1. Home Alone
The quintessential Christmas film. This cult classic catapulted Macaulay Culkin to international fame as the precocious young boy who gets left behind as his family depart for their annual Christmas vacation. Faced with the unwanted attentions of two bungling burglars, the eight-year-old ragamuffin devises ingenious contraptions to confound the pair.
2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Trust Jim Carrey to bring his trademark charisma and off-the-wall wackiness to the Dr Seuss story.
The first Dr Seuss book to be converted into a full-length feature film, this much-loved movie tells of how the grumpy Grinch plans to steal Christmas from the residents of Whoville once and for all.
3. Jingle All the Way
It’s Arnold Schwarzenegger like you’ve never seen him before! He’s a workaholic father who must prove his love for his offspring by gifting his son a sought-after action figure named Turbo Man. Inspired by the real-life stampedes for sales of toys like Cabbage Patch Kids, the film is equal parts slapstick and satire and sees Arnie turn comic for Christmas.
4. Miracle on 34th Street
This 1947 classic looks at what might happen if Santa really existed – and nobody believed him. Kris Kringle is persuaded into accepting a job as a department store St. Nick, though it remains to be seen if he is actually the real McCoy or just a mentally unhinged impostor. The 1994 remake is perhaps better known by today’s public but less well-received by critical audiences. A revisit to the original might be in order.
Will Ferrell brings his larger-than-life enthusiasm to the role of a human who was mistakenly raised by Santa’s elves. As a full-grown man, he returns to human society to try and rescue the soul of his father, who has fallen prey to greed and forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. Laugh-out-loud stuff from start to finish.
6. The Nightmare Before Christmas
What happens when the two holidays of Christmas and Halloween collide? Well, if Tim Burton’s judgement is anything to go by, it might be something like this film. Jack Skellington (king of Halloween) accidentally stumbles into Yuletide territory and decides to assert his right to rule by kidnapping Santa in this wonderfully weird stop-motion delight.
7. Love Actually
Perhaps the most successful Christmas rom-com of all time, Love Actually explores the complicated relationships and inter-relationships of a group of different people living in London. It takes place over a two-month period and serves up a welcome slice of warm fuzzy feelings that is guaranteed to go down well, especially over Christmas.
8. Die Hard
Ah, the perennial debate over whether Die Hard qualifies as a Christmas film or not. Even for the naysayers, this fun action romp is undeniably set around the holiday season, ensuring its perennial appearance on TV in the run-up to December 25th. For those unacquainted with the plot (where have you been?!), off-duty cop John McClane must fight off a whole tower block of baddies to win the day in the first of this five-film franchise.
Based on the Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol, Scrooged is a modern retelling of the timeless story. In the lead role, Bill Murray plays a hopelessly cynical TV executive who gradually has his worldview altered through the appearance of a succession of ghosts over the Christmas season. It was Murray’s first film after the success of Ghostbusters and found similar acclaim among his loyal fan base.
10. Bad Santa
Slightly different from the other entries on this list, Bad Santa is a misanthropic take on the festive season. Billy Bob Thornton plays a thief who poses as St. Nick every Christmas, only to plunder the department store after closing hours. However, his addiction to all of life’s vices make him increasingly unable to carry out his plans. Leading to much hilarity but few actual instances of redemption, not one for the kids!
Any other Christmas classics?
The sheer volume of Christmas movies out there means there are bound to be some of your favorites missing from our list.