My Top 10 Christmas Movie Picks

I normally reserve all things Christmas like music, movies, decorating the house and overeating until December 1st. It’s kind of an unspoken rule that I tell everyone about.

I just told my niece about it 2 weeks ago as a matter of fact.

But this year I broke my own rule and started watching Christmas movies around the beginning of November. I started with the Hallmark movies and then graduated to the Hallmark Hall of Fame movies. Their requirements for entry seem remarkably lax by the way.

But I don’t care. Christmas movies are allowed to be kindda bad in November. It works for me. It follows the same logic that pizza from a Chinese restaurant can be bad but still enjoyable.  I mean,  it’s pizza … how bad can it be?

December though? December is the time of year to watch only my favourite Christmas movies. And only order my pizza from the kind of restaurant you should order pizza from. A Lebanese restaurant.

I have for you today, a list of my 10 favourite Christmas movies.


[print_this]1. White Christmas
2. One Magic Christmas
3. A Christmas Story
4. A Charlie Brown Christmas
5. Elf
6. Miracle on 34th Street
7. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
8. It’s a Wonderful Life
9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
10. Four Christmases[/print_this]


Agree with me?  Disagree with me?  Have one to add? Now’s your chance.  Add your favourite to the comment list.

Now if you’ll excuse me there’s a hot and sour pizza that has my name on it.


  1. Becky says:

    What I love about your list is they are the classics, and NOT the awful remakes… what I don’t like about your list is movie #3. I really can’t stand Ralphie, and my hubby LOVES that movie so when its on for 24 hours, I’m pretty much in hell.

    However, you and I are in perfect agreement with movie #1…its my all time fave, and I made myself a big red dress that I wear when I dress up as Mrs. Claus because I HAD to have a red dress like that.
    I’ve only gotten to wear it one time 🙁
    My sister was huge prego so she agreed to dress up as Santa, and I got to wear my red dress… I was in heaven.
    Do you think it would be wrong to do some grocery shopping in it?

    • Karen says:

      Wrong? Um, NO. If I can wear diamonds to clean the chicken coop you can wear a red dress to buy cereal. ~ karen!

      • Becky says:

        Perhaps I should change it to “weird” instead of wrong lol would it be weird to wear it to the grocery store? or the mall to visit Santa? lol

        I find diamonds (or anything else sparkly) to be dangerous attire to wear to the chicken coop.. I found this out by squatting down with jeans on that have rhinestones on the pocket.

        Stop laughing!! I coulda died ya know!!!!

        • Auntiepatch says:

          I was laughing at that mental image until I remembered my personal Hell from my childhood. When I was 5 years old a Banty hen ripped off ALL of my clothes because I picked up one of her chicks! My mother and grandmother couldn’t figure out what happened to me until I calmed down enough to stutter out, “I just wanted to pet the little chickee!” To this day, almost 60 years later, I can’t stand to have a bird of any kind around me. And I freak out if it’s flying!

        • cbblue says:

          Oh my I’m laughing. This goes along with a family member’s discussion on the age range of such jeans. I believe you can wear them forever!

  2. Laura Bee says:

    Chevy Chase is my hero, but I have a soft spot for Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys.

  3. Muff says:

    I’d have to add the Alistair Sim Christmas Carol (and because I love them the Muppets as well) – so good to see someone else who loves One Magic Christmas – the North Pole and Santa Claus are just so wonderful in that movie!

    • Larraine says:

      Me too, Muff. In black and white. With all the lights off except the Christmas tree lights. That and the original Miracle on 34th are the essential Christmas. Oh, and the 50-something year old creche set from Woolworth’s or Kresge’s (can’t remember — so interchangable) set out on the TV table.

  4. TC says:

    #1 at the end when he starts to gag, cracks me up every time ! Great choice, I love that one!

  5. Jamieson says:

    I love Love Actually for its sappiness and Just Friends for its laughoutloudness.

    • avi gold says:

      I agree! Love Actually is one of my favorites.but what about A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim? not any of the horrible remakes

      • Karen says:

        Strange but I’ve never been a fan of any of the Christmas Carol movies. I just find them depressing, lol. ~ karen

        • Nancy says:

          Not even the Christmas Carol version with Mr. Magoo? That was my favorite as a kid.

        • theresa says:

          Muppets Christmas Carol with Michael Caine is my favorite of the genre’s subgenre but you can’t buy it any where and dvd’s of it are as rare as…well Gonzo’s hens’ teeth.

        • Chelsea says:

          It wasn’t Christmas around our house until A Muppet’s Christmas Carol had been watched ….multiple times 🙂

        • Sera says:

          What about Scrooged? Not depressing. Really really funny. A little (a lot) 80s, but holds up so well!

