Top 19 Best Christmas Movies to Watch Every Year

As the festive season approaches, I eagerly revisit these classics every year. They’re not just movies; they’re a warm embrace of nostalgia and joy.

I’ve included timeless classics that have stood the test of time in this list, like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and heartwarming animations such as “The Polar Express.” But it’s not all old-school charm; I’ve also added recent gems like “Klaus” that are quickly becoming holiday essentials.

I know how overwhelming it can be to pick the right movie. With so many options, where do you start? That’s where I come in. I’ve curated this list for countless hours (and cups of hot chocolate!).

Whether you’re in the mood for a laugh, a cry, or a bit of both, these movies will surely deliver. So, grab your blanket and some snacks, and let’s get cozy with these holiday favorites. Trust me, you’ll love them as much as I do!

1. “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946)

The heartwarming tale of George Bailey’s remarkable life never resonated with me. I am always cheering for George’s victories and cherishing the charm of his small-town existence.

The timeless message of hope portrayed in “It’s a Wonderful Life” brings immeasurable joy to my Christmas season, capturing the essence of the holiday spirit in a truly magical manner.

This beloved classic consistently reminds me of the genuine meaning of Christmas, making it an indispensable part of my holiday traditions.

2. “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947)

“Miracle on 34th Street” warms my heart every Christmas with its enchanting story and holiday charm, brought to life by the unforgettable performance of Edmund Gwenn as the man who might be Santa.

The tale of Kris Kringle and the young girl’s belief in Santa Claus, as portrayed by John Payne, touches my soul, reminding me of the innocence and magic of the holiday season.

I find myself captivated by the magic and wonder of this holiday classic every year, as it never fails to reignite my belief in the spirit of Christmas.

It’s a timeless reminder of the joy and magic of the Christmas season, making it a must-watch every year.

3. “White Christmas” (1954)

“White Christmas” enchants me with its delightful music, heartwarming performances, and holiday cheer every Christmas.

The snowy landscapes and enduring appeal of this classic film, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney, always fill me with joy, capturing the magic of the holiday season and uplifting my spirit.

It never fails to transport me to a world of festive merriment, featuring songs composed by Irving Berlin, making it a must-watch holiday tradition.

The romantic storyline and feel-good atmosphere of “White Christmas” evoke the true essence of the Christmas season, leaving me with a sense of warmth and nostalgia.

4. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965)

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” never fails to capture childhood’s timeless charm and innocence every Christmas.

The endearing characters and heartfelt story always touch my heart, reminding me of the simple joys and spirit of giving.

The classic animation and heartfelt themes fill me with holiday cheer, bringing out the childlike wonder in me.

This beloved holiday classic embodies the Christmas season’s essence without fail, making it a must-watch every year.

5. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1964)

“Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” brings back cherished childhood memories and fills me with holiday magic every Christmas. The heartwarming journey of Rudolph and his eventual acceptance warms my heart without fail.

Nostalgia and festive joy wash over me as I watch the whimsical animation and embrace the uplifting message of the classic film featuring the iconic voice of Burl Ives as Sam the Snowman.

This animated treasure reignites the child in me each year, adding an extra dash of holiday enchantment to the Christmas season.

6. “The Polar Express” (2004)

Stepping aboard “The Polar Express” feels like a magical journey to the North Pole. The stunning animation brings to life a heartwarming tale that captures the true spirit of Christmas.

Each scene unfolds with enchanting visuals and delivers a wonderful life lesson. Tom Hanks’ portrayal of multiple characters, directed by Robert Zemeckis, adds depth and charm to the story, making it a classic suitable for the whole family.

This timeless film beautifully encapsulates the magic of the Christmas season, reminding me of the joy and wonder that comes with this special time of year.

7. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989)

The chaos and hilarity of holiday family gatherings are captured perfectly in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989), starring Chevy Chase as patriarch Clark Griswold.

The mishaps of the Griswold family will have you laughing out loud, making it a lighthearted movie that embodies the spirit of the Christmas season.

This comedy film is a holiday classic that keeps you entertained and full of Christmas spirit. It’s a feel-good movie that captures the essence of the holiday season and surely puts a smile on your face.

8. “Elf” (2003)

Watching “Elf” is an absolute joy. Will Ferrell’s performance as Buddy the Elf never leave me in stitches? The heartwarming story of finding family and the spirit of Christmas brings out the childlike wonder in me every time.

It’s a feel-good movie that embodies the joy of the holiday season, perfect for the whole family to enjoy together. The delightful and heartwarming nature of “Elf” makes it essential to my yearly Christmas viewing.

