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The Best Christmas Movies – A Definitive List

Dec/17/2021 / by Abhijit Masih
christmas movies
Image credits: Pixabay

It’s certainly the most wonderful time of the year when everyone is in good cheer and loved ones are near. You would want to bring the yuletide cheer with your family and loved ones with some family entertainment that reflects the season and the mood of the holiday season.

So here we bring to you a list of movies that are actually about Christmas — with all the joys, and surprises they bring with it. If you go through the holidays without watching at least one of these films, you might just be the Grinch.

The only downside of this season is that it is fleeting. So do not waste time surfing through channels and streaming platforms to build a list. Sometimes it takes more time surfing to decide what to watch than the actual length of the film you are going to watch. Here we have done the work for you and bring you the many holiday films filled with Christmas cheer for you to watch.

Just curl up on the couch, get out your favorite movie-watching throw and the hot or cold beverage you fancy, and get going through the festive period with the best Christmas movies of all time.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

A clever and a deeply original story about an old man working as a Macy’s department store Santa, claims to be Kris Kringle. And he convinces innocent kids and even the most cynical adults that he is the real deal. There’s something undeniably sweet about this perennial classic. What makes “Miracle on 34th Street” a genuine miracle of holiday filmmaking is the perfect balance of social cynicism and human generosity. Simply put, it is a perfect example of the Christmas spirit put on film.

Home Alone (1990)

Perhaps the movie that has the maximum reruns during the holiday season is “Home Alone,” it gets a fresh lease of life every December. Writer John Hughes takes a less sentimental approach to the holidays with the tale of an 8-year-old Kevin McCallister, played by the then lovable Macaulay Culkin. Kevin is accidentally left alone by his family, only to face down and outwit a pair of bungling burglars. The film is an evergreen Christmas classic because it can be enjoyed any time of the year. The film is about overcoming fears and taking control of your life and most importantly the film is funny with Culkin looking brave, wise and perfect for the role. With the continuous flow of comedy, the film is one of the top Christmas movies.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is one of the most loved of all fictional Christmas stories. A tale of gloom relieved only at the end by the warmth of the holiday cheer. This film, a take on Dickens story, “The Muppet Christmas Carol” is made with one principal human actor, Michael Caine, in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. There are a few more humans, including Scrooge as a youth, but most of the other roles, great and small, are played by muppets. Like all the muppet movies, this one is a musical, with original songs. All the important aspects of the Dickens story remain, and the film as it turns out is quite touching and is a classic Christmas movie.

Love Actually (2003)

The film emphatically pronounces that love, actually, is all around in a Christmas setting. This film from across the pond is one of the best Christmas movies to come out of U.K. with a never ending cast of some of the biggest names in British cinema. A compilation of around 10  romance stories strung together in one film, this movie is a must-watch and many of us have watched it every Christmas since it was released in the winter of 2003. The film is replete with heart-touching and terrific moments that leave you with an extra dose of joy and happiness. Stacked with loads of laughs and some tearjerker moments, “Love Actually” definitely is a great movie to watch during the holidays and one of the most popular Christmas movies.

Elf (2003)

This is one of the bright spots on the list of good Christmas movies.  This hilarious holiday film has Will Ferrell in the lead, playing a character with an adorable, naive signature persona, making this film a sweet and sincere holiday tale. In the film, Will plays the oversized elf who ventures far away from the North Pole to search for his father. The film is a charming, wholesome Christmas film with a lot of holiday spirit, and a family movie that everyone can enjoy together.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

There are some films that make you feel good, even if you are reeling in the depths of despair. Christmas movies have that quality and just make you feel good when they come on and warm you up with joy and nostalgia. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is just one such Christmas movie. For Peanuts fans everywhere, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without this classic holiday delight. This animation movie that brings loads of happiness and cheer is one of the favorite Christmas movies of all time, holding up even half a century later. The film provides an appealing lesson about the true meaning of Christmas. The film revolves around Charlie Brown who is depressed at the commercialism he sees around him. The film is a joyous celebration of the holiday spirit and still one of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time.

A Christmas Story (1983)

In the 1940s, a young boy named Ralphie attempts to convince his parents, his teacher and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect Christmas gift. The 1983 film is based on the novel “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash” by Leigh Brown. The message in the film is directed at children and at the child in each one of us, for whom the spirit of Christmas is still alive. Watching the film will remind you of your own desire for something special. Something that you longed for more than anything for Christmas. “A Christmas Story” is a comfortable, entertaining and a homely movie that makes us laugh because we remember the agony of being a kid and grateful that we survived. The film is a Christmas classic to be enjoyed over and over again.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Sometimes movies are considered masterpieces for a reason. And this is one of those times and the reason for it being on this list of the best Christmas movies of all time. The story of the film centers around an angel sent from heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed. The film directed by Frank Capra is funny, heartwarming, profound, and an annual reminder that the holidays are about more than presents. The film starred James Stewart and Donna Reed and plays testament to the family values of an American small town. Released way back in 1946, it has become a Christmastime must watch and is recognized as a feel-good film with a universal appeal and message.  It is an uplifting film that deserves much acclaim and is an all-time Christmas classic that should be watched by every generation.

The Holiday (2006)

The attractive cast includes Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude, Law and Jack Black, with an endearing cameo by Elli Wallach. The film has its heart is in the right place, with a generous sprinkling of funny and touching moments. The Holiday is a tale of two women, two houses, two love interests that they find when they exchange their homes for the holiday. Jude Law pairs with Cameron Diaz, Jack Black gets lucky with Kate Winslet in this holiday special. It would be unfair to call it a Yuletide chick flick and would definitely pick the film in the list for gushing you with love during the holiday a season. The high point of the movie for me was the interaction between the characters of Winslet and Wallach.

The joy of watching the best Christmas movies of all time is with the people you love most. To share the experience of watching a great film is the best way to spend the holidays season with family or friends, or even alone, at this time of the year.