I have spent more years than I care to admit watching Christmas films. I am no fair-weather Christmas film watcher.
Oh no, from September, Christmas movies are fair game in my house. This, in my very humble opinion gives me an edge when it comes to sitting here telling you what I believe to be the best Christmas films of all time.
No messing from me, we are straight in with number 30 (I am reading this in my head like old radio 1 chart countdown…feel free to do the same!)
The first but certainly not the last interpretation of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol.
It sees Bill Murray doing what he does best, mean and moody with only a slight flicker of remorse. It’s a dark but funny take on a classic Christmas tale.
Bridget Jones’s Diary
What is there not to love about a single woman facing Christmas alone, again? Bridget was my go to over many a single Christmas. I can’t walk away from her and her terrible love life now I am no longer a ‘tragic spinster’ can I?
It’s A Wonderful life
This classic film will be sure to have you weeping in to your mulled wine. Poor George Bailey and his Christmas time woes, thankfully all ends well which is sure to give you all the Christmas feels.
Following the journey of the March sisters over many years, Christmas features heavily throughout.
I won’t lie, I am very excited to hear that a new version is being released in the UK on the 27th December 2019. This indeed makes it a Christmas must watch!
Ernest saves Christmas
If you’ve not heard of the slightly odd Jim-Carrey-esq-before-Jim-Carrey-was-even-a-thing character, well you’ve been missing out! Ernest and his quest to save Christmas was the first Christmas film I ever watched. And BOY did we watch it, over and over again!
You would not believe my delight when it appeared on Now TV at Christmas a few years back!
The Muppet Christmas Carol
The 2nd version of A Christmas Carol to grace my list. And what a great version, What is not to love about Kermit and Miss Piggy as The Cratchit’s?
As a children’s version of the classic tale, it sticks to the story pretty well and throws in some great laugh out loud moments. Light the lamp not the rat, light the lamp not the RAT! Being a firm favourite.
24. Harry Potter
Mainly the Philosophers stone, but I find all of them perfect Christmas viewing. They barely even cover Christmas but it’s the cute winter scenes that do it for me.
23. Fred Claus
Santa’s wayward brother is roped in to help at Christmas, Saving the day and himself from his questionable lifestyle choices. Its funny and heartwarming, the main ingredients for a good Christmas film.
22. The Snowman
Raymond Briggs brings us this wonderful short film and thankfully it is played year after year. Of course it has no dialect throughout but it really doesn’t need it. The iconic ‘Walking in the air’ and the music in general tells the story beautifully.
21. Father Christmas
Thank you again to Raymond Briggs. This funny look at 12 months of Father Christmas’ life is genius.
What does Santa do when he is not delivering presents? Well he travels the world of course. The perfect way to prepare for another ‘Bloomin’ Christmas!’
20. Santa Clause 3
I can’t really cope with these films being on the list but not in order, but they should have made them equally good shouldn’t they?
This is a great film, just the weaker of the 3. Christmas is under threat thanks to Jack Frost and his wicked ways. He should definitely stick to giving us snow only.
19. Daddy’s home 2
Now this might not seem like the ultimate Christmas film but it really is! Father and step-dad come together to make the perfect Christmas for their children.
In steps Mel Gibson as the absent Father and Grandfather and Christmas Chaos is not far behind. A particularly hilarious scene involves the Christmas lights, but you’ll have to watch it to find out!
I think this film holds a place in my heart because it is filmed partially just up the road in Coventry. But certainly the first film is a great watch. Martin Freeman plays a great teacher and the children really make the film very funny.
17. Santa Paws
Think Annie vs Well any cute dog film and this is a great Christmas make. As with most of these films, the race is on to save Christmas.
16. Arthur Christmas
Another save Christmas story, this time one child has not been visited by Santa so his youngest son step’s in to make sure that no one is left without a gift on Christmas morning. A great family film to enjoy together.
15. The Grinch
This green, Christmas hating monster is one of the most iconic Christmas characters and for good reason. Jim Carrey’s portrayal is brilliant, I have yet to watch the Benedict Cumberbatch version but I am sure it is equally as good.
14. Santa Clause
I watched the first installment of this trilogy when I was younger and I am still waiting for the moment Santa falls off my roof and I can put on his jacket and become the real Father Christmas. I want talking reindeer’s, I want the naughty and nice list delivered to my house and I want elves to make me hot chocolate!
13. A dog called Christmas
This is a film I found by accident. I saw the word DOG and CHRISTMAS and I was sold! It is one of the most beautiful stories and so well played out. F was obsessed with it and would watch it all year round!
12. Christmas with the Kranks
It seems that Tim Allen is to Christmas films what Santa is to Christmas! This time he is not playing Santa but Mr Krank. Him and his wife are trying to avoid the madness of Christmas now their children have grown up but a last minute change of plan means they have to throw the best Christmas at the very last minute. Can they pull it off?
