Top Christmas Movies of All Time
Will Ferrell brings the laughs in this 2003 movie about a boy who was raised by elves. When Buddy the Elf heads off to New York to find his real dad, he has a bit of a hard time fitting in with his elf costume and love of all things maple syrup. But he soon manages to win over his new family, even his emotionally-stunted dad, and manages to bring Christmas spirit to even the most jaded New Yorkers.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Who knew sleigh bells and ghoulish shrunken heads went so well together?
In 1993, Tim Burton certainly didn’t disappoint with this sweet tale of Halloween meets Christmas.
When Jack Skellington grows tired of Halloween Town, he wanders into the forest and accidentally opens a portal to a magical place called Christmas Town. Can he convince his fellow townsmen that this new town is a magical place, or will he be forced to watch as Christmas Town is taken over and it’s magical spirit robbed?
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Ahhh, family Christmas. In this laugh-out-loud movie from 1989, Clark Griswold (played by Chevy Chase) is gung-ho about having a good old-fashioned family Christmas—even when his dead-beat brother shows up and parks his RV in the driveway… and the cat gets electrocuted by the Christmas tree. After all, it’s not Christmas without a little drama, right?
Any movie that reigns the box office for 12 weeks straight is bound to become a classic. In 1990, Macauley Culkin starred in his breakout role as an 8-year-old who gets left behind when his family takes off for vacation.
While he’s home alone, he’s forced to deal with two burglars who have cased the neighborhood to steal Christmas gifts. Using smarts, wit, and a few crafty traps, he manages to ward off the burglars and reunite with his family just in time for the holiday.
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
This classic made-for-TV Christmas movie premiered in 1964 and it’s been delighting generations of kids ever since.
It tells the story of Rudolph, a reindeer with a nose that lights up. He’s looking for a place where he belongs. Special guest appearances by the Abominable Snowman and the misfit toys make this movie extra-special.
Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
This 1970 TV movie (made with the same stop-motion animation as Rudolph) is also an old holiday favorite.
It’s about Kris Kringle—the man who becomes Santa Claus—and how he brings toys to children in a town that has outlawed them. But what really makes this movie a Christmas classic is the fearsome Winter Warlock’s transformation into a compassionate wizard with the wonderful song “Put One Foot In Front of the Other.”
A Christmas Carol
Whether you like the 1984 version starring George C. Scott or the remakes (versions were made in 1976, 1977, 1999, and 2000!), this is a holiday classic.
Based on a story by Charles Dickens about an old miser named Scrooge who learns compassion when three ghosts visit him on Christmas Eve, this makes a great holiday movie because it’s thrilling and has a nice message.
The full text of the A Christmas Carol is available on TeacherVision!
Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are charming in this old-fashioned classic from 1954. The actors play World War II vets who fall in love with two sisters; they go on to become an entertainment duo who make it big as producers of a hit Broadway show.
When they find out an old friend is on the verge of bankruptcy, they use their star power to summon help on Christmas Eve—and give their friend what is perhaps the best Christmas present of all.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The original 1966 animated classic is the only version that does justice to Dr. Seuss. In it, the Grinch (a non-human Scrooge) tries to ruin Christmas for the Whos in Whoville by stealing their presents, trees, and holiday treats. Of course, the Grinch has a change of heart and finds love and friendship with the Whos.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
In this half-hour Christmas special, Charlie Brown becomes the director of the school holiday pageant and goes out with Linus to buy an aluminum tree for the show. Instead, they bring back a forlorn real tree. Our hapless hero finds himself dismayed by the rampant commercialization of the holidays and searches for the true meaning of Christmas.
It’s a Wonderful Life
What holiday movie list would be complete without this 1946 Frank Capra classic, starring James Stewart? A man, financially ruined, is about to commit suicide during the holidays when he is stopped by an angel who shows him what life would be like if he’d never existed. It’s a charming movie—part romance, part pathos, and a celebration of life.
Miracle on 34th Street
In this sweet 1947 movie, a Macy’s executive tries to find a new store Santa. She hires an old man named Kris Kringle who claims to be the one-and-only Santa Claus. Of course, such claims can get you into trouble and Kris ends up being hospitalized for a delusional disorder. Hope comes in the form of a young man who wants to help Kris prove that he is really and truly Santa.
The Year Without a Santa Claus
This is another stop-motion classic from the ’70s in which Santa finds himself feeling too discouraged to make his Christmas rounds. He’s sick and he doesn’t think that kids believe in him anymore. Two elves embark on a quest to find children who still believe in Santa. The plot is pretty flimsy, but children won’t mind—they’ll be too taken with the catchy musical numbers.
A Christmas Story
This 1983 comedy celebrates the sort of Christmas a young boy may have had in the 1940s. Young Ralphie Parker wants only one thing: a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200 Shot Range Model Air Rifle. His parents don’t want him to shoot his eye out and refuse to get it. Wacky hijinks ensue as Ralphie develops some very creative ploys to convince his mother and father that this is the only thing they should give him.
What is your favorite holiday movie? Leave a comment and let us know which movie is a must-see during the holiday season.
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