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

    • 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!

  51. Sharon says:

    “Muppets Christmas Carol” and “The Family Stone” are at the top of my list! I started watching Christmas movies a couple of weeks ago to get through the collection!

  52. Sue says:

    Annabelle’s Wish!! It’s about a calf that wants to learn to fly and become one of Santa Claus’ reindeer. Really sweet story! Check it out – but if you’re a sap like me, have a box of tissues handy!

  53. Reg says:

    There is a movie I saw years ago, I think it’s titled “Prancer”, staring Sam Elliot (love his voice). A little girl befriends a reindeer and is convinced it’s Santa’s Prancer.

  54. Diane says:

    Try “The Bishop’s Wife” starring Cary Grant! It’s a great one!!

  55. Ana Rocadas says:

    Love, Actually and A Muppet Christmas Carol are my two faves!

  56. Ana Rocadas says:

    Oh and Lethal Weapon, of course.

  57. Susan Dulley says:

    I am surprised that you actually wait until December 1st, to DO Christmas, being so creative and all, but, I usually have my tree up, and the entire interior of my home decorated by now…but, not this year. Just cannot get into the swing of things. I am ashamed and feeling rather uncomfortable in this new feeling, but, I just do not have the enthusiasm that I generally have. I think it is because Thanksgiving arrived so late this year. Too much all together, for some reason. However, I will break down and at least get the tree box, and all of the ornament boxes into the Dining Room, stare at them for a while and then perhaps the Mood will Strike. I certainly hope so. I feel a little like Betty in “White Christmas”. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me…I don’t usually have….trouble getting excited about Christmas”. Or have trouble sleeping for that matter. Well, here I go, this is my third attempt, so maybe this one will take. Wish me luck. Oh, and do not forget The Muppet Christmas Carol. It is really great.

  58. Sean Kelly says:

    I do have to add two movies. For those of us that mourn the passing of free spirited Halloween shenanigans there is no better film combination than Nightmare Before Christmas watched in November and Rare Exports watched in December. Technically the stories are holiday oriented but with odd little twists to keep us oddballs happy and away from the saccharine sweet shopping malls.

  59. daly says:

    tim burton’s nightmare before christmas

  60. Amie says:

    Mine are:

    A Muppet’s Christmas Carol
    Love Actually
    Die Hard 2
    Die Hard 1

  61. Mary Werner says:

    Christmas Vacation is on in our house at least 15 times before Christmas. Just like the twinkle lights. Too much like our family so we get to laugh at another family for a change. But I also love, love, love How the Grinch Stole Christmas as I love the images and when his heart begins to grow and his eyes “leak”. We gave up present exchanges (except for kids) and now enjoy getting together for Bingo with prizes, popcorn, and decorating cookies – and laughing, laughing. We normally watch some Fawlty Towers episodes also. Not Christmas BUT makes our family laugh and that is Christmas to us. Corny but we all look forward to those corny, old fashioned holiday times all year. Planning the “pickle prize”, special treats and new and old food dishes that we all cook together, decorating graham cracker “gingerbread” houses then eating them, taking lots of naps and walks at night. Anyone that comes to our Thanksgiving and stays for the weekend HAS to help put up the lights outside which takes all day and 6 men. Our lives are messed up in so many ways but not while we do our Christmas – just makes life great again. I sure got off track from movies.

    • Mary Werner says:

      One year the pickle prize that we won was a Mele Kalikemaka sign for the front yard which we proudly display and repair every year. Watching the people drive by and wonder what it says is so funny – if you loved Christmas Vacation you would understand!

  62. Jennifer says:

    Great list! We (10, 15, 51 & 52-yr olds) just watched ‘the Man who Saved Christmas’, with Jason Alexander. Cool story based on a real-life story of the man who invented the Electraset. (sp??) A tad bit long (ya’ think?), and the ending is numb, but worth a watch. Thank gawd you did not include ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’. Loved it as a child, but now all I can think is what jerks Santa, his father, and peers all are. Talk about bullying! That all said, Merry Christmas! PS: Was all excited to get my 10-yr old daughter an eletraset for Christmas…alas, reveiews for the current-day sets stink.