    • laura gerber says:

      Love Actually – hands down the best Christmas movie ever made! I can watch it over and over again and still crack up at the funny bits and have tears streaming down my face at the end – I am also known for forcing unsuspecting houseguests who have not seen it to watch it – and no one has ever been disappointed. I let my 13yo daughter watch it recently (but covered her face for the naughty bits).

  6. Stephanie says:

    “Candy, candy canes, candy corn…and syrup!”

  7. Chris says:

    – The Bishop’s Wife with Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven and Monty Wolley.
    – Christmas in Connecticut with Barbara Stanford and Dennis Morgan

  8. Katie C says:

    A fabulous list, Karen! I TOTALLY agree with White Christmas as #1! It is the best ever. The costumes, Vera-Ellen’s teeny teeny tiny waist, Bing and Danny Kaye, the unbelievable dance numbers, We’ll Follow the Old Man Wherever He Wants to Go… It is heaven! My husband and I love it so much we had to switch to watching it every other year, because we’d gotten so we knew it TOO well. (btw, this is a White Christmas year, oh boy!)

    I’d add to your list The Bishop’s Wife, Rudolph, and my all-time-fave made-for-TV Christmas movie (courtesy of Lifetime, no doubt), “Holiday Switch.” You know how, when you’re bored and dissatisfied with life, how you climb into the clothes dryer and come out the other side with the life that got away, if you will…? And thus, a hilarious and fun Christmas movie is born. I highly recommend!

    Thanks for the list, Karen. Just remembering these makes me feel warm and fuzzy–and I still have my Thanksgiving decorations up! 🙂

  9. Karen says:

    WHAT?! No Die Hard??

  10. Jcrn says:

    Yes! Die Hard. But also I love It’s a Wonderful Life. I love Jaes Stewart. Did you know that Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street were named after Bert and Ernie , the cops, ( I think they were cops) from It’s a Wonderful Life.?

  11. shauna says:

    You missed Scrooged! I just love how nasty Bill Murray is and the Ghost of Christmas Present when she hits him with the toaster is a classic Christmas movie moment…. Watch it this year if you haven’t seen it. Efrem Zimbalist Jr. is in it – how can you miss that!

  12. Claudia says:

    In Germany, the public service broadcasters air “Little Lord Fauntleroy” (feat. Alec Guiness) every single year. I always thought the kid in the lacey shirt looked kinda goofy…
    But they also always show “Three Wishes for Cinderella”, a very cute Czechoslovakian movie I adored as a kid. And “The Brave Little Toaster”. (And sometimes “The Life of Brian”. Go figure. Ah, but they wouldn’t show that at Easter…)
    Nowadays, I’d rather watch “The Nightmare before Christmas”. I wonder why? 😉

    • Angel L says:

      OMGoodness! Claudia, I could kiss you. I absolutely loved “Three Wishes for Cinderella” as a child and had forgotten the name of it. I was telling my 10yo daughter about the movie the other day. I am off to find a copy! Thank you so much.

  13. Hazel says:

    I’ve never heard of some of those films…
    I’d have to add The Polar Express, Love Actually (okay, not actually about Christmas but set at Christmas) and Nativity!, a British film starring Martin Freeman about a teacher putting on a Nativity play in a city primary school. And The Snowman- classic.

  14. Jennifer says:

    Love, love, love #1,3,4,5,6,8,&9. We quote A Christmas Story to each other all year long. (Another best-quotes movie is The Princess Bride, but that’s not a Christmas movie so I guess I can’t put it up as a fave.) I cry every.single.time I watch Miracle on 34th St. & It’s A Wonderful Life. I never used to cry @ movies. I blame it on the birth of my daughter. She’s 21. I can still use that excuse, right?

  15. Jcrn says:

    I have to throw in a vote for Home Alone. My kids loved it and I had a soft spot for the elderly neighbor who seemed so mean but was really kind at heart. He represents ( to me) all those people we misunderstand or assume are cold, indifferent or whatever but might really be so much nicer than we assume. Maybe just shy. Or wary. Or socially awkward. Christmas always gets me thinking of this stuff because of the peace on esrth and good will towards men (and women, too. I hope) carol you hear playing in shopping malls from Halloween through New Years.

  16. Zala says:

    Love actually is a must in our household. Although Letters to St. Nicholas is also surprisingly good.

  17. Kat says:

    It’s messed up, by I’ve always loved A Christmas Memory the best.

  18. Shauna says:

    I have to agree with “Rudolph”, and in the same vein, “The Year Without a Santa Claus.” I ADORE Heat Miser, and his duet with Cold Miser gets happily stuck in my head all season long.

