Christmas is one of the most memorable occasions of the year. It is when people are kinder to one another, hot drinks are abundant, and Christmas lights fill the cold winter nights. It is time for family, friends, and loved ones to come together to celebrate the holidays in some traditional Christmas fashion. Among the most cherished Christmas traditions for many families around the world is getting together for a Christmas movie night.
Christmas movies often bring back memories of childhood holidays. They can be enjoyed by people of all ages since they are almost always kid-friendly and light in nature.
There are more reasons why Christmas movies are a holiday staple for many families. From classic black-and-white films to modern CGI extravaganzas, these movies capture the spirit of Christmas perfectly and help families create cherished long-lasting memories on this special holiday.
The Christmas movie genre has produced some true classics over the years, including It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. More recent Christmas movies have also become popular, turning into classics rather quickly, such as Elf and The Polar Express. So when it comes to choices, the options are almost endless.
That is why we have put our movie-filled heads together and compiled a list of the best 30 Christmas movies that will get you in the holiday spirit before your Christmas-themed movie night. The list has it all, from lighthearted classics and romantic comedies to horror movies and dark comedies. So read on, pick your favourites, and get ready for some Christmas-y delight! All of the movies are available on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and more.
1. Home Alone (1990)
Christmas is the most memorable time of the year, giving family, friends, and loved ones a chance to come together and enjoy each other’s company. It’s a time of giving, laughter, and love. And for many, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without watching their favourite Christmas movie.
Home Alone is a Christmas movie that has become a holiday classic. Released in 1990, the movie tells the story of Kevin McCallister, an eight-year-old boy who accidentally gets left behind at the house when his whole family goes on vacation. At first, Kevin is excited to have the place to himself and does everything he’s not allowed to do when his parents are home. But soon, Kevin discovers that two burglars are trying to break into his home on Christmas Eve. What follows is a hilarious and heartwarming adventure as Kevin tries to stop the burglars and save Christmas.
Home Alone is a Christmas movie that the whole family can enjoy. It’s a classic tale of good vs evil, with plenty of laughs along the way. If you’re looking for a Christmas movie to watch with your family this holiday season, check out Home Alone.
Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, and Catherine O’Hara.
Watch on Amazon Prime
2. The Santa Clause (1994)
For some, Christmas is a time to relax with family and friends, enjoy the company and exchange gifts. For others, it is a time to reflect on the year that has passed and set goals for the coming year. Regardless of how people spend Christmas, one thing is certain: Christmas would not be the same without some classic Christmas movies.
The Santa Clause is one such movie that has become a Christmas staple for many families. Released in 1994, The Santa Clause tells the story of Scott Calvin, an ordinary man who accidentally becomes Santa Claus. Through a series of humorous and heartwarming events, Scott learns the true meaning of Christmas and brings joy to those around him. The Santa Clause is a timeless Christmas classic that continues to bring happiness to viewers of all ages.
Starring: Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, David Krumholtz, and Peter Boyle.
3. A Christmas Story (1983)
A Christmas Story is an American Christmas comedy released in 1983 and based on the short stories and semi-fictional anecdotes of author and humorist Jean Shepherd. The film follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in his quest to obtain a Red Ryder B.B. gun as a Christmas present.
Frequently cited as a holiday classic and one of the best Christmas movies, A Christmas Story earned two Golden Globe nominations and two Academy Award nominations.
But that’s not all. In 2012, the Library of Congress selected A Christmas Story for preservation in the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” In 2015, some stores started selling Leg Lamps similar to the one from the movie.
A Christmas Story has been broadcast annually on television since its premiere, cementing its status as a Christmas perennial.
Starring: Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, and Peter Billingsley.
4. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Christmas movies are a cherished tradition for many families around the world. One of the most favoured Christmas movies of all time is It’s a Wonderful Life, released in 1946.
The movie tells the story of George Bailey, a man facing financial ruin and contemplating suicide on Christmas Eve. However, he is visited by an angel named Clarence, who shows him what life would have been like if he had never been born. Through this experience, George learns to appreciate his life and those who love him. It’s a Wonderful Life is a touching story that reminds us of the importance of family, friendship, and love.
Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore.
5. Elf (2003)
Christmas movies are a staple in many families during the holiday season. One movie that has become a Christmas classic is Elf.
