Much like we did for the Halloween season, we’re here to bring you some of the best watching options for this merry time of year. Nearly all of these are well-known and have been lauded as some of the best Christmas movies of all time. We hope you enjoy these films during your holiday celebrations.
10. JINGLE ALL THE WAY, 1996
DIRECTED BY: BRIAN LEVANT
Basically, this whole movie boils down to one fact: both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad are terrible parents who essentially ignore their kids until the last possible moment. The actual premise, though, is a down-and-out battle between two dads desperately trying to find the ever-elusive Turbo Man doll for their sons. For an action star like Arnold this was uncharted territory, but it works great. The film works towards a hilarious conclusion as a dad goes above and beyond to be the father his son has always hoped for.
9. SCROOGED, 1988
DIRECTED BY: RICHARD DONNER
Bill Murray has always been a great comedic actor, but Scrooged takes it in an entirely new direction. Throughout the film, he’s visited by your normal run-of-the-mill holiday characters who show him where he took a wrong step. It’s funny and somewhat dark, but it works well within the confines of a holiday movie. Murray also is on top of his game, having a ball with his patented tongue-in-cheek responses to the people he encounters.
8. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, 1946
DIRECTED BY: FRANK CAPRA
We’ve all felt from time to time that the people around us would be better off if we weren’t there. That’s the basis for this good but surprisingly dark Christmas classic staring James Stewart as George Bailey. With his luck run out and owing thousands, George considers suicide. Then he’s visited by an angel. Throughout the film, George sees example after example of people who are better off for having known him. More happens, but you get the gist. In the end, it’s a story of being down on yourself yet learning just how valuable you really are.
7. THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, 1993
DIRECTED BY: HENRY SELICK
Is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? Well, it’s both. The creators from Halloween Town decide to try Christmas, with horrific results. In the end it’s up to Jack Skellington to make the wrong he created right. Filled with excellent imagery, exceedingly singable songs and memorable co-stars, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a holiday film made for lovers of all holidays. It’s also quite funny with a moving story to propel itself along.
6. DIE HARD, 1988
DIRECTED BY: JOHN MCTIERNAN
Best action movie ever or best Christmas action movie ever? Either way, this fast-paced action thriller takes place on the eve of the holiday day, and features great performances from Bruce Willis and the late, great Alan Rickman. One on the reasons this film is included on this list is at the urging of every person we asked what their favorite Christmas movie was. Many chimed in with this one, so here ya go. It’s big on great action scenes, short on sentimental warm feelings, but it’s still a classic and a really good change of pace from the rest of our list.
5. NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION, 1989
DIRECTED BY: JEREMIAH S. CHECHIK
While Chevy Chase may no longer be big news, during a period in the 80s he was without a doubt one of the biggest laugh-getters in film. This installment in the Vacation series hammers home the hilarious in much the same way as the other films, but it also adds a Christmas veneer to the antics. It’s quite ridiculous at times, but ultimately it’s all about being together with your family and making sure everyone is miserable the whole time.
4. THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL, 1992
DIRECTED BY: JERRY JUHL
Is there anything the Muppets and the Jim Henson Company can’t make even more amazing? Among my favorites of all time, The Muppet Christmas Carol is both poignant and routinely hilarious, much like the other life lessons given by Kermit and company. Michael Caine delivers as Scrooge, but he’s aware it’s not his show. All the mainstays fill in as Caine and the Muppets tell the tale of the classic Dickens story. It’s a must-see for fans of the Muppets as well as a great addition to your holiday watching list.
3. HOME ALONE, 1990
DIRECTED BY: CHRIS COLUMBUS
“Look what ya did, ya little jerk!” is easily one of the best lines in films ever, but there’s so much more to this film than just that. Kevin is abandoned when his utterly terrible family embarks on a trip, leaving him behind to set up defenses against two moron criminals in order to make it through the dark of the holidays by himself. Are their plot holes? Obviously. I mean, they would’ve just shot him the first chance they got. Also, how does this young kid manage to set all those traps? This film is amazing and completely absurd, but it’s a classic movie that made sure that Culkin basically never had to work again. A must-watch.
2. LOVE ACTUALLY, 2003
DIRECTED BY: RICHARD CURTIS
Let’s get this out of the way first: Some of the people in this excellent movie are absolutely dreadful. Cheaters, liars, and a guy who’s in love with his best friend’s wife only cap the iceberg of bad behavior throughout. Having said that though, I like that these characters are so flawed. It adds a human element to an otherwise normal movie set during the holidays. It’s heartwarming and sweet in huge doses, which helps to even the playing field in regards to bad deeds. It’s also exceedingly English in its context and delivery, which never fails to impress American audiences. Lastly, Bill Nigh steals the show as an old rocker who has been trying to claw his way back to his former glory.
1. A CHRISTMAS STORY, 1983
DIRECTED BY: BOB CLARK
I really couldn’t pick any other movie for the top spot on our list: at number one, the classic A Christmas Story. I mean, honestly, where to begin? A tongue getting stuck on a pole during a bad snow; a sexy leg in the guise of an antique lamp? Or how about the end with a chicken’s head getting chopped off by a family whose Christmas dinner was ruined by rambunctious dogs? We’ve all seen this many times on TBS on December 25, but you might also have forgotten just how good this movie is because it’s such a huge part of Christmas traditions. It’s sweet, hilarious and the best Christmas-inspired movie.
Have a great end of the year everyone, you’ve earned it!