By, Jessica Knutzon
Christmas is an important religious, cultural, and commercial holiday in the United States. Each person who celebrates (or does not celebrate) the holiday has memories, traditions, or perceptions about Christmas. There are countless movies about the holiday and each capture different sentiments associated with December 25. If you do not celebrate the holiday and want to learn more, these are the top ten Christmas movies to check out. There is a list of honorable mentions at the end that are also worth giving a chance.
1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – 1989
This series of films is about the Griswold family in various common family events and this one is about the Griswolds’ Christmas when extended family come to visit for the holiday. This movies stars Chevy Chase as he attempts to create the best Christmas for his family. It is hectic, hilarious, heartwarming – and worth every second.
2. A Christmas Story – 1983
A film created in 1983 that boasts the iconic lamp leg and awkward Christmas gifts from relatives. It is a comedy that follows a family in the 1950s as they prepare for Christmas. The story is told from the point of view of a boy who desperately wants a BB gun despite the fact that all the adults in his life tell him, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”
3. Home Alone – 1990
Every kid wonders what it would like to be home alone. Macaulay Culkin plays Kevin who is accidently left behind when his family travels away for Christmas. The movie is filled with physical comedy as Kevin spends his time home alone attempting to avoid two robbers. This movie has two sequels, but Home Alone 2 is the only one worth watching.
4. Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas – 1966
This classic Dr. Seuss book turned into a movie (twice!) and the original cartoon has aired annually on television around Christmas since 1966. The Grinch, who hates Christmas, decides he is going to steal Christmas for those living in Whoville. The Grinch eventually learns a “Christmas lesson” and learns to love again.
5. It’s A Wonderful Life – 1946
This film is considered the classic Christmas movie and is often referred to in other Christmas films. This film is the story of George Bailey, who spends his life helping others, as he contemplates suicide on Christmas Eve. George’s guardian angel shows him the value of his life and everyone’s life who he has touched throughout the years.
6. Elf – 2003
This is the newest movie on the list, but it quickly became a classic as it combined innocent and modern humor with typical Christmas sentiment. Will Ferrell plays a human who was raised in the North Pole and ventures to find his biological father in New York City. His father, the antagonist, is parallel to Ebenezer Scrooge from the Christmas Carol (mentioned below) and learns to appreciate his family and the meaning of Christmas.
7. The Muppet Christmas Carol – 1992
There have been several versions of the Christmas Carol, which is a classic story about a troubled man, Ebenezer Scrooge, who learns the value of personal relationships and the Christmas spirit. Those in the millennial generation are biased to the Muppet version as it encompassed a classic story with adored television characters.
8. A Charlie Brown Christmas – 1965
The comic strip, Peanuts, also consists of several different holiday movies. A Charlie Brown Christmas is the story of Charlie Brown, who is depressed about Christmas, and wants to find a Christmas tree for the school play. Charlie’s friends end up pulling through for him in the end and he learns to find Christmas joy.
9. Love Actually – 2003
This movie, set mostly in the U.K., follows the stories of eight couples all connected in some capacity. The issues vary from character to character but the stories all take place at the same time – during Christmas. It is considered by many to be a romantic comedy but it is a Christmas favorite for everyone.
10. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – 1964
While Santa Claus plays a large role in children’s celebration of Christmas, his eight reindeer are just as significant. This is the story of the ninth reindeer, Rudolph, who had a red nose. The story is meant to teach children that being different is not disadvantageous and that even Rudolph, who was the odd one out amongst his peers, could save Christmas by guiding Santa’s sleigh with his red shiny nose.
- The Family Stone
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
- The Santa Clause
- The Little Drummer Boy
- Santa Claus is Coming to Town
- Miracle on 34th Street
- The Polar Express
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Starring Jim Carrey
- White Christmas
- Frosty the Snowman