Christmas is a holiday that has grown over the years to convey various types of feelings to different people. However, it’s not just feelings, it also provides specific yet different forms of entertainment to people all around.
One of those forms of entertainment is none other than holiday movies in the film industry. The holiday genre of movies holds a special place in our hearts because they truly uphold the Christmas traditions to the fullest.
They provide one of the purest forms of holiday joy to people which is enjoyed by everyone regardless of age and gender. The holiday genre of movies in the film industry has thus been widely loved and is a merry collection of movies that will always make us feel joyful.
So without any further delay, we present to all of you nice (and naughty) boys and girls out there the 10 best holiday movies that are sure to put you in the holiday spirit!
List of the 10 Best Holiday Movies
Now that we’ve successfully learned about what holiday movies entail and why they are so loved, it is time to take a look at the list of movies. So, without further ado, a table depicting the premier i.e, release date and ratings of the 10 best holiday movies in our list are given below:
|Movie Name||Release Date||Ratings|
It’s a Wonderful Life
January 7, 1947
|IMDb Rating: 8.6/10|
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93% out of 100%
How the Grinch stole Christmas
December 18, 1966
|IMDb Rating: 8.3/10|
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100% out of 100%
A Charlie Brown Christmas
December 9, 1965
|IMDb Rating: 8.3/10|
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86% out of 100%
November 8, 2019
|IMDb Rating: 8.1/10|
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 95% out of 100%
Miracle on 34th Street
May 2, 1947
|IMDb Rating: 7.9/10|
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96% out of 100%
The Nightmare Before Christmas
October 13, 1993
|IMDb Rating: 7.9/10|
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 95% out of 100%
A Christmas Story
November 18, 1983
|IMDb Rating: 7.9/10|
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 90% out of 100%
November 16, 1990
|IMDb Rating: 7.7/10|
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 66% out of 100%
October 14, 1954
|IMDb Rating: 7.5/10|
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 77% out of 100%
November 7, 2003
|IMDb Rating: 7.1/10|
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 85% out of 100%
1. It’s a Wonderful Life
Director: Frank Capra
- James Stewart as the male lead role is a partially deaf young man named George Bailey
- Donna Reed as the female lead role is George’s wife named Mary Hatch Bailey
- Lionel Barrymore as the evil villain who tries to cause George’s downfall named Henry Potter
- Thomas Mitchell as George’s Uncle who provides him with a job after his college graduation named Uncle Billy
- Henry Travers is a second-class guardian angel who is assigned to look over George named Clarence Odbody
Running Time: 131 minutes i.e, 2 hours and 11 minutes long in total
It’s a Wonderful Life is an American movie of the Christmas and fantasy drama genre in the film industry. It is based on the short story booklet named “The Greatest Gift” written by Philip Van Doren Stern and also loosely interpreted from the novella named “A Christmas Carol” written by Charles Dickens.
The movie has been recognized as one of the 100 best American films ever made and it was #11 on the 1988 greatest movie list by the American Film Institute. Furthermore, the movie is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential movies of all time and is also one of the best holiday movies of the vast Christmas collection out there to be precise.
Seemingly, the movie revolves around the main male lead, George Bailey, who is a suicidal man forced to deal with too many things at once. The movie starts in the year 1945 when we see George contemplating suicide in Bedford Falls, New York as he rethinks his life choices.
But the desperate prayers of his friends and family reach Heaven and a guardian angel is issued to protect George. The assigned one for George is a second-class guardian angel named Clarence Odbody who is given the job of protecting George in order to earn his wings back.
The movie then goes back in time to 1928, where we get to see a young George planning a world tour before college and also being reintroduced to Mary Hatch, who has been infatuated with George since childhood. But all his traveling plans are postponed due to his father’s untimely and abrupt death because he has to stay back to settle the family business named “Bailey Brother’s Business and Loan.”
George faces issues from a certain board member named Henry Potter who controls most of the town, as he seeks to dissolve the Bailey family business. But the other board members unitedly say that if George runs the business, they will not dissolve it to which George agrees.
