The best Christmas movies of all time

Updated: Oct 13

1. Home Alone

Macaulay Culkin is forgotten by his family and forced to battle a couple of dimwit thieves (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) around Christmas in this enduring children's adventure from director Chris Columbus and writer John Hughes.


2. Bad Santa

Billy Bob Thornton's thieving department store Santa injects some nasty deviancy into the Yuletide season in this uproarious black comedy from director Terry Zwigoff.


3. The Nightmare Before Christmas

It’s a debate for the ages: is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? For the sake of this conversation, we’re going with Christmas.


4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

In 2000, Jim Carrey put on a big green Grinch suit to bring the famous cartoon to life. Because it’s Jim Carrey, there’s a lot of improvised humor. There’s also a pretty gross cheese-eating scene that only passes because Jim Carrey can pull it off.


5. Elf

Will Ferrell is a clownish orphan raised by Santa and his elves in the North Pole who journeys to New York City to locate his biological father–a cynical book publisher played by James Caan–in this absurd (and surprisingly sweet) fish-out-of-water fantasy.


6. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Rarely has a series' third installment been the equal of its two predecessors, but such is the case with this threequel involving Clark (Chevy Chase), Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo), Audrey (Juliette Lewis), and Rusty Griswold's (Johnny Galecki) mishap-besieged family get-together.


7. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph is a legend, and as an adult in these trying times, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer feels a bit like the underdog story we need. There’s clearly some social justice themes going on, but at the core of this story of Rudolph and his dental-savvy friends is a time-tested tale that proves that being different isn’t something to be ashamed of—it’s something to embrace.


8. A Christmas Story

Nine years after Black Christmas, director Bob Clark made another holiday classic—albeit of a very different sort—with this beloved nostalgia-soaked saga of nine-year-old Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), who wants nothing more for Christmas than an air rifle. If you have cable, it'll no doubt be playing on a 24-hour loop on some Turner network this December 25.


9. A Charlie Brown Christmas

Listen. Charlie Brown is an institution, and can you really say it’s the holiday season if the Peanuts theme hasn’t played in a Starbucks near you? After finding himself in a bout of seasonal depression (relatable), Charlie Brown tries to put together a Christmas play before Linus reminds him what the true meaning of Christmas is.


10. Deck The Halls

Matthew Broderick plays a dad whose entire ordered world turns into disarray with the arrival of his kooky neighbor, Danny DeVito.

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