The 15 Best Christmas Movies Ever!

I love Christmas for so many reasons. I love decorating the house, eating yummy food (guilt free cos it’s Christmas am I right?) and, most importantly, spending time with friends and family. 

I also love Christmas movies. What better time of year is there to snuggle down and watch a film?

When I picture Christmas, I tend to think of those feel good films like It’s A Wonderful Life and Miracle On 34th Street. However, this type of festive flick is not particularly representative of all

the Christmas movies that I like to watch during December. 

Yes, it is a tradition in my house to watch It’s A Wonderful Life at this time each year. But I also want to watch silly family films such as Elf and Home Alone. And then, when the kids have (finally) gone to bed, I love something a little alternative like Die Hard and Rare Exports. 

Now, for me, a list that has Elf, It’s A Wonderful Life and Die Hard in it just looks all wrong. How can you compare such different movies? They are fabulous each in their own way.

As  result, I have decided to sort my list of top 15 Christmas movies into three categories:

  • Family Christmas Movies
  • Sentimental Christmas Movies
  • Alternative Christmas Movies

Top 5 Family Christmas Movies

5. The Polar Express

A divisive choice in my house, The Polar Express is a magical story about the importance of believing in Christmas. I really like this movie - particularly as it features the voice of Tom Hanks (which is always a winner for me).

However, The Polar Express completely freaks out my daughter. This is all to do with the style of the film. It was made using live action performance capture. I’ll admit it does make the characters look a little strange and this is in no way my preferred type of animation but I love this film anyway.

4. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Every year this film makes me laugh and (sometimes) moves me to tears. I can’t think of Fezziwig without thinking of Fozzie Bear and Michael Caine is brilliant as Scrooge.

This film also features the most gorgeous Christmas song - It Feels Like Christmas. Light the lamp not the rat! 

3. Miracle On 34th Street

Another classic in my house. I just love this movie and the message it delivers: you are never too old to be a part of the magic of Christmas - phew!

I know that I should state here that I prefer the 1947 version of this movie. However, I love both the original and the 1994 remake with Richard Attenborough.

2. Home Alone

We always have so much fun watching Home Alone in my house. This is a great movie that, despite a rather harsh beginning, emphasises the importance of family at Christmas.

It is always fantastic to see John Candy in this movie. And I just love Kevin’s ingenuity - but ouch that’s gotta hurt. Those broken baubles get me every time!

1. Elf

Elf has a special place in my heart - it is just so funny and really sweet.

Will Ferrell is fantastic as over-sized Elf Buddy and I also love Zooey Deschanel in this movie.

Whenever I watch Elf, I laugh all the way through and am always left feeling super Christmassy afterwards. Perfect.

Top 5 Sentimental Christmas Movies

5. The Holiday

I know that this film has flaws but, for me, this is a great movie to have on while I am wrapping presents.

Plus I love the scenes with Kate Winslet and Eli Wallach.

4. The Family Stone

I watch this film every year and always laugh lots, feel all Christmassy and have a little cry at the end. This movie does, I grant you, have a pretty loopy plot that is best not dwelt on and it is uneven in places.

However, it also features great actors that I love to watch such as Diane Keaton, Craig T Nelson, Claire Danes and Elizabeth Reaser. It is a slice of Christmas movie fun!

3. While You Were Sleeping

Perhaps a controversial choice, but I have a real soft spot for this Sandra Bullock movie. I remember being charmed by it when I saw it at the cinema and I have watched it every year since then.

It’s silly but I love it all the same.

2. Love Actually

I can’t let Christmas go by without watching Love Actually.

It is unashamedly sentimental but it has a brilliant cast and it always works for me.

1. It's A Wonderful Life

Of course! The number one spot on this list could only be filled by It’s A Wonderful Life. If you want a feel good Christmas film you need look no further.

Plus it has the brilliant James Stewart - perfect.

Top 5 Alternative Christmas Movies

5. Trading Places

This movie has all the key elements of a classic alternative Christmas movie. For a start it is set at Christmas (always helps) but it also has an underlying message about remembering what is most important in life.

A hilarious alternative Christmas movie treat.

4. Bad Santa

Billy Bob Thornton is superb in this film about an alcoholic department store santa.

This movie is terrible - but in a such good way. Thornton’s Santa is about as awful as can be and yet you can’t help but root for him. An alternative Christmas classic - but definitely not one for the kids!  

3. Gremlins

I love Gremlins… this film will always occupy a special place in my heart.

Who doesn’t love Gizmo and secretly enjoy the carnage caused by those pesky Gremlins? To top it all, this movie also features one of the most tragic, twisted Christmas stories of all time!

2. Rare Exports

I only watched this film for the first time recently but I completely love it.

What would happen if the real Santa was not so cuddly and nice - what would happen if he was actually a frightening, child stealing, reindeer slaying murderer?

You’ll just have to watch this brilliant film to find out!

Click Here For My Full Review Of Rare Exports

1. Die Hard

I am like a big kid when I sit down to watch Die Hard at Christmas. I can barely contain my glee.

Bruce Willis is superb and after all of the non-stop action, the film finishes with lots of feel good Christmas spirit. I just love this movie from start to finish. Now I have a machine gun. Ho. Ho. Ho. Pure genius

Well there you have it. My top 15 favourite Christmas movies by festive genre.

What do you think of my lists? Do you agree? Disagree?

Whatever the case, I’d love to know. Just leave me a comment in the box below.

Merry Christmas! 

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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones



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