I love a good Christmas movie, y’all. And I have my favorites, and I know my favorites won’t be everyone else’s favorites (though I do have good taste in film, I think). But I’ve consulted the experts for this one — online forums, other round-ups of the best holiday movies, my Monet teammates, even my parents — and I think we’ve done it. The ultimate list of the 15 best holiday movies of all time. I’ll stop rambling now, you make sure your streaming services are up-to-date, and clear your calendar for some movie-watching goodness.
#15. Fred Claus
Did you know that Santa has a brother? His name is Fred Claus and he’s…well, not the most enjoyable person to be around. He’s stayed out of the whole Christmas business, but this year he needs some money, so he goes to his brother for help. Santa makes Fred come to the North Pole to help out, and the two encounter a world of problems with each other. Can they sort everything out in time for Christmas?
#14. Bad Santa
This one’s for all you naughty Monet-ers out there. You’ll want to wait ‘til the kids are in bed before getting down and dirty with this raunchy holiday comedy. Basically, Willie Stokes (played by Billy Bob Thornton) is a drunk and a con man who only works once a year: when he dresses up as Santa. This year, he and his partner in crime plan to rob department stores on Christmas Eve, but their plans take a bit of a turn when a troubled kid enters the picture.
#13. Christmas with the Kranks
This movie has lots of mixed opinions out there. Some people love it, some hate it. I think it’s hilarious. I also love Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, and they make a stellar couple in this movie when they decide to “skip Christmas” since their daughter Blair is unable to come home. But their Christmas-obsessed neighbors aren’t too happy about their decision, and what was supposed to be a peaceful season for the Kranks soon turns into a stressful nightmare.
#12. The Family Stone
Honestly, the cast roundup in this movie is reason enough to watch it. Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel McAdams, Craig T. Nelson, Diane Keaton?! Yes, please.
The Family Stone follows Meredith (Parker) who is meeting her boyfriend’s family for the first time during Christmas. She’s an uptight professional and the Stone family is unconventionally carefree — what could go wrong? Turns out, a lot. This holiday movie has everything, from romance to double romance to hijinks to laughter to tears. It’s really a can’t-miss this holiday season!
#11. Miracle on 34th Street
Featuring a fabulous performance by Mara Wilson, Miracle on 34th Street is about Susan Walker (Wilson), a young girl who’s become disenchanted with the whole Santa thing. So when a department store Santa comes along who claims to be the real thing, she’s determined to prove whether he’s telling the truth. This is a seriously heartwarming story you can’t miss this season.
#10. While You Were Sleeping
Yes, this is a holiday movie, and also one of my favorite rom-coms. Sandra Bullock plays Lucy, a token collector for the Chicago Transit Authority who is enamored with one of her regulars. When he tragically suffers a coma, his family mistakes her for his fiancee, and she can’t get out of it — in fact, she kind of loves being part of a family. Will it last?
#9. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
You’ve seen it, you love it, and you’re already planning to watch it this year, but we had to add it to our list of the best holiday movies anyway (because it really is). The Griswold family truly never gets a break, even during Christmas. Add obnoxious family guests into the mix, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Need I say more?
#8. It’s a Wonderful Life
This is one of the most classic of our best holiday movies, and the best kind of wake-up call. George Bailey (played by James Stewart) is a down-in-the-dumps businessman who can’t seem to dig himself out of an emotional pit. So an angel comes down from Heaven to show him what life would be like had he never existed. The alternate reality is shocking, and will leave you feeling that it truly is a wonderful life.
#7. Little Women
Doesn’t matter which one is your favorite, they’re both amazing and feature stellar casts. You probably know this story by now, but in case you don’t, here’s a brief recap: Little Women follows the young March women through their growing-up years, as they rejoice in romance, struggle with illness, fight with each other and love each other desperately. Yeah, not all of the movie takes place during Christmas, but some of the most significant moments do. If you don’t want to be a March by the end of this, watch it again until you do. (Side note: Saoirse Ronan is my fav of all time, and she + Timothee Chalamet is an unbeatable combo).
#6. White Christmas
I’ll be honest, I didn’t always love White Christmas. But since growing older, I’ve grown to love it! It’s made our list of the best holiday movies because a) it’s amazing, b) it’s a musical, and c) it’s amazing. Oh, and Bing Crosby, aka the voice of Christmas. Two singing men, two singing women, a snowy Vermont inn that needs some serious financial help — this one truly has all the holiday vibes we’re all craving this year!
#5. Die Hard
Die Hard is a Christmas movie, don’t @ us. After all, it involves a heist, German robbers, hostages, the whole nine yards — there’s nothing non-Christmas-y about that, right? You’ve probably watched this movie by now, and if you haven’t, this holiday season is the perfect time to. Just be glad you weren’t at that Christmas party.
#4. Home Alone
This is my favorite movie to cringe to. Macaulay Culkin is unarguably at his finest in this film, where he stars as Kevin McCallister, whose family accidentally leaves him behind when they go on a Christmas trip. Two goons show up trying to rob Kevin’s house, and he manages to maintain the upper hand through some creative thinking. Not gonna lie — I definitely spent some time analyzing his booby traps as a kid in case I was ever caught in a similar situation (I wasn’t, thank goodness). But as a self-proclaimed empath, I can’t help but wince a bit every time one of the villains gets injured. Still, 10/10, definitely recommend.
#3. The Santa Clause
I was obsessed with this movie as a kid, and I still am. Who can’t be, with Tim Allen as the star? The Santa Clause follows Scott Calvin (Allen) who is forced to take Santa’s place after Santa falls off his roof. But he doesn’t exactly want to take Santa’s place. Meanwhile, he’s going through a divorce and trying desperately to win over his young son, who is absolutely all for the idea of his dad being Santa. You’ll feel all the feels and laugh all the laughs with this one!
#2. A Christmas Story
This almost made the top slot on my list and it’s definitely one of my favorite holiday movies. We watch it every Christmas Eve, and I truly can’t get enough of it. Ralphie, his melodramatic older-self narrator, and their family are terribly relatable. A Christmas Story follows one holiday season, seen through young Ralphie’s eyes and reflected upon by his older self. It’s hilarious, heartwarming, devastating — everything. Watch it once and then be prepared to watch it over and over. Just don’t shoot your eye out, kid.
Here we are. My favorite holiday movie of all time. Honestly, Will Ferrell is genius in this film. In case you haven’t seen it, Elf is about Buddy the Elf, who is actually human but was raised in the North Pole. When he discovers he’s actually human, he goes on a quest to find his father in New York — but as he’s never been around humans before, he doesn’t always know how to behave. Oh, and Zooey Deschanel sings. I love this movie so much. I even watch it in the middle of the summer. Watch it now. I’m gonna watch it now, actually. See y’all later!
There you have it — the ultimate roundup of the 15 best holiday movies of all time! What did you think? Do you agree or vehemently disagree with our picks? Let us know in the comments!
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