Christmas Top 10s: Christmas Movies

The “Christmas Top 10s” series is a subjective look at Christmas carols, hymns, and movies that accompany the holiday that everyone loves dearly. The things that pop-culture has given us in this celebration in terms of music, filmmaking, and art is awesome, so why ignore it? Instead, let’s have some fun with this series every Friday of December 2018 as we anticipate Christmas Day.


One of the most incredible things about living in America is the amount of cultural traditions we have around Christmas time as well as the celebration of those customs through various art forms. The art form that I personally most enjoy is film and cinema.

I’ve always been a big fan of movies and of the craft and art of filmmaking. It’s honestly fascinating how it all comes together to form a story that captivates your eyes. Whether it’s into a fantastical world like in The Wizard of Oz (1939) or a grounded personal narrative such as Citizen Kane (1941), movies have a way of transporting us to another world and to an amazing story, and it couldn’t be more true in regards to Christmas movies.

We all have our favorites, some of us probably even have some great memories of watching certain Christmas films with family and friends. Like everyone else, I definitely have a personal favorite, and it may be different to yours which is completely fine. For this list, I decided to compile all the films I consider to be incredible achievements of cinema as well as just fun and entertaining pictures that appeal to my senses.

I had a lot of fun writing this one, and I hope you have a lot of fun reading this. Some of my opinions of these films may be different from what you may feel about these films and I hope that’ll contribute to the fun.

Now before I start the list, I must warn you all that there are some Christmas movies I have not seen yet, so if you’re wondering why I don’t mention these following movies, then just know it is because I don’t like to make an opinion on movies I haven’t been able to see fully or analyze. The movies are:

  • A Christmas Carol (1938)
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  • Love Actually (2003)
  • The Family Man (2000)
  • Bad Santa (2003)
  • The Holiday (2006)

With all that out of the way, here’s my personal list of dishonorable, honorable and absolute favorite Christmas movies!

Dishonorable Mentions

  • Gremlins (1984) — I just don’t get it. Sorry.
  • Shrek the Halls (2007) — Don’t know why it was even made.
  • Frozen (2013) — “LET IT GO!!”
  • A Christmas Story (1983) — It’s overacted and not that funny.

Honorable Mentions

  • The Nativity Story (2006) — A courageous and honorable undertaking, but not enough compelling characterization or dialogue.
  • Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) — A decent movie with great moments.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) — A classic and a staple of Christmas pop-culture.
  • Daddy’s Home 2 (2017) — Look… I love Mel Gibson, and the movie was incredibly cheesy and it was a whole lot of fun. I’m actually sorry it didn’t make the top list.
  • White Christmas (1954) — An incredible musical and groundbreaking in innovative filmmaking. Sadly, it just didn’t make the final cut (pun intended).

The Top 10

10. Jingle All the Way (1996)

I watch this every Christmas and I still laugh hysterically at the idea of Arnold Schwarzenegger being on the hunt during Christmas Eve for a child’s action figure. It’s absolutely golden! The movie has certainly aged and it’s definitely a product of the 1990s, but that is what adds to its charm and it is sure to bring a good time to most holiday movie fans. Plus, who can forget the classic lines from Schwarzenegger such as, “PUT THAT COOKIE DOWN!!” or “I’M NOT A PERVERT!” Classic.

9. Home Alone (1990) 

This is not only considered one of the best Christmas movies, but it’s also considered one of the absolute best comedy movies. This movie is truly iconic and definitely has set the standard for all future Christmas movies.

Apart from the cool aesthetics of 1990s Chicago during Christmas time, the story is amazing and there is a lot of depth in the characters, particularly Kevin and Kate McAllister. Also, the slapstick comedy actually works in this film and is super funny. Plus, it’s hilarious watching Joe Pesci trying not to curse in a family film.

8. The Polar Express (2004)

This film defines “Christmas movie magic.” The Polar Express has a way of making children feel wonder and adults feel like kids again. The fantastical premise is honestly really imaginative and the motion-capture performances from Tom Hanks really sell this film. From the Conductor to Santa Claus, this movie sells the world it transports you into, and it is why it is still one of peoples’ all-time favorite Christmas movies.

7. The Santa Clause (1994)

Tim Allen is one of the funniest actors ever, and he sells it as the replacement Santa Claus. The premise is ridiculous, yet interestingly charming: Scott Calvin accidentally causes Santa to die, causing him to become the new Santa according to a legal contract known as the “Santa Clause.” From there, he goes through immense physical changes and funny cravings. The whole journey is really fun to watch and the comedy actually works.