  63. Amanda says:

    Awesome list, but I would include Gremlins!

  64. jainegayer says:

    Good list! My favorite, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
    I’m not really into the true Christmas spirit until I watch that movie.
    Not that I’m motivated to remove the Thanksgiving decorations yet like Katie. Last year I just stuck some pine cones around the fall leaves and pumpkins and sprinkled fake snow over everything.
    I just ignored the snide comments.

  65. Jodi T. says:

    I grew up watching #3, and it’s still my favorite. I do love Rudolph and the Misfit Toys too. Will you still like me if I admit to not ever seeing #1? My Christmas Pledge this year is to rent that movie and watch it. Since I missed all of the other pledge stuff. Christmas shopping??? I haven’t even STARTED 8-/.

  66. Great pics Karen. I love all versions of A Christmas Carol. We always used to watch The Sound of Music at Christmas too. Probably not considered a Christmas movie but just what we watched when we were little!

  67. Mickey says:

    Going My Way, Bells of St. Mary’s and It’s a Wonderful Life are my favourites. On the lighter side, I like Elf, The Grinch and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

  68. Tara says:

    I definitely cannot pick a favorite Christmas movie but one that I -have- to watch if I only watch one during the holidays is Santa Claus: The Movie – I use to watch it over and over and over and over when I was a kid. My mother is a saint!

  69. I only have three because, let’s be honest, I don’t have movie time because I am out shopping right until the last minute. Anyway, the 3 DVDs we always watch are…
    1. Love Actually
    2. Trading Places
    3. South Park Christmas Special (there’s like 10 xmas episodes)

  70. sarah says:

    Hi there! First time commenter here – when it comes to holiday movies, I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut! Have to add two of the best holiday movies ever – Emmet Otter’s jug Band Christmas and Mixed Nuts!!

    • Karen says:

      LOL, so that’s what it took, eh? Christmas movies. Welcome to the commenting section Sarah! ~ karen

    • Erica O says:

      Gah! Yes! “Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas”!!
      The old DVD doesn’t have Kermit riding the bike at the beginning. I wonder if the BluRay does? The VHS does which is why I still have it even if I can’t play it.

  71. Allyson says:

    My kids and I broke out Arthur Christmas last night. One of our favorites that captures the wide-eyed wonder of sharing Christmas with a child.

  72. Ella says:

    White Christmas is my #1 too. My family watches it every year, while we string popcorn for the tree. We know every single word, now!!

  73. Sherri Hanigan says:

    I love every movie you’ve mentioned and I have one to add. There’s not a Christmas tree in it, but I love watching “Moonstruck” at this time of the year. The family in this movie is hilarious and obviously devoted to one another. They’re all flawed, but lovable characters, which I can certainly identify with (at least the lovable part!). This is just one of those perfect movies that leaves me with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.

  74. Barbara says:

    #1 for me would have to be “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, followed by “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”, “The Year Without a Santa Claus”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” with the voices of Fred Astaire and Mickey Rooney, just about any older version of “A Christmas Carol”, especially the one with Alistair Sim. And “Scrooge” with Albert Finney (I know, I know, it’s the Christmas Carol again, but with music!) and “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

  75. VeronicaSC says:

    Love Actually is a Christmas must… Kids are older now so pondering if we should let them watch it with us this year!

    Plus The Holiday and Elf!!!

  76. calliek says:

    I prefer Holiday Inn to White Christmas – it’s the original B & W Bing Crosby movie from 1942 that the song White Christmas debuted in. It’s seldom played on tv anymore (likely because it contains a blackface number). It’s my number one pick and I watch it every year while wrapping gifts- the exploding peach preserves still makes me die laughing!

    I also enjoy Love Actually and my other fave is Scrooge – the 1970 musical version of A Christmas Carol- not to be confused with Scrooged, the Bill Murray film.