George starts working to keep the family business running alongside his Uncle Billy while sending tuition to his younger brother, Harry Bailey, with the understanding that he will take over the business once he graduates from College. But to George’s utter dismay, Harry returns from college as a married man with a job offer from his father-in-law.
Analyzing the situation, George resigns himself to running the family business dejectedly with no other choice. On the other hand, he also rekindles his relationship with his childhood sweetheart, Mary, and they get married.
Afterward, we get to see George and his family’s struggling journey as they fight to keep the “Bailey Brother’s Business and Loan” family business operating while generating profit. We get to see the reason why George becomes suicidal and how Clarence saves him from death as George attempts suicide but realizes that death isn’t the solution.
2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Director: Chuck Jones
- The Grinch as the leading anti-social character and narrator, voiced by Boris Karloff
- Cindy Lou Who as a young Whoville resident, voiced by June Foray
- Max as The Grinch’s dog and partner in crime, voiced by Dallas McKennon
Running Time: 26 Minutes Long in Total
How the Grinch stole Christmas! is a cult classic animated television special short movie of the Christmas comedy genre in the film industry. It is also known as Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch stole Christmas! Because it was based on the book written by Dr.Seuss, i.e, Theodor Seuss Geisel of the same name.
It was released in 1966 exclusively on the television channel CBS. It was distributed by MGM Television and produced by Cat in the Hat Productions along with MGM Animations.
The story follows a creature named The Grinch, who is a grumpy and antisocial green furry creature with a heart “two sizes too small.” He is shown to be lonesome, living atop Mt.Crumpit, which is located above the village of Whoville, with just his dog, Max.
Because he is so grumpy and lonesome, he especially hates the Christmas holidays as it is a family holiday and has often been ticked off by the town’s annual Christmas celebrations. Due to his annoyance growing, he decides to finally stop Christmas from coming to the town of Whoville on Christmas Eve.
The short film follows him on his journey of sabotaging Christmas and shows us how he does it. Even though The Grinch ultimately fails, it is still one of the best holiday movies that you can watch because it shows us just how Christmas is special in its essence.
3. A Charlie Brown Christmas
Director: Bill Melendez
- Charlie Brown as the main leading character is depicted as a lousy and insecure boy voiced by Peter Robbins
- Linus van Pelt as Charlie’s best friend who is depicted as an intellectual and well-informed yet childish boy, voiced by Christopher Shea
- Lucille “Lucy” van Pelt Linus’ older sister is portrayed as a bossy and know-it-all girl who often bullies others, voiced by Tracy Stratford
- Sally Brown as Charlie’s younger sister is depicted as a dull young girl, voiced by Cathy Steinberg
- Shermy Plepler one of Charlie’s closest friends is depicted as a rowdy shepherd, voiced by Chris Doran
Running Time: 30 Minutes Long in Total
A Charlie Brown Christmas is another cult classic animated television special short movie of the traditional Christmas comedy genre in the film industry. The movie is a skit based on the characters from the comic strip, Peanuts written by Charles M. Schulz.
The animated short movie was released on the television channel CBS on December 9 in, 1965. It was produced by Lee Mendelson and co-produced by Bill Melendez.
The storyline follows the main character, Charlie Brown, as he feels particularly depressed despite liking a lot of things about Christmas and the onset of the holiday spirit all around his surroundings. He confides to his best friend, Linus, about his problems, and Linus reproaches him for his depressive thoughts regarding Christmas.
After Linus’ reproach, he goes over to Linus’ older sister Lucy’s psychiatric booth and tells her all about his problems and depression. After analyzing his situation, she suggests to him that he directs the group’s annual Christmas play to get involved in the Christmas festivities, and he agrees.
However, being involved in the commercialization of Christmas festivities, Charlie starts to become more and more depressed instead of feeling encouraged to participate in the celebrations. Afterward, we get to see Charlie’s journey as he tries to overcome his depressive thoughts and enjoy Christmas with his family and friends by making the annual play a success.
