Top Christmas Movies Guaranteed to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Cozy up to these top holiday classic Christmas movies.

By Jill Krasny from Reader's Digest
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    A Christmas Story (1983)

    All nine-year-old Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB Gun. Problem is, everyone thinks he’ll shoot his eye out.

    Elf (2003)

    Mayhem ensues when a lovable, but misguided, elf (Will Ferrell) tracks down his cranky father (James Caan) in New York.

    National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

    Pushy relatives, manic squirrels, and a very oversized tree—it could only be Christmas at the Griswolds.

    The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

    Tim Burton’s animated fantasy about what happens when Halloween usurps Christmas is a delightfully spooky treat.

    Scrooged (1988)

    An egomaniacal TV programmer (Bill Murray) learns the errors of his ways in this funny spin on Dickens’ novella.

    Home Alone (1990)

    Eight-year-old Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) is thrilled to spend Christmas away from his family. That is, until two bumbling burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) crash the party.

    Holiday Inn (1942)

    Jim (Bing Crosby) flees the city to open a rustic inn with his pal (Fred Astaire). Plot (or lack of) aside, Crosby’s “White Christmas” and Astaire’s fancy footwork are dreamy.

    It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

    Faced with bankruptcy, George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) laments the day he was born. A guardian angel changes his mind.

    Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

    Kris Kringle lands the ultimate day job at Macy’s. With the help of a flatmate, he wins over his supervisor (Maureen O’Hara) and her skeptical toddler (Natalie Wood).

    The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

    Looking for a more puppet-centric approach to the Scrooge story? Try this version, in which Ebenezer and the gang are acted out by everyone's favorite felt-covered friends.

    The Polar Express (2004)

    Some people may find the motion-capture animation tipping into uncanny valley, but it's hard to deny the story's appeal. Based on a beloved kids' book, the movie follows the adventures of a boy as he heads to the North Pole to meet Santa.

    The Santa Clause (1994)

    Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) morphs from corporate Scrooge to Santa when he accidentally kills Saint Nick.

    The Bishop's Wife (1947)

    Cary Grant plays Dudley, an angel summoned to Earth by a cash-strapped bishop, whose gentle charm helps a whole community learn what really matters in life. For a more contemporary take on the tale, check out the Denzel-Washington-and-Whitney-Houston 1996 remake, The Preacher's Wife.

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    Your Comments

    • Allen

      I just loved “National Lampoon Christmas Vacation”–the people next door, and the power company having to increase there generating capacity were a hoot!

    • Amit Bhatia

      there is 1 more film called ” oh god”

      • Michael

        The Grinch is second ti IAWL in my top films

    • Kevin

      I like The Gospel According to Scrooge. A video of the play as performed years ago is available on DVD if you go to the scroogeplay website, or you can watch it on youtube.

    • Marinoj112

      Truly a calssic collection of Christmas movies. One should own a copy of each one.  I suggest A CHRISTMAS CAROL, the 1950 versionAs well as the starring George C Scott as Scrooge be added to the list.

    • Barbara

      The “Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” Cartoon and Jim Carey versions go ahead of  several of your choices.    Christmas Story” “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Polar Express” very nigh on the list plus some old favorites.  Prefer older “Scrooge” versions with George C. Scott, and we need more on the real meaning of Christmas.  Daughter loves” Chevy Chase “Christmas Vacation”  Lifetime TV often plays some nice Christmas TV shows old and new. 

    • EmJayZee

      As weird as this might sound…I’ve added Die Hard and Die Hard 2 to my list of Christmas movies. Watching a man fight to protect and save his wife and other innocents on Christmas always makes me melt!

    • LydiaP

      Don’t forget Prancer!

    • Linda Mitchell

      Other good ones—Meet John Doe (Gary Cooper), Christmas in Connecticut (Barbara Stanwyck), The Nativity Story (2006),  White Christmas (Bing Crosby), The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Henry Winkler, Hallmark Channel), and of course, the classic A Christmas Carol (my favorite is with Reginald Owens, 1938).

    • HarryW

      Shouldn’t at least one of them be the REAL CHRISTmas story?

      • Tytowl

        Jesus was born in March. Christmas was brought about because it could be a time of sinning(buying extravagances) which would boost the economy. after that would be a time of repentance. technically christmas is a pagan holiday. Similar to easter too.

        • noblood

          You must be a Jehovah’s Witness..good luck with that.

        • Tee

          The truth is these are just rumours that are spread. Christmas was never pagan, nor is Christ born in March. If it was so it would not only become obvious centuries later. People are rewriting history to fit their agenda these days more than ever before, because they know the internet is a fast rumour spreading mechanism. People are tempted to believe everything they read just because they read it off wiki or some comments. Have you noticed how whenever some celebrity die and suddenly you get all these “insiders” or “entertainment historians” who come out with books alleging all kinds of weird things about people and we have no way of proving? Let’s not be deceived. It’s bogus.

    • Beckiejg

      I always had to watch It’s a Wonderful Life before Christmas, and I still do, but I added another to my list. Polar Express isn’t just for kids! I found it by taking my kids to see it in the theatre, but it is quickly becoming my favorite.  All the other movies I can do without, but these two really get to my heart and my soul. Got to love Jimmy Stewart and Tom Hanks!