There’s nothing like a Christmas movie to get you in the festive mood. Here’s my favourites, and there’s a lot of them! I’ve also put some exclusions in the bottom there…
The Muppet Christmas Carol – this is my absolute favourite Christmas movie ever. I first saw it when it first came out and it’s the best version of Christmas Carol ever. I can watch it on a loop.
The Man Who Invented Christmas – This only came out last year, but it’s a really good one. An interesting look at the writing process + Victorian Christmas + just really entertaining.
The Princess Switch – This one is a Netflix special and it’s an adorable Prince and the Pauper/Parent Trap thing. I love it.
A Christmas Prince – I actually don’t love this one, but it has some good moments. I think it’s probably just on the far side of twee for me to truly love.
Love Actually – Classic. Skip the Colin sequences and try not to think about how almost all the relationships are about men in power and their literally subordinate women.
Santa Claus the movie – this is an eighties classic about the true meaning of Christmas which includes a very charming Santa origin, an upsetting sequence of breaking toys and a very rough ending for John Lithgow’s bad guy.
A Christmas Toy – this is a weird little Jim Henson special which was Toy Story a decade and a half before Toy Story. Toys come alive! and want to be the special Christmas Toy! It’s emotional and lovely.
The Santa Clause – the old ‘you kill Santa, you have to be Santa’ thing. Surprisingly sweet, aside from Tim Allen is a real douche to his ex and there’s lots of fat jokes.
Elf – A surprisingly charming Will Ferrell movie in which he’s an honest to goodness Magic Pixie Dream Boy. Zooey Deschenal with blonde hair is pretty disconcerting though.
The Muppet Family Christmas special – this is a gem. A heartwarming found family togetherness story with lots of great music. The ‘careful of the icy patch’ gag is funny every time.
Nightmare Before Christmas – You can watch it at Halloween AND at Christmas! Also has a special place in my heart because we saw the Haunted Mansion decked out in Nightmare stuff this year.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – the friendly stop motion classic which reminds us that it’s only okay to be different if someone can profit of you. This is a pretty rough watch, lots of bullying and trying to force Rudolph to fit in. Maybe don’t watch this, it’s rough and dated. But watching it a few years back gave me all kinds of weird flashbacks so I think I used it watch it as a kid, so it’s still on my list.
Its a Wonderful Life – A true classic. Many a TV special was based on this classic ‘what if?’ story and although the first half is very rough going, the happy ending makes up for it.
Meet me in St Louis – A year in the life story of a well to do family with songs and dances and the classic Judy Garland ‘have yourself a merry little Christmas’ tearjerker. There’s a fair bit of implied racism and very dated attitudes though.
A Charlie Brown Christmas – they always played this one on TV and I always watched it. Watching it as an adult I found it one of the bleakest and most nihilistic Christmas specials, but hey.
Bad Santa – This one isn’t for everyone. It’s very rough, with Billy Bob Thornton being a truly terrible person, and Lauren Graham (aka Lorelei Gilmore) as a bartender with a Santa fetish, but if you can watch without getting hung up on it it’s a good laugh.
Rise of the Guardians – Not technically about Christmas (in fact probably a bit more Easter in this) but you gotta. That bad ass Battle Santa is to die for.
Thomas Kincade’s Christmas Cottage – featuring Jared Padalecki acting his wee heart out in lots of knitted accessories. It’s adorable and silly.
Holiday Calendar – Hey, it’s a Netflix holiday rom-com with a non-white lead! This is a surprisingly sweet one, and damn I want her apartment and her vintage advent calendar.
Gremlins – for when you want some horror with your Christmas. Plus Phoebe Cates’ tragic backstory about why she hates Christmas is a classic.
Arthur Christmas – a cringey, family drama misfit story but generally a good watch and I liked the ending.
Deliberate exclusions: A Christmas story, Die Hard, any and all Grinch variations, Home Alone, Four Christmases and The Holiday.