Top 10 Christmas Movies of All Time

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Photo: RKO Radio Pictures

 

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Arguably the most well-known and loved Christmas movie of all time, It’s A Wonderful Life tells the story of George Bailey and how one life full of good deeds impacted a small town. It’s A Wonderful Life explores a great number of themes connected to what the holidays are all about. The star of the film, James Stewart, was a Pennsylvania native who lived in the small town of Indiana, PA. The movie presents the values of basic goodness and sacrifice, the gift of friendship, the downfalls of greed, while also presenting the theme of a sense of community and belonging that helps us feel truly connected in society. It’s a Wonderful Life asks us to define ourselves not through riches and gain, but through a wealth of character and to add meaning and worth to our lives. It’s A Wonderful Life is a great Christmas movie to enjoy watching with family, some hot chocolate, and lots of Christmas cookies.

2. The Polar Express (2004)

A beloved children’s book turned into a movie, The Polar Express, reveals the ideas of believing in the magic of Christmas. When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. The Polar Express is a heartwarming story that families can watch together as a way to truly raise their Christmas spirits. One of the feature songs of The Polar Express, Josh Groban’s “Believe,” is truly a masterpiece and a great song for those who love the magic of Christmas. Filled with lots of adventure, the theme of believing, and talented actors such as Tom Hanks, The Polar Express is a movie for everyone.

3. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

A heartwarming movie about imagination and believing in Santa Clause, Miracle on 34th Street, is sure to get you in the holiday spirits while also drawing a smile on your face. No matter what version of the movie you watch, the original and remakes will all present a loving story about a young girl fighting for her beliefs. The plot of the movie is set when a six-year-old Susan Walker’s mother, Dorey, is tasked with hiring a Santa who will pose with kids at Macy’s. Dorey then enlists a man with the curious name of Kris Kringle who claims to be Santa himself. His declarations of being Santa Clause then cause trouble as they are met with threats of institutionalization due to a potential mental health problem. A young lawyer, along with Susan and Dorey, comes to his defense trying to prove Santa is real and he is the real Santa. Miracle on 34th Street is filled with a lovely script, a good meaning and themes, and superb actors which makes it perfect viewing for the Christmas season.

4. Home Alone (1990)

Home Alone, thought to be one of the funniest Christmas movies, follows the story of a little boy, Kevin McCallister, as his family goes on a Christmas vacation to Paris and he wakes up to be the only one home. The movie showcases what it is like to be, as the title suggests, home alone in the eyes of an 8-year-old boy. The movie grows even more entertaining as two men try to rob the McCallister household and are left to fight against a little kid and his crazy tactics. Kevin’s only wish is to be with his family for Christmas but the circumstances he is left with creates a great movie for friends to sit around and laugh at.

5. Elf (2003)

Will Ferrell is very famous for his comedic movies that will always leave a smile on your face and is enjoyable for all to watch. Elf follows the story of a toddler accidentally being transported to the North Pole and then being raised as an elf all the way up into adulthood. Buddy the elf then finally can’t shake off the feeling of not being able to fit in anymore and decides to travel to New York to meet his real father. The movie provides lots of funny scenes as Buddy tries to fit into reality after being isolated with the elves for so long. Not knowing how the real world works, Buddy continues to seek the attention of his father while causing lots of chaos in the meantime. Elf is a great Christmas movie that expresses the importance of family while also providing lots of scenes to surely make you laugh.

6. A Christmas Story (1983)

One great, humorous Christmas movie to watch with your family is A Christmas Story where the main character dreams about getting his one true Christmas wish. Based on the humorous writings of author Jean Shepherd, this beloved holiday movie follows the story of youngster Ralphie Parker, who spends the holiday season dreaming of his idea of the perfect Christmas gift, a “Red Ryder air rifle.” Even though he is warned of the dangerous aspects of the gift with the iconic line of “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” the bb gun is truly the only gift Ralphie could ever wish for. Filled with lots of fun and comedy, A Christmas Story is sure to get you laughing with its humorous scenes and iconic lines you won’t forget.

7. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

A famous Tim Burton movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas follows Halloweentown’s beloved Jack Skellington accidentally stumbles upon Christmastown. Jack then falls in love with the town and arranges the plan of kidnapping Santa Claus. After having the same annual routine of frightening people, Jack just wants a new life and a different holiday to control. The claymation of The Nightmare Before Christmas is filled with many fun tunes and a wonderful story for all the love.

8. The Christmas Chronicles (2018)

A newer Netflix Christmas movie featuring Kurt Russell as Santa Claus, The Christmas Chronicles revolves around a plan to spot Santa Claus and how it goes horribly wrong. Siblings Kate and Teddy Pierce follow Santa onto his sleigh and end up causing Santa to crash when they are spotted. They then join forces with Santa to get Christmas back on track and deliver presents to all the kids around the world before it’s too late. The movie is filled with lots of adventure and laughter while providing a great plot for family and friends to enjoy. The Christmas Chronicles is then followed by The Christmas Chronicles 2 (2020), which takes place a year after the first movie. In the sequel, Kate Pierce reunites with Santa Claus at the North Pole as a troublemaker threatens to cancel Christmas forever. Both movies will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit while you can sit and watch the wonderful story unfold, delivered by amazing actors and actresses.

9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

In this live-action adaptation of the beloved children’s story by Dr. Suess, Jim Carrey plays the Grinch as he tries to ruin Christmas for all of Whoville. After hating the holiday for so long, the Grinch can not stand the joyfulness of all the Whos, who take great pride in the holiday, anymore. His plans to steal Christmas are then abrupted as he encounters a young Cindy Lou Who, who helps him learn the true meaning of Christmas. How the Grinch Stole Christmas will always be a Christmas movie that everyone can watch each year and the live-action adaptation does great justice to the beloved story.

10. The Search For Santa Paws (2010)

The Search For Santa Paws is a lovable children’s Christmas movie that tells the story of the lost pup of Santa Claus. After making a trip to a New York toy store, Santa Claus and Santa Paws get into a problem that makes them get separated from each other. A magical, talking Santa Paws, then finds a young girl who tries to help him find Santa Claus. With the help of the young girl and the rest of the orphaned girls that she lives with, Santa Paws seeks to find Santa Claus before it is too late and the Christmas spirit drops to dangerous measures. The Search for Santa Paws provides a wonderful, loving story while also providing the themes of hope and believing in the spirit of Christmas.

Honorable Mentions

The Legend Of Frosty The Snowman (2005)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

A Charlie Brown’s Christmas (1965)

The Santa Clause (1994)

Santa Buddies (2009)

The Grinch (2018)

Klaus (2019)

Jingle All the Way (1996)