Elf tells the story of Buddy, played by Will Ferrell, a human who got raised at the North Pole by elves. When Buddy learns he is not really an elf, he sets out on a journey to New York City to find his father and discover his true identity. Along the way, Buddy spreads Christmas cheer and brings about a change of heart in those he meets. Elf is a feel-good Christmas movie that will surely bring a smile to your face.
Starring: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Edward Asner, and Bob Newhart.
6. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
One Christmas movie that has become a classic over the years is The Nightmare Before Christmas, released in 1993. The movie tells the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town. After becoming tired of always celebrating Halloween, Jack discovers Christmas Town and becomes determined to take over the holiday. Although his initial attempts are disastrous, he eventually learns the true meaning of Christmas and helps to save both Christmas and Halloween.
The Nightmare Before Christmas is a visually stunning film that has captivated audiences for nearly three decades. It remains one of the most popular Christmas movies of all time and will surely continue delighting viewers for years to come.
Starring: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix, Paul Reubens, and Ken Page.
7. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Every Christmas, families all over the world gather together to watch their favourite Christmas movies. For many, this includes A Charlie Brown Christmas, which first aired way back in 1965.
The story follows Charlie Brown as he tries to find the true meaning of Christmas, despite the commercialisation and materialism that seem to be everywhere. Along the way, he learns some valuable lessons about what it really means to celebrate the holiday. The movie has become a Christmas tradition for many families, and its simple message of love and goodwill continues to resonate with viewers of all ages to this very day.
Starring (Voicing): Peter Robbins, Christopher Shea, Kathy Steinberg, Tracy Stratford, Bill Melendez, Ann Altieri, Chris Doran, Sally Dryer, Karen Mendelson, and Geoffrey Ornstein.
8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Christmas movies are the perfect source of entertainment for different age groups. One Christmas movie that has become a holiday classic for all ages is How the Grinch Stole Christmas (also known as Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas or The Grinch).
The movie, released in 2000, tells the story of the grumpy Grinch who tries to ruin Christmas for Whoville’s residents. Despite his efforts, the Grinch ultimately learns the true meaning of Christmas.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a heartwarming movie that will surely put a smile on your face. You can’t skip this one if you’re looking for a classic Christmas movie to watch this holiday season.
Starring: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin, and Molly Shannon.
Watch on Netflix
9. White Christmas (1954)
White Christmas is one of the most popular and well-loved Christmas movies of all time. Released in 1954, White Christmas tells the story of two war veterans who team up to put on a Christmas show in order to save their former commander’s failing inn.
The movie features an all-star cast, including Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney. It is also filled with classic Christmas songs such as “White Christmas” and “Sisters.” White Christmas is a heartwarming story that is sure to get you into the holiday spirit.
Starring: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen, and Dean Jagger.
10. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
One of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time is Miracle on 34th Street, released in 1947. The film tells the story of Kris Kringle, a man who claims to be Santa Claus. Despite initial scepticism, Kris wins over the hearts of those around him with his magical Christmas spirit.
The film is a timeless classic that continues to bring joy to viewers every Christmas season. Full of magical moments and heartwarming scenes, Miracle on 34th Street is a Christmas movie that all family members can enjoy.
Starring: Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, Gene Lockhart, Natalie Wood, Porter Hall, William Frawley, Jerome Cowan, and Philip Tonge.
11. A Christmas Carol / Scrooge (1951)
Christmas movies are a genre unto themselves. Though they often share themes and motifs with other holiday films, Christmas movies generally emphasize the spirit of Christmas and the joy of family.
One of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time that does just that is A Christmas Carol (also known as Scrooge), released in 1951. The film tells the story of an elderly miser named Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited on Christmas Eve by his former business partner’s ghost and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. The ghosts show Scrooge his past, present, and future, and he comes to realize the error of his ways. A Christmas Carol is widely considered one of the best Christmas films ever made, and it continues to delight viewers year after year and decade after decade.
Starring: Alastair Sim, Mervyn Johns, Hermione Baddeley, Jack Warner, Kathleen Harrison, Michael Hordern, and George Cole.
