Christmas is coming and there are a lot of Christmas movies that are aired on television and available for streaming. I made a list of 50 Christmas movies that could put you into the spirit of Christmas.
The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
A teenage boy lost faith in the Christmas spirit and is slowly turning himself into a petty thug. After a night babysitting his younger sister, they stumble upon Santa Claus. The role of Santa Claus is like a combination of Charles Dickens’ Christmas spirit, Disneyesque joyous Santa and a con artist. It’s actually a really nice Christmas movie to start a marathon of Christmas movies.
The Night Before (2015)
Three friends come together to celebrate Christmas just like they use to. A good movie about togetherness and friendship during the holidays in adulthood. This movie is slapstick with the same improvised lines as in most Seth Rogan films just now with coordinated holiday-themed sweaters.
Office Christmas Party (2016)
A tech company is at risk of closing right after Christmas. The Head CEO organizes an office Christmas party to boost morale and Christmas spirit. The movie falls short on logic but is still funny.
A funny and different approach to the Santa Claus tale in stories. A grown man who was adopted by elves and grew up in the North Pole ventures out to find his real father near Christmastime. Will Ferrell is really funny in this movie as an enigmatic hyper elf seeing New York for the very first time.
Die Hard (1988)
This movie originally was supposed to star Frank Sinatra, was filmed in a few weeks in the middle of July at one of the Fox Studio-owned building under renovations. This turned into a quotable action-packed movie. A cop from New York is visiting his ex-wife in Los Angeles then terrorists at her place of work during an office Christmas party. It’s up to John Maclean to save the day.
The Night Before Christmas (1993)
A stop motion animation about the King of Halloween having a mid-life crisis about what he could be doing with his time and life. He stumbles onto Christmastown where everything is all about Christmas and decides to celebrate everything cheerful and giving in his town of Halloween town, where everything is about Halloween and celebrating everything spooky and macabre. This is a great stop-motion animation that if you want an example of good emotions, great songs and very stylized direction and character models.
A Victorian depiction of the classic tale of A Christmas Carol. This isn’t the classic and the often shown version that’s on television every year but the 1970’s cynical version that went all out on colourful settings and dark atmosphere for the story.
A Christmas horror story about a modern German heritage family being haunted by the ghastly creature Krampus, a being that punishes the bad and rotten around Christmastime. He’s almost like the anti-Santa Claus but reinforces balances around the times.
Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
When a married couple who has done the same thing year after year for Christmas think they have a clean break from tradition when their daughter goes on vacation to Peru with her boyfriend. But when she comes back with her boyfriend boosting about the grand Christmas she usually has, her parents try to accommodate their daughter and try to string up a classic Christmas. The movie is not that great with the main major downside being the noisiness of their neighbours.
The Santa Clause (1994)
When a workaholic divorced deadbeat father of one accidentally kills Santa Claus he becomes destined to fill in the shoes of Santa Claus. There are a lot of funny jokes about him physically transforming into Santa Claus and great emotional transformations of him turning into someone warm too. The movie in many respects has aged as much and still is an enjoyable classic. Also, it was able to spawn two sequels, one good the other missable.
Fred Claus (2007)
Fred’s brother is Santa Claus and he’s the lovable sightly immature guy that somewhat screws up things around him but loves Christmas. But when his brother is being audited by the IRS for taxes it’s up to Fred to save Christmas.
A Christmas Story (1983)
Ralph wants one toy for Christmas and every single time he says he wants a BB gun for Christmas everyone keeps on telling him that he’ll shoot his eye out. It’s one of those classics like It’s A Wonderful Life that’s on every single year sometimes an all-day Christmas marathon run.
A modern-day retelling of A Christmas Carol. This time it’s about a television executive trying to put together a time period-accurate and flashy version of A Christmas Carol for television on Christmas Eve night. The story adds another layer to the story by showing more in-depth character development of Scrooge and the people around him.
Billy is given a rare, endangered and dangerous fuzzy little cute animal that has very specific ways to feed and care for the animal. It messes up in one small way and the little creature sprouts gremlins that terrorize the whole neighbour on Christmas night. This is like a horror movie slash Christmas movie in one.
Batman Returns (1992)
The sequel to Batman from 1989 takes the Caped Crusader to darker adversaries in the Christmas season. This is one of those Christmas movies that are very memorable for its Gothic dark tone that’s not always in Christmas movies. It is watchable any time of the year but around Christmas time with the snow falling and tree lighting that makes this movie stand out from the very happy, bright and vividly red-toned movies ever done. It’s also well-acted, too.
Home Alone (1990)
A kid from a bratty family is mistakenly left behind when they all go to Florida for Christmas. The young protagonist is stuck in Chicago to do all the chores, the cooking, the shopping and to defend the house when two burglars invade. This film had multiple sequels with similar premises.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
The Griswalds are having a grand Christmas vacation at home all thanks to the promised Christmas bonus. Family from both sides make the pilgrimage to the host house. They buy a big tree, put up Christmas lights and have a holiday meltdown.