Director: Sergio Pablos
- Jesper Johansen, who is depicted as a lazy, spoiled, and self-centered postman, ends up befriending Klaus and making a pact to bring much-needed joy back to the town of Smeerensburg, voiced by Jason Schwartzman
- Klaus (Santa Claus) is initially shown as a reclusive and largely built woodworker whose specialty is making toys, voiced by J.K Simmons
- Alva as Jesper’s love interest, who is shown as a teacher turned into a fishmonger, voiced by Rashida Jones
- Mr. Aksel Ellingboe as the Ellingboe Clan’s patriarch is shown to be carrying on an ancient enmity feud with their rival clan named the Krums, voiced by Will Sasso
- Márgu is a Sámi girl who is shown to become friends with Jesper disregarding their language and cultural barrier, voiced by Neda Margrethe Labba
Running Time: 97 Minutes i.e., 1 Hour and 37 Minutes Long in Total
Klaus is a Spanish and American animated movie of the traditional Christmas genre in the film industry. It was the directorial debut of Sergio Pablos, and it was produced by his production studio named Sergio Pablos Animation Studios.
The movie was distributed exclusively by Netflix as it was co-produced by Netflix Animations. The movie was released in 2019 and was critically acclaimed for its animation, vocals, and vice versa, which earned the movie its 7 film awards.
The story follows the main male character, Jesper Johansen who is a lazy, spoilt brat son of a Royal Postmaster General. Jesper had been enrolled into the postman training academy with the hopes that he’ll reform, but Jesper doesn’t do so.
Left without any other choice, Jesper’s father sends him away to a distant town on the Northern island by the name of Smeerensburg. Jesper is sent there with the condition that he has to post 6,000 letters within a year. Otherwise, he’ll be written out of the family’s fortune.
Upon arrival, Jesper is introduced to the decrepit and divided town mostly inhabited by two clans, the Ellingboes and the Krum who are sworn ancient rivals and very unlikely to send letters anytime soon. Conflicted by his discovery, Jesper sets out to look for people to post letters to.
But instead of finding people to post letters to, Jesper ends up encountering a reclusive and large woodman who is a toymaker named Klaus. Terrified, Jesper flees the scene but, out of sheer fright, leaves behind a drawing he found from one of Krum’s children, which Klaus discovers and decides to give the child a toy.
Klaus then forces Jesper to take him to the house where the boy who made the drawing lives, and he then secretly leaves a toy inside for the child. The child is overjoyed by his discovery of the toy and spreads the news all around to other children who believe that sending Klaus a letter will magically make a toy appear for them.
Jesper capitalizes on the idea and, along with the help of Klaus, he decides to restore the much-needed peace and joy back to the decrepit town of Smeerensburg. We get to see Jesper and Klaus’ journey as they work together to spread joy.
5. Miracle on 34th Street
Director: George Seaton
- Maureen O’Hara as the Event Director of the New York City store, “Macy’s” named Doris Walker
- John Payne is an attorney who is Doris’s neighbor named Fred Gailey
- Edmund Gwenn is an honest man who likes to dress up as Santa Claus called Kris Kringle
- Philip Tonge as the Toy department’s head at the New York City store, “Macy’s” named Julian Shellhammer
- Natalia Wood Doris’s young and only daughter who she raised to not believe in fairy tales, named Susan Walker
Running Time: 96 Minutes i.e, 1 Hour and 36 Minutes long in Total
Miracle on 34th Street is an American movie of the Christmas comedy-drama genre in the film industry. It was initially released in the UK with the name The Big Heart based on an original story written by Valentine Davies.
The film’s premise is set in a time period in-between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas in New York City. Because of the simplistic yet wholesome storyline, the movie has become an everlasting Christmas movie all over the world and it is one of the best holiday movies that you can watch for the holiday spirit.
The story follows the female lead character, Doris Walker who is the Event Director of the New York City store, “Macy’s.” She is a young divorcée with a small daughter named Susan Walker, who she brought up with the belief that fairy tales do not exist.
