The 12 Top Christmas Movies of All Time

Believe it or not, the first-ever Christmas movie debuted about 122 years ago in 1898. Santa Claus (1898) was a pretty short film — about 60 seconds — and featured Saint Nick in black and white up to his usual Christmas night activities. This silent film sparked a new genre of Christmas-themed movies and a tradition of gathering together each year to rewatch our holiday favorites both old masterpiece and modern marvels.

Fast forward to 2020 and there are entire channels, like Hallmark and Lifetime, with a seemingly never-ending supply of Christmas movies that range from super-cringy to semi-classic. If you’re struggling to fit all of your festive film-watching into the month of December, here’s a narrowed down list of the top Christmas movies of all time.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

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

IMDB Rating: 8.6/10

A Christmas Story (1983)

There’s a reason they air 24 hours of A Christmas Story on the day of! Whether you watch this Christmas movie from beginning to end or turn it on to catch the middle of a scene, every moment is filled with festive hijinks and hilarious moments.

IMDB Rating: 7.9/10

Elf (2003)

Will Ferrell and Zoey Deschanel help make this charming movie endlessly rewatchable for the whole fam.

IMDB Rating: 6.9/10

Home Alone (1990)

Relatable family holiday chaos is just the beginning of reasons to love Home Alone. If you’re searching for the top Christmas movies with an uplifting message, we recommend watching Home Alone with your family.

IMDB Rating: 7.6/10

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 and 2000)

Both the vintage animated short film and the live-action Jim Carrey movie are fun watches for every member of your Christmas squad.

IMDB Rating 1966: 8.3/10

IMDB Rating 2000: 6.2/10

The Santa Clause (1994)

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

IMDB Rating: 6.5/10

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

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

IMDB Rating: 8.3/10

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

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

IMDB Rating: 7.7/10

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a family Christmas movie starring Chevy Chase. This film is highly-quotable and holds up over the test of time.

IMDB Rating: 7.6./10

The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)

The Year Without a Santa Claus is one of the best stop motion Christmas specials of all time! It has a classic storyline and catchy songs that put it among our holiday favorites.

IMDB Rating: 7.8/10

Love Actually (2003)

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.

IMDB Rating: 7.6/10

Little Women (2019 or 1994)

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.

IMDB Rating 2019: 7.8/10

IMDB Rating 1994: 7.3/10

Featured Image Credit: Love Actually Youtube

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