Watch on Youtube
12. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – TV special (1964)
There is one Christmas movie that holds a special place in the hearts of almost everyone who grew up in the 1960s: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
This stop-motion animated TV movie follows the misadventures of Rudolph, a young reindeer who is ostracized for his unusual nose. However, when Christmas is threatened by a blizzard, Rudolph’s nose proves to be uniquely suited for guiding Santa’s sleigh. With its memorable songs and delightful characters, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer remains a timeless Christmas classic.
Narrated by: Burl Ives.
13. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
One of the best family Christmas movies from the 90s is The Muppet Christmas Carol. This movie is a Christmas classic based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and has delighted children and adults for decades.
The Muppet Christmas Carol features all of your favourite muppets in a heartwarming story about the true meaning of Christmas. The movie has everything you could want in a family Christmas movie: comedy, drama, music, excitement, and of course, muppets. If you are looking for a great Christmas movie to watch this holiday season with your family and little ones, be sure to include The Muppet Christmas Carol in your movie playlist.
Starring: Michael Caine, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Jerry Nelson, and Frank Oz.
14. The Holiday (2006)
The Holiday is one of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time. Released in 2006, The Holiday follows two women who swap houses for Christmas. Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) is a successful Hollywood producer who is burned out and looking for a change. Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet) is a British journalist who is heartbroken after being jilted by her fiancé. When they meet online, they decide to trade homes for Christmas and end up falling in love with the men in each other’s lives.
The Holiday is a feel-good movie that will make you believe in the magic of Christmas. It’s the perfect film to watch with your family or friends during the holidays, especially with your girlfriends.
Starring: Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, and Jack Black.
Watch on Netflix
15. Die Hard (1988)
It’s Los Angeles, Christmas Eve, and nefarious terrorists have taken over Nakatomi Plaza, led by the diabolical Hans Gruber (played to hilarious perfection by Alan Rickman). The only thing standing in their way is John McClane (Bruce Willis), an unlikely hero who just wants to save his wife ( Bonnie Bedelia) and stop the bad guys.
Die Hard is an action-packed thrill ride from start to finish, full of iconic scenes and quotable dialogue. It’s also one of the most influential Christmas movies of all time, responsible for ushering in a new era of action movies. If you’re looking for a Christmas movie that’s thrilling, exciting, and full of Christmas cheer, Die Hard is an ideal choice.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Alexander Godunov, and Bonnie Bedelia.
16. A Christmas Tale (2008)
Released in 2008, A Christmas Tale (Un Conte de Noël) is a French comedy-drama film that tells the story of the dysfunctional Vuillard family, who come together for Christmas after the mother is diagnosed with leukaemia.
While the plot may not sound particularly festive, the film is filled with wit, charm, and emotional honesty. The characters are richly drawn and beautifully performed, and the story provides a touching exploration of family dynamics. In short, although Christmas may not be perfect, A Christmas Tale is made to remind us that it can still be beautiful.
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Jean-Paul Roussillon, Mathieu Amalric, Anne Consigny, Melvil Poupaud, Emmanuelle Devos, and Chiara Mastroianni.
17. Gremlins (1984)
Released in 1984, Gremlins is a horror-comedy directed by Joe Dante and produced by Steven Spielberg. The movie follows young Billy Peltzer, who is given a mogwai (a small, furry creature) as a Christmas present by his father. He is soon warned about the three rules of caring for a mogwai: never expose it to bright light, never get it wet, and never, never feed it after midnight. Of course, Billy doesn’t listen, and disaster ensues. The mogwai multiplies and soon transforms into agile, mischievous creatures known as gremlins. They proceed to terrorize the town on Christmas Eve, causing all sorts of mayhem.
Gremlins is a fun movie for the whole family… as long as you can handle a few scares. It’s also packed with references to other Christmas classics, making it a must-watch for any movie buff. So if you’re looking for something outside the usual holiday fare, give Gremlins a try. You won’t be disappointed.
Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Polly Holliday, and Frances Lee McCain.
18. While You Were Sleeping (1995)
Although it is not exactly a classic, While You Were Sleeping is one of the most heartwarming light Christmas movies out there.
The movie follows Sandra Bullock, who plays Lucy, a lonely subway tokens collector who has a crush on a stranger, Peter (played by Peter Gallagher). After she saves him from being hit by a train, she is mistaken for his fiancée by his family. As she gets to know them better, she starts to fall for his brother, Jack (played by Bill Pullman). But as Christmas day approaches, Lucy has to decide whether to come clean about her deception or let the charade continue.