Trading Places (1983)
A rich man trades places with a poor man on a vet of a buck. The value of class and friendship versus materialism and snobbery are the basis of this classic versus what the bet was truly about. Even though this film was released in the summer, not winter.
A Preacher’s Wife (1996)
An angel falls to Earth only to help a preacher out in the holiday season and to fall in love with his wife. It was remade in the 1990s and it kept the same whimsy and magic as the original. The original version was called The Bishop’s Wife from 1947 starring Cary Grant as the angel from Heaven.
Black Christmas (1974)
A serial killer on the loose on a university campus around Christmastime staking his victims and commenting murder. This was filmed on the University of Toronto campus in the 1970s with a mostly Canadian cast. This film was one of the definitive films that started the slasher movie craze.
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (1956)
A stop motion film about a reindeer outcast going on a quest with an elf outcast to find belonging away from people who mocked them only to find the Christmas spirit and a scene of belonging.
The Ref (1995)
A thief breaks into a wealthy family’s house only to discover misery and a lot of fighting due to an impending divorce. It had a very common theme that most Christmas movies have but it was very jumbled and cynical which negated the Christmas theme altogether. But it does have a lot of one-liners that are very good.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947 & 1994)
Santa Claus is on trial for not being Santa Claus because the courts wanted to prove that Santa didn’t exist. The film talks a lot about belief and the meaning behind Santa Claus and identity. The remake has a similar feel but the classic film has a bit more charm.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
A con artist escaping the mob is hired as an actor and consultant for a crime series. This is in the same category Die Hard is in that it’s not really a Christmas movie but set around the same time frame that Christmas has occurred with a lot of Christmas products around.
In Bruges (2008)
More of a New Years’ movie because it takes place after Christmas but I’m counting it anyway. A hitman depressed about the recent job that he has done contemplates living with his fellow hitman friend. while his friend is awaiting further instructions from their boss, they wait in the city of Bruges, Belgium during the Christmas/New Years’ break. It’s a dark comedy with offbeat humour.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
During the Christmas break, a boring married couple explores other options to excite their marriage. The wife has lustrous affairs and the husband joins a cult. It was Stanley Kubrick’s last film. The film is dark, sophisticated and not cheery while being based around Christmastime.
Tokyo Godfathers (2006)
I spoke about this movie before when I wrote about a mini-movie marathon about Satoshi Kon. Three homeless people in an unconventional family of friends living together in a shelter find a baby on Christmas Eve. They take it as a sign to find the mother in the midst of the Christmas spirit and being good charitable people.
Bad Santa (1999)
Bad circumstances made a man and his accomplice work has a surely department store Santa and elf while scouting the store to rob. He realizes that someone might be on to him. After forming a small friendship with an awkward small child he is forced to stay in this child’s house until the heist is over. This was one of those edgy dark comedies from the late 1990s to early 2000s that contains a lot of profanity, crudeness, offbeat humour and gross-out scenes. The movie has a Christmas tale that is somewhat like a meaner-spirited up-to-date grinch tale.
Family Man (2000)
A businessman contemplates what life would have been like if he married his ex-years ago on Christmas night. From a glimpse of what could have been from a mysterious stranger, the once businessman starts to see what he was missing from all of these years. Nicholas Cage and Tea Leoni are great in this film.
Surviving Christmas (2003)
A lonely millionaire pays a family to act as his family for the holidays. The family is miserable but they play along with the rich man’s game for money. They were chosen because they were living in the childhood home of the rich man. It’s a comedy with a weird concept that should be watched at once.
Jingle All The Way (1996)
A comedy about buying the Christmas give for your child that he has been asking about for the whole year. Instead of disappointing him, a father goes out on the busiest shopping day of the year to purchase the toy only to run to another person in the same predicament. It’s memorable as a slapstick comedy by Arnold Schwarzenegger but it wasn’t his best family-friendly comedy but there are some exceptionally funny scenes in the film.
A holiday meet-cute movie that is based around Christmastime is about two people from different cities meeting in a department store then being linked back together after they both find one of the pairs of gloves. It’s almost like a movie that runs on coincidences and goes with your gut feelings.
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
A school teacher starts to have flashes of a former life when the Christmas break starts. After a Christmas party and a Christmas parade, she is hunted by one of her targets. She was able to defend herself just like her dream and click in instincts. She hires a private investigator to help her track her former life. This is one of those action movies that sometimes get overlooked but it is good.
While You Were Sleeping (1995)
An oddly very romantic comedy about a Chicago ticket collector with a crush on a frequent patron saves the life of her crush after he falls on the train tracks. While he is induced in a coma in a hospital she is inducted into his family after a misunderstanding. It’s a charming movie that could have looked creepy if Sandra Bullock wasn’t so good in the movie.
Cool Like That Christmas (1993)
A 1990’s FOX Animation short about a teenage boy acting selfishly during Christmastime. I think he steals a pair of shoes for his father and buys himself new sneakers. He feels guilt and rectifies the situation. It’s a film that is sadly lost to time due to it being a one-time made-for-TV Christmas special two days before Christmas. The film has an interesting illustration style that was truly early 90’s that is rarely seen nowadays. From what I remember from the special was that his prized possession was a sweaty Patrick Ewing hand towel that he used during a game that he kept for several months in Tupperware. A hand towel that ended up being washed by his mother by accident.