At Doris’s workplace, an employee at the store named Kris Kringle is used as a replacement for the original Santa Claus actor for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade when the original actor is found unprecedentedly drunk before his act. He performs so well that he is instantly hired to play Santa Claus at the Macy’s store on 34th Street by the authorities.
Afterward, when Doris’s neighbor, Fred Gailey, who is an attorney, takes her daughter, Susan, out to see Santa, they meet Kris, who is dressed up as Santa. Kris is seen speaking Dutch with a customer, a young girl that does not know English, and that leads Susan’s beliefs taught to her by her mother to be broken, leaving her shaken with awe.
Doris instantly asks Kris to tell Susan that he is not the real Santa because she does not want her beliefs to be proven false, but he refuses to do so and insists that he is the real Santa. Worried about his suspicious behavior, Doris wants to fire him at once from the store premises.
In an attempt to alleviate Doris’s misunderstanding, Mr. Julian Shellhammer, who is the toy department’s head, suggests a “psychological evaluation” because Kris has been garnering lots of positive customer traffic and goodwill, and firing him would be a huge loss for the company. Afterward, we get to see Kris’s journey as he has to go through hurdles to keep playing Santa Claus and working at the store.
6. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Director: Henry Selick
- Jack Skellington is a skeleton who is known as the “Pumpkin King” of Halloween Town, voiced by Chris Sarandon
- Sally as Jack’s love interest who is a rag doll or Frankenstein’s monster-like creature and toxicologist, voiced by Catherine O’Hara
- Doctor Finkelstein is a mad scientist who is also the loving and overbearing “father” of Sally, voiced by William Hickey
- Mayor of Halloween Town as an over-enthusiastic leader who loves arranging town meetings and has frantic mood swings, voiced by Glenn Shadix
- Oogie Boogie is Jack’s Rival who is a Villainous Boogeyman and has an avid Passion for Gambling
Running Time: 76 minutes i.e, 1 hour and 16 minutes long in total
The Nightmare Before Christmas is an American stop-motion animated movie of the musical and dark fantasy genre in the film industry, which was released in 1993. It is also known as “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” because of being based on stories and characters by Tom Burton.
The premise of the story is based in a fantasy world, set in a town named “Halloween Town,” where various types of creatures and supernatural beings related to the holiday Halloween reside together in harmony. The town is led by a skeletal person named Jack Skellington.
Jack is called “Pumpkin King” by the residents of the town and is the leader who assists them in organizing the annual Halloween decorations for the festival. However, the story begins with Jack, who has grown tired of the regular Halloween decorations and wants to do something new this year for the spooky holiday.
Trying to think of something new, Jack wanders into the woods the following morning all by himself. After wandering for some time, he finds himself facing six different trees, each with a door leading to a different holiday-themed world, just like Halloween Town.
Jack stumbles into the door leading to the world based on the Christmas holiday named “Christmas Town.” Completely awestruck by the unfamiliar holiday of Christmas, Jack returns home with his findings and shows them to his friends and neighbors.
Without having any idea about the Christmas holiday, they start comparing it to their holiday, which is Halloween. Then, Jack ultimately decides that he wants to take over Christmas and improve it in his own dark style.
The story then follows Jack’s struggle as he tries to take over the holiday of Christmas while trying to fend off his rival who is Oogie Boogie. Oogie Boogie is shown as a Boogeyman who is known to have a passion for gambling, and he attempts to thwart Jack’s plans.
This unique animated twist on a Christmas special makes it one of the best holiday movies to watch for a dark and Tim Burton-esque Christmas experience.
