Good news, it’s officially time for all things holly jolly. What better way to welcome December then with a Christmas film?
There are endless Christmas movies to choose from and it can be arguable which movies are considered “iconic.” So, the criteria for choosing films were based on those that regularly appear on Freeform’s “25 Days of Christmas” schedule as well as a few additional fan-favorites.
Can’t decide what to watch? We have created a movie ranking -- highlighting the tried and true holiday staples that, much like Santa Claus, only make an appearance once a year.
- National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Year after year, this movie has the same jokes. Yet, year after year, it’s still hilarious. The movie isn’t comically carried by one main person. Instead, it’s a team effort where each character has their funny moments. Uncle Lewis catching on fire, Aunt Beth saying the Pledge of Allegiance and Clark kidnapping Frank. The result? A chaotic and unusual holiday you wish to witness in person.
What’s not to love about Buddy the Elf? Elf is a true fan-favorite. Everyone can recite at least one line from the movie, like “cotton-headed ninnymuggins” or “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” It is filled with iconic scenes and is a crowd pleaser that suits any age. Will Ferrell is funny by himself, but dress him up as a human who believes he’s an elf? Comedic gold.
3. Christmas with the Kranks
This movie is underrated. The message in Christmas with the Kranks is heartwarming and makes everyone smile. Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis play parents who have to scramble to put together Christmas for their daughter returning home. It needs to be perfect, complete with the Christmas ham, but the preparations predict it’ll be far from it. The ending gets me every time.
4. A Christmas Story
“You’ll shoot your eye out!” TBS plays this movie for 24 hours straight every Christmas Eve. That says something. It is a wholesome fan-favorite sprinkled with funny scenes about a boy who badly wants a “Red Ryder air rifle."
5. The Nightmare Before Christmas
My first time watching The Nightmare Before Christmas was last week and I wish I watched it sooner. Regardless of your opinion, there's no arguing that the animation style of this film is fascinating. The details are intricate. Every character is incredibly unique. Each song is catchy. Honestly, the movie is all-around incredibly clever. Bonus points: The Nightmare Before Christmas could double as a Halloween or a Christmas movie.
6. The Santa Clause
An unlikely candidate stumbles upon becoming the next Santa Claus. The movie is a comedy that reminds you of the magic of Christmas and all that is involved with being Santa Claus. It’s a family favorite movie.
7. A Charlie Brown Christmas
The Peanuts gang are a hallmark of every major holiday. A Charlie Brown Christmas is a childhood favorite revisited each year. Although it has no words, the music in this goes hard. It’s not about the tree, but rather the people gathered around it.
8. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Compared to the first movie, I appreciate how Home Alone 2 had a more realistic scenario of getting separated from your parents. However, it wasn’t a necessary sequel. It was basically the first movie but set in New York City.
9. Home Alone
OK, the only problem with this movie is how unrealistic it is. Your parents forgot you at home when traveling to Paris? I get mistakes happen, but if I was Kevin, I would definitely be holding a grudge. That aside, it’s a good movie. Not stellar or anything, but reliably good. The booby traps set for the Wet Bandits are funny, and I must say Kevin is a resourceful and clever kid.
10. The Santa Clause 2
Sequels to hit movies tend to be let down sometimes. However, that wasn't the case for The Santa Clause 2. The film further developed the loveable characters and spun in romance as Tim Allen sought out to find Mrs. Claus. The villain, robot Santa Claus, was definitely creepy though.
11. Miracle on 34th Street
Out of all of the old Christmas classics, this one is the best. It follows a little girl's journey struggling to believe if Santa Claus is real. Plus, it features the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Kris Kringle being put on trial.
12. The Muppet Christmas Carol
Unpopular opinion, the Muppets are awesome. The Muppet Christmas Carol puts a silly, refreshing and musical twist on the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge.
13. Love Actually
Love Actually interweaves multiple stories under one important theme, love. It isn’t suitable for the whole family, but great for an older crowd to celebrate the season with a festive, dramatic romance film.
14. It’s a Wonderful Life
Oldie, but goodie. Can’t complain too much about it. You wouldn’t sit down and watch this movie with your friends, but if your grandma has it on, you watch it with her.
15. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
The utter ridiculousness of this movie is the only reason it lands so high up on the list. I have to hand it to the movie, it is incredibly impressive. Jim Carey is dressed scary accurately as the Grinch and the Who costumes are spot on as well. The movie is weird and painstakingly long at one hour and fifty minutes. I would never watch it the whole way through. But if on TV, I will watch a few minutes just to get a laugh.
16. The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
Out of The Santa Clause franchise, this one is the worst. It was simply unnecessary. It’s not that it’s awful to watch, just forgettable. I had to Google the plot to jog my memory and still there is not much to tell. Santa battles Jack Frost in this movie. That’s it.
17. The Polar Express
Since 2004, for some reason, teachers have loved playing this movie in school. Every kid has watched The Polar Express in class at least once. The animation was odd and Tom Hanks voices almost every male in the film. Straight up, the movie drags. I honestly thought it was two and a half hours long, until I discovered it's only one hour and forty minutes.
18. A Christmas Carol (2009)
Everyone knows how the story goes. The animated retelling was okay -- nothing new, nothing really standing out.
19. White Christmas
Has anyone under the age of 25 voluntarily seen this movie? It checks the box of being a classic and the plot isn’t bad, but there have been many better movies out since it’s debut in 1954.