16 Best Christmas Movies of All Time

Finally, the holiday season is here! There’s nothing like watching a cheerful Christmas movie to usher in the most magical time of the year. Thankfully, there are plenty of Christmas movies to choose from all December long. Whether you go for a cheesy Netflix rom-com or a nostalgic classic, Christmas movies return us to the magic of the holidays that we tend to lose as we grow up. To give you some inspiration, here are the best Christmas movies to watch this year.

A Christmas Story

All nine-year-old Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. What does every adult tell him? “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” This quotable 1980s Christmas movie follows one particularly memorable Christmas for Ralphie, who narrates the story as an adult. A Christmas Story plays through a number of relatable anecdotes in Ralphie’s life that transport you right back to childhood – complete with neighborhood bullies, triple dog dares, and Ovaltine. 

While You Were Sleeping

Although many Christmas films are set in the Windy City, the movie While You Were Sleeping perhaps best captures the magic of a Chicago Christmas. In this story, Lucy, a hopelessly romantic “L” employee, has fallen in love with a man named Peter, who takes the train each day to work. During a horrific accident, Peter falls into the train tracks, and Lucy heroically saves his life. While Lucy visits Peter in a coma at the hospital, a nurse mistakens Lucy as his fiancé – in front of Peter’s entire family! Now convinced that Peter was secretly engaged, the family instantly falls in love with Lucy, who has a difficult time telling them the truth. The only person who doesn’t quite buy it? Peter’s suspicious brother, Jack, who may just cause her entire story to unravel.

It’s a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life is the ultimate classic Christmas movie starring one of the all-time greats, James Stewart.

The Princess Switch

Is there a better combination than baking, Christmas, and royalty? When Chicago-based baker Stacy is entered into a Christmas baking competition by her life-long best friend, she suddenly finds herself caught up in a whirlwind of adventure in the fictional country of Belgravia. While preparing to compete in the baking contest, Stacy (literally) runs into a woman who looks just like her. The stranger turns out to be Lady Margaret Delacourt, Duchess of Montenaro, and the soon-to-be princess of Belgravia. The look-alikes decide to harmlessly trade places for two days, but things get complicated when love enters the picture. If you are looking for the best funny Christmas movies, you will love this cheesy and romantic story. This film can be viewed on Netflix and has two sequels. 

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

In this funny Christmas movie, Clark Griswold, played by Chevy Chase, is looking forward to a quiet, relaxing Christmas at home with his family. When unexpected cousins show up at his door, Clark’s ideal Christmas vacation is turned upside down. What ensues is a chaotic Christmas Eve meal where you’re never sure what will happen next. The hilarious antics of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation remind us that the perfect Christmas might not exist, but what matters most is loved ones gathered to celebrate together.

The Santa Clause

The Santa Clause is a funny and relatable Christmas movie starring Tim Allen that’s the perfect balance of action, holiday cheer, and an enjoyable storyline for all ages.

The Christmas Chronicles

This family-friendly Netflix film follows the story of two siblings, Kate and Teddy, who find themselves on a wild Christmas Eve adventure after uncovering proof that Santa Claus (played by Kurt Russell) exists. After catching sight of Santa sliding down their chimney, the siblings sneak onto his sleigh as he takes off to deliver Christmas presents. When the sleigh malfunctions and crashes to the ground, Santa furiously discovers the children hiding in his sleigh. Now stranded in Chicago, Kate and Teddy must help Santa save Christmas by finding a way to deliver all the remaining Christmas presents before morning arrives. Complete with silly elves and magical reindeer, The Christmas Chronicles is a perfect movie for the whole family.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas has a relaxed, nostalgic vibe that will enchant first-time younger viewers and remind older viewers of Christmases past!

Elf

“Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” If you are searching for the best heart-warming Christmas movies, this story follows the life of a happy-go-lucky human elf named Buddy (Will Ferrell). Raised by Santa and the elves of the North Pole, Buddy decides to leave his home to search for his real father (James Caan), a big shot publisher living in New York City. Along the way, he discovers that the Big Apple is nothing like his cheerful, cozy North Pole home. His father, Walter Hobbs, never knew he had a son and is less than thrilled when a full-grown man in an elf costume shows up at his office. Find out if Buddy wins over the hearts of New Yorkers in this Christmas favorite.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

As a child, watching the Christmas movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas gave me the heebie-jeebies. Who would ever want to ruin Christmas? The Grinch is a grumpy man with a troubled past who lives alone in a cave outside the town of Whoville. The people of Whoville, called the Whos, love celebrating Christmas each year. When six-year-old Cindy Lou Who encounters the Grinch at the post office one day, she devotes herself to helping him experience the kindness of Christmas. Rather than accepting Cindy Lou’s offer, the Grinch begins a plot to ruin Christmas for the people of Whoville as revenge for treating him poorly in the past. Based on the children’s book by Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas reminds us that we cannot do life alone.

The Year Without a Santa Claus

The Year Without a Santa Claus is one of the best stop motion Christmas specials of all time! The Christmas movie features a classic storyline and catchy songs.

Home Alone

The unimaginable has happened to eight-year-old Kevin McCallister – he’s been abandoned at home over Christmas! After a chaotic morning of rushing out the door for their flight to Paris, Kevin’s family forgets to check that they’ve brought their youngest child, who was sound asleep at home. Left to fend for himself while his mother finds the quickest way back to Chicago, Kevin discovers that two infamous burglars know that he is home alone. As they plot to break into the house, Kevin comes up with a plan of his own to protect his family’s house from the robbers – and he isn’t going easy on them. If you are looking for the best funny Christmas movies to view, this story is filled with crafty mischief and humor. 

The Polar Express

All aboard! The Polar Express tells the story of a young boy who jumps on a mysterious train headed towards the North Pole on Christmas Eve. A night packed with thrilling adventure and heart-warming magic, the young boy must decide for himself if he believes in Santa Claus, whom he doubts more and more as he grows up. The animated storyline and musical numbers of The Polar Express perfectly portray the whimsical nature of a childhood Christmas – when anything could happen on a snowy Christmas Eve.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

A musical, puppet-based take on Charles Dickens’ classic novel performed by the beloved Muppet gang.

Love Actually

This Christmas movie is one of the only films on the list that’s not quite family-friendly with an “R” rating for sex, nudity, and profanity. It is one of the top films for older viewers with its mix of romance, holiday spirit, drama, and comedy.

Little Women

The updated version of Louisa May Alcott’s classic story is just as watchable and has just as many snowy, Christmas-carol-y vibes as the 1994 version.

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