The movie has aged in some ways, and not in a negative way. It’s mostly in a way that makes you go, “Gosh! Everything really was simpler back then… I miss that!” This movie was a childhood favorite of mine for a long, and I honestly think it will continue to be and I can’t wait to show it to my kids one day.

6. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

In my opinion, this is the best of the Home Alone movies! Christmas in New York City will always be iconic and amazing to look at, and the film really takes advantage of exploring the city’s landscape. The film does borrow a lot from the predecessor, but in my opinion, it improves upon the predecessor too!

The character interaction with the pigeon lady is superb, the relationship between Kevin and his mother is much more emotionally resonant and Kevin’s goodwill and heart are more present in the film. Best of all, the shenanigans and traps Kevin lays out for those two pesky robbers are infinitely better and way more over the top. This movie is seriously just great!

5. Elf (2003)

A person who grew up with elves his whole life, and then travels to New York City to find his long-lost dad and to spread Christmas joy to pesky New Yorkers. That is one of the best and funniest Christmas plots ever. This movie has some of the most iconic Christmas movie scenes, one of the sweetest romances in Christmas films and has some of the most quotable lines in movie history such as “Bye Woodie! Hope you find your dad!” Seriously, how can anyone not like this movie?!

4. Die Hard (1988)

Before you say it’s not a Christmas movie, the movie takes place on Christmas Eve, during a Christmas party, while Christmas music plays in the background… it is a 1980s action movie, but it is also definitely a Christmas movie! Not only is it strangely festive for an action movie about a hostage situation, but it is absolutely iconic and has set the standard for every action movie that came since. In my opinion, this movie should be in everyone’s Christmas film rotation.

3. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

Ok, I know I stretched my luck with Die Hard, but I know that right now you’re either going “Never heard of it.” or “A Bond movie?!” Yes, a Bond movie takes place during Christmas, and as a Bond fan, I must put it on my top three! Not only is this one of the most iconic James Bond movies ever made, but it is one of the best pieces of film ever produced. From the heart-pounding ski chases to the romance between 007 and Tracy, this movie will not disappoint you during this Christmas season.

2. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

I would be shocked if there would be anyone left in the United States who has never seen this film or at least heard of it, but just in case, I will not spoil it. If you have seen this, you know why I put this movie on this list and are also wondering why it’s not number one. If you haven’t, close this tab, go to Amazon Prime and watch it right now.

This movie has amazing dialogue, an incredible plot and a gut-wrenching performance from James Stewart that makes you really thankful that you are alive and will definitely make you leave the movie appreciating all the littelest blessing that God gives us everyday. This movie is truly one of the greatest films of all time, and will always objectively be the best Christmas movie ever made. However, there is only one movie that I will consider to be my absolute favorite Christmas movie ever…

1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

That’s right! This movie is the absolute funniest Christmas comedy film ever made. The Griswold family go through a whole lot of malarkey and mischief all so that Clark Griswold, the father, could make the best Christmas the family ever had. This movie consistently brings a smile and laughter to your face throughout the 100 minute runtime.

This movie has been number one in my mind for many many years and I think it will always be so. I watch this every Christmas and it never gets old. From the Mele Kalikimaka scene to the overly-lit house, watching this movie is a must this Christmas season, and I hope all of you will have a good time with this movie as much as I have.

That’s my personal top 10 favorite Christmas movies ever made and I hope you had fun reading. If you have any favorites of your own, feel free to comment or share it with us.

I really do hope that if you’ve never heard of or seen some of the films on the list that you would check it out! I also hope that if you didn’t see any movies that should’ve been on the list that you don’t kill me.

In all seriousness though, I hope that all of you, as readers, will be looking forward to the final part of this blog series where I will bring out my list of my favorite Christian Christmas carols. Until then, relish in the joy of the Christmas season and take heart in the promises that rest in our Savior’s birth, death and resurrection.

Soli Deo Gloria.

3 Comments

  1. We watched Christmas Vacation last night. Almost 30 years later, we still find it as funny as the first time we saw it in the theater.

    Missing from your list, maybe just as honorable mentions are Christmas with the Kranks … and how about the action flicks generally not considered Christmas movies, Rambo: First Blood, and The Long Kiss Goodnight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree Richard! Christmas Vacation is a classic!
      I actually thought the premise of Christmas with the Kranks was better than the actual movie, and I completely forgot that Rambo First Blood took place in Christmas. Sadly, I’ve never seen The Long Kiss Goodnight! I’ll check it out!

      Like

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