Updated On: December 21, 2023 by   Esraa Mahmoud   Esraa Mahmoud  

With the Christmas spirit in the air and as we get our Christmas shopping list ready and our plans for the holiday, we have to make room for at least one, or many if you are like us, Christmas movies to truly enjoy the holiday.

Since the holiday is all about love, family, generosity, and the magic of the holiday season, that’s why Christmas movies always try to reflect that, especially the classic Christmas movies that never get old. In fact, no Christmas holiday is complete without at least one of the classic Christmas movies.

These classic Christmas movies never fail to evoke feelings of nostalgia, warmth, and joy. The appeal of these Christmas movies comes from how they always succeed in taking us into a world where the troubles of everyday life are suspended, and the holiday spirit prevails everywhere.

There is no wonder that Classic Christmas movies hold a special place in the hearts of many, often becoming a cherished part of holiday traditions. These Christmas movies have stood the test of time, captivating generations with their warmth, charm, and holiday spirit.

What are the Best Classic Christmas Movies?

Classic Christmas movies have grown to be more than just movies; they have become an essential part of the holiday for many people. These classic Christmas movies have managed to be more than just entertainment; they have become part of the traditions of the holiday.

There are a plethora of classic Christmas movies to choose from; coming up next, we highlight some of them.

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

Classic Christmas Movies: The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, this romantic comedy set in a Budapest gift shop has a poignant Christmas spirit all over it. The story might sound too familiar because it had a remake, aka the lovable rom-com You’ve Got Mail that we all love—one of the best performances of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

The film follows the story of Alfred Kralik (James Stewart), a grumpy and unlikable toy store owner, and Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan), his new employee. Alfred and Klara despise each other, but they are unaware that they have been secretly corresponding with each other through anonymous letters. As the holiday season approaches, Alfred and Klara’s animosity begins to thaw, and they start to develop feelings for each other.

The Shop Around the Corner was an abolsute hit receiving critical and commercial success. The film was praised for its cast’s performances, its direction, and its heartwarming story. It is worth noting that the film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for James Stewart.

The Shop Around the Corner has been one of the most popular Christmas movies for over 80 years. It is a timeless classic that audiences of all ages still enjoy. The film’s message of love, hope, and the importance of human connection is something that makes the Christmas movie night extra special.

Holiday Inn (1942)

Classic Christmas Movies: Holiday Inn (1942)

Holiday Inn is a perfect choice for Christmas time for many reasons; not only does the film feature the great figure of classic movies, Bing Crosby, but it was also the movie that introduced the song “White Christmas”. In fact, the movie is known for its music, which was composed by the legendary Irving Berlin.

The story revolves around an inn that only opens on holidays and features a series of musical numbers themed around different holidays, with Christmas being prominently featured.

The film enjoyed great success when it was released, both critically and commercially. It was praised for its music, its performances, and its heartwarming story. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Original Song for “White Christmas,” and Best Original Score.

Despite its critical acclaim, Holiday Inn was the subject of controversy at the time of its release. A lawsuit was filed against Paramount Pictures by the United States Army, which claimed that the film’s depiction of soldiers on leave was inaccurate and harmful to morale. The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court, but it cast a shadow over the film’s release.

Holiday Inn remains a popular holiday film today. It is a timeless classic that continues to bring joy to audiences of all ages. The film’s music is still popular today, and the songs are played on the radio and at Christmas parties every year.

Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

Classic Christmas Movies: Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

This romantic comedy stars Barbara Stanwyck as a food writer who must cover up her deception of being the perfect housewife when her boss invites a returning war hero to her country home for a traditional family Christmas.

Christmas in Connecticut was a critical and commercial success. It was praised for its performances, its humour, and its heartwarming story. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Score. Christmas in Connecticut is a timeless classic for the whole family to enjoy.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Classic Christmas Movies: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Directed by Frank Capra and starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, this film is a perennial Christman favourite.

This classic movie tells the story of George Bailey, a man who is on the brink of suicide on Christmas Eve. An angel named Clarence shows him what his life would have been like if he had never been born, and George  realises how important his life is to his family and friends.

It’s a Wonderful Life‘s enduring appeal stems from its combination of timeless themes, emotional resonance, a powerful message of hope, endearing characters, and the capture of the holiday spirit. These factors have made it a beloved classic that continues to touch hearts and inspire audiences year after year.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Classic Christmas Movies: Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

This heartwarming film tells the story of Kris Kringle, a man who claims to be the real Santa Claus. Kris is hired to be Macy’s Santa for the holidays, but his belief in Santa brings him into conflict with the department store’s management.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) has earned its place as one of the cherished classic Christmas movies due to its beautiful story, interesting characters, timeless message, and ability to evoke the magic of the season. It remains a beloved film that continues to inspire and entertain audiences of all ages, reminding us of the importance of believing in the power of imagination and the spirit of Christmas.

The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

Starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven, this film tells the story of an angel who helps a bishop and his wife rediscover the joys of life and the true meaning of Christmas.

