6 Best Christmas Movies of All Time
Friday is CHRISTMAS. And I'm so freakin' excited. Christmas is my favorite holiday... I love the food, the lights, the warm drinks, the songs, the gifts, and the giving spirit and joy that comes out of this season. And maybe most importantly, the movies. My dad is a huge Hallmark Christmas movie fan. Can't stand 'em. But he has passed on his love of some other Christmas movies. I think it is so fascinating to talk to people about their favorite Christmas movies. So often it is linked to their childhood or some other significant memory. Some people prefer classics. Some prefer rom coms. Some prefer comedies. Regardless, we continue to argue for the top. So here are my top Christmas movies. If you don't agree with me, I don't care. These are the ALL TIME TOP Christmas movies. Period. ;)
1. The Polar Express (2004)
Okay, I love this movie. More than anything. Sometimes I wish I had an excuse to watch this movie in the middle of summer. And I’m not gonna to lie... Sometimes I secretly do. In 2004, when I was in the 1st grade, my whole elementary school got bused to the movie theatre to watch The Polar Express. And every year after that, we watched it on the jumbo screen in our gym. So, lots of nostalgia here. But I honestly feel like this movie has everything you need in a Christmas movie. Santa. Hot chocolate. Magic. An amazing soundtrack. The essentiality of belief. Because here’s the thing, even as an adult now, I still am left moved by themes in this movie. When Tom Hanks says, “Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see,” I melt and fall over. Just a wonderful movie.
2. Klaus (2019)
So not a lot of people know about this one. But it has become one of my favorites over the last two Christmas seasons. It has been nationally recognized and awarded, becoming the first animated film from Netflix to be nominated for an Academy Award. A BEAUTIFUL movie. I watched this one more than 10 times last Christmas and sobbed every single time. The animation. The music. The story. The characters. All of it is breathtaking. It is also a unique twist on the Santa origin story with the main character being a postman in a frozen, scary town. If you haven’t seen this one, put it on the top of your list.
3. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
Okay… I know that you’re looking at the date here and recognizing that this is not the original Miracle on 34th Street. And for that, I’m sorry. But I love this version. And I think it is my favorite version because it’s the one I grew up on. So, don’t be mad at me for not picking the 1947 movie. Blame my parents. I think this movie is also one of those classic feel-good stories. The young girl doesn’t know if she believes any more, but Santa gives her everything she wants (including a brother, which I don’t really know how he pulled that one off…), and the whole state of New York rallies together to keep the belief in Santa Clause alive. I really don’t know what more you can ask for in a Christmas movie. (Also, I love Mara Wilson who played the young girl, Susan. She also plays Matilda in the 1996 movie.)
4. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
Again. Hot take. But Home Alone 2 is better than the first Home Alone. This movie is SO good. Not only do you have all the wonderful characters in the first movie, but it is also set in New York. The most magical city at Christmas. Most of the time I despise sequels, but this one is everything you want. Characters that are fleshed out even more. A story line that continues on the first but is more exciting. And new characters that add to the overall arch. This last point is what sends this movie over the top for me. Remember the Pigeon Lady? The Pigeon Lady is what makes this movie. Her love for Kevin and Kevin’s love for her. The ability for Kevin to show her joy and care during the Christmas season. That is beautiful and heartwarming. Because I’m also an actor, let me nerd out on her acting for a sec. The Pigeon Lady is played by Brenda Fricker, an Irish actor. While she is not often talked about, she is the star of this movie. Her acting is so real. You can see everything in her eyes. If you think about it, she hardly moves her face or body. But her eyes. I would give her all the Academy Awards for her performance. Next time you watch this movie, watch the Pigeon Lady.
5. The Grinch (2018)
I’ve always been a fan of the Jim Carrey How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but it never made any top lists for me. Then in 2018 Benedict Cumberbatch voiced the Grinch in an animated version. And now, as you can see, the Grinch story has become part of my top 5. This movie also just tugs at the heart strings. More than any other Grinch movie, the 2018 version really makes you feel for the Grinch and how alone he feels. Because he’s an orphan, all you want is for him to be part of the Christmas celebrations and a family. This makes Cindy Lou Hoo welcoming him into their home so powerful. This movie resonates with people who don’t necessarily love the Christmas season for reasons surrounding family or bad memories. It is also a funny and beautifully animated movie. Again, if you haven’t watched this version, I highly recommend.
6. A Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)
I had to include this one on the list because it is a family favorite. My dad loves this movie and always has. He watched it as a kid and has forced us to watch it as a family every year. It’s claymation, so the characters are cute. There are fun songs and visually it’s super interesting to watch, especially as someone who didn’t grow up watching anything in claymation. This is your classic Santa story. With some really fun villains. Really, this is a perfect Christmas movie.
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