With its charming cast, warmhearted story, and Christmas setting, While You Were Sleeping is the perfect Christmas movie for a cosy Christmas movie night at home with your loved ones.
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher, Peter Boyle, Glynis Johns, and Jack Warden.
19. Bad Santa (2003)
Next up on our list is a movie that is not exactly a Christmas classic but makes for a spicy addition to your Christmas movie night playlist. Bad Santa stars Billy Bob Thornton as Willie T. Soke, a con artist who poses as a mall Santa in order to rob stores on Christmas Eve. But what makes Bad Santa so special is its willingness to subvert the image of Santa Claus. Rather than being jolly and kind, Willie is foul-mouthed and cynical. He’s also constantly drunk, leading to many hilarious (and sometimes naughty) hijinks.
In many ways, Bad Santa is the anti-Christmas movie, and that’s what makes it such an essential viewing during the holiday season. So if you’re looking for something different this Christmas, check out Bad Santa. You might just find yourself liking it just as much as those other Christmas classics.
Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Lauren Graham, Brett Kelly, Lauren Tom, John Ritter, and Bernie Mac.
20. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Christmas movies are a cherished part of many people’s holiday traditions. One of the most iconic and traditional Christmas movies is Meet Me in St. Louis, which was released back in 1944.
This Christmas musical movie tells the story of the Smith family, who reside in St. Louis, Missouri, in the early 1900s. The story revolves around the family’s preparations for the 1904 World’s Fair and also features a heartwarming romance between two of the main characters.
Meet Me in St. Louis is well-known for its Christmas scenes, which take place during the family’s annual Christmas Eve sleigh ride. The movie is filled with iconic Christmas songs, like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “The Trolley Song”. Meet Me in St. Louis is one timeless Christmas classic that continues to delight audiences of all ages to this very day.
Starring: Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer, Tom Drake, and Marjorie Main.
21. The Best Man Holiday (2013)
One of the best Christmas movies of recent years is The Best Man Holiday. The film, a sequel to the 1999’s The Best Man, follows a group of friends as they reunite for a Christmas reunion. However, the reunion is bittersweet, as they are forced to confront the issues that have been dividing them for years. Despite the rift between them, the friends come together to support each other through thick and thin.
The Best Man Holiday is a heartwarming story that reminds us of the importance of family and friendship. It is a must-see Christmas movie, especially if you are celebrating Christmas with your close friends.
Starring: Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, and Harold Perrineau.
22. Holiday Affair (1949)
One of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time is the 1949’s Holiday Affair. The film tells the story of Steve Harvey, a widowed father who falls in love with a woman named Connie Ennis. However, Connie is already engaged to another man, and Steve must decide whether he should risk everything for a chance at happiness or stay still.
Holiday Affair is a charming film that perfectly captures the spirit of Christmas. The chemistry between Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh is undeniable, and the film’s Christmas setting is simply magical. If you’re looking for a heartwarming Christmas oldie but goodie to watch with your family this season, Holiday Affair is a perfect choice.
Starring: Robert Mitchum, Janet Leigh, and Wendell Corey.
23. Black Christmas (1974)
Although this particular Christmas movie does not quite scream with festivities, it is the perfect choice for horror fans who want something edgier and more intense to watch on their Christmas movie night than happy-go-lucky musicals.
Black Christmas is a horror slasher film that follows a crazed murderer who terrorizes a group of sorority sisters during a sorority Christmas party. The movie was directed by Bob Clark and written by the Canadian screenwriter A. Roy Moore.
Black Christmas is considered to be one of the first slasher films and one of the most unique Christmas movies ever made. If you’re a horror fan, make sure to check this one out for a spooky, Christmas-y flavour.
Starring: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, and John Saxon.
24. About A Boy (2002)
Released in 2002, About A Boy recounts the story of Will Freeman, a wealthy man who pretends to be a single father to meet women. When he meets Marcus (played by Nicholas Hoult), a 12-year-old boy with an eccentric mother (played by Toni Collette), Will’s world is turned upside down.
The film is heartwarming, hilarious and Christmas-y, making it the perfect movie to watch with family and friends during the holiday season. So make some popcorn, grab a warm blanket, and settle in for a feel-good Christmas classic.
