What to Watch? Name Your Favorite Holiday Movies!

December 24, 2008

Gizmo on Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house… Inspired by SlashFilm's Question of the Week, I've decided to start a similar discussion on Christmas Eve today with all of our readers, with an extra suggestion to include movies set during any holiday (including Hanukkah). I always love this time of year, catching up with loved ones, enjoying some rest and relaxation, and of course, spending plenty of time revising all the best Christmas classics and holiday favorites. So name your own favorite holiday movies and give me (and anyone reading this) the best suggestions for a movie to watch on this wonderful night.

Without question, the three ultimate Christmas classics I've got to start with are: A Christmas Story, Home Alone, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. These have been a part of my own Christmas heritage since before I even remember watching movies. And next I've got to also mention the first Santa Clause, which is still a favorite of mine, and Bad Santa, another Christmas guilty pleasure. And to top it all off, I can't forget Die Hard, Gremlins, Love Actually, Elf and TV's Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie. And as a final tip, I'll throw in The Hebrew Hammer as well.

So bring on the holiday joy and give me your own best unexpected Christmas movie suggestion. Who knows, I might just end up watching it tonight if you name one that I really can't pass up.

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  • K
    It's A Wonderful Life National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Die Hard and for the kid in me... Mickey's Christmas Carol. Can't go wrong with those, a little something for everyone. Enjoy and Happy Holidays everyone!
  • Kill the Batman
    It's A Wonderful Life
  • K
    I'll also add... White Christmas and Scrooged. So many great movies, hard to make a list.
  • Jedi
    You can't go wrong with the classics: Holiday Inn Miracle on 34th Street It's A Wonderful Life A Christmas Carol, and some of the other versions: A Christmas Carol (with Patrick Stewart) Scrooged A Muppet Christmas Carol Happy Holidays!
  • xerafoo
    Love Actually! Best Christmas romantic comedy ever... My wife and I watch it every Christmas.
  • Peloquin
    See Alex, this is why I love this site and your taste in film...it's like you lived the same childhood as me. All the films you named are the holiday classics I live by...I'd add Nightmare Before Christmas in there too though (not sure if that's classified as a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie, but I'll leave that up to this forum).
  • Vole
    Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
  • thebirdman
    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Scrooged A Charlie Brown Christmas Rudolph the RedNosed Reindeer Frosty the Snowman Classics...'nuff said.
  • craig
    wooow no mention of THE SNOWMAN!! that is a must to get you in the xmas spirit!!
  • Matt Suhu
    Hands down...Home Alone. That's our generation's Christmas movie.
  • C-Young
    Man... for my family and I it was always Scrooged and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. I can remember sitting in a lodge in Garmisch Germany on a xmas family ski trip watching each of these. Of course we brought them! Skis... check! Snow gear... check! Lampoons and Scrooge VHS... CHECK! Great times... "Put a little love in your heart!" Have a great Christmas everyone!
  • It A Wonderful Life Home Alone Die Hard Gremlins Family Man Batman Returns Chuck
  • Dave Lister, JMC
    Let's see... These are in no particular order, as I find it is impossible to say one of these Christmas movies is better than another. I love them all in different ways. A Charlie Brown Christmas -- a perfect commentary; and a lot of fun. The Polar Express -- Yes, I know the animation style throws some people off; but I love it anyway. N.L.'s Christmas Vacation -- the saucer sled scene is still a classic; and so is, "Merry Christmas! Shitter was full!" A Christmas Carol -- The Alistair Sim version, the Patrick Stewart version and 'Scrooge' with Albert Finney are all excellent... not a big fan of the George C. Scott version though. Elf -- This is a lot of fun. Jon Favreau did a nice job evoking the old Arthur Rankin/Jules Bass specials that we all grew up watching. This is Will Ferrell at his most endearing. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer -- This was a must watch every year when I was growing up. It is by far the best of the Rankin/Bass specials. Some prefer The Year Without A Santa Claus; but the only truly memorable part of that one was the Coldmiser/Heatmiser song. After that, it gets pretty thin on quality. Home Alone -- ...the first one. I have to admit though I haven't watched this in a couple of years; but I always want to fit it in during the Christmas season... "Keep the change, ya filthy animal." -*-*-*-*-*-*-*- --Honorable Mentions-- Die Hard -- ...and the second Die Hard. While they are both set on Christmas Eve, I still remember them as the summer movies they were when they originally came out (as was Gremlins); but really that's just nitpicking. I only hesitate to include them on a Christmas movie list because I'll watch them any time of the year. Merry Christmas, everybody!