  77. Mindy says:

    White Christmas is one of my favorite movies of all time. Christmas or not. I’m having a White Christmas watching cocktail party next Friday with the tired, haggard, worn out moms from school. No kids and no dads allowed. 🙂

  78. Sally says:

    My rave fave is a Christmas Carol but I also love A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. The characters are so charming and the narration by Denholm Elliot with his lilting Welsh accent is so soothing.

    And let’s not forget our favourite Christmas episodes from TV like the Dick van Dyke episode with the flying saucer.

  79. deneen says:

    I know everyone loves A Christmas Story – but that movie makes me want to punch someone in the throat!!!

  80. Heather says:

    Substitute ‘Die Hard’ for ‘Four Christmases’, and we would have the exact same top 10 list. : )

  81. Erica O says:

    So far, we’ve watched “Elf” and “A Christmas Story” this week. We don’t have enough Christmas movies to last the entire month and will have to re-watch some of them, which is fine, and I’ll have to pull “The Nightmare Before Christmas” out because it counts. But my most-favorite, the one I watch every Christmas Eve, come hell or high avalanches is “The Muppets Christmas Carol” because there is something very satisfying to singing “After all, there’s only one more sleep til Christmas” to my cats. I know it really gets them in the spirit.

  82. Allison W says:

    Love Actually (watch it every year, without fail)
    The Ref (hilarious)
    Home For The Holidays (dysfunction I love – the one with Holly Hunter, Robert Downey, Jr.)

    These never get old!

  83. Olequiltbat says:

    My favorite Christmas type movie would be “Bells of St.Mary” with Bing Crosby, as well as “Going My
    Way” with Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgareld ….and I always end up crying at the end of these two.
    Of course the oldie but goodie is also “It’s a Wonderful World”. They sure don’t make movies like that
    any more.’s great to have these still around.
    Everyone have a great day.

  84. Patricia says:

    I love Christmas movies…pretty much al of them; from the cheesy made for TV movies to the classics.
    To keep peace in my marriage, I only start watching on December 1st, but otherwise the first DVD would be slipped in the day after Canadian Thanksgiving!
    I agree with your entire list, but like many others, HAVE to watch Love Actually. I was actually distraught one Christmas because my DVD of Love Actually which I had lent to a friend was returned scratched and I couldn’t watch it. My husband, in what was probably his most inspired gift ever, spent the following November recording every possible Christmas movie he could find on TV and buying numerous DVDs so that I could have a binder full of Christmas movies to watch every year.
    A Muppet Christmas Carol is a true joy. You haven’t lived until you have sang along to “We’re Marley and Marley, we’re avarice and greed!” by Statler and Waldorf.
    Bad Santa is pretty funny in a less sentimental kind of way. I mean it’s Billy Bob Thornton playing a drunk mall Santa, so expect a typical Christmas movie.
    I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas!
    I too would put a vote in Holiday Inn. I watched it with my 9 year old this week and she loved it too.

  85. Barb says:

    I agree that White Christmas is the all time best. Strangely my 2nd favourite Christmas movie is “In the Good Old Summertime” with Judy Garland. I have no idea how it got that title? Judy and her love interest, Van Johnson work in a music store during Christmas. Liza also makes her film debut at the end of the movie!

  86. RosieW says:

    I know this is about Christmas movies, but I’m dying here, wanting to know what goes into hot and sour pizza. Please!!

  87. Auntiepatch says:

    My favorites are:
    A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart (the old one is too scary!)
    A Muppets Christmas Carol
    Polar Express
    Die Hard I
    Die Hard II
    Home Alone
    The Santa Clause
    White Christmas
    Miracle on 34th Street
    It’s a Wonderful Life

  88. Pam says:

    Does no one else love Bad Santa? I love this movie!

