One of the absolute best parts of the Christmas season is all of the Christmas movies that are available to watch! Nothing seems more fitting than to dress in cozy layers, curl up next to the tree with some hot chocolate or cider (although hot toddy seems to be the drink of choice in the Cox household this year!), and popcorn while watching some of these favorites. I’m talking from the classics, to Netflix Originals, and to the infamous Hallmark movies — they are all so good.
December, for me, pretty much revolves around which movie I’ll see and when I’ll see it. It doesn’t feel like Christmas until I’ve watched all of my favorites. So today, I thought that I’d share my top 12 must-watch Christmas movies — one for each day between now and Christmas!
12. A Christmas Story: Admittedly, the first time I’ve successfully watched this movie in its entirety was this year, and oh my gosh, this is the funniest movie I’ve seen in a while. I was cracking up the entire time! This is a great movie that shows the other side of the holiday season — managing the chaos and aspects of regular life. While I love the cheesy, perfect-ending movies to no end, there is something refreshing about the movies that are comfortably relatable (pink bunny onesie for Christmas, anyone?).
11. Elf: Back in college, my roommate and I watched this movie at least 100 times throughout the four years. This movie, happily, teaches us the best way to spread Christmas cheer (by singing loudly for all to hear). As a bonus, it is also one of the most easily quoted Christmas movies of the modern time (“Son of a Nutcracker!” “He’s an angry elf.” “Sorry I crammed 47 cookies into the DVD player.” okay, I’ll stop). And of course, Buddy’s new found relationship with Jolie and his biological family is just so heartwarming. For all you Act 1 Walter Hobbes’ out there, if nothing else, Mr. Narwhal solidifies himself as the most lovable character in the entire movie.
10. Christmas With the Kranks: Apparently this movie has mixed reviews on whether or not it’s worth watching, but I stand on the side of watch it! It may not be one of those movies that you watch once a week throughout the Christmas season, but it is definitely a comedy that stands as a reminder of what is most important at Christmastime. If you are overwhelmed and feeling a bit like Scrooge (or Luther Krank in this case), give this film a try to put you back in the heart-warming, merry spirit.
9. Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman: These two classics are typically aired together so why not have them tied?! I’ve never met a person who doesn’t like Rudolph, and poor Frosty would be long gone if it wasn’t for Karen and Santa.
8. Home Alone: Ah, Kevin McCallister versus the world. Ignoring the fact that his family legitimately forgot him, I think most children have wished they were in Kevin’s shoes at least once, so they could too be as witty and quick-thinking as Kevin as he battled the villains. Granted, as I am older, I can’t quite focus after the first few scenes when I realize that Kevin McCallister’s dad must have had a LOT of money.
7. The Holiday: This is such a great movie. Even though it’s your classic story of love lost and new love suddenly found again in a different country all in a matter of two weeks, there is something about this movie that keeps us coming back for more. Perhaps it’s the idea of spending a holiday in the quaint cottage in the English countryside or the idea of traveling to a complete stranger’s home halfway across the world — either way, it’s the perfect film to inspire you at the end of the year.
6. The Santa Clause: Scott Calvin or Santa Claus? While Jody simply cannot stand this movie, there is absolutely no way I will stop watching it! From when Santa falls off of the roof to Santa (Scott Calvin) telling Sarah he’s lactose intolerant, there isn’t a line in this movie that I won’t laugh at. I also recommend The Santa Clause 2, however, I am not a fan of The Santa Clause 3 — I think I have something against Jack Frost. Hard to say!
5. A Charlie Brown Christmas: Charlie Brown is always an instant classic in my book. Between the sad, small tree Charlie finds, or it’s simplicity reminding us of the real meaning of Christmas, it is a heart-warming film for all ages.
4. Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas: You’re the… the… the… THE GRINCH! (*insert screaming here*) Another easily quotable movie, this movie gives you all of the “let’s just get along” good feels. I know there are a variety of adaptations to this story, and while I haven’t seen the most recent version, the 2004 adaptation with Jim Carey will always be my favorite. I mean, who can say no to Cindy Lou Who?!
3. It’s a Wonderful Life: Growing up, we spent every Christmas Eve after church around the fire watching this movie so, when Jody and I started our own Christmas Eve traditions last year, it felt strange not watching it! As far as I know, I’ve only ever seen it aired on Christmas Eve, and it is one of the best to watch. This classic follows George Bailey and Clarence, his guardian angel who shows George what life would have been like if he didn’t exist.
2. Love Actually: I love this movie so much that I keep track of how many times I watch this between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you are looking for a movie that completely rips your heart out, and then puts it back better than before, then this is the movie for you. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it, happy cry and then watch it again. Also, British accents.
1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: Absolutely nothing tops the Griswold’s old-fashion family Christmas. This is a favorite in my family — between ALL of the quotable lines and the hilarity of everything that goes wrong for Clark, I don’t know if you would make it through Christmas without this level of comic relief! Our love for the Griswold’s extends into our daily lives, too. I make it my personal goal to use as many lines from this movie in daily conversation as possible and we have a Christmas Vacation bowtie, complete with accompanying moose mugs, to celebrate the holiday spirit!
- The Star: This animated movie just came out last year, but it’s so cute! It tells the story of Christmas through the point of the donkey, which is pretty entertaining, especially if you are familiar with the birth of Jesus.
- The Mistle-Tones: This is one of those movies that was made for ABC Family/ Freeform and gives you all of the Pitch Perfect vibes. I just can’t get enough of the predictable romance and acapella music!
- A Royal Christmas: Y’all, this is Gretchen Weiners/ Lacey Chabert’s best movie, next to Mean Girls! A young woman in Philadephia falls in love with Leo, who oops, is Prince Leopold of Corninia. The drama!
- Let It Snow: You didn’t like I wouldn’t acknowledge DJ Tanner’s new life, did you? Candace Cameron Bure is the queen of Hallmark Movies, and this is no exception. I love when sweet DJ is this cold-hearted businesswoman turned softie. It’s too good.
- A Christmas Carol: I’ve loved the story of A Christmas Carol for as long as I can remember! Jody and I actually chose this movie as our movie to watch every Christmas Eve, a tradition that we adopted from my parents, and one we hope to pass on to our future children.
Of course, there are so many other great movies to watch during the Christmas season. It’s honestly one of my favorite parts of the Christmas and I imagine it will remain so for years to come. What are your must-watch Christmas movies? I’d love to know. Let me know in the comments if there are any that you think should be added to my list!