  • Derek
    Die Hard Scrooged Muppet Christmas Carol (from 1992, not anything after that) A Christmas Story It's a Wonderful Life National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation The Ref (just about the funniest Christmas movie ever) And of course, you gotta show some love to the Bass/Rankin offerings, plus A Charlie Brown Christmas. Enjoy the holidays!
  • Gah! No "It's a Wonderful Life," "Miracle on 34th Street" or Bing Crosby movies? Alex, you're KILLING me, bro! 😎 MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU my movie news site brutha! Vic
  • Lucas Moreira
    Black Christmas Silent Night, Dead Night
  • Dave Lister, JMC
    Whoa!!! I (criminally) forgot to mention A Christmas Story... how could I do that? ...unpardonable, just a terribly glaring omission...
  • Muppet Christmas Carol the way to go!
  • Ariel
    Die Hard Scrooged All I can really say is, "Now I have a machine gun, Ho-Ho-Ho."
  • William
    A Christmas Carol (1938, Reginald Owen in my opinion, was an outstanding Scrooge) It's a Wonderful Life A Christmas Story National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Will Vinton's Claymation Christmas A Charlie Brown Christmas Home Alone 1 and 2 Christmas in Connecticut and Miracle on 34st Street (the originals)
  • Jedi
    No one has mentioned The Grinch yet! Not the Jim Carrey piece of crap, the Boris Karloff narrated animated version. "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch. You really are a heel....."
  • Richard
    What the Hells wrong with you guys, your forgetting A Christmas Story. Must sees: Its a Wonderful Life Scrooge (the musical with Albert Finney) National Lampoon How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the cartoon of course) Rudolph, Frosty, Drummer Boy (claymations) Just Friends (I kinda saw this only a few years ago recently and I love it now) Nativity Story (new one for us every year) Like to see: The Santa Clause Scrooged Die Hard 1 & 2 Gremlins Home Alone
  • MrSammich
    To get in the Christmas Spirit I go ahead and put in my favorite dvd, The Passion of the Christ.
  • Smiley
    The Proposition although a little harrowing for Christmas
  • Itri
    The Polar Express, no two ways about it.
  • Dave Lister, JMC
    Wouldn't The Passion of The Christ be more of an Easter film? ...just asking; to each their own.
  • Pedro Lopes
    Die Hard 1 & 2 Gremlins 2 Home Alone 1 & 2 Back to the Future 1, 2 and 3 Nightmare Before Christmas and to any family that has kids now... there's no Christmas without Harry Potter
  • Forgot to include my full list: 10. Scrooged (haven’t seen this one in ages but I remember liking it a lot) 9. Home Alone (I balk every time my wife wants to watch it but I always end up liking it) 8. White Christmas (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, c’mon!) 7. Die Hard (“It’s Christmas Leo - a time of miracles.”) 6. A Christmas Carol (the George C. Scott version) 5. The Santa Clause (so sue me - I think it’s funny and touching) 4. Elf (the only movie in which I’ve really enjoyed Will Ferrell) 3. A Christmas Story (big time nostalgia for me) 2. Miracle on 34th Street (the original, of course) 1. It’s a Wonderful Life (Best. Christmas. Movie. EVER. We save this one for Christmas day.) Vic
  • cmedina
  • dan
    1.polar express 2. it's a wonderful life 3 national lampoons xmas vacation 4. deck the halls 5. family stone 6 twas the night before christmas (animated; 30 minutes) 7.christmas carol (george c. scott or patrick stewart version) 8 christmas story
  • Tim C
    planes, trains & automobiles is one I love to watch, even though it takes place at thanksgiving
  • Al
    Elf Its A Wonderful LIfe Gremlins (does it really count?) A Christmas Story The Muppets Christmas Carol Nation Lampoons Christmas Vacation Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Richard
    Oh I forgot for some reason I'm drawn to watch Lord of the Rings movies during Christmas, must be because they all came out in Dec and then the DVDs came out in Dec too.
