The Best Christmas Movies to Watch Over the Holidays

By Alisa Pierce
Blog Content Contributor

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, 1964

This movie is a classic, but did anyone else ever notice how mean Santa Claus was? This stop-motional film released in 1964 told the tale of strife and triumph of the poor, ridiculed reindeer who would become Santa’s greatest hero. However, if I was Rudolph, I would have told Santa to save himself. After all of the abuse Rudolph endured, it’s a miracle that he came to Santa’s rescue at all.

A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965

The Charlie Brown holiday movies are one of the best things to look forward to over the holidays, so don’t miss out on A Charlie Brown Christmas. The movie is sweet and full of the Christmas spirit, although Charlie Brown originally found himself depressed during the holiday season. The movie then focuses on the over-commercialization and secularism of Christmas, and offers viewers the true meaning of Christmas. Charlie Brown only becomes cheerful once again after his friends adorn and give love to a tiny Christmas tree which became full and beautiful after receiving the care it needed. Charlie Brown and his friends band together to sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” around the tree as the movie ends. It’s an extremely cute movie.

Home Alone, 1990

Home Alone was one of my favorite Christmas movies growing up. The comedy was released in 1990 and told the story of Kevin McCallister, a boy who had to deal with two fumbling burglars after he was accidentally left behind by his family who flew to Paris for a Christmas vacation. Kevin initially enjoys the freedom, but after the holiday becomes too lonely, he begins to wish for his family to return. The burglars brought a level of slapstick comedy that mixed so well with the movie’s other themes of family and Christmas spirit, that the movie inspired four sequels. However, I would say only the first two Home Alones are worth watching.

The Santa Clause, 1994

The Santa Clause is a 1994 Christmas fantasy family comedy that brought Tim Allen to the forefront of Christmas movies. The movie was wildly successful and inspired two sequels, The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. The original movie told the story of Scott Calvin, an ordinary businessman who becomes the new Santa Clause after he accidentally knocks the old one off of his roof. The movie was cute, funny and perfect for anyone looking for a family movie to watch over the holidays.

The Grinch, 2002

Dr. Suess’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas (promoted theatrically as The Grinch) was released in 2002 and stared Jim Carrey as the famous Grinch. The plot was adapted from the children’s book and told the story of the lonely Grinch, who had the goal of ruining Christmas for the Whos of Whovile. The story ends with the Grinch changing his heart with the help of Cindy Lou, a young and sweet girl. The movie is a classic that all can enjoy.

Elf, 2003

Elf is overplayed so much that it’s impossible to escape it during the Christmas movie season. Despite this, the movie remains a charming addition to any day spent inside, glued to the TV. Elf was released in 2003 and quickly shot to Christmas movie stardom after Will Ferrell’s hilarious rendition of Buddy the Elf stole the hearts of millions. The movie was even so successful that it inspired a 2010 Broadway musical, Elf: The Musical, and a 2014 stop-motion animated television special Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas.

The Polar Express, 2004

Whenever I was in elementary school, all of the teachers rounded us up to watch The Polar Express. Whenever Tom Hanks’ famous hot chocolate scene aired, we’d all get a cup of steaming hot coco with a pack of tiny marshmallows. Ever since then, the movie has had a special place in my heart, and I know that many feel the same. The movie was released in 2004 as a 3D musical fantasy film, and was based on the children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg, who served as one of the executive producers on the film. The book, and the popular movie, tells the tale of a boy who begins to doubt Santa Claus’ existence. He only begins to believe again after The Polar Express, a winter train with a funny conductor and suspicious ghost takes him and other children to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus and the elves. The film broke records of the time and is even listed in the Guinness Work Book of Records in 2006 as the first all-digital capture film.

Featured image by Troy Marcy Photography via Flickr.

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