  89. Barbie says:

    We have every movie on your list except two “White Christmas” and
    “One Magic Christmas” those will be on my Christmas list this year. My husband is such a kid with Christmas movies even more that our kids are! He has the entire collection of (Rankin/Bass) movies. Frosty the Snowman, A year w/out a Santa Claus, Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town, Little Drummer boy! I love Christmas time! Even if it was 5 degrees outside this morning when we got up!

  90. Suzan says:

    Our family #1 is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. My personal “must watch” is Love Actually. (I don’t care if he likes transvestite prostitutes, I still think Hugh Grant is adorable!)

  91. Carolyn says:

    I flipped to the bottom of a very long list of replies so I don’t know if anyone else mentioned The Holiday – Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz. I did notice Love Actually was on someone’s list and would second that.

  92. Lauren from Winnipeg says:

    My favourites (in no particular order) would be:
    Love Actually
    The Family Stone
    The Christmas Carol (the one with George C. Scott)
    The Bishop’s Wife (I’m a sucker for Cary Grant)
    Home Alone (the first one – the scenes with Pesci and Stern still make me chuckle)
    Miracle on 34th Street (the original one, of course)

    I’m afraid that I can’t stand A Christmas Story and It’s A Wonderful Life, although they are huge with my family and friends.

    • Jcrn says:

      I also like The Family Stone. Friends who don’t like it complain about Sarah Jessica Parker being so obnoxious but she is supposed to be strange and not easy to know. I love the movie and it has parts that are so touching, – some funny, some sad.

  93. What about Bad Santa?
    Am I a bad person?

  94. Kim says:

    Love Actually (I dig that so many people also watch this as a holiday movie)
    The Bishop’s Wife (Cary Grant is my all time favorite)
    Auntie Mame (the Rosalyn Russell one, not the Lucile Ball one which is an abomination)

  95. Deirdre Fowler says:

    What about Mr. Bean’s Christmas Special?

  96. Hannah says:

    We watch Die Hard every Christmas. Nothing puts me in the Christmas spirit more than a cheesy 80’s shoot-’em-up Bruce Willis action flick.

  97. Wendy says:

    I love, love, love “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Always have, always will.

    And I am very fond of “A Christmas Story.” I once showed it to a grade 5/6 class I was teaching 9 years ago. They were a very demanding and wretched bunch of pre-teens.

    After showing them this movie, one kid in Grade 5 went outside, stuck his tongue to a pole, and ended up with EMS coming to the school. The kid had blood all over the front of his coat and shirt from the experience, and had to go home.

    I felt pretty badly, needless to say, but it seems to just re-iterate what you’ve mentioned to me a few times over the last few months, Karen: “Boys are dumb.”

    Check out “Meet me in St. Louis.” The costumes and sets are very fun, and I think it was the only movie that Judy Garland was in directed by her husband at the time, Vincent Minelli. Her hair and bangs are impossibly styled, but Margaret O’Brien is cute as a button.


  98. Bols says:

    I am in total disagreement on most of the picks. I don’t understand how anyone can watch It’s a Wonderful Life; not to mention every year.
    Your list is missing Love Actually – no Christmas is complete without it.
    I also have a soft spot for the The Family Stone.

    • Deana says:

      I thought I was alone in thinking I’ts a Wonderful Life was one of the worst movies ever made. I detest it. Nothing puts a damper on Christmas like that movie. The rest are good choices.

  99. Jane says:

    Been watching A Wish For Wings That Work for 20 years or more and it still makes me laugh. Animated short movie about a penguin who wants wings. It’s out Xmas tradition.

  100. Amanda says:

    Down under we have a beautiful sunny Christmas break, and Home Alone is ALWAYS played on free to view TV. That and The Santa Clause with Tim Allen.

    It just wouldn’t be Christmas without McCauley Culkin and the aftershave scene Ahhhhhhh!

    Bad Santa is good for a laugh too….

  101. Jay says:

    Lots of my favourite there – I watch It’s a Wonderful Life at least once a year, sometimes twice.
    I’d add While You Were Sleeping, which I watch while I wrap presents

  102. Bernard says:

    Agreed on almost all accounts….missing (for my list, anyway) is The Polar Express, although I’m not too sure which of your list I’d have to bump to eleventh.

