December means everything is drenched in red and green overnight, and every advertisement on the radio/TV/The Warehouse is playing the exact same repetitive Christmas jingles (still love you, Mariah).
But it wouldn’t be Christmas without a festive movie binge-session!
So start ticking these Christmas Classics off your bucket list and get into the holiday spirit!
1. Love, Actually
You say ‘rom com’, I say ‘Love, Actually’, but as far as rom coms go, both girls and guys should love this movie. I mean, you can never go wrong with a cast consisting of names like Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley, and Alan Rickman. Hell, even Mr Bean is in it!
Pros: Any movie that manages to have Hugh Grant prancing through the halls of 10 Downing Street is worth seeing. Twice.
Cons: With more than a dozen main characters and storylines, it may be too much to digest for some people!
Comedy legend Will Ferrell is a riot in this movie as Buddy. The tale of Buddy is both heart-warming and full of adventure as he travels to New York to search for his non-elvish father. Not to mention it is also hilarious!
Pros: Zooey Deschanel’s singing and all-round sweet persona + a grown man skipping around New York city in yellow tights.
Cons: Many plot holes – like, why not just make Buddy a bigger sized bed so he doesn’t have to destroy his back every night?
3. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Technically, this is a Christmas AND Halloween movie (but that’s a debate for another day). If you want a movie that you can play pretty much non-stop for 3 months, I’d recommend this one!
Pros: It’s Tim Burton at his best – slightly weird, but in a good way!
Cons: Why is Sally psychic? How did Jack come to be Halloween King? So many questions left unanswered.
4. The Santa Clause
Tim Allen stars in this family film about a divorced father who accidentally kills Santa, and has to take his place – much to the delight of his son, and to the dismay of everyone else. I watch this movie pretty much every Christmas, because the premise of this movie never gets boring. It puts an interesting spin on the story of Santa Claus!
Pros: Good old-fashioned holiday film with enough Christmas spirit to last the whole month.
Cons: There’s some wild theories out there that the elves are baking women and kids to make hot cocoa for Santa…
5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
This movie is a witty live-action remake of Dr Seuss’ classic picture book, some of the scenes and lines in the film are extremely clever (and meme-worthy). It shows how the smallest acts of kindness can change even the hardest of hearts, like the Grinch’s.
Pros: Hearing Anthony Hopkins narrate the story like how we’ve always imagined it to sound like.
Cons: Unfortunately nothing can live up to the 1996 TV special, which was animated to perfection.
6. Bad Santa
You know, there’s just something fascinating about watching a hard-drinking, chain-smoking man dressed as Santa spit out profanities like a machine gun. Some of the dirty jokes fly by so fast that you’d probably need to watch it a couple more times just to catch them all!
Pros: Makes a perfect antidote to all that forced Christmas cheer.
Cons: Not for those who are easily offended!
7. The Polar Express
In this animated movie, a young boy has reached an age where he’s starting to lose belief in Santa Claus and the spirit of Christmas as a whole. This film manages to really capture the sense of wonder and awe that children find in the holiday season.
“It doesn’t matter where the train is going, it’s deciding to get on that counts”
Pros: Spectacular animation and the movie’s pioneering use of motion-capture technology makes the visuals magical to watch.
Cons: The main character (being such a know-it-all) gets annoying very quickly!
8. A Christmas Carol
In this retelling of the Charles Dickens’ novel, the animation in this movie is astounding (Robert Zemeckis directed both this and The Polar Express). The details in the scene where the ghosts show Scrooge his past and present selves is so good!
Pros: Even under all that motion-capture animation, you can still tell it’s Jim Carrey with his wonderfully expressive movements and emotions.
Cons: Unfortunately doesn’t produce many laughs, especially for a movie with Mr. Carrey in it.
9. Die Hard
Fast-paced and impressive fight scenes, amusing dialogue, an over-the-top villain (played by none other than Alan Rickman), and a hero you can’t help but feel for, this movie really does have everything you’d want in an action flick!
This might not be the, eh, most traditional Christmas movie (if it can even be considered one). But if the screenwriter himself states that it is a Christmas film, then Die Hard is a Christmas film. Again, this is another debate which we do not have time to unpack at the moment.
IMO, it’s become a Christmas classic in its own right, don’t @ me.
Pros: One of the very best action films of all time. Yippee-ki-yay, action fans!
Cons: The deputy chief is literally only there to make it seem like Bruce Willis’ character is a genius.
