Christmas movies are a category all to themselves. It’s tempting to say Christmas movies are family movies, but that’s not the case. Bad Santa most definitely isn’t a family movie. And then of course, there’s the debate about what actually is a Christmas movie, is it a movie about Christmas or is it a movie set at Christmas.
If we say it’s only movies about Christmas, then Die Hard is out along with one or two others. If we’re saying it’s just movies set at Christmas, then you can even include movies like Jurassic World (yeah, you forgot that I’m betting).
So, for the sake of this argument, this is a top 10 list of movies about Christmas. And this list doesn’t include things like The Snowman…as that’s not a movie (although it is amazing of course). Feel free to debate or destroy this list in the comments!
Here we go then, starting from the tenth position of course:
10. Home Alone
A genuine Christmas classic this. Released all the way back in 1990, these parents are 100% going to jail now. But look beyond that, it’s a pure slapstick comedy with a real heart. Macaulay Culkin with a career defining role as Kevin is literally perfect.
Never ever fails to raise a smile.
9. The Nightmare Before Christmas
What’s this? Tim Burton goes full on here with some fantastic stop-motion stuff, and the music by Danny Elfman is just brilliant.
The first sequence where Jack finds Christmas world is one of the best animated sequences of any animated movie ever. This should be remade into a stage music if you ask me too.
8. The Holiday
A real change of pace now, this is a surprisingly excellent romantic comedy with a really stellar cast. The normally really irritating Cameron Diaz is also great here.
This is relatively controversial given the set at or about Christmas debate, but I figure since the name is about the season, and the continual references, it gets a pass.
7. Love Actually
Another romantic comedy, this is pure Richard Curtis class. With loads of different stories, all playing out seperately in a way others have tried in the past and not been anywhere close to as effective at (New Years Day I’m looking at you).
The scene with Kiera Knightly and Andrew Lincoln with the cue cards never fails to make the heart melt.
6. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
I love the Vacation movies. Chevy Chase back in the 80s really did some great work and for my money, this is the best of them. So many quotable scenes, so many funny moments.
The best for me is the bit with the sledging, but from beginning to end it’s a work of genius.
5. Bad Santa
Now, here we have the deviation from the family fare. This is a dark comedy, with characters you want to hate but you just want to go along for the ride.
There are lots of versions of this film, I think the Director’s Cut is the best personally, but if you’ve not seen it, you really should. I’ve not seen the sequel yet, that’s on my to-do list.
4. Christmas with the Kranks
Now, if you just look at the reviews or if you listen to people who tell you they know all about movies, this is terrible. It’s not, it’s really not.
It’s a movie about thinking of others before yourself. It’s a movie about community and family. And it’s a movie about having fun. I love this, completely. And the scene with the botox is one of those “I can’t breathe I’m laughing too much” type scenes for me.
3. The Santa Clause
Another Tim Allen classic, this film has a real place in my heart as I’ll always remember Christmas Eve about 8 years ago watching this with my daughter, one of the first full length movies we sat and watched together.
As a movie, it’s pure, total saccharine but the comedy of the transformation to Santa Claus is brilliant.
2. A Christmas Story
Now, I only watched this for the first time a couple of years ago. Considering it’s almost 40 years old now, it’s pretty bad I only just got around to seeing it.
Well, what have I missed. It’s great, a real throwback to Christmas for kids from before we were all obsessed with smart phones and games consoles.
1. It’s a Wonderful Life
A classic. Don’t watch the colourised version either, that’s a genuine mistake. The black and white version is great, it has tragedy, it has heart and yes, it’s dated quite badly in many ways, but take it as a movie of it’s time and you may fall in love with it.
If this doesn’t get watched in our house, Christmas never happened.