  103. KTC says:

    Hey Karen, I’d like to know about your hot and sour pizza as well please!

  104. Patricia says:

    I thought Four Christmases was incredibly depressing.

    I would add a Holiday Affair, that one where the kid has to take back the train.

  105. Betty Jones says:

    Don’t forget “Christmas in Connecticutt” (Barbara Stanwyk) it is so o o good! and also “The Bishop’s Wife” with Cary Grant Loretta Young and David Niven…So wonderful!!!

  106. Mary Jane Morrison says:

    My kids loved Franklin when they were young and we still pull out Franklin’s Magic Christmas every year, even though they are in their twenties. We love the classics but must add the POlar Express to the list as well. December 1, is the date we start everything. One of my children has a birthday in December and I always waited until after the tenth so it wasn;t overshadowed by Christmas but have relaxed the rule now that he is on his own.

  107. I love all these…and “The Family Stone” – great house in that film.

    Fun fact – my mom was the florist who did the wreaths and arrangements in “One Magic Christmas” 🙂

  108. Beth says:

    Hi Karen – I too am a newbie in the comments section – Christmas does bring us out of the woodwork. I just have to throw in my two cents: I have always considered “When Harry Met Sally” one of my top Christmas movies, as well as a wonderful gem called “Bachelor Mother” with Ginger Rogers and David Niven. If you ever get a chance, give that one a go. Love, love, love your site!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Beth. 🙂 I’d for gotten about When Harry Met Sally. Pretty much a Christmas classic now! Great movie! I’ll add the other one to the list, lol. Thanks for commenting! ~ karen

  109. Natika says:

    oooh… there’s quite a few on this list and in the comments I’ve never heard of and now I want to go and watch!

    Christmas Vacation was always a favourite at our house growing up and probably the only movie we all agreed on. I loved the Grinch, but missed it as many times as I managed to catch it when it aired on TV. It never occurred to me to ask for my own copy.

    Home Alone and Elf didn’t come out till I was past childhood, but I have a feeling they would have been classics for us. I’m going home this Christmas for the first time in 5 years or so, so I guess I’ll find out.

    A Christmas Story actually scared me the first time I watched it and I refused to watch it again until 20 years later as an adult. As a child, the bullying, the tongue stuck to the pole, the unsympathetic adults… it was all kind of too close to home. I also thought that Ralphie actually shot his eye out at the end. It wasn’t until I was coaxed into watching it again as an adult that I realise he just got hit with an icicle.

    I agree with everyone about Love Actually. Maybe not for really young kids, but for teenagers and up it’s quite sweet.

    I’m surprised no one else has mentioned the Nutcracker. Or does that not count because it’s technically a ballet? We used to watch it on TV every year since we lived too far from Toronto to see a live performance.

  110. Bre says:

    I would add Wizard of Oz and Polar Express. I have also have a December 1 rule for decorations, carols, eggnog, and christmas oranges. The first Christmas carol I heard this year was a mom singing to her baby at the grocery store. It was delightful.

  111. Ev says:

    Miracle on 34th Street my absolute favorite, (black and white or colorized), followed by A Christmas Carol (w Alistair Sim, black and white or colorized), lastly, A Christmas Story. I watch these year ’round-drives my son crazy! Avoid It’s A Wonderful Life totally (I have it though!), and White Christmas. Good ole Bing was just too much of a real-life prick!

  112. Danni says:

    Love The Holiday, The Ref, Elf, a Christmas Story, I don’t think there is a Christmas movie I don’t like….my #1 National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, kiss my ass, kiss his ass, kiss your ass, Happy Hannakuh. 🙂

  113. DianneT says:

    Love Actually is my contemporary favourite. I can watch it over and over again! I love Holiday Inn-prefer it to White Christmas, and The Bishop’s Wife is another lovely old movie. I’m not a huge fan of ‘it’s a Wonderful Life’ .

