Five Favorite Christmas Movies (+ Honorable Mentions)

Image Credits: Theo Crazzolara

I love watching Christmas movies during Christmas time, and even though it is nice to discover new ones, I am very fond of the classics that I used to watch as a child. There are many Christmas movies coming out every year and it is almost impossible to pick the ones to watch; I usually see up to five movies among the are coming out or the old ones that I haven’t seen yet, but what I enjoy most is rewatching my favorite Christmas movies, which are also some of the most beloved and internationally known. I will probably rewatch a couple of the movies I am mentioning in this article and I also plan to marathon the Harry Potter series during the holidays because it is great to watch these movies in the wintertime.

Here are some of the Christmas movies I have enjoyed throughout the years:

Image Credits: Universal Pictures

1) How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Ron Howard, 2000): this is one of the most famous Christmas classics ever made. It is based on the eponymous children tale by Dr. Seuss which was previously adapted into an animated TV movie in 1966 . The magical land of Whoville exists inside a snowflake, where the Whos live and love to celebrate Christmas; they basically count down the entire year until Christmas day. The Grinch is a green creature who lives just outside Whoville and has despised Christmas time ever since he self-isolated on Mount Crumpit when he was still a child, after his classmates made fun of him for his hairy aspect. Cindy, a young girl who comes from a loving family, decides to befriend the Grinch and wants to involve him in the festivities, but when something goes wrong with the Whos, he plans to ruin Christmas day for everyone. The Grinch is played brilliantly by Jim Carrey, who is absolutely hilarious in this role. The story is very heartwarming and it does a great job in emphasizing the importance of spending time with loved ones during the holiday season. It is also a visually exceptional movie, with a great set design that makes everything feel really magical. It is a movie that stands the test of time and it will probably be appreciated by people of all ages.

Image Credits: Universal Pictures

2) Love Actually (Richard Curtis, 2003): one of the most famous romantic comedies ever made, it follows eight different couples who are managing their love lives in various interconnected plots all set in the hectic month before Christmas. These stories take place in London and the cast is terrific, as it includes many famous actors and actresses like Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson. It is a very powerful movie that is all about love and its numerous meanings; its storylines are well developed and the lives of all these people are connected by love. It is both touching and funny thanks to great performances by all the cast members; I have watched Love Actually with my family during the holiday season almost every year since it first came out because it is very intelligent and it perfectly embodies the meaning of Christmas. It is heartwarming and sweet; there is that certain something about the film that makes it a staple of the Christmas genre and one feels compelled to watch it every year in the wintertime, as it is filled with romantic moments and tender gestures we can all identify with in one way or another.

Image Credits: 20th Century Fox

3) Home Alone (Christopher Columbus, 1990): Home Alone is THE Christmas movie and it is certainly one of the most successful Christmas movies of all times, since it has been watched and loved by different generations over the years. It was my grandfather’s favorite Christmas movie and we would watch it together every year during the Christmas holidays. The McAllister family is so busy getting ready for their Christmas trip to Paris that they forget one of their kids at home. Kevin is very excited to be home alone and finally have the chance to watch R-rated movies while eating junk food, but he soon changes his mind when he finds out that a couple of burglars are planning to rob houses in his neighborhood so he will have to establish a battle plan to protect his home. I know this movie by heart because I have watched it hundreds of times over the years; it is so hilarious and also quite moving! The Home Alone sequel came out a couple of years later and was set in New York; I think it was pretty good and fun as well, but the first movie remains the most appreciated and beloved worldwide. It was nominated at the Golden Globes for Best Comedy and is now considered a cult Christmas movie (I own the Oscar-nominated score by John Williams on vinyl and it is so amazing!).

Image Credits: Liberty Films

4) It’s A Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946): this is a very special movie to watch because it conveys a series of important messages that really make the audience think. George Bailey, honest and unfortunate, wants to take his own life. His guardian angel appears to him in the guise of a nice old man and shows him what the world would be like if he had never been born, giving George reason to understand how, through his very existence in the world, he is helping to make it a better place. This is truly one of the best movies ever made and it really makes us see how we matter as people because we all have a role to play and our presence can make a difference to improve the world around us. The fact that it is set during the Christmas vacations makes it one of the most popular and beloved Christmas classics ever. James Stewart is amazing in the role of the main character and there are so many light-hearted moments in the movie; all the different aspects like the acting, the music and the stunning, monochrome cinematography make this a 1940s masterpiece whose values are still important and relevant to this day.

Image Credits: New Line Cinema

5) Elf (Jon Favreau, 2003): after inadvertently devastating the elf community because of his clumsiness and tall size, Buddy, a man raised as an elf, is sent to New York in search of his real father (who happens to work in the Empire State Building) and its true identity. While in the city, Buddy will experience the way human people live and all the delights New York has to offer in the holiday season; he also wants to spread the Christmas spirit around a city that is full of workaholic people like his own father. The numerous funny moments make this a perfect family movie, also thanks to Will Ferrell’s ability to make people laugh in the role of Buddy the Elf. Zoey Deschanel plays the role of Jovie, Buddy’s love interest, and she is very charming as well. The film really embraces the seasonal spirit and its soundtrack is perfect for the Christmas holidays, as it includes many festive songs; I own the Elf OST vinyl edition and I usually play it every year around Christmas. Elf is funny, sweet and delightful, so you will probably enjoy watching this movie with the whole family, including younger kids.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: there are so many other Christmas movies that I love, so I wish to include some of them among the honorable mentions. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) stars Chevy Chase in the role of Clark Griswold trying to avoid disaster when preparing for Christmas celebrations with his family and it is so much fun! The Night Before (2015) stars Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie as three friends who are moving into adulthood and are planning to celebrate the last Christmas Eve together, so they are searching for the perfect Christmas party in NYC. I saw The Night Before when it was released in theaters and I really enjoyed it because it has so many hilarious moments from start to finish. There are also many Christmas horror movies that have good reviews and if you are a fan of the genre you may check them out; Black Christmas (1974) is about a group of sorority sisters who are being haunted by anonymous phone calls during Christmas break. This is definitely a good horror movie (I didn’t enjoy the 2006 remake) and the cast also includes the great Olivia Hussey. Better Watch Out (2016) can be defined as a black comedy (although it veers toward the horror genre as it progresses); during Christmas time, Ashley is babysitting 12-year-old Luke on what she thinks will be a quiet suburban evening but suddenly dangerous intruders begin to terrorize her and the kid, while she realizes that there is something strange about this home invasion. The movie is a bit outrageous at times but it is definitely a clever horror movie and it received very good reviews from critics; even though Better Watch Out may not be for everyone, it is still very funny to watch on a movie night with friends.

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