7. A Christmas Story
Director: Bob Clark
- Peter Bingley as the young boy whose story is depicted by vignettes named Ralphie Parker
- Jean Shepherd as the narrative voice of adult Ralphie Parker
- Ian Petrella is the younger brother of Ralphie named Randy Parker
- Darren McGavin as Ralphie and Randy’s father, who is introduced to us as “The Old Man,” actually named Mr. Parker
- Melinda Dillon as Ralphie and Randy’s mother named Mrs. Parker
Running Time: 94 Minutes i.e. 1 Hour and 34 Minutes Long in Total
A Christmas Story is an American movie of the Christmas comedy genre of the film industry. It is based on two different books written by Jean Shepherd, one being his 1966 book, “In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash,” and the other being his 1971 book, “Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories and Other Disasters.”
This movie is the third installment in the Parker Family Saga Franchise. It was released in 1983 and distributed by UA Entertainment Co for the public to watch.
The premise of the movie is set in December of the year 1940. It is a narrative-style movie, where different vignettes are provided of Ralphie Parker’s childhood adventures and memories.
The vignettes are narrated by the adult Ralphie Parker, who tells us about various memories from his childhood consisting of his friends and family. He reminiscences all kinds of memories, from one particular Christmas morning to many others.
8. Home Alone
Director: Chris Columbus
- Macaulay Culkin is the leading eight-year-old boisterous young boy named who has a knack for inventing chaotic and harmful creations named Kevin McAllister
- Joe Pesci is a rather short and hot-tempered thief who targets the McAllister household along with his partner Marv named Harry Lyme
- Daniel Stern is a tall yet dim-witted thief who targets the McAllister household along with his partner Harry named Marv Murchins
- John Heard as Kevin McAllister’s father, named Peter McAllister
- Catherine O’Hara as, Kevin McAllister’s mother, named Kate McAllister
Running Time: 103 minutes i.e., 1 hour and 43 minutes long in total
Home Alone is an American movie of the Christmas comedy genre in the film industry. It was produced by John Hughes and released in 1990 to tumultuous response which makes it one of the best holiday movies that you can watch!
The premise of the movie is set around the McAllister household, who decide to spend their Christmas together as a family in Paris. The movie starts with them preparing for their departure the night before in their suburban home in Chicago.
The focus of the story is on Kevin McAllister, the youngest son of the McAllister family. Because him being the youngest son, he is naturally subject to regular bullying from his older brothers.
That night, Kevin ruins the family dinner unintentionally after starting a brief fight with his older brother, Buzz, during which his airplane ticket is accidentally thrown away. Because of this, he is sent up to the Attic as time out by his mother, Kate.
Afterward, Kevin berates his mother for letting the rest of the family pick on him and insult him, and he also tells her he wishes that his family would disappear. Later that night, a power outage occurs due to heavy winds outside, resulting in the alarm clocks being disabled, leading the McAllister family to oversleep.
In the morning, due to the confusion of waking up late and rushing to the airport, Kevin is accidentally left behind. Kevin wakes up later and is undoubtedly delighted to find his family house empty, thinking his wish has come true.
But things take a turn for the worse when the McAllister family house is targeted for robbery by the duo of thieves, “Wet Bandits,” which includes Harry Lyme and Marv Murchins. Kevin is home alone, and he has to take care of the duo of thieves all by himself.
9. White Christmas
Director: Michael Curtiz
- Bing Crosby, a former broadway star and Captain named Bob Wallace
- Danny Kaye is an aspiring private stage performer named Phil Davis
- Rosemary Clooney as Bob and Phil’s former Mess Sergeant’s sister, who becomes Bob’s love interest and is an active performer, named Betty Haynes
- Vera-Ellen as Bob and Phil’s former Mess Sergeant’s younger sister, who becomes Phil’s love interest and is also an active performer, named Judy Haynes
- Dean Jagger, as the retired Major General, named Major General Thomas F. Waverly
Running Time: 120 Minutes i.e, 2 Hours long in Total
White Christmas is an American movie of the musical dance genre in the film industry. Being filmed in Technicolor, it was released in 1954.
The premise of the movie is set at the height of World War II in 1944 in Europe. It follows the story of two people, former Broadway star Captain Bob Wallace and aspiring stage performer Private Phil Davis.