  114. I have to say that Scrooged is my all time favorite Christmas movie. Nothing beats Bill Murray treating everyone like crap for 90 minutes before finally realizing the true meaning of Christmas. Then Al Green and Annie Lennox sing a duet at the end. Bonus! It’s crazy funny and heartfelt and it gets me every time.

  115. Renee says:

    I just watched the Holiday the other night. Love the Ref and Bad Santa…even funnier while imbibing with lots of eggnog and brandy. It’s good to have some belly laughs this time of year. Great stress relief.

  116. My one de rigeur movie for Christmastide would not be considered a Christmas movie by most. It’s a love story that begins at Christmas and ends at Christmas a year later: “Falling in Love” starring Meryl Streep and Robert DeNiro.

  117. Patti says:

    Along with your picks, I love The Holiday, Bad Santa, Love Actually and … Number 1 is Rudolph! Can’t miss it.

  118. Pauline says:

    The Snowman! Beautiful music and illustrations tell the story. Love it!

  119. Carla says:

    Jugband Christmas!! So cute.Otters!. My daughter and I used to watch that until we could recite the whole she-bang. And Diehard – excellent Christmas night viewing after the full-on gorging. When my daughter was home from college one year we roasted an enormous prime rib and watch the whole series. One of my favourite Christmas’ ever!

  120. Andreae says:

    Another vote here for Emmett Otter – the Riverbottom Nightmare Band song is practically a sacred carol at our house. For reasons I’ll never understand, my family always watched Amadeus at Christmas… hardly a Christmas movie, so I have no idea how that tradition started, but dammit, it wouldn’t be Christmas without it. Oh, and when we were younger, my sister and I would watch The Sound of Music at Christmas and make up bad words to all the songs. Especially 16 Going on 17. Because, really.

  121. andrea meyers says:

    my newest favorite to this list is ‘The Family Stone’, it rings true for crazy families!

  122. Carrie says:

    For me, it’s always been Bing Crosby in “Holiday Inn”, which is often confused with the film “White Christmas”…..both wonderful in their own way….

  123. I’m a first-time time visitor to your wonderful blog – Great list and great suggestions from the other posters. I like the combination of old classics and more modern ones.

    However, there’s one glaring omission from everyone’s list and, if you haven’t seen it, please try to. It’s a classic, 1940’s, romantic comedy set in a Budapest gift shop during the holidays. It’s sure to get a chuckle out of the Scrooges and a good sniffle from the saccharin types – (BTW, it receives a 92 out of 100 on Rotten Tomatoes):

    “The Shop Around the Corner” starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan.

    “In the Good Old Summertime”, which starred Judy Garland and Van Johnson was a 1949 musical remake. A few posters mentioned it above and it’s a good holiday movie also, but doesn’t get close to the sweet perfection of the original.


  124. Mary says:

    My fav is a 1970’s classic, The House without a Christmas Tree, which is based on the book of the same name. Jason Robards starred in it. Very real.

    Just wish it came with the Coke commercial “I’d like to teach the world to sing “. Why don’t they bring it back? I can’t find the one I remember on YouTube.

    Love all the other movies too!

  125. marlene says:

    Hey Karen It’s me! This is my very first comment to your site…..although wont be my last! I LOVE everything you do. My favourite hands down has got to be Santa Claus is coming to Town…..with the burgermeister, meisterburger? Just cause it explained why Santas name was Kris Kringle, why he puts things in stockings, why reindeer fly? You know…covers all the bases ( still not quite remembering?) Winter Warlock do you remember now? The magic snowball? He sees you when your sleeping, he knows when your awake, he knows if you been bad or good? ………It’s all coming back to me now

    tty tomorrow lol mar

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marlene! I love that one too! With the red headed Kris Kringle. 🙂 Yup. That’s another fave. Welcome to commenting. Wait’ll we put you through the hazing. ~ karen!