  • peloquin
    @ 12... Batman Returns?...Really?
  • Mauricio Ageno
    Bad Santa
  • As I wrote in the top-10 countdown of my favorite Christmas movies in my (Greek) blog, my top 3 is: 3. The Polar Express 2. The Nightmare Before Christmas 1. Love Actually
  • L
    Me and my brother used to face off and see how many times consecutively we could watch A Christmas Story in one sitting on the TBS marathon. He eventually beat me with 11 viewings to my 8. The only thing you could get up for was food, drinks, or bathroom. We made everyone else miserable during that one day, but I'll never forget them. A Christmas Story all the way!
  • Haven't seen A Christmas Story, but I have to be in agreement about Home Alone and Christmas Vacation. Scrooged is another of my favourites. Gremlins and Die Hard top my list of "Anti-Christmas" movies. I also have a soft spot for The Muppets Christmas Carol, which I've enjoyed watching ever since it came out when I was 10.
  • Steven
    Hands down, It's a Wonderful Life. Man, if you haven't seen it, that's what you're watching tonight. Done and done.
  • Taylor
    Jingle All the Way. Great Christmas movie or greatest Christmas movie?
  • ken
    jingle all the way home alone its a wonderful life
  • Yogi
    Die Hard Die Hard 2 The Muppet's Christmas Carol Lethal Weapon
  • CardinalPride
    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation for sure. I know a lot of people love A Christmas Story, but I hate it. I'd rather watch 24 straight hours of one of those Yule Log DVDs than A Christmas Story.
  • Sean
    What? No one picked Reindeer Games for their list? Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a bloody shootout, Charlize Theron's breasts, and the atrocious acting of Ben Ass-lick. LOL But seriously ... Die Hard A Christmas Story The Santa Clause Santa Claus: The Movie Love, Actually Jingle All The Way (Sinbad saying "Ta ta, Turtle Man" slays me) Plus, there's some classic TV episodes that I always watch. Most every Simpsons Christmas ep and the episode of Married ... with Children with Sam Kinison as Al's guardian angel in the 'It's a Wonderful Life' spoof. Classic.
  • Dave
    24 hours of A Christmas Story ftw!!
  • Bob
    The Snowman 1982
  • Ty
    Loved your post! Here's an 8 minute holiday treat.. One of my NEW favorite Christmas movies, “The Gift Wrapper”, I saw in a film festival this year and it was just posted on youtube for the holidays and thought you all might like to check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZWdjrTmSCs Classics for me are: It's a wonderful life meet john doe Serendipity A Christmas Story Holiday Inn Miracle on 34th Street and now The Gift Wrapper... :-)
  • cody
    i would have to say a 1. a Christmas Story 2. Lethal Weapon 3. Scrooged
  • Rick
    Thank #21. The original grinch is a classic
  • zubzwank
    I just watched Fred Claus. It wasn't as bad as everybody makes out.
  • Dan W
    Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Bry from Chi
    Charlie Brown Christmas (love that dancing scene recently recreated on Psych) Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the original cartoon) In the Good Ole Summertime (most of the story takes place during the Christmas season) Arsenic and Old Lace (I know the story takes place during Halloween but...) Die Hard A Christmas Carol (with Patrick Stewart and the kid from "I Am David") NBA and NFL games (sorry..I'm a chick who LOVES sports too!) That's about it. :)
  • This is awesome...I thought I was the only one who considered "Die Hard" the best Xmas film. "Death Race" made my list this year as well :)
    Its a toss up between Showgirls and Cool As Ice.
  • LeeMan
    i know it was released in july, but tim burton's charlie and the chocolate factory just has the perfect christmas feel, what with the snow and all. there was also a short movie i used to watch when i was a kid about a mother ppolar bear who gets separated by her kid, but i forgot the name i guess my top 3 would be the obvious 3: 3. a christmas story 2. it's a wonderful life 1. home- KEEP THE CHANGE YOU FILTHY ANIMAL!
