Top 10 Best Christmas Movies of All Time

The holiday season is the best time of the year for so many reasons: decorating your home, shopping, hosting and attending Christmas parties, sipping eggnog, and of course, watching Christmas movies. While technically you could watch It’s a Wonderful Life in the middle of July, it just doesn’t seem as magical as when you watch it in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

 

If you’re feeling the holiday spirit and prefer a night in to a festive night out, why not pour yourself a cup of eggnog, grab a plate of Christmas cookies and stream a Christmas movie?

Here Are Our Picks for the Top 10 Best Christmas Movies of All Time:

10.) Love Actually

Love Actually 'to me, you are perfect' scene

 

If you’re a millennial or older, you likely remember when this movie came out and you first heard the utterance of, “to me, you are perfect” (insert *swoon*). But can you believe this movie came out 15 years ago?!

 

Brought to you by the writer-director who brought you Notting Hill (Richard Curtis), Love Actually follows the interconnected love lives of an ensemble cast, as well as the comeback of a not-so-washed-up rocker. Watch as Liam Neeson, Kiera Knightly, Hugh Grant, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman and more stars recover from heartbreak, search for true love and even find love in a Milwaukee bar. The film is quirky and humorous, sometimes sadand overall will leave you wanting to surround yourself with loved ones.

 

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9.) Home Alone

The classic Home Alone image, with Kevin screaming

 

If you’re a millennial, you probably grew up with Home Alone and had a plan should anyone ever try to break into your house during the holidays! Can you believe the film came out in 1990 and that Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is now almost 40?!

 

If you somehow haven’t seen John Hughes’s classic film, you’re missing out. The movie begins when eight-year-old Kevin has a fight with his parents and wakes up the next morning to find them gone. He assumes his wish to have no family has come true, but in reality, his parents took the family to Paris and accidentally left Kevin at home. Kevin is delighted, but then two burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) put a kink in Kevin’s plans to eat junk food and watch R-rated movies. Instead, Kevin has to (hilariously) protect the home from harm.

 

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8.) A Christmas Story

Classic image from A Christmas Story of kids licking frozen pole

 

Though A Christmas Story is set in the 1940s, the film actually came out in 1983. It follows Ralphie (Peter Billingsley), a nine-year-old boy who only wants one thing for Christmas: a Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot range model air rifle. Unfortunately, the adults in Ralphie’s life don’t think it’s the best idea. Even the department store Santa tells him, “you’ll shoot your eye out.”

 

The film is funny, family-friendly and takes you back to a simpler time before iPhones and video games topped every child’s Christmas wish list.

 

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7.) It’s a Wonderful Life

Classic scene from It's a Wonderful Life

 

“Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” You’ve likely heard this iconic quote, but did you know it was from the film It’s a Wonderful Life?

 

It’s a Wonderful Life came out in 1946 and, from the outset, doesn’t sound like the ideal Christmas plot. The film stars Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey. On Christmas Eve, Bailey is contemplating suicide when an angel named Clarence intervenes. Clarence takes Bailey back in time and shows him the good he has done throughout the years, and how different life would be for his family and friends had he never existed.

 

Spoiler alert: Through Clarence, Bailey sees how many lives he has touched (and saved). He realizes that his life was not in vain, and he does not commit suicide but returns to his family just in time for the church bells to strike midnight and ring in Christmas.

 

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6.) Elf

Classic scene from Elf showing how much Buddy loves sugar

 

If you’re a Will Farrell fan, you’ve likely seen Elf, whether you like Christmas movies or not. Elf is one of the Best Will Farrell movies of all time! If you haven’t seen the film yet and you like comedies, we highly recommend it.

 

Elf came out in 2003 and tells the story of Buddy the Elf (Will Farrell), who was raised at the North Pole after climbing into Santa’s bag as an infant in an orphanage. Buddy, now an adult, seeks to find his biological father. He travels to New York where hilarity ensues. Buddy believes himself to be an elf, and his naivety about the “real world” (particularly NYC) make for amusement.

 

If you have a child in your life who loves the movie Elf and also has an Elf on the Shelf, make sure you check out our Buddy the Elf inspired Elf on the Shelf idea!

 

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5.) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Clark Griswold just wants to give his family the perfect ChristmasDo you like slapstick humor and love Chevy Chase? If so, chances are you’re a fan of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

 

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation came out in 1989 and follows the story of Clark Griswold as he tries to give his family the perfect Christmas, despite a few hilarious mishaps (and an RV-driving brother in law) along the way. Your heart will go out to Griswold as nothing seems to go his way despite his best efforts. This is a holiday movie perfect for all ages.

 

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4.) Bad Santa

Willie Stokes is a chain smoking, swearing, drinking Santa

 

If you’re looking for a feel good, family-friendly Christmas movie, this isn’t it. However, if you love Billy Bob Thornton, enjoy dark humor and don’t mind a bit of naughty language, you’ll love Bad Santa. 

 

Bad Santa tells the tale of Willie Stokes, a professional thief and full-time alcoholic. Every year he and his dwarf partner, Marcus Skidmore, pose as Santa and an elf to obtain jobs in a department store. The two spend December gathering intel on the store and then crack and rob the safe on Christmas Eve. This year, however, is different. Willie is more depressed and out of control than ever, and his antics draw the suspicion of an overzealous mall security guard (Bernie Mac). Throughout it all, Willie befriends a young boy named Thurman Merman who actually makes Willie a better person. The film is crass yet hilarious, and if you enjoy different types of Christmas movies, this one tops our list.

 

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3.) How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Jim Carrey is hilarious as The Grinch

The world first met The Grinch — the Christmas-hating exile of Whoville — in 1957 when Dr. Seuss wrote How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The book was adapted into an animated film in 1966 and then glorified by Jim Carrey in 2000.

 

If you haven’t heard the story of the Grinch, you probably still know that he’s a grouch. A grumpy, miserable, crotchety character who hates Christmas so much that he tries to ruin it for everyone in the town of Whoville. He almost succeeds too, until little Cindy Lou Who intervenes. Kids will love watching the Grinch’s antics, and adults will love watching Jim Carry.

 

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2.) A Charlie Brown Christmas

Charlie Brown and his infamous Christmas tree

 

A list of best Christmas movies would never be complete without A Charlie Brown Christmas.  Based on the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz, the film debuted on CBS in 1965. It’s interesting to note that CBS told producer Lee Mendelson that the show would likely flop, and thus the network would not be interested in airing any additional Charlie Brown shows.

 

If you’re unfamiliar with A Charlie Brown Christmas, it follows the story of Charlie and friends in the days leading up to Christmas. Charlie is feeling blue, and his friend Lucy suggests he directs a neighborhoodChristmas play. Unfortunately for Charlie Brown, he has a bit of pushback from his friends, but he finally cheers up when his buddy Linus tells him about the real meaning of Christmas.

 

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1.) Miracle on 34th Street

In Miracle on 34th Street, Kris Kringle must prove he really is Santa

 

Miracle on 34th Street is another Christmas classic that debuted more than 80 years ago(and was Natalie Wood’s breakout role). If you love timeless, romantic, black and white films, this will be one of your favorite Christmas movies (if it isn’t already).

 

The film tells the story of Susan (Natalie Wood), a young girl doubting the existence of Santa. She believes in “facts, not fantasies” until Kris Kringle (George Seaton) comes along and tries to prove he is indeed the real Santa Clause.

 

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Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? Tell us in the comments!

 

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