  126. Stan Nowak says:

    I saw a Christmas movie a gajillion years ago (actually about 20+ years ago) called ‘The Juggler of Notre Dame’ – and never saw it on TV again, but it’s definitely in my Top 10 list of Christmas movies (I really should try and find it on Amazon – it’s really a wonderful film!), as is Dickens’ ‘Christmas Carol’ with Allistair Sims and a contemporary choice, ”Love, Actually’. I haven’t heard of a few of your choices but ‘White Christmas’, ‘Elf”,’ Charlie Brown’s Christmas’, and ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ all rank up there for me!
    Merry Christmas to you, Karen, and may all the blessings and fortunes the New Year may have to offer grace you and yours in 2014!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you very much Stan! Here’s hoping it’s much better than 2013, lol. Yikes. ~ karen!

      • Stan Nowak says:

        I have to mention a Christmas episode from my absolute favourite TV show of all time: The West Wing. The episode is ‘In Excelsis Deo’, in which a boys’ choir is singing ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ at the same time a homeless Korean War vet is being buried at Arlington National Cemetery. See it on U-Tube: absolutely moving and brilliantly written and acted!

        I know 2013 was traumatic for you, Karen, especially with the ‘fella’. But think of 2014 as a sunrise for the newest phase in your life! Knowing what I’ve read about you on your website, you will persevere and be stronger and better and happier than ever! Hope we can meet face-to-face someday!

  127. Kari says:

    Never seen One Magic Christmas! but all the others are my favorites, too. I also love love Mickey’s Christmas Carol and The Muppets Christmas Carol.

  128. sarah says:

    Just thought you should know about a little gem from the 70’s clamation classics called “The Leprechaun’s Christmas Gold.” It doesn’t seem to be well known, but man I love it!
    Adorable Leprechauns try to keep their Christmas Gold from the greedy Banchee who needs to steal it or she’ll turn into salty tears.

  129. Dittony says:

    No to Wonderful Life


    Bishop’s Wife
    Lemon Drop Kid
    Holiday Inn

  130. shirley in the NE Arkansas Delta says:

    What about “Family Man” with Nicholas Cage?

  131. Caroline says:

    At our house it isn’t Christmas if we don’t watch the SNL Christmas Special. Alec Baldwin in the Shwedy ball skit…the topless Martha Stewart Special…Steve Martin and his one Christmas wish…all classics!

  132. Caroline says:

    Crap…it’s July and I feel like watching a Christmas movie!

  133. Vanessa says:

    I realize this was from last year, but as I’m getting ready for xmas this year I am really looking forward to the X-mas movie season! White Christmas is my all time favorite! I generally watch Meet me in St. Louis at Halloween, there is a GREAT Halloween scene in it. I always force the kids to watch Die Hard, and Lethal Weapon at Xmas too. But my all time favorite to watch while doing Xmas baking is…The Ref!! It is wickedly funny, Kevin Spacey and Dennis Leary are hilarious! AND it has the Mom from Mary Poppins in it! I tend to go a bit irreverent.

  134. Angie says:

    We have an annual Scrooge Fest each year. We watch “Scrooge” with Albert Finney playing Ebenezer Scrooge. It’s brilliant. The music is beautiful and the sets are perfection. The last film actor Jimmy Stewart did was a beautiful short movie about the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of love. It’s called “Mr. Kruger’s Christmas” and includes the talented Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Sleigh Ride and Greensleeves and other joyful selections. Don’t miss these! You’ll love them, and you’ll need a tissue with you when you watch the sweet, lonely Mr. Kruger be touched by a sweet, little angel girl.
    We also love “Little Women” with Winnona Ryder as Joe. We watch and love the other festive shows other folks have listed, but we’d panick if we missed these 3. WE’VE JUST GOTTA SEE THESE!! JUST GOTTA!

    • Karen says:

      Funny story. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Little Women in it’s entirety. I’ll give it a shot this season. 🙂 ~ karen!

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