holiday market on November 12th that charged up my holiday spirit.
I’ve started watching holiday movies and listening to Christmas music. I’m all in on Christmas fun and prep!
I will share my Christmas spirit with you by sharing a list of some favorite Christmas movies.
Part 1: My Top Ten Movies
Picking my top ten Christmas movies was difficult; there are too many to list. So instead, I narrowed down my list by using the following criteria: I would watch it if it were on television while flipping channels, I make a point to watch it every year, it is part of a family movie night, and the season isn’t complete without watching it.
Bonus picks: These two are not your typical feel-good Christmas movies, but they take place at Christmastime, and I enjoy watching them this time of year.
Die Hard (1988) – Is it a Christmas movie? The debate about whether or not it fits in the Christmas movie category has gone on for years. For: it takes place at Christmas and features many decorations and references to the holiday. Against: can a violent, action-packed movie fit into the Christmas category? Read more, Reginald VelJohnson Is ‘Fine’ With Die Hard Being Considered A Christmas Movie. Spoiler, Bruce Willis does not consider it a Christmas movie. “‘Come out the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs…’” John McClane
Gremlins (1984) – Cute, furry creatures that turn deadly if you feed them after midnight; that sounds like the perfect Christmas movie! It may not be a warm fuzzy Christmas story, but it is a classic 80s Christmastime movie.“First of all, keep him out of the light, he hates bright light, especially sunlight, it’ll kill him. Second, don’t give him any water, not even to drink. But the most important rule, the rule you can never forget, no matter how much he cries, no matter how much he begs, never feed him after midnight.”
My Top Ten:
#10: Home Alone (1990) – A young kid left at home during Christmas, it that fun or scary? Home Alone is a fun, family-friendly movie. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992, on Disney+) is also a fun, family movie set in New York City. “Guys, I’m eating junk and watching rubbish! You better come out and stop me!” — Kevin
#9: The Family Stone (2005) – Taking home your perfect girlfriend to meet the family at Christmas, what could go wrong? I love the complicated relationships presented in this movie, with Diane Keaton playing the matriarch. There is a lot of drama with some laughs mixed in. From Entertainment Weekly, A holiday diamond in the rough: An oral history of The Family Stone. Ben Stone: (to Meredith) “Don’t dilly-dally there, pretty lady. We’re all gonna be down here talking about you.“
#8: It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) – “It’s a Wonderful Life reflects on the life of George, a man who has put others in his life before himself, but when an innocent mistake threatens to upend the life he’s built, he begins to wonder if everyone would be better off without him.” A family-friendly movie with a great message. “Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.” — Clarence
#7: The Family Man (2000) – This movie is a holiday drama where a busy, successful bachelor wakes up in another version of his life.“You can’t keep coming in and out of people’s lives, messing things up. It’s not right.” Jack played by Nick Cage
#6: Elf (2003) – A human-sized elf searches for his birth father in New York City. This movie is full of silly Christmas fun and jokes. “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” – Buddy the elf.
#5: Love Actually (2003) – There is a lot I love about this movie, including the opening airport scene (fun fact- from IMDb, “The airport greeting footage at the beginning and end of this movie is real. Writer and director Richard Curtis had a team of cameramen film at Heathrow airport for a week, and whenever they saw something that would fit in, they asked the people involved for permission to use the footage.”), the Christmas pageant, the relationship between the stepfather and stepson, Hugh Grant singing Christmas carols with his bodyguard, and there are a few cute love stories sprinkled in. There is some drama and bad behavior I’m not crazy about, but this movie deserves a spot in the top 5. “Well, we need Kate and we need Leo, and we need them now.” – Daniel. FYI: there is a special airing this month, “The Laughter & Secrets of ‘Love Actually’: 20 Years Later – A Diane Sawyer Special” airs Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, streaming on Hulu after it airs. From CNN, ‘Love Actually’ cast to reunite for 20th anniversary TV special
#4: Scrooged (1988) – This 80s movie has big stars, lots of laughs, and a positive message about Christmastime (I tear up every time during the final scene.) “Sometimes the truth is painful, Frank. But it’s made your cheeks rosy and your eyes bright!” Ghost of Christmas Present (Carol Kane)
#3: The Holiday (2006) – A Nancy Meyers film starring strong female leads navigating their loves lives during the holidays. My favorite relationship in the movie is between Iris and her neighbor. “He’s really cute. I feel great when I’m with him, which is an entirely new experience. And he’s about ninety years old.” — Iris
#2: While You Were Sleeping (1995) – I love this movie; it has a cute love story, a loving and sometimes wacky family, and many Christmas traditions and decorations. “I have a house, and family, and things like that… not like I’m complaining or anything, because I have a cat, I have an apartment, sole possession of the remote control. That’s very important. It’s just, I never met anyone I could laugh with.” Lucy played by Sandra Bullock
#1: A Christmas Story (1983) – It’s officially Christmas once I see at least one scene from this movie. Of course, it helps that TNT or TBS usually plays this movie for 24 hours on Christmas day. My favorite things about this movie: are the major award, the family craziness and fun, and the innocence of being a kid at Christmastime.“He looks like a deranged Easter bunny.” The Old Man Parker. FYI: The sequel was just released on HBOmax, A Christmas Story Christmas.
Part 2: Top 5 Christmas Movies for kids
#5 The Nightmare before Christmas (1993) – Is it a Christmas movie or a Halloween movie? It may fit into both categories. Kids seem to enjoy watching it around Christmas.
#4 Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020) – Decades after being betrayed by his apprentice, a once joyful toy maker finds new hope when his bright young granddaughter arrives on his doorstep. A newer movie that I only watched the trailer for, but it looks good!
#3 How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966, on Peacock) Can the lonely Grinch learn to get along with the people of Whoville? The animated version is appropriate for all ages. The Grinch movie with Jim Carrey (2000, on HBOmax) is rated PG, and The Grinch (2018, on Hulu), is an updated, animated movie. “Maybe Christmas (he thought) doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.” — The Grinch
#2 Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) – My favorite Christmas movie for kids, and it has a great soundtrack.
#1 Polar Express (2004) – This movie is an inspiring adventure based on the beloved children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. I placed it in the number one slot because you can usually find a local event or activity tied to this movie. For example, some schools have special viewing parties, or you can take the kids on a Polar Express train ride.
Part 3: Cheesy Christmas Movies
7 thoughts on “Christmas Movies”
Gremlins is such a great film 🙂
I remember watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ with you and your grandfather in New Jersey. It was the first time I had watched the whole movie! Still one of my favorites!
This is the best list, and I’m glad you included Die Hard.