Top 25 Essential Christmas Movies

Updated November 2019

Christmas movies do something a bit strange to us all, don’t they? It’s a time when we will sit for hours watching the most inane rubbish that wouldn’t get a look in the rest of the year. And we thoroughly enjoy it at that!

But of course, there are some absolute classics that are magical and truly outstanding. I think watching the best and the worst of Christmas movies brings out the child in us. Nostalgia rules. There really is something special about Christmas past.

Here I share some essential Christmas movies, some of my favourites and those of my friends.

1. Miracle on 34th Street
This is my ultimate Christmas movie. It has to be the one with Richard Attenborough. He’s the perfect Santa. Add in a handsome man, gorgeous woman and Mara Wilson as the cute adorable child how could it fail? I have watched this over and over again and will continue to happily watch it every year.

2. The Christmas Chronicles
This comes in from 2018 as a new favourite after discovering it whilst watching Netflix Christmas movies last year.

3. The Holiday
This is something I’ve watched by accident so many times not realising I’d watched it before. The name may be unremarkable as a Christmas title, but it’s such an enjoyable film.  With a mix of California and the English countryside, it certainly gets a thumbs up from me.

4.-5. The Snowman and Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs
Essential viewing for all ages. Even though I was a teenager when The Snowman first came out, it was a part of Christmas Eve tradition then. It carried on when my kids were small, and I still enjoy them now as an adult.

6-12. Love Actually, Brigit Jones 1-3, Notting Hill, Four Weddings, About a Boy
In fact, anything with Hugh Grant in gets my vote for Christmas viewing, or anytime when I need a bit of feel good in a film. He’s usually a bit of a pompous cad but there’s something very likeable about his characters too. I love the entire cast in these films, they are so quintessentially English.

13-15. Mrs Miracle trilogy
I have watched this and its follow ups several times. Lovely cheesy films that give a warm feeling. Think Mary Poppins, Mrs Doubtfire and a cuddly old grandma all rolled into one. I didn’t realise this trilogy was based on books by Debbie Macomber, who I’ve read many books by.

16. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Another classic that may seem a bit dated now but still worthy of a giggle. Fabulous characters with over the top Christmas scenarios.

17. Home Alone
More giggle factor with the quirky Macaulay Culkin.

18-19.  Santa Claus The Movie & Elf
These two have still survived the decades.

20. The Polar Express
Even though the characters have a real creepy vibe to them, this is still a magical must see. I remember going to see it with my children at the cinema when it came out. I recently asked them if they remembered it. “Yes mum, you cried, you are so embarrassing.” Haha, job done!

21. A Christmas Carol
No specific version but I do like a good cartoon of this film.

22-25. Die Hard & Lethal Weapon (1 & 2 of each)
Let’s face it most of us of a certain age could watch a marathon box set of each of these films. For the sake of getting more films in, I will just choose the first two from each title. Nothing like a bit of dated tongue in cheek action to relax you.
More Christmas Movie Favourites

Others that featured in friends’ essential Christmas movies were How The Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, various Disney Christmas cartoons, The Great Escape, Wizard of Oz, Ghost and even Jason and the Argonauts! It doesn’t necessarily have to be a film about Christmas but something that we associate with Christmas past.

One that was consistently mentioned was It’s a Wonderful Life. After hearing so much about this Christmas movie, I watched it last year for the first time. Hard as I tried I really couldn’t get into it at all! There are so many Christmas films out there though aren’t there? Something for everyone.

Happy viewing everyone.

What are your essential Christmas movies?
What do you think is the best and worst of Christmas viewing?

white wood background with brown paper wrapped present and text Essential Christmas movies
The Best & The Worst of Christmas Movies

Many thanks to Stacey, Anne Marie, Rie, Denise, Ali, Dawn, Lisa, Laura, Sarah and Janine for their contributions.

15 thoughts on “Top 25 Essential Christmas Movies

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