  19. Shauna says:

    and thanks for the list; Four Christmases, One Magic Christmas and White Christmas are new to me, and are going on my Netflix queue for this season. I love the holidays 🙂

  20. Lisa says:

    Have you ever watched “Olive, the Other Reindeer?” It is one of my family’s traditions. But I’m not much in to A Christmas Story or any National Lampoon Vacation flick, so to each their own!

  21. Kathy says:

    I love your list and Elf has become one of my all time favourites. I have been watching Christmas movies since the day after Halloween when they suddenly started playing on TV! My husband and kids think I am crazy but I will watch pretty much any Christmas movie made. Lots of my favourites are on your list but I also always watch The Holiday and Love Actually. Another one that really isn’t a Christmas movie but is a feel good movie this time of year is Last Holiday with Queen Latifah.
    Still need to see White Christmas. Maybe this weekend!

    • Karen says:

      The Holiday *almost* made the list, but I always find around 3/4s of the way through that I think it should be over. Goes on a half an hour too long for me. ~ karen!

  22. Sandra says:

    I don’t know why, but on christmas I like to watch the Godfather movies. Not very christmassy though. Nightmare Before Christmas however should count, as we watch it every year on the night before christmas.

  23. Gwennie says:

    Meet Me in St Louis was our family Christmas favorite. While technically not a Christmas movie, it has the famous song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with Judy Garland singing to her youngest sister Margaret O’Brien, who begins to sob about moving away, both framed by a frosted window. My mom and I would sob along with Margaret.

    • Karen says:

      I’ve never seen that! And that song (specifically sung by Judy Garland) is my all time favourite Christmas song. I’ll have to add it to my watch list. ~ karen!

  24. RosieW says:

    Love the list. Will be sharing. And speaking of sharing, please tell us how you make the hot and sour pizza! Sounds divine.

    Miracle on 34th Street is still my fave.


  25. tammy carter says:

    “Holiday Inn”…so much better than “White Christmas”. Watch and see if you don’t agree!!!

    • ally says:

      I definitely agree – used to watch both with my dad, back in the day. One of our traditions. Love Holiday Inn more though. 🙂

  26. lori peterson says:

    Hi Karen – Totally agree with all of your choices but I have to add one more that my daughter and I watch every year. That would be “Family Stone” while eating a box of Cheez-its! Enjoy ~ Lori

  27. Linda J Howes says:

    Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory, the Santa Clause movies and Love Actually. Love Actually may not be considered a “Christmas” movie per say and it is a favourite movie of mine anytime not just for Christmas.

  28. J9 says:

    Love Actually!!!

  29. Leigh says:

    I like your list Karen but you MUST watch The Family Stone! My daughter and I watch it together every year and it has become a definite favorite….you’ll laugh…you’ll cry and you will want to watch it again and again :). I also agree with Jamieson above-Love Actually caught me off guard…I really liked it!

  30. Marti J says:

    Ohhhh, I can tell I have a lot to look forward to this season. I’ve never even heard of “One Magic Christmas.”

    But I do have my own copy of “Love Actually.” And I absolutely love “The Bishop’s Wife” with Cary Grant (anything with Cary Grant) and Loretta Young.

    Putting up lights and popping the corn tonight!

  31. Kari says:

    It’s not really your typical Christmas movie, but one of my favorite movies of all times is The Family Stone. Love it! So funny and sad and heartwarming.

  32. Jennifer says:

    Great list! My additions would be Holiday Inn and Meet Me in St. Louis. Though I don’t know if the latter is technically a Christmas movie, but I love it!

  33. Beth says:

    Oh my goodness…. apparently we are long lost soulmates, as I have nearly the EXACT same list! Except I put the Red Rider before Gideon

    I LOVE that you love White Christmas. It makes me cry every year, and one of my Christmas decor items is actually a photo still from the movie 🙂

    • Beth says:

      I forgot to add that I’m actually taking tap dancing lessons (because if you don’t do it at 32, when will you) because of “The Best Things… Happen While You’re Dancing”

  34. karen says:

    Our extended family watches National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation every year after our Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone says the lines along with the actors.
    I also watch “The Family Stone” every December and “Saving Christmas” with Ben Affleck is a good one.

  35. Melody Madden says:

    I watch Love Actually every year without fail. When Hugh Grant does that VoiceOver at the beginning while people are hugging their loved ones at the airport …. I’m sobbing all over the place. Also Rudolph … When the misfit toys are picked up by Santa … Tears again. Looks like I’m just an emotional ball of menopausal hormones. Oh and Elf .. No one is funnier than Will Farrell especially when he finds our Santa is coming to the department store.