The film follows the story of Henry Brougham (Cary Grant), a bishop who is struggling to build a new cathedral in his small town. Henry is so focused on his work that he is neglecting his wife, Julia (Loretta Young), and his children.

One day, an angel named Dudley (David Niven) appears in Henry’s life and offers to help him with his cathedral project. Dudley uses his angelic powers to help Henry reconnect with his family and to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas.

The Bishop’s Wife had all the right ingredients for a successful movie; it featured an impressive cast, healdined by Cary Grant, one of Hollywood’s most charming and charismatic actors, who played the suave angel Dudley. There was also Loretta Young, a renowned actress of the era, who portrayed the bishop’s wife, Julia, with grace and warmth.

The chemistry among the lead actors was palpable and added significantly to the film’s charm.The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Cary Grant, and Best Supporting Actor for David Niven.

This is a movie that the whole family can enjoy together. It is free of controversial content, making it suitable for all ages. Its wholesome nature, combined with a feel-good narrative, made it a hit with audiences looking for uplifting and moral-driven storytelling.

A Christmas Carol (1951)

Classic Christmas Movies: A Christmas Carol (1951)

Also known as Scrooge, this British film adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel is one of the most beloved renditions. Alastair Sim’s portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge is widely praised and the film beautifully captures the Victorian Christmas spirit.

The film follows the journey of Ebenezer Scrooge, a cold-hearted and miserly businessman who has lost sight of the meaning of Christmas. On Christmas Eve, he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, who warns him of the consequences of his greed and selfishness.

Scrooge is then haunted by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, each showing him the impact of his actions and the potential consequences of his continued path.

Through these encounters, Scrooge undergoes a profound transformation, realising the error of his ways and the importance of compassion, generosity, and love. He embraces the true spirit of Christmas, opening his heart to the joy of giving and the importance of human connection.

A Christmas Carol has had a profound impact on popular culture, inspiring countless adaptations, remakes, and interpretations of the story. The film brought a faithful adaptation of a beloved story, a standout lead performance, atmospheric setting, strong supporting characters, and the universal, timeless appeal of its themes. It captured the essence of Dickens’ novella and translated it into a compelling cinematic experience has ensured its status as a classic in the genre of holiday films.

White Christmas (1954)

Classic Christmas Movies: White Christmas

Starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen, this musical film features iconic songs by Irving Berlin, including the titular “White Christmas.” The film’s blend of humour, romance, and holiday music is just superb.

White Christmas is one of the most heart-warming Christmas movies that has rightfully earned its place among the classics. It is set in Vermont during the Christmas season and follows the story of two army buddies, Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye), who decide to put on a show at a Vermont inn to help their former commanding officer. Along the way, they fall in love with two sisters, Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen).

The film is full of classic songs, including “White Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and “Sisters.” Like the films itself, the songs performed by Crosby, Kaye, Clooney, and Vera-Ellen have become synonymous with the holiday season.

Besides being a classic of the Christmas season, White Christmas was a critical and commercial success. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Original Music Score, and Best Original Song for “White Christmas.”

The film’s talented cast, memorable music, high production values, heartwarming story, and its embodiment of the holiday spirit make it the favourite Christmas classic of many people. It combined the elements of a classic Hollywood musical with the nostalgic charm of Christmas, creating a film that has endured in popularity for decades.

A Christmas Story (1983)

Classic Christmas Movies: A Christmas Story

This hilarious film tells the story of Ralphie Parker, a nine-year-old boy who desperately wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Ralphie’s father decides to build him a BB gun instead, much to Ralphie’s dismay.

A Christmas Story has become a beloved Christmas classic for several reasons, including its relatable humour, nostalgic charm, and unique take on the holiday season.

The film is notable for its balance of humour, nostalgic portrayal of childhood, a unique perspective on the holiday, endearing characters, and iconic moments. These factors have made it a beloved classic that continues to entertain audiences year after year and has earned its place among the most beloved Christmas movies of all time.

Home Alone (1990)

Classic Christmas Movies: Home Alone

While eveyone might have their own list of classic Christmas movies, there is one common movie that would definitly pop up in almost all the lists: Home Alone! The beloved film tells the story of Kevin McCallister, an eight-year-old boy who is accidentally left home when his family goes on vacation to Paris. Kevin must defend his home from two burglars, and he uses his ingenuity and creativity to outsmart them.

Nothing can get you in the spirit of the Christmas holiday like this one for sure. Home Alone is of those films that have just the right amout of everything; a story you can relate to, a charming protganist, brilliant humorous and creative traps that are so fun to watch, a festive atmosphere, a strong supporting cast, universal appeal, critical and commercial success, and the list goes on!

Needless to say that Home Alone was an immense critical and commercial success. It was praised for its humour, its performances, and its story. It was also a box office smash, grossing over $476 million worldwide.

The Christmas movies mentioned above are only a few of the many classics that never fail to capture the essence of Christmas from different angles — be it through romance, comedy, musical numbers, or poignant drama. The classic Christmas movies continue to be beloved by audiences around the world, embodying the spirit and magic of the holiday season.

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