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Must Watch Christmas Movies

‘Tis the season to be jolly! Who says the festive fun has to end when the last strand of tinsel is packed away? Unleash the merry vibes all year long with a sleigh-full of must-watch Christmas movies. They will sprinkle joy, laughter, and a touch of holiday magic whenever you press play. These cinematic gems are not just for the December nights. They’re your go-to remedy for a bad day, a celebration enhancer, and an instant mood-lifter, no matter the season. 

Red and green film strip wrapped around mini Christmas tree with smiley face ornaments.

Creating a Cozy Atmosphere

 Transform your living room into a winter wonderland with cozy blankets, twinkling lights, and scented candles. Don’t forget a steaming cup of hot cocoa topped with marshmallows and a bowl of popcorn. Now, you’re ready to embark on a festive cinematic journey. These must watch Christmas movies prove Christmas spirit is an evergreen delight!

Classics That Never Get Old


  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)- Frank Capra’s timeless classic about the impact one person can have on the lives of others is a heartwarming tale that transcends generations. This film captures the true spirit of Christmas and remains a staple for holiday movie marathons. For more about the movie see It’s A Wonderful Life: The Classic Christmas Film and if you enjoy quotes: It’s A Wonderful Life: Quotes.
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1947)- This heartwarming story about a man claiming to be the real Santa Claus and a skeptical little girl. It will restore your faith in the magic of Christmas. It’s a feel-good classic that captures the essence of the holiday season.
  • White Christmas (1954)– Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye play a song-and-dance duo who team up with a sister act. They attempt to save a failing Vermont inn owned by their former commanding general.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)- Features Burl Ives as Sam the Snowman in this story of an outcast with a red nose and an elf who wants to be a dentist. 
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)- Join Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang as they discover the true meaning of Christmas. With its iconic soundtrack and heartfelt message, this animated classic remains a beloved part of holiday celebrations.
  • Frosty the Snowman (1969)- This movie is an animated Christmas classic in which a magical hat brings a snowman to life.  Frosty and his newfound friends embark on a lively adventure to escape the heat that threatens his existence.
Movie marker, gold ball and santa hat

After 1980

  • A Christmas Story (1983)- Ralphie attempts to convince his parents, teacher, and Santa he needs a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas in this humorous classic.
  • A Christmas Carol (1984)- Take a trip to Victorian England with George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge in this faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale. The story of redemption and goodwill is a perennial favorite that never fails to tug at the heartstrings.
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)– Clark Griswold tries desperately to host the perfect family Christmas.
  • Home Alone (1990)- Enjoy Kevin McCallister’s misadventures while accidentally left home alone during Christmas. With its humor, heart, and unforgettable booby traps, this film appeals to audiences of all ages.

Newer Releases to Add to Your Watchlist

  • Elf (2003)- Will Ferrell stars as Buddy who was raised by elves at the North Pole. He decides to travel to New York in search of his father.  With its humor and heart, Elf has become a favorite for those seeking a contemporary Christmas tale.
  • Love Actually (2003)- This romantic comedy-drama weaves together multiple love stories set against the backdrop of the Christmas season in London.
  • Christmas With the Kranks (2004)- Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis decide to skip Christmas. Then their daughter decides to come home for the holidays at the last minute and chaos ensues.
  • The Polar Express (2004)- Tom Hanks lends his voice to this enchanting animated film based on the beloved children’s book. A doubting young boy hops aboard a magical train to the North Pole on Christmas Eve.
  • The Holiday (2006)- This romantic comedy follows two women, Iris (Kate Winslet) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz). They decide to exchange homes for the Christmas holiday to escape their respective heartbreaks. While Iris finds herself in sunny Los Angeles, Amanda lands in a snowy English countryside. As both women navigate their new environments, unexpected romances blossom.
  • Last Holiday (2006)– Queen Latifah stars as Georgia Byrd, who, after receiving a terminal diagnosis, decides to live her life to the fullest by embarking on a luxurious European vacation.
  • The Grinch (2018)- Jim Carrey takes on the lead role in this live-action adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s classic tale, featuring a grouchy green creature determined to steal Christmas from the cheerful residents of Whoville.
  • The Christmas Chronicles (2018)- Siblings record Santa on Christmas Eve to prove his existence, then end up having to help him complete his deliveries.
Outdoor seating area with one of the must watch Christmas movies on screen.

Bonus Suggestions for Movie Buffs

  • Die Hard (1988)- A perennial debate about whether it’s a Christmas movie, Die Hard offers a unique blend of action and holiday cheer. Throw in some explosive excitement for a different kind of Christmas experience.
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)- While the overarching narrative is not specifically centered around Christmas, there are magical and festive elements.

It’s clear that the magic of these must-watch Christmas movies extends far beyond the twinkling lights and snowy scenes of December. These timeless tales serve as perennial sources of joy. Whether you find yourself craving a dose of holiday cheer in the midst of summer or seeking a comforting escape in the midst of life’s challenges, the spirit of Christmas is always just a movie night away. Here’s to making every day a little more merry and bright!

Couple with popcorn with one of the must watch Christmas movies on tv with red and white blanket.

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