  36. Dagmar says:

    I love #3 soooooo much that I was given a necklace one year that says “Fragille” spelled with two l’s just so that it sounds more Italian. Most people don’t get it when I wear it all thought the year, and some actually think it’s my last name. I have a giggle about it when ever anyone looks and reads and looks perplexed. But my non-hubby and I love it.

    Love the newsletter, btw…Karen.hope you’re well.

  37. Lindi says:

    All my family favorites are there for sure – especially #1. I would add “Family Man” (NOT the TV show “Family Guy”!) ….a hipper version of “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Nicholas Cage and Tea Leone. He brings his edginess to the character in a really endearing way. Love love it! Going to watch it right now!
    BTW, took the Christmas pledge and although I still have some decorating to do, I am all about baking and watching movies this December! Thank you for the kick in the pants!

  38. Marily says:

    Every year my daughter and I decorated the Christmas tree while watching that great classic “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” 🙂

  39. Rick says:

    A addition an a question
    Kenny Rodgers and Dolly Pardon Christmas special.
    I pride myself in trying many different types of pizzas but have never heard of a sweet an sour one. Need you to please describe same an send me 6 slices so I might “study” same.sounds rather suspicious !

  40. Nicole says:

    My (bucket list) Halloween costume to make this year was Rosemary Clooney’s final scene dress. Worth every penny! And here in Chicagoland, the Music Box Theatre shows a sing-along version in December – attending it has been a tradition in our family for many years and, yes, I will be donning the dress (husband has Bing Crosby’s costume from Halloween and the kid will be dressed as one of the Carousel Club dancers (his choice)). Excellent choice for number 1!

    [Realized last night while watching Christmas Vacation that Cousin Eddie ran out of gas money in Gurnee – felt kinda special to live in Gurnee right about then!]

  41. marilyn says:

    love one magic Christmas and Christmas isn’t Christmas without watching Christmas vacation but i also love the bells of st marys with bing crosby…its the catholic in me..can’t help it and bing makes an amazing priest, gives me the warm and fuzzies and an overwhelming urge to go to confession!

  42. Dawn says:

    It’s not Christmas at my house until I break out…

    Emmitt Otter’s Jug Band Christmas!! Jim Henson was a genius.

    Watch it, it’ll be your new favorite too.

    “If you look to the good side
    Fallin’ down’s a free ride
    Slippin’ and a-slidin’ in the mud
    If your back is hurtin’
    I can say for certain
    I’ll be there to treat you to a soothin’ back rub
    When there ain’t no hole in the washtub”

  43. Nancy R. says:

    The Sound of Music – my all time favourite.

  44. kari says:

    I love all that you listed. I have a confession, I have never watched Christmas Story all the way through….. I would add Christmas with the Kranks and Polar Express to your list. My daughter and I have been listening to Christmas music since about 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. We were very conflicted the whole time 🙂

  45. Cyndi Gullick says:

    Love your pics. My adult daughter and I must watch White Christmas together each year. It has become our tradition; although, this year I promptly fell asleep after a long day of decorating.
    Other favorites:
    A Season For Miracles (Hallmark)

    Holiday Inn (great Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire musical. The song White Christmas is sung in this film, too)

    Lemon Drop Kid (Bob Hope.A crazy comedy, but what I particularly enjoy is the rendition of the song, Silver Bells)

    Merry Christmas!

  46. Nicole2 says:

    It’s not Christmas at our house without A Christmas Story and NL’s Christmas Vacation. All the others are pretty darn good too. But my daughters and I LOVE to cocoon and watch the bad, cheesy Hallmark movies too like the one filmed in Dundas with the good witch. I work on Ottawa Street in Hamilton and they filmed two Christmas movies this summer, can’t wait to see those!! I think they’re called “Merry Mixup” and “The Twelve Trees of Christmas”. Start popping the corn!

  47. karol says:

    Excellent list! I can’t tell you how often we quote Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation. “Shitter’s full!” is our favorite, followed by “While you’re at it, get yourself something REAL nice, Clarke”. You wouldn’t believe how often those quotes come in play in real life.

  48. Thera says:

    I agree with most, but would add A Christmas Carol, The Santa Clause and Rudolph.

    I hate Ralphie too!

  49. KAREN!!!!
    What about FUNNY FARM???
    Who can resist Andy and Elizabeth and their faux Christmas seduction…?
    …I have that exact mailman, btw.
    Joyeux Noel!
    Suzanne@Le Farm

  50. Leisa says:

    Great List! I would add “The Ref” with Denis Leary, Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis if you want to see a funny disfunctional Christmas movie. Also, I like “The Santa Claus” and I prefer the original “Holiday Inn” to White Christmas. We also broke our rule of starting everything December 1st and started watching movies on November 12th – it’s great because we have so many favourites it’s hard to get through them all!

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