10. Home Alone
And of course, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Kevin McCallister outsmarting a couple of dim-witted burglars, right?
“Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!”
Pros: Nostalgia permeates through the whole movie, and it’s just so relatable.
Cons: If you’re old, you definitely won’t appreciate all the mess Kevin made. Poor mum!
11. Jack Frost
When workaholic Jack Frost dies, he leaves his son Charlie behind, who he never spent much time with. Then Jack is reincarnated as a snowman to repair his lost time with his son.
Pros: Michael Keaton.
Cons: It’s about as cheesy as you’d expect a film about a man reborn as a snowman would be.
12. The Muppet Christmas Carol
Yet another adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Scrooge tale, this time in a gentle, kid-friendly Muppet format.
Pros: Unlike some of the darker adaptations, there’s enough Miss Piggy, music, and wholesomeness to be entertaining.
Cons: There’s not as much Muppet madness as there is in other original Muppet films.
13. Home Alone 2
Here we go again! The sequel to the first Home Alone movie sees Kevin McCallister take his scheming and shenanigans to the Big Apple, while his family leaves for Miami.
Pros: As a sequel, the movie manages to be funny, Kevin’s antics are even wackier, and it occasionally borders on heart-warming.
Cons: It’s literally the same story as the first, but in New York.
14. The Princess Switch
An ordinary baker switches places with the Duchess of Belgravia, who looks identical to her, and they each fall in love with the other guy.
Pros: One order of The Princess Switch for a Miss Hopeless Romantic?
Cons: Apart from Vanessa Hudgens, most of the supporting cast are quite…bland.
15. The Night Before
A trio of friends have held an annual Christmas Eve reunion for the past decade, a night of drinking and debauchery. Now that their tradition must come to an end, they set out to find the Holy Grail of Christmas parties – the Nutcracker Ball.
Pros: It’s a Seth Rogen movie, meaning the comedy (and weed) never stops, and the 3 leads have amazing chemistry.
Cons: Too many derailing tangents distract from the plot of the movie, making it somewhat confusing.
16. The Holiday
Two women exchange houses for the holidays to get away from their relationship issues. Their lives change unexpectedly when they meet two local guys, and both must decide what to do with their newfound love before going back.
Pros: Jack Black provides a much-needed energy into his role. Fellas, you’ll be alright watching this one too.
Cons: Predictable and at times dull, the characters find out what you’ve known all along.
17. Fred Claus
When Fred Claus’ deceitful antics land him in jail, his younger brother Santa agrees to bail him out on one condition – that Fred come to the North Pole and help out with the pre-Christmas toy rush.
Pros: A great cast, including Vince Vaughn in improv mode!
Cons: The sibling rivalry idea is so promising, but often so messy that it doesn’t deliver.
18. Arthur Christmas
An ultra-high-tech operation helps Santa “gift drop” all of his presents in one night. When Santa’s son Arthur learns that one girl’s gift has been misplaced, he sets out on an urgent mission to deliver the present before Christmas morning.
Pros: Made by the same studio who did Wallace & Gromit and Flushed Away, the visual details are impeccable, and the storyline simple yet effective.
Cons: Some really cringey puns in the dialogue!
19. Four Christmases
Unfortunate weather disrupts the vacation plan of lovers Brad and Kate, so they are stuck in the city and forced to visit all four of their divorced parents on Christmas day.
Pros: Reese Witherspoon keeps up with Vince Vaughn’s lightning fast quips and dialogue really well. They’ve got appeal as a couple!
Cons: A good deal of crude, potty humour (see: projectile vomiting babies), much of it not so funny.
20. The Santa Clause 2
Another sequel to a loved classic. This time, Scott Calvin AKA Santa Claus has two problems. A) his son is on the naughty list, and B) he must find a Mrs Claus. Running out of time to save Christmas, Santa leaves a mechanical substitute in the North Pole, who creates some rules of his own.
Pros: Still hilarious – Charlie Sheen is on the naughty list (“I thought he cleaned up his act!”).
Cons: Sadly, the charm and ingenuity will never live up to the original movie.
21. Jingle All the Way
Workaholic dad Howard promises to buy his son a Turbo Man toy for Christmas. He is forced to fight every parent and travel all over town to get the toy after he forgets to buy it.
Pros: Arnold is pretty fun?
Cons: You know what, this movie might be so bad that it’s actually good.
Yep, the Scrooge adaptations will never stop. This time it’s set in 1988.
Pros: Whenever Bill Murray is in a film, you know it’s gonna be a good thing.