Mixed Nuts (1994)
An ensemble cast of sorts of a Christmas comedy. The story is wrapped around a suicide prevention hotline that might go out of business in the new year helping people on a sunny Californian Christmas Eve. A series of unfortunate circumstances happen surrounding the office and people of this suicide hotline. Madeline Kahn and Liev Schreiber were actually funny in this very stuffed movie. The movie somewhat suffers from too many events and characters in 94 minutes trying to make you laugh.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1983)
A horror movie cult classic that now from retrospect has gained more respect from people. Two young children lose their parents on Christmas night driving home from a visit with an elder by a side of the road psycho. The two orphans are sent to an orphanage run by nuns who traumatize them more. They both hate Christmas to an extreme level and the oldest child (the film of which is based around) goes on a psychotic break dressed in the Santa Claus costume his employment requested him to wear. This movie uses the Santa Claus costume in a villainous light which was controversial at the time. Many people and critics boycotted this film when it was first released.
White Christmas (1954)
The Bing Crosby Christmas classic is about a song and dance team becoming romantically invoked with a sister act. They team up to save a failing inn in Vermont for their former commanding general. This classic is filled with a lot of good musical numbers like the title song most people usually hear this time of year.
A lost reindeer find his way to a small child in a town not filled with Christmas spirit. The small child tends to the reindeer inspiring her to bring her family, her friends and the town together. The film is very sentimental.
Polar Express (2004)
Based on the 1985 illustrated book by Chris Van Allusberg is a film that was captured by live-action motion capture animation. The book was very charming and the film is the same charming but due to the experimental filming in the early 2000s people found the 3D animation capabilities to be too much for them. Now when it’s more than ten years later the film finally found an audience.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966, 2000 & 2018)
This story was remade at least three times since its first airing. The first is a classic cell animation, the second is a live-action film with Jim Carrey and the other one is a 3D animation. Some people don’t like Christmas for various reasons. One Grinch had enough and wanted to take away “Christmas” from his fellow townspeople of Whoville. Some sort of version usually airs this time of the season for anyone to catch a broadcast.
Christmas in Connecticut (1945 & 1992)
I would skip the 1992 version unless you want to see a rare film with Dyan Cannon and Kris Kristofferson in the same movie. A woman who wanted a low-key Christmas goes to Connecticut with her family only to find romance in another man. The Barbara Stanwyck version has a more romantic feel of romance during the holidays.
Joyeux Noel (2006)
This is a movie that was inspired by a true story that took place in the Great War. The German, French and English army front put their differences down for one day and celebrated Christmas together. The story is beautiful in the sense of the power of Christmas bringing people together but Boxing day might have been a nightmare.
Arthur Christmas (2007)
A 3D animation movie about getting a gift to the missed child on Christmas day from Santa Claus. The structure of the Santa Claus workshop is very interesting. It’s like a combination of a naval lookout ship and a very corporate company with the leader of the company being chosen by it being passed down to the next son.
Trapped in Paradise (1994)
This is a predictable Christmas comedy about three thieving brothers who mess up a large heist and are caught. Two out of the three brothers are arrested and the other brother moves on with his life. Some time passed and the brothers are united again and back doing crime in a sleepy small town with a large sum of cash on Christmas night. The movie is a pretty good comedy that better to watch in between very sentimental Christmas dramas.
Christmas in July (1940)
A young couple in New York a little unlucky wins a lot of money after winning a contest in making up the new slogan for a coffee company. Money comes and goes but the couple stays together.
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011)
The latest film in the Harold and Kumar series of movies with the two stoners taking on Christmas. The two stoners go on a large trek of holiday misadventures after they burned down Harold’s father-in-law’s Christmas tree.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1988)
This was a classic comedy by Steve Martin and John Candy. A businessman going home for Thanksgiving has a series of unfortunate events happen to him that used a plane, train and automobile in some variety to get back home. He meets a travel friend who tries to help him get to his destination. This is still a great movie to watch around Christmastime.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
This film follows a man wishing if he wasn’t born at all only to have an angel talk about the people he touched during his years on Earth as a glimpse of what life would have been like if he wasn’t around. The history of the distribution rights of this film really weird is due to falling in the public domain in the 1970s and networks needing something to air on Christmas day for families with commercials. The renewed popularity of the film made it a Christmas classic instead of a forgotten RKO film from the post-war era. The more explained tale is by Filmmaker IQ.
The original Christmas classic from the same time period of T’was the Night Before Christmas and a Christmas Carol. This is timeless by Marius Petipa (choreography), Lev Ivanov (choreography) and Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky (music) wrote the two-part ballet which first premiered in St. Petersburg in 1892. The play was based on Alexandre Dumas’ “The Story of a Nutcracker” [or “The Nutcracker and The Mouse King”] in 1816. Since then it’s been adapted multiple times in ballets, movies and tv specials.
I know I am missing a few but that’s okay there’s always next year. 🎄