As the days grow shorter and darker it tends to mean only one thing; that a chubby man in a red suit will soon be cavorting through the night skies giving out yuletide cheer. But the build-up to December 25 is just as exciting, which is why we put together this list of the best Christmas movies of all time. So before that most magical of evenings is upon us, why not settle down with one of these great movies to get you in the festive spirit?
Possibly the most joyful festive film out there. Will Ferrell’s youthful exuberance for the season as Buddy the Elf is downright contagious. Like a fine wine, this film seems to be improving with age and veering towards cult status. It’s fun, it’s wholesome and it fills you with the kind of childish joy you thought your cynical old heart was no longer capable of.
2 Miracle on 34th Street
Whichever version is your poison, enjoy this whimsical story about the importance of belief. It’s sweet, endearing and offers that most precious of commodities to its audience: hope.
3 It’s a Wonderful Life
A Christmas classic. This simple story about the kind-hearted spirit of loved ones and neighbours has endured for good reason, responsible for children everywhere believing that each time a bell rings an angel get its wings. Without doubt one of the best Christmas movies of all time.
4 Home Alone
This is a Christmas film with a difference. It doesn’t deliver the dollop of sentiment that most of its peers favour. Instead it’s a madcap story about light-hearted home invasion (if there is such a thing) told through the eyes of the once adorable Macaulay Culkin who has been, shock horror, left home alone at Christmas.
5 Nightmare Before Christmas
Although its directors have recently stepped forward to end the debate and label the movie as one for the Halloween holidays it can still be enjoyed during both seasons. Jack’s desire to bring the joys of Christmas to Halloween Town are both admirable and sweet, showing that despite the ghoulish appearance of most of his town’s residence they can be just as caring and kind as the bright-faced elves in Christmas Town. Coupled with a stunning soundtrack and Tim Burton’s now trademark flair of sumptuous gothic design this movie is an absolute must-see, both at Halloween and Christmas.
6 The Muppet Christmas Carol
How do you improve upon a classic tale that has been told time and time again? You add the Muppets of course! This is arguably the furry crew’s finest outing, who along with Michael Caine as Scrooge, deliver an impressively unique experience surrounding the famous story of the three spirits and the embittered old man who is ultimately moved by the warmth of the season.
7 Rise of the Guardians
If this isn’t in your usual roster of Christmas movies then it needs to be. Not only does Santa Claus feature but so does the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. No character from your childhood is left out. Uniquely, it’s told from the perspective of Jack Frost. Rise of the Guardians is visually impressive and packed with substance. Add in some impressive voice acting from the stellar cast and you’ve got a movie which is so great it deserves to be loved all year round.
8 Santa Claus the Movie
Though it’s in danger of becoming a little dated this movie is still so much fun to watch and offers a sense of nostalgia for those of us of a certain age. Dudley Moore is the elf who thinks he knows better than Santa Claus only to discover that the world beyond the North Pole isn’t as sweet as the one he left behind.
9 The Santa Clause
Tim Allen plays the guy who unwittingly knocks (and possibly kills) Santa off a roof and then learns about the clause. The Santa Clause. Sudden weight-gain and a beard that grows at an alarming rate points to that fact that he might now be expected to don a red suit and deliver presents the world over. But is he up to the task..?
10 How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Everyone loves Christmas. Everyone except the Grinch. Based on the popular children’s book, Jim Carrey has fun in his furry green suit as the monster who despises the season but can’t help but be drawn to it. If you’re a fan of the Dr. Seuss books then this is a must-see.
11 The Polar Express
A beautiful tale of a magical train ride. Tom Hanks lends his voice to this sweet story about a boy who goes on a most unexpected journey to the North Pole and, thanks to the camerawork, you get to feel like you’re right there with him. Whilst the story lacks depth at times it’s still worth watching and one that children are sure to enjoy.
12 The Holiday
This is one for the girls. A story oozing with romance and second chances. The Holiday is a charming movie with strong performances from both Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet. Two women tired with their lives, particularly their love lives, decide to trade places. The sunny streets of LA provide a stark contrast to the snowy streets of an English village. This quaint story is sure to warm even the coldest of hearts.
13 Christmas with the Kranks
There’s a surprising amount of fun to be had with this movie. Tim Allen is back and this time he’s eager to avoid Christmas altogether and go off on a luxury cruise with wife Jamie Lee Curtis. But leaving won’t be as easy as he’d hoped. Especially if his neighbors have anything to do with it. A story all about the importance of community spirit over the holidays that is packed with a surprising amount of laughs.
14 Fred Claus
What if your brother was the most famous, most beloved man in the world? That’s the reality which Vince Vaughn is faced with as Fred Claus, the much lesser-known brother to Paul Giamatti’s Santa. This movie is an unusual twist on a standard Christmas tale though ultimately packed full of the standard sweet sentiments. It’s still worth a watch, but maybe don’t expect the earth to move.
We hope you’ve found this list of the best Christmas movies helpful. Now all you have to do is pick one, curl up on the couch by the Christmas tree, and get your festive season rolling…