Cons: A strange way to show the story’s message, what with the film being so mood-swingy.
23. Almost Christmas
Walter, a beloved patriarch, invites his four dysfunctional children home for Christmas with one wish: that they set aside their problems for a joyful and traditional holiday, without killing each other.
Pros: The actors have so much fun with their roles which makes the sibling dynamics feel really authentic and funny!
Cons: Familiar and formulaic.
24. It’s a Wonderful Life
When George Bailey, a man with a big heart, wishes he were never born, an angel shows him the tremendous impact he has had on his community and reminds him of his importance and value as a person.
Pros: Who can go wrong with a delightful little song and dance sequence and a dance floor that converts into a swimming pool?
Cons: Perhaps too old-timey for younger viewers.
25. A Christmas Story
9-year-old Ralphie wants one thing for Christmas – the Red Ryder air rifle. Everyone he asks tells him otherwise, and between dreaming about the gun and dodging a bully, Ralph fears he’ll never get the toy.
Pros: An accurate portrayal of childhood, providing a big hit of nostalgia!
Cons: Can be a snoozefest at times due to the script being less witty than others.
26. Miracle on 34th Street
Kris Kringle is hired to become a store’s in-house Santa. Susan doesn’t believe in Santa, because her mother has raised her as a realist. When Kris tells her that he is the real Santa Claus, she begins to believe him.
Pros: Set in a captivating 1940s universe, this tale is charming, delightfully funny and genuinely heartwarming.
Cons: Honestly, I can’t think of one!
27. The Christmas Chronicles
Siblings Teddy and Kate plan to catch Santa on Christmas Eve, but after crashing into his sleigh their plans go awry. Now the three must work together to save Christmas!
Pros: Kurt Russell makes for a charming Santa, who doesn’t do any of that ‘ho ho ho’ nonsense, btw.
Cons: Santa works out? Impossible!
28. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Clark Griswold is really into Christmas and is determined to show his family how good he can make it, but instead causes disaster after disaster.
Pros: Try and keep a straight face when Randy Quaid is on screen. (Hint: you can’t)
Cons: Couple of dry spells during the movie.
29. Batman Returns
In the second instalment of the blockbuster Batman films, the legendary hero battles against two new foes: the mysterious Cat Woman and the criminal Penguin.
Pros: There’s something fun about the juxtaposition of Batman’s serious aesthetic with the joyous one of Christmas.
Cons: The Penguin running for office thing is kinda boring.
30. The Man Who Invented Christmas
A fictionalised drama about legendary author Charles Dickens’ real-life inspirations for writing the classic A Christmas Carol.
Pros: A refreshing new take on a story that we all know very well, with a great performance by Dan Stevens as Dickens.
Cons: When the script tries to add some drama, it unfortunately falls flat.
31. A Bad Moms Christmas
The follow-up to Bad Moms, this movie centres around the same trio of moms, but now it’s the holidays, and all the moms are fed up. They have to create the perfect family holiday…while hosting their own mothers!
Pros: Very silly and entertaining, just like the first movie, and a fun Christmas guilty pleasure.
Cons: Not as much room for proper humour in this one.
32. Office Christmas Party
An office Christmas celebration gets out of control after an epic party is hosted by Clay, the branch manager, in an effort to impress a client and and close a sale that will save his job.
Pros: It’s a group of hilarious people being hilarious together.
Cons: Like a real office Christmas party, it takes time to warm up to.
Billy’s father gets him a unique pet for Christmas which has three very specific instructions. When Billy does not follow them, it unleashes a horde of monsters which attack the whole town.
Pros: Just when it seems like the plot has been predictably laid out, the movie transforms into something unexpected!
Cons: Might be traumatising. Kids, stay away.
34. Just Friends
Chris used to be ridiculed for being overweight. Chris is now a handsome, successful music industry executive, so when he goes back to his hometown, he’s ready to woo his high-school love once again.
Pros: Ryan Reynolds. I mean, come on. The guy’s a legend.
Cons: Needs more Christmas spirit!
35. This Christmas
When the Whitfields reunite for their first Christmas get-together in seven years, they discover forgotten bonds and family secrets.
Pros: Just the right balance between sentimental and sweet. Chris Brown’s singing is also a welcome surprise.
Cons: Very corny and cliche.
Have we missed any films that score a SOLID 10 in your book? Let us know which holiday movies are unmissable in your list.
Happy Holidays! HO HO HO.