Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Eight Best Christmas Movies of All Time

I am working on a post about my favorite Christmas books because as my son gets a little older, I want to build up our Christmas book collection and develop some sort of Christmas book countdown tradition. But, in thinking about my favorite Christmas stories, I've discovered that most of them are movies. We are movie watching people here, so I'm thinking we're going to have to start a Christmas movie tradition too and get a collection of our favorites that we pull out every year. There really are a lot of great Christmas movies out there (and a lot of terrible ones, maybe that can be a post for another day), but when I think of the movies I'm excited to show my children, these are at the top of my list.

It's a Wonderful Life

A given, am I right? This has got to be the single best Christmas movie of all time. This movie will always have a special place in my heart because of Christmas Eve two years ago. I was alone in a hospital room a day after giving birth to my first child. My baby was in the nursery, and my husband had left to take my family home, and this movie was on TV. My husband came back to find me bawling my eyes out during that ending scene, when everyone's bringing their money in and the bell rings, and you know Clarence got his wings. I was totally postpartum hormonal emotional, and that scene just got me. I haven't been able to watch this movie since without tearing up, and without thinking about the birth of my sweet baby. This one will definitely be a family tradition.

Meet Me in St. Louis

This movie is just classic. If you haven't seen it, rent it. Buy it even. It's just so good and cheesy and fantastic. Strictly speaking, it's not just a Christmas movie (only the end really has anything to do with Christmas), but this is where the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" comes from, so it totally counts. There are so many great songs in this movie, and some of the best child acting I've ever seen (the two little girls are ridiculously cute). Judy Garland actually isn't my favorite (no offense to anyone who likes her) but this family and this story are just adorable.

Joyeux Noel

Okay, so yes, it's a foreign film. And yes, you have to read a lot of subtitles. But don't let that deter you! This is just an incredible movie about possibly one of the most heart-warming moments in World War history, and the fact that it's based on a true story makes it that much more powerful. Even if you know the story of the Christmas truce, this movie is still worth seeing. This one just reaffirms your faith in humanity.

*Warning: This one is rated PG-13, so not entirely family friendly. But still so good.

A Christmas Carol (1984 version)

I know there are a million versions of this story on the big screen, but I've got to give a plug for the 1984 version. This is the one I grew up with, and it was so well done. If you haven't seen this version, look it up. Definitely a classic.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

That being said, younger kids will most likely appreciate this version of Dickens' classic tale more. And I've got to hand it to those Muppets, they really do a fabulous job with the story. This is probably the only Muppets movie that I like, and I really like it. It's hilarious, but also packs the emotional punch of the story. So good.

A Christmas Story

I stand in awe of this movie. Not only does it capture the perfect nostalgia of a classic 1950's Americana Christmas, the humor is so spot on perfectly hilarious it's almost unbelievable. Every scene is classic, every line is quotable, and this one really is a cultural icon. Who can ever forget the leg lamp? Who will ever see a BB gun again without thinking "You'll shoot your eye out"? It really is the perfect funny holiday movie.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Do you know what I love about this movie? I love that it's actually about Christmas. I mean, it's actually about the birth of Christ. It's a message about rejecting the commercialism of the season and really focusing on Christ. What other movie on this list does that? Not one, I'm afraid to say, and that's why I want my kids to watch this one every year. It doesn't hurt that all the Peanuts characters are just awesome in general, and the music is fantastic. Love this little show so much.


Of all the movies on this list, this one is probably my least favorite. I'm just not sure it has the classic staying power of all the other movies here, but my husband loves this movie so much that it will have to be a part of any future family Christmas movie traditions. And I can appreciate that it is a hilarious movie. There are some fantastic quotable lines, and I'm sure my kids will love this one.

Now I realize there are some pretty popular Christmas movies that didn't make it on my list (Home Alone, Miracle on 34th Street, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, just to name a few) and that's not because I don't like them. These are just the ones I want to become part of our family tradition. My question is, am I missing any good ones? Any great Christmas movies out there that should be on this list? What are your favorites?


  1. Did you know that it was our tradition to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" on Christmas Eve night in our sleeping bags every year? Whoever was awake by the end had to turn off the TV :) Evy already mentioned in her plans for this year. I haven't seen Joyeux Noel or A Christmas Story (a shame, I know). One of my favorites is "The Nativity Story"; pretty good for being non-LDS.

    1. Um, yes, it is a shame you haven't seen A Christmas Story. We need to remedy that ASAP. I haven't seen The Nativity Story, but I should check it out. That would be a good one to add.

  2. Have you seen The Bishop's Wife? Loretta Young, David Niven, Cary Grant. My favorite Christmas movie.

    1. I'd never heard of that one before, but I just looked it up, and it sounds fabulous. I'll have to check it out. Cary Grant as an angel? Yes please!