  • kiran halcyon
    DIE HARD easily the best my family watch it every christmas eve but I would like to give a nod to a couple of underappriciated holiday films a muppet christmas caroll the definitive telling the Ref I'm sure someone had to have mentioned it but I didn't see it this is a must watch
  • Ian D. Holmes
    My wife and I have a series of movies that we watch every Christmas season: In no particular order - National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas Elf Mickey's Christmas Carol (must be watched on X-Mas Eve...tradition since I was little) Love Actually A Christmas Story The Holiday The Ref (criminally under-rated) It's a Wonderful Life (also X-Mas Eve) Just Friends Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer A Christmas Carol (starring Alastair Sim, George C. Scott or Patrick Stewart) Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmans (animated) Hope everyone has a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!
  • Zach
    The Muppet Christmas Carol. I watch it every year on Christmas Eve.
  • Colin
    The Long Kiss Goodnight
  • Biff Tannon
    Eyes wide shut.
  • A Diva's Christmas Carol - I couldn't think of any and its on TV right now.
  • lam4x4
    my best movie is SCROOGE whith bill murray
  • Ivan Arcaya
    1. It's A Wonderful Life. 2. Meet John Doe. 3. White Christmas, 4. Holiday Inn. 5. A Christmas Carol -1951 version with Alister Cook. 6. A Christmas in Connecticut.7. Miracle on 34th Street. 8. A Christmas Story. 9. Scrooged 10. A National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. 11. The Cartoon Version of Dr Seuss" How The Gringe Who Stole Christmas". 12.Rudolf The Red Nose Reindeer 13. Mickey's Christmas Carol. 14. A Charlie Brown Christmas. 15. Die Hard. 16. Love Actually. 17. Twas The Night Before Christmas- Cartoon. 18. The Ref.19. The Holiday 20. Frosty The Snow Man. 21. The Little Drummer boy.
  • Die Hard, Bad Santa and Scrooge (most versions).
  • paul
    Die hard and Better Off Dead (I don't think anyone mentioned that one yet). It wasn't all Christmas, but had some in it.
  • 65 comments and like only 3 people mention The Ref? WHAT THE FUCK PEOPLE?!?!??!??!!!???!!
  • Tim "Cloverfield"
    Scrooge with Albert Finney is the Best Muppet Christmas Carol Oscar worth Scrooge performance The Ref Love Actually White Christmas Wonderful Life Scrooged
  • Skovacs13
    Santa's Slay and Gremlins
  • The Delighful Deviant
    Gremlins, Bad Santa, Friday After Next
  • werdnafaz
    gremlins die hard 1 & 2 the ref NL Xmas Vacation predator 1 jingle all the way elf scrooged plains trains and automobiles
  • werdnafaz
    ohh yeah home alone 1 & 2 😛
  • CatieLee
    Personally, I like the old classics - The Bishop's Wife (the original with Cary Grant and David Niven) The Lemon Drop Kid It's a Wonderful Life (although the Times Pointed out it's not always so wonderful - ) A Christmas Carol with Alister Sims Holiday Inn Some fun ones are Elf A Christmas Story White Christmas The Grinch I can't believe so many people mentioned Love Actually. What an awful film - bad editing, shoddy writing and loose ends all over the place at the end. But what do you expect from a guy who writes sit-coms.
  • CatieLee
  • Ivan Arcaya
    I meant " Holiday Affair " with Robert Mitchim for # 19. Instead; I typed " The Holiday".
  • Ivan Arcaya
    #70 I recognize most of the films and have seen at least four fifths of them. However; I don't understand Predator 1. I would understand Aliens VS Predators. Predator 1 is in the very hot jungles of South America. Aliens VS Predators was in a very windy , icy cold snow storm. Please explain how Predator 1 remotely reminds you of Christmas. All the others mentioned either had to do with Christmas directly or were during winter and it was cold or snow was falling and/or on the ground. lol and may you have a happy New Year.
  • Hilander
    Our Christmas movie, since it's release in 2003, is Love Actually. Must see. Don't care about the rest anymore. LOL.
  • Kris
    For me and my family we always watch... Polar Express White Christmas A Christmas Story
  • Allen
    Our favorite is "We're No Angels" with Humphrey Bogart, Peter Ustinov, Aldo Ray and some other greats of the 1950s. Hilarious black humor and a true Christmas story. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048801/




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