Starring: Hugh Grant, Toni Collette, Rachel Weisz, and Nicholas Hoult.
25. Love Actually (2003)
Granted, this is not exactly a classic Christmas movie. However, Love Actually is a Christmas-themed feel-good classic that is perfect for a chill movie night at home with your significant other. Therefore it had to make it onto our Christmas movie night playlist because if there is any time you would want to feel good, it is on Christmas Eve!
Love Actually is a romantic-comedy film that follows the intertwined lives of several different couples as they experience the ups, downs, and complications of love during the Christmas season.
Love Actually is a heartwarming movie that will make you laugh, cry, and everything in between. It’s a perfect film to watch with your loved ones during the holiday season.
Starring: Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Martine McCutcheon, Bill Nighy, and Rowan Atkinson.
26. Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)
Ernest Saves Christmas is a 1988 classic Christmas comedy that follows the misadventures of Ernest P. Worrell, a well-meaning but bumbling man who finds himself caught up in the search for Santa Claus. Along the way, Ernest encounters a cast of eccentric characters, including an ageing movie star and a precocious little girl.
Despite its low budget and cheesy jokes, Ernest Saves Christmas has become a cult classic, loved by kids and adults alike. So if you’re looking for a Christmas movie that’s sure to get you in the holiday spirit, check out Ernest Saves Christmas.
Starring: Jim Varney, Douglas Seale, Oliver Clark, Noelle Parker, Gailard Sartain, and Bill Byrge.
27. Almost Christmas (2016)
One of the more recent Christmas movies that quickly became a favourite to many is Almost Christmas. The 2016 dramedy follows the story of a family who comes together for the holidays after the death of their mother. Although the reunion is initially fraught with tension, the family eventually comes to appreciate one another’s company. In other words, it is an accurate representation of what a family Christmas truly is.
The movie is full of heartwarming moments, hilarious antics, and touching scenes that are sure to get you in the Christmas spirit. So if you’re looking for a Christmas movie that will make you laugh, cry, and feel all the holiday feels, Almost Christmas is the one for you.
Starring: Kimberly Elise, Danny Glover, John Michael Higgins, Romany Malco, Mo’Nique, J.B. Smoove, and Gabrielle Union.
28. The Night Before (2015)
The Night Before is a 2015 Christmas comedy that tells the story of three best friends who have been celebrating Christmas Eve together for as long as they can remember. However, as they enter their thirties, the tradition is beginning to lose its appeal. In an effort to recapture the magic of Christmas, the friends set out on one final adventure together and end up experiencing the best Christmas Eve ever.
With a star-studded cast that includes Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Anthony Mackie, The Night Before is a Christmas movie that will have you laughing, crying, and wanting to rewatch it.
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, Lizzy Caplan, Jillian Bell, Mindy Kaling, and Michael Shannon.
Watch on Netflix
29. Just Friends (2005)
Just Friends is a 2005 Christmas comedy that tells the story of Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds), a formerly obese high school student who comes home for the holidays. The movie follows Chris as he tries to get out of the friend zone in which his high school best friend, Jamie Palamino (Amy Smart), with whom he is in love, has him stuck.
Although Just Friends is not exactly a Christmas classic, it is a feel-good, heartwarming tale of friendship, love, and Christmas that brings people together. It definitely deserves a Christmas viewing.
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Anna Faris, Christopher Marquette, and Chris Klein.
30. The Polar Express (2004)
The Polar Express is a motion-captured animation movie. It came out in 2004 and turned into an instant Christmas classic. It tells the story of a young boy who takes a journey on a magical train to meet Santa Claus. Along the way, he learns about friendship, bravery, and the Christmas spirit.
The Polar Express is a heartwarming story perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit. It has some amazing visuals and an exciting story that will keep you entertained from beginning to end. If you’re looking for a Christmas movie to watch with your little ones and family this holiday season, be sure to include The Polar Express in your to-watch list.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett, and Eddie Deezen.
From the heartwarming to the hilarious, these 30 Christmas movies will surely get you in the spirit of the holidays. So curl up with a mug of hot cocoa, pop some popcorn, and settle in for a cosy movie night with your favourite people.
Happy Watching & Merry Christmas to All!