11. Four Christmases
Even if you’re a big Christmas fan, I think you’d be hard pushed to celebrate it 4 times though with varying family and hilarious outcomes. Vince Vaughn and Reece Witherspoon make a great, if not unlikely comedy act in this Christmas film.
10. Get Santa
If you have not seen this British Christmas film, what have you been messing around at!? No seriously??
It is one of the best released in the last 5 years. Jim Broadbent was made to be Santa and when he ends up in jail, it is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.
It is due to this film that ‘Get outta your face’ is one of my all time favourite quotes. And you need to see it just to see big JB sporting corn rows!
9. Home Alone 2
This is where my obsession with New York at Christmas began. We follow Kevin as he gets seperated from him family AGAIN!
Careless or what? Now it doesn’t have quite the same WOW factor as the first but it is the magic of New York that really does it for me.
8. Miracle on 34th Street
Only Mara Wilson could play such a precocious character so well and still be loveable. Susan is a young child who doesn’t believe in Father Christmas as her Mum believes it to be the best to manage her expectations. So of course young Susan meets the REAL Santa and is soon on a mission to really believe in him and convince the world to as well.
It is such a lovely film and again has New York as its backdrop which is a win for me.
7. The Santa Clause 2
The favourite film of this trilogy for me. Santa has to find love and time is running out. You won’t believe this but the race is on TO SAVE CHRISTMAS!!
There is definitely a strong structure to the making of a Christmas film hey.
Tim Allen’s Santa Clause is pretty magical and his quest for love is a funny one.
Despite the ordering in this top 30, I’d definitely recommend watching them in order though.
6. The Polar Express
This is the perfect Christmas eve movie. It is a must in our house. The animation is brilliant and unlike most standard animations and Tom Hanks brings the whole thing together beautifully.
It tells the story of non-believers on a magical quest to uncover the truth about Christmas and make them believers. I can’t help but feel like the biggest believer in the world after watching this film which is why it is a must on Christmas eve.
5. The Family Stone
Here’s a more adult film that isn’t about saving Christmas but simply finding a way to survive Christmas as part of a large family.
Meredith is a newbie to the Stone’s Christmas and the film tells the story of this socially awkward lead, desperate to be accepted by the close-knit family.
The whole thing is flipped on its head with a very sad sting in its tail. But this does make for a beautiful, poignant and laugh out loud film throughout.
4. Love Actually
Since 2003, this film has been a firm favourite. Almost always sitting in the top 3 of my favourite ever films. Not just for Christmas… But ONLY to be watched at Christmas… Just so you know!
I love any film that focuses on various people who in some way tie in to each other and this one is the best. The casting is brilliant, the soundtrack spot on and it will have you laughing and crying throughout.
3. The Holiday
Again this is a film that comes high up in my favourite films ever. I love the idea of swapping houses with someone and I really want to live in the cute little home that belongs to Kate Winslet’s character.
For many years I related to Iris more than any other character in a film I’d seen before. I was Iris. So naturally I was backing her from the start.
This feel good film has Christmas right in the heart of it and I adore it.
2. Home Alone
I remember going to the cinema to watch this, a cinema trip was a big deal when we were kids.
And Home alone delivered. I had never seen a film quite like it, and as a child, we’ve all wished for the freedom that Kevin had by being accidentally left behind.
Can you imagine being able to get up to whatever you wanted at that age? Eating ice cream from the tub while watching a film your parents would never allow you to watch.
And of course having to save your home from the bad guys?? Amazing! I always thought about how much fun he must have had making that film.
It has Christmas in spades and I adore it as much now as I did when I first watched it.
I wonder if you saw this one coming?
Where to even start with this film… It has to be the greatest film ever made. The tale of an oversized Elf who is in fact not an Elf and goes off to search for his real Father.
Will Ferrell played this child like character so convincingly that I still only see him as an elf, no matter what I am watching him in.
This film has given me some of the my most quoted lines. I will often burst in to song when I am in a shop. ‘I’m in a store and I’m singing’ much to the kids disgust.
‘SANTA! I know him’
‘I just like to smile, Smiling’s my favourite’
‘There’s room for everyone on the nice list’
Honestly I could go on and on. We watch this film probably more than is needed over the festive period but just when I thought I couldn’t love it anymore, I watched it with the girls for the first time and it was like watching it for the very first time. Watching the magic through them and the laughter. That for me is what Christmas is all about.
So there you have it. My ultimate Christmas watch list. Now you can see why I have to start watching them so early just to fit them all in.
And just as a side note…. Die Hard IS NOT a Christmas film…OK!
Which on the list is your favourite? Have I missed something that I should be watching? Or have I got it completely wrong?
I’d love to hear all about your must watch Christmas film’s and what they mean to you.