From comedies to classics, Musement shares ten of the best Christmas movies to get you into the festive spirit this holiday season.
Everyone has a Christmas movie that they watch once a year as the season approaches to bring on the holiday spirit — some may even binge-watch several. Whether you just love anything Yuletide-y or you’re looking to switch up your holiday repertoire, here are ten of the best Christmas movies.
1. It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946
Uplifting, but emotionally heavy, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life tells the story of down-and-out bank clerk George Bailey (James Stewart). He finds himself on the brink of suicide on Christmas until his guardian angel Clarence (Henry Travers) comes along, showing him how much worse the world would have been without him.
2. Home Alone, 1990
John Hughes and Chris Columbus’ epic comedy finds Kevin McAllister (McCauley Culkin), one of eight children, left behind when his family departs to Paris for Christmas. While he keeps the house in order, he finds himself having to ward off two burglars who target homes left empty during the holidays.
3. A Christmas Story, 1983
This film, directed by Bob Clark, is perhaps best remembered for the funny, though somewhat disturbing, scene in which the adorable blue-eyed bespectacled protagonist Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) gets his tongue stuck to a freezing metal pole. The story is told from adult Ralphie’s perspective (voiced by Jean Shepherd, the author of In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, the 1966 book on which the film is based) as he reminisces about events surrounding Christmas when was just nine years old.
4. Klaus , 2019
This English-language Spanish animated comedy from Sergio Pablos presents an alternate origin for Santa Claus. It’s voiced by an all-star cast and is a rollicking laugh fest from start to finish.
5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation , 1989
The third installment of the vacation series released by National Lampoon, a humor magazine that folded in 1998, Christmas Vacation is just as hilarious as its predecessors. Chevy Chase stars as Clark Griswald, who’s looking forward to celebrating Christmas with his family and taking extra steps to try to make it perfect. Yet, his plans soon go awry with the arrival of some unexpected relatives.
6. A Charlie Brown Christmas , 1965
This comedic short film based on the Peanuts never gets old. It’s hard to forget the spindly Christmas tree, the Christmas pageant directed by the titular character, and of course the upbeat piano medley of the theme song — the Christmas season wouldn’t be the Christmas season without Charlie Brown.
7. The Santa Clause , 1994
Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) accidentally causes Santa Claus to slip off a roof and die, only to learn that the torch has been passed on to him since he was responsible for Santa’s death. Over the next year, his body starts to take on the physical components associated with Santa. This heartwarming film never fails to evoke the holiday spirit.
8. Miracle on 34th Street , 1947
With all due respect to the 1994 remake, the original 1947 version of this Christmas movie is the way to go. This unforgettable drama-comedy starring Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn tugs on your heartstrings, as it involves the institutionalization of an old man for claiming he’s Santa Claus and the lawyer and six-year-old girl who prove he is.
9. Elf, 2003
The mere mention of Will Ferrell alone is enough to prompt a smile. In Elf he plays Buddy, who was raised by elves in the North Pole. He then travels to New York as an adult in an attempt to meet his birth father, resulting in all-around hoot.
10. Love Actually, 2003
Not only is Richard Curtis’ Love Actually one of the best Christmas films set in London, but it’s one of the best films set in London hands down. With an outstanding ensemble cast, the story explores love in all its shapes and forms as the holiday approaches, and it’s guaranteed to make you laugh, cry, and all-around elevate your spirits.