Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s even more special when spent with friends and family by watching some classic holiday movies. From heartwarming comedies to magical musicals, there are plenty of movies that capture the joys—and sometimes sorrows—of spending the holidays together. Whether you’re looking for something to entertain little ones, or an older classic that will get everyone in a festive mood, here is our list of the top 20 Christmas movies for you to enjoy this season.
It’s a Wonderful Life
“It’s a Wonderful Life” is one of the most classic Christmas movies of all time. The film follows George Bailey, a man who is down on his luck and ready to end it all on Christmas Eve. However, an angel named Clarence intervenes and shows George what life would be like if he had never been born. This experience teaches George the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of family, friends, and community.
A Christmas Story
A Christmas Story is a heartwarming tale of a young boy named Ralphie, who dreams of getting a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. The story follows Ralphie and his family through the holiday season as they navigate their way through the ups and downs of small-town life in the 1940s.
A Christmas Story is filled with memorable moments, from Ralphie’s encounters with the neighborhood bully to his family’s unique holiday traditions. The film is sure to bring a smile to your face and warm your heart this holiday season.
Miracle on 34th Street
Most people think of “Miracle on 34th Street” as a heartwarming tale about a little girl who learns to believe in Santa Claus. But the movie is so much more than that. It’s a story about hope, faith, and the power of belief.
The movie follows Kris Kringle, a man who claims to be the real Santa Claus. He’s put to the test when he’s hired to play Santa at Macy’s department store in New York City. There, he meets Susan Walker, a little girl who doesn’t believe in Santa. As Kris starts to work his magic on the hearts of those around him, Susan begins to wonder if maybe, just maybe, he could be the real thing.
“Miracle on 34th Street” is more than just a feel-good Christmas movie. It’s a film that explores the power of belief and how it can change our lives for the better.
The 1954 film “White Christmas” is one of the most popular Christmas movies of all time. The movie tells the story of two former Army buddies who team up to put on a successful musical show in Vermont. The film features some of the most popular Christmas songs of all time, including “White Christmas” and “Silent Night.”
The Elf is a 2003 American Christmas comedy film directed by Jon Favreau. It stars Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Daniel Tay, Bob Newhart, and Ed Asner. The film centers on Buddy (Ferrell), a human who was adopted and raised by elves at the North Pole. He learns of his true identity as a human and goes to New York City to find his father (Caan), who operates a children’s book publishing company.
Buddy crosses paths with his father’s business partner, Walter Hobbs (Asner), who treats Buddy poorly and does not believe in Santa Claus or the elves. Meanwhile, Buddy’s elf friend Jovie (Deschanel) spreads Christmas cheer in Hobbs’ department store by singing while working as an elf during the holidays. On Christmas Eve, after discovering that he is on the naughty list and will not receive any presents, Buddy threatens Santa Claus (Newhart) which results in him being exiled from the North Pole.
Buddy returns to New York City where he causes havoc in his father’s office before finally revealing himself. After reconciling with his father, Buddy learns that Walter Hobbs has terminal cancer and only has weeks to live. Realizing that Walter has been alone most of his life due to workaholism, Buddy sets out to make sure Walter enjoys his final days by giving him the best Christmas ever.
The Polar Express
The Polar Express is a 2004 American computer-animated adventure film based on the 1985 children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg, who also served as one of the executive producers on the film. The film was released in both conventional and IMAX 3D theaters on November 10, 2004. It grossed $183 million worldwide.
The film tells the story of a young boy who, on Christmas Eve, boards a magical train that’s headed to the North Pole. Once there, he receives a special gift from Santa Claus. The film features the voice talents of Tom Hanks, Nona Gaye, Eddie Deezen, and many others.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
“A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a 1965 animated television special based on the comic strip “Peanuts”, by Charles M. Schulz. The program follows Charlie Brown as he attempts to find the meaning of Christmas, with the help of his friend Linus van Pelt. The special includes a soundtrack of vocal performances by the cast and jazz musician Vince Guaraldi, which was released as an album in 1965.
In addition to its critical and commercial success, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” has become a holiday tradition in many homes. It is broadcast on television every year and continues to be popular with viewers of all ages.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a 1966 animated Christmas special produced by Rankin/Bass Productions and based on the 1957 book of the same name by Dr. Seuss. The special follows the story of the Grinch, a grouchy, green creature who attempts to ruin Christmas for the residents of Whoville.
The special was an immediate hit upon its original airing, and has since become a holiday classic. It features the voice talents of Boris Karloff as the Grinch and Thurl Ravenscroft as the narrator. The Rankin/Bass team would go on to produce several more holiday specials, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.
If you’re looking for a heartwarming Christmas movie to watch with your family, look no further than Home Alone. This classic film tells the story of Kevin McCallister, an eight-year-old boy who is accidentally left home alone when his family goes on vacation. While initially enjoying the freedom, Kevin soon discovers that being home alone isn’t as much fun as it seems. He has to contend with burglars, hungry pizza delivery guys, and everything in between. But in the end, Kevin learns some valuable lessons about responsibility and family.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a 1989 American comedy film directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik. It stars Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, and Randy Quaid. The film follows the Griswold family’s preparations for Christmas as they journey to the titular town to celebrate with extended family.
The movie was written by John Hughes and produced by his company, Hughes Entertainment. It is the third installment in National Lampoon’s Vacation film series, following 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation and 1985’s European Vacation.
Christmas Vacation was released on December 1, 1989 and grossed over $71 million at the box office making it the most successful film in the franchise. The movie has been released multiple times on home video including VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (animated)
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is an animated Christmas movie that was first released in 1964. The movie tells the story of Rudolph, a young reindeer who is ostracized by his fellow reindeers because of his bright red nose. Rudolph eventually learns to embrace his difference and uses his unique nose to help guide Santa Claus’ sleigh on a foggy Christmas Eve. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a timeless classic that has charmed generations of children and adults alike.
Frosty the Snowman (animated)
Frosty the Snowman is a 1969 American animated musical Christmas television special based on the song “Frosty the Snowman”. The special was produced by Rankin/Bass Productions, and currently airs on CBS. It stars the voices of Jimmy Durante as Santa Claus, Jackie Vernon as Frosty, and Paul Frees in numerous voice roles.
The story opens with children playing in the snow around a small town on Christmas Eve. Among them is Karen (voiced by Lisa Donovan), who tells her friend Hinkle (voiced by Billie Mae Richards) that she believes in Santa Claus and wants to see him more than anything else for Christmas. Hinkle scoffs at this, saying that he’s nothing but a “jolly old elf” who doesn’t really exist.
Later that night, Karen goes outside to make a snowman and spots Hinkle walking by. She asks him to help build her Frosty, but he refuses and goes off into the woods. As Karen finishes building Frosty on her own, she notices that his carrot nose is missing. She looks for it in the snow and finds Hinkle hidden behind a tree, holding the carrot nose. When she confronts him about it, he accidentally drops the carrot nose into a nearby bonfire.