Now that Thanksgiving is over, we can finally start thinking about Christmas. Christmas time is always exciting—no matter how many years you’ve gone through the same traditions it never gets old.
However, one thing I have been getting tired of is ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas. They play the same movies over and over again each year, but also every other day . I know there aren’t thousands of movies to choose from, but I think there are plenty of other great Christmas/holiday-themed movies. So I came up with a list of movies (in no particular order) that I love, and I think everyone else will too:
1. Home Alone
Obviously, this movie is a classic and on every Christmas movie list, but for a good reason—it’s the quintessential Christmas movie that the adults and children love. Let’s be honest, we all know the “I’m gonna give ya til the count of 10…” speech.
2. To Grandmother’s House We Go
I watched all of the Olsen’s movies but this one was always my favorite. I never see this movie playing on TV, and I wish it would because young Mary-Kate and Ashley remind me of my childhood.
3. A Christmas Story
Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been watching the 24-hour TBS marathon for as long as I can remember. Last year, when I didn’t have cable, I went to Wal-Mart and bought the DVD for $5 and played it on repeat.
4. Love Actually
This is a mash-up of many love stories set around Christmas time that’ll give you the joy of the holidays and the tears of a heartfelt story.
5. The Family Stone
This is possibly my favorite “adult” Christmas movie. The film has a stellar cast (hello, Rachel McAdams and Diane Keaton) and makes me cry and laugh every time.
6. Bad Santa
The GIF says it all. Thank god for everything Billy Bob Thornton stars in.
Prancer is one of those movies that most people I know have never heard of. I think it’s on TV maybe once a year, so if you see that it will be on, make sure to watch it because it’s a one-of-a-kind heartfelt movie about a little girl who just lost her mother. The actor who plays her father, Sam Elliot, is wonderful—you might have seen him in Parks & Recreation as the other Ron from Eagleton.
8. Jack Frost
Yes, this is a sad movie about a father who passes away and is brought back to life in the form of a snowman built by his son, but it’s also a sweet family movie that made me like Michael Keaton before I saw Beetlejuice.
9. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia—“A Very Sunny Christmas”
My favorite comedy mixed with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and the best holiday episode of any show, in my opinion.
10. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
The first year I watched this movie I got a portable DVD player and a new cell phone for Christmas. I’ve watched it a few times since then to make sure it was actually good and I wasn’t biased from my good fortune that year, and I can now say that it definitely is. I shamefully developed a crush on Chevy Chase afterwards…
11. The Nightmare Before Christmas
My most prized possession is a Jack Skellington doll I bought in Disney World when I was 11, so it’s safe to say this movie makes my list.
12. The Polar Express
For years I protested this movie simply because everyone was obsessed about it and every other commercial had a reference to the silent bell, but I finally gave in watched this movie a few years ago, and it’s one of my favorites. It’s such a seemingly simple, beautiful movie.
13. The Year Without a Santa Clause
This is one of the first Christmas movies I want to watch when the holiday season starts, mostly for the Heat Miser/Snow Miser song. Instead of the usual story, Santa takes a backseat and Mrs. Claus takes over for him. And that scene with the little girl’s letter? It’s the sweetest.
14. Family Guy—“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,” “A Very Special Family Guy Freakin’ Christmas,” “Christmas Guy,” and “Road to the North Pole”
Our other favorite animated sitcom has plenty of episodes to put you in the holiday spirit!
15. A Christmas Carol
There are many versions of Charles Dickens’ novel but my favorite is the 1984 TV version (it’s also the only one in color I’ve seen.) Here’s a link if you’d like to watch it.
16. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
The most perfect holiday film, the one that plays all the time on every channel, the one with the adorable snowman narrating the story—I secretly always wanted my grandfather to have his voice.
17. Little Women
While not a holiday film necessarily, this movie is great in general and features many scenes before or on Christmas. My favorite is when Beth is revived back to health in time for Christmas.
18. Miracle on 34th Street
This film is a classic that hasn’t lost its touch with today’s audiences. There was a remake done in 1994, but it just wasn’t as good. Look for this movie on channels like AMC.
19. Happy Christmas
Only a year old, this movie stars Ana Kendrick and Lena Dunham—I know I’ve got you hooked already—and is on Netflix! Not the most joyful, Christmas-y film on the list but definitely worth a watch.
20. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
I never was a fan of the cartoon, but Jim Carrey killed it in this movie. Ron Howard somehow turned a 24 minute cartoon into a two-hour film that’s turned into as much of a classic as the original.
21. The Santa Clause
This is one of the few films with Tim Allen that isn’t a huge ball of clichés, and just so happens to be about Santa Clause. He plays such a great character, who, along with his adorable sons and elves, keep us entertained the whole movie. Was anyone else jealous of that lunch he had at that meeting, as a kid?
22. The Nativity Story
This is not your classic Christmas movie; there’s no Santa Clause or presents, or even any holiday spirit. I’m not a religious person, but this movie is made so well that anyone can enjoy it.
23. Unaccompanied Minors
This is great, silly movie to watch with friends or your little siblings or cousins about a group of kids who get snowed in at an airport because they were flying alone. These things actually happen too, just look at the news this year.
24. Just Friends
Ryan Reynolds is a former fat kid going home for the holidays and dating a crazy pop star, Ana Faris, but is still in love with his teenage crush, (Amy Smart). The cast is enough to get anyone to watch it.
25. The Night Before
This movie JUST came out over Thanksgiving break but it’s already on my list simply because of the wonderful cast and storyline. Hello, JGL and Seth Rogen. How can you not love whatever they’re in?
I know some of you are surprised that Elf didn’t make the list, but I’m probably the only person in the world who hates that movie. I do not find a grown man-child who is oddly attached to a father he never met, who likes to eat pasta with maple syrup, and who is also going through puberty because he meets a pretty girl at work appealing. It probably doesn’t help that I had to watch the movie every year in every class in school growing up.
However, if it’s one of your favorites, add it to your list and make new holiday movies part of your tradition!