The story starts on Christmas Eve in 1944 when Bob Wallace and Phil Davis are entertaining the 151st division with a soldier’s show. They are doing so because they’ve all been informed that their Major General Thomas F. Waverly has been relieved of his duties in command and is retiring.
They enjoy their time together and send the Major off in style with rambunctious applause. But things take a nasty turn when enemy bombers attack after Waverly’s departure.
Amidst the chaos, Phil saves Bob from a collapsing wall and gets wounded by the debris in turn. Moved by Phil’s help, Bob asks how he can pay Phil back for saving his life, to which Phil suggests that they should become a duo act.
Bob is reluctant to do as Phil suggests, but he feels obliged to say yes and agrees to become a duo act with Phil. After the war, the duo became very successful, first as performers and then as producers making a hit musical.
Afterward, they are met by Ben Haynes, who they call “Freckle Face,” their old Mess Sergeant. Ben asks them to look at his sisters, Betty and Judy Haynes act as if they are performers as well.
Both Ben and Phil become infatuated with Betty and Judy, respectively, and start working with them. The story follows them as they struggle to strike up a relationship with the Haynes sisters and how they help to rebuild their former General’s failing inn.
Director: Jon Favreau
- Will Ferrell is a very preposterous human who was raised by Santa Elves, named William “Buddy the Elf” Hobbs
- James Cann is a Children’s book publisher, and Buddy’s biological father named, Walter Hobbs
- Zooey Deschanel is a lonely and grumpy worker at Gimbels, which is a local American department store named Jovie
- Daniel Tay as Walter and Emily’s son, who is also Buddy’s younger half-brother, named Michael Hobbs
- Mary Steenburgen as, Walter’s wife and Michael’s mother, who is also Buddy’s stepmother, named Emily Hobbs
Running Time: 97 Minutes i.e. 1 Hour and 37 Minutes Long in Total
Elf is an American movie in the Christmas comedy genre in the film industry, which was released in 2003. It became a huge critical and commercial hit by earning a gross profit of $225.1 million against a mere budget of $33 million.
Elf follows the story of an orphaned baby who accidentally gets taken to the North Pole. Upon spotting a teddy bear in Santa Claus’s sack, the orphaned baby climbs into it.
And like that, he is unknowingly taken to the North Pole where he is discovered by the Elves at the workshop. After being discovered, the Elves end up accepting him into their community and name him “Buddy” based on his diaper brand’s label.
Buddy grows up in the workshop with the Elves in their community, considering himself to be an Elf as well. But it all changes when one day, he overhears some Elves saying that he is not an Elf, but a human!
Buddy then confronts Papa Elf, who then answers all of Buddy’s questions. He tells him that he was born as a child to Walter Hobbs and Susan Wells, but he was given away for adoption by his mother.
His mother, Susan, died shortly after putting Buddy up for adoption and without ever letting Walter, his father, know about the pregnancy. Papa Elf also tells Buddy that his father is in New York City working as a Children’s book publisher.
Buddy then makes up his mind to hunt his biological father down and travels straight to New York City. The story then follows Buddy’s adventures as he tries to make amends with his biological father, Walter Hobbs.
The holiday season is a very special time of the year for a huge lot of people out there, especially those who can’t make time for the family throughout the rest of the year. It holds a very sentimental value as it is celebrated for being the biggest family gathering of all time, and it also stands for the season of giving.
This specific holiday comes only once every year, and we start preparing for it as early as possible because, you know what the old folks say, it’s never too early for Christmas! The best way to celebrate such holiday spirit is, of course, by spending time with family, having good food, and treating each other with a bucket full of love by sharing gifts.
And how can you spend quality time with your family and enjoy the holiday season to the fullest? Of course, the answer is by watching holiday movies with themed holiday snacks and all the members of your family!
So what are you even waiting for? Dive right into the world of holiday movies this cold season and give yourself a dose of wholesome and joyful holiday-inspired stories. Turn on your TV and choose one of the 10 best holiday movies to binge-watch with some nice cookies, a tall glass of milk, and a warm fuzzy blanket for the full holiday experience!
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