Definitive Guide to Christmas Movies

If you want to sit in your Christmas pants from now until Christmas, we won't blame you. In fact, we strongly encourage you to do so....

Then you’ll have half a chance of watching at least one of these classic Christmas films a day – like an advent calendar minus the door-opening cardio. Winning.

Featuring everything from annual classics to the quotable masterpieces, here’s our definitive guide to all the Christmas movies worth watching.

The Holiday (2006)

Who knew the secret ingredient to a powerful Christmas movie was a Graham with a chiselled jaw and a golden tan in December. Jude, dude – where does one holiday to get that glow because it certainly isn’t England?

We can give or take the male narrator scenes but other than that, The Holiday is and always will be a stand-out favourite. Watch it and try not to be blown away. Oh yeah, we went there.

Rating: 9/10

Love Actually (2003)

It’s not Christmas until we’ve had our hearts ripped to shreds by an unfaithful Alan Rickman. She deserved that necklace and what’s more Harry, she deserved a life. It gets us every single time. SOB.

Rating: 9/10

Arthur Christmas (2011)

There’s an animation and then there’s an Arthur Christmas animation. A firm favourite among adults and kids alike, it proves that every family, even Santa’s, is dysfunctional in its own way.

Also, is it just us, or does Arthur look just like that guy you see in the lift at work every day? That’s exactly why it works. He’s a loveable unlikely hero with the flushed cheeks of an angel and we won’t hear a bad word uttered about him.

Rating: 9/10

Elf (2003)

Are you even an Elf fan if you haven’t used, “you sit on a throne of lies” as an emotionally-charged comeback in times of despair.

Sixteen years after it was made (we know, madness) we’re still quoting the hell out of it. Buddy the giant elf is a national treasure and long may it stay that way.

Rating: 10/10

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

A joyous, vibrant and fuzzy musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Michael Caine + Kermit the Frog -name a more iconic duo, please.

Rating: 8/10

Home Alone (1990)

Eight-year-old Kevin McCallister is mistakenly left behind when his family go on their Christmas vacation to Paris. Forced to defend himself against a pair of burglars, he rigs the house with booby traps and gifts us with a load of belly laughs along the way. Keep the change, ya filthy animal!

Rating: 9/10

Miracle On 34th Street (1994)

Nineties nostalgia queen Mara Wilson and the legendary Richard Attenborough made this movie remake what it is.

Little else can fill us with festive cheer quite like little Susan saying an eight-syllable word with a lisp. Charming, delightful and feel-good – it’s an evergreen festive fave.

Rating: 9/10

Polar Express (2004)

If you don’t like Tom Hanks, then sorry but you’re wrong. He voices six characters in this film. Six.

A magical train journey, the dreamlike digital effects and don’t even get us started on the hot chocolate song. In summary, it’s an underappreciated Christmas classic that was way ahead of its time.

Rating: 8/10

The Snowman (1982)

Who needs dialogue when the sentiment does all the talking? Oh, and the dulcet tones of Aled Jones.

This beloved cartoon is just 27 minutes long but that’s all the time you need to fall in love with an ephemeral snowman. Christmas morning TV at its best!

Rating: 8/10

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

George, a stressed-out businessman facing financial ruin, is contemplating suicide when a guardian angel shows him what life would have been like without him in it. Brimming with classic lines and teary scenes, it’ll warm the cockles of your heart.

Rating: 6/10

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Like chocolate Roses and Twiglets for breakfast, The Grinch has earned its festive staple status for all the right reasons.

Based on then lovable Dr. Seuss novel, Jim Carey plays a green and grumpy Grinch with a tragic past. Intent on ruining Christmas for the rest of his Whoville citizens, he sets out to steal everyone’s presents and cancel Christmas. But when six-year-old Cindy Lou shows him kindness, he too starts to believe in the spirit of the holidays. No, you’re crying.

Rating: 9/10

The Santa Clause (1994)

The 90s really came up trumps with the Christmas films didn’t it? This one starts off pretty morbid with the accidental death of Santa and everything but quickly turns things around and becomes a feel-good family watch. Ok, it’s not in the same league as Home Alone but it’s the lightweight entertainment you need after the post-Christmas dinner slump.

Rating: 6/10

Holiday Inn (1942)

A golden oldie! Holiday Inn is an American musical and delightful rom-com starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds.

Featuring beloved classics from Irving Berlin including “Shaking The Blues Away” and “White Christmas” it’ll have you up on your feet before you know it. Bring your best singing voice.

Rating: 7/10

A Christmas Carol (2009)

A life-affirming legendary tale, reimagined by Disney. This animation is our favourite remake of the seasonal classic and Jim Carey has everything to do with it.

Rating: 7/10

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Controversial, is it a Halloween film or a Christmas classic? We’re going for the latter because quite frankly no holiday is complete without Tim Burton.

Rating: 8/10

Home Alone II Lost In New York (1992)

The second film in the Home Alone series follows Kevin as he mistakenly boards a plane to New York while the rest of his family jet off to Miami. They really are the worst parents ever. Stranded in the Big Apple, a nine-year-old Kevin explores the city and comes face to face with his two worst enemies again. Christmas isn’t Christmas without this trio’s slapstick shenanigans.

Rating: 9/10

Fred Claus (2007)

Santa ropes in his grouch of a younger brother, Fred Claus (Vince Vaughn), to help the elves prepare for Christmas. The only problem is, he’s not exactly festive material. Will he ruin the holidays? There’s only one way to find out…

Rating: 7/10

Scrooged (1988)

Another dose of seasonal misery, you say? Why ever not. Bill Murray is always worth a watch.

Rating: 6/10

Nativity (2009)

Cheesy, affable and laugh out loud funny. To steal a line from the movie, “everybody make sure you’ve had a poo and a wee,” before watching it.

Rating: 6/10

Father Christmas (1991)

From the creators of The Snowman comes another loveable classic. This time, Father Christmas decides to go on a “blooming vacation”, converting his sleigh into a caravan and setting off for France, Las Vegas and Scotland. Animations are the best!

Rating: 6/10

Jingle All The Way (1996)

Sometimes you just need a film that doesn’t ask too much of you, a predictable easy-watch, perfect for background viewing when you’re wrapping presents. The sort of movie you can abandon for 30 minutes for a hair wash, come back and still know what’s going on. For all those times, there’s Jingle All The Way. It’s not in our top 5 but it deserves an honourable crappy Christmas film mention nonetheless.

Rating: 5/10

Christmas with the Kranks (2004)

Based on the best-selling novel, “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham, Christmas with the Kranks is basically the story about how no good can come of ditching the holidays.

Rating: 5/10

Serendipity (2001)

As the title suggests, expect themes of fate, destiny and mysterious matchmaking cashmere gloves, set against a magical New York backdrop. An underrated festive rom-com that you should add to your watch-list immediately.


What’s Your 10/10 Christmas Movie?