‘Tis the season, right? And what better way to celebrate the upcoming holidays with your favorite Christmas movies of all time! I can see it now: snuggling up on a warm couch, the heat cranked, covered in a blanket with a bowl of popcorn enjoying a marathon of the all time best Christmas movies. If you’re not sure what to watch—or just want some new recommendations—you’re in luck! We’ve put together a list of our favorite Christmas movies for you to peruse!
1954 – White Christmas
Let’s kick this off with a genuine old time classic! White Christmas is a mid-’50s Christmas musical starring Bing Crosby. It’s a bit sentimental and sweet, so it might be a bit much for those of you with steelier hearts, but it’s a beloved classic by many that’s sure to help you maximize your holiday cheer.
2003 – Elf
This one isn’t quite old enough to be a classic, but it sure is a staple holiday film. Elf is a pleasant little story starring Will Ferrell, in which a young man who was raised alongside Santa’s elves at the North Pole moves to New York City to find his father—an uptight businessman—and does his best to spread yuletide cheer along the way.
1964 – Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer
The mid-’60s stop motion adaptation of of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s story should be familiar to anybody who had a childhood that involved cable television in the last half a century! It puts a bit of a spin on Rudolf’s tale, in which he runs away from home after he’s socially ostracized by his peers and meets another black sheep, an elf named Hermey who wants to be a dentist. Love interests and villains abound as the story progresses, and ends in a classically heart-warming fashion. If you’ve never seen this wonderful adaptation, you’re missing out!
1965 – A Charlie Brown Christmas
An animated television special based on the comic strip Peanuts, A Charlie Brown Christmas is a wonderful story about seasonal depression and a budding young anti-consumerist Charlie Brown seeking to discern some tangential meaning out of an often vapid and oversold holiday. Chock full of Christmas carols and scriptural messages, this special’s a great way to take a trip down memory lane to your childhood… or, well, maybe your parents’ childhood.
1983 – A Christmas Story
A Christmas Story is the tale of a young boy, his obsession with faux-munitions, and major awards shipped from France. With a strangely dark sense of humor, A Christmas Story manages to remind you of every single horrible aspect of Christmas with the family, while also giving you hope for a beautiful holiday amidst the destruction wrought by terrible gifts and silly parents.
1993 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
One of the greatest examples of outstanding stop motion animation, The Nightmare Before Christmas is an early-’90s film about Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloweenland, who discovers Chrismastown and learns a thing or two about holiday spirit. Also, does anybody else remember this movie being, like, late ’90s at the earliest? This really came out in 1993? Yeesh.
1967 – How the Grinch Stole Christmas
With an alarmingly scant 26-minute runtime, 1967’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas—an animated adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss story—manages to hit you with a wonderful story about the magical power of Christmas to turn horrible, horrible monsters into wonderful, caring creatures. Of course, if the Grinch had never decided to up and steal everybody’s stuff, he wouldn’t have had to return it anyway. Why does that make him a hero? Like… why doesn’t the Whoville Sheriff’s Department arrest him? You know what, none of this makes any sense.
1946 – It’s a Wonderful Life
Odds are you saw this vintage film in school when you were a kid—more than once, maybe. I’m pretty sure I remember watching it in at least one class every single year during high school. It’s a heartwarming Scrooge-esque tale about a man who plans to take his own life on Christmas, but is stopped when his guardian angel shows him how terrible everybody’s life would be without him. While this does have a heartwarming ending, be prepared to suffer about a thousand emotional gut punches over the course of the film.
1988 – Die Hard
Okay, look. A recent YouGov poll suggested that Die Hard isn’t a Christmas movie. Lemme tell you why that’s wrong. First thing’s first: it’s set on Christmas Eve. I mean, come on! Next up: John McClain is Santa Clause, doling out a bag full of justice and death to an international terrorist cabal. Both the nativity and Die Hard feature pregnant women, and it’s a heartwarming tale about the friendship between two men—McClain and Sergeant Al Powell. So, that’s that—Die Hard is officially the greatest Christmas movie ever made.
We hope you enjoy this list of the best Christmas movies around! Happy holidays!