Read more: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Elf (2023)

9. “Home Alone” (1990)

As I reflect on “Home Alone” (1990), Macaulay Culkin’s portrayal of Kevin McCallister truly had me rooting for him.

This heartwarming movie captures the magic of a young boy’s resilience during the Christmas season, portraying a fun and heartwarming story of family, friendship, and the spirit of Christmas in the bustling city of New York City.

It’s undeniably a holiday classic that entertained me from start to finish and left me feeling jolly and full of Christmas spirit.

The movie’s ability to evoke such warmth and cheer, along with the iconic performances of Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as the bumbling burglars, makes it a must-watch every holiday season.

10. “Love Actually” (2003)

Every Christmas season, I am drawn to “Love Actually” (2003), directed by Richard Curtis and starring Hugh Grant. This heartwarming movie beautifully intertwines love stories, exuding the holiday’s magic.

The film’s relatable characters and touching scenes never fail to fill me with warmth and joy, reaffirming the spirit of Christmas in my heart.

“Love Actually” is a timeless classic that celebrates the essence of love, family, and the festive season, with the talented Hugh Grant as one of its stars.

It’s a movie that truly captures the essence of the Christmas tale, leaving me feeling merry and bright every time I watch it.

11. “The Holiday” (2006)

“The Holiday” (2006) is a heartwarming romantic comedy that captures the magic of new beginnings and the spirit of Christmas.

It’s a delightful story about love, friendship, and the joy of the holiday season, starring an incredible cast including Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black.

Watching “The Holiday” is like taking a joyful sleigh ride through the Christmas season, filled with laughter, love, and the warmth of new traditions.

This enchanting film, featuring the talented Jack Black, is a must-watch during the holiday season.

12. “While You Were Sleeping” (1995)

While “While You Were Sleeping” (1995) is a heartwarming romantic comedy, the unexpected love and Christmas spirit it captures are magical.

The story revolves around second chances, family, and the joy of the holiday season. It features Sandra Bullock in a Santa hat and leaves you feeling merry and bright, much like the Christmas season itself.

This classic film warms your heart with its endearing narrative and lovable characters.

13. “Die Hard” (1988)

Growing up, “Die Hard” wasn’t your typical holiday movie, but it’s a classic action film set during Christmas. The film’s setting at Nakatomi Plaza adds a unique spin to the holiday movie genre.

It occurs during a Christmas Eve party interrupted by terrorists, making it an unconventional yet thrilling Christmas watch. With Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman in the lead roles, “Die Hard” is the perfect blend of action, suspense, and holiday spirit.

Watching it during the holidays has become a beloved tradition for many movie enthusiasts, including myself. It truly brings an exciting twist to the Christmas season.

14. “Batman Returns” (1992)

Amidst the glittering enchantment of Gotham City’s holiday decorations, “Batman Returns” offers a distinctively darker twist on Christmas movies. The snowy, festive backdrop sets the stage for a captivating and unconventional superhero narrative.

Tim Burton’s direction seamlessly merges Christmas aesthetics with the captivatingly gothic world of Batman, creating a visually stunning setting for the film’s action-packed storyline.

As the holiday season unfolds within the movie, viewers are treated to a striking visual experience that diverges from traditional Christmas tales.

“Batman Returns” presents a refreshing and alternative perspective, making it a compelling choice for those seeking a unique holiday movie adventure.

15. “The Santa Clause” (1994)

“The Santa Clause” from 1994, featuring Tim Allen, delves into the themes of family, responsibility, and the true meaning of Christmas.

The film’s magical world, brought to life by remarkable special effects and set design, captivates viewers of all ages. With a perfect blend of silly and heartwarming humor, it has become a beloved holiday tradition for many.

This classic has inspired two sequels but remains unparalleled in its originality and charm, making it an essential watch during the Christmas season.

16. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)

As a fan of holiday movies, I can’t help but appreciate the unique blend of Halloween and Christmas in “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

The stop-motion animation brings characters like Jack Skellington and Sally to life in a spooky and endearing way.

The soundtrack by Danny Elfman, with iconic songs like “This is Halloween” and “What’s This?” adds to the movie’s appeal. Unsurprisingly, this film has become a cultural phenomenon, inspiring merchandise and themed events.

For those who love a mix of spooky and festive elements, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a must-watch during the Christmas season.

17. “Gremlins” (1984)

“Gremlins” from 1984 is a classic Christmas movie directed by Joe Dante that beautifully blends horror and comedy genres.

The film revolves around a young man who receives a small creature as a Christmas gift, but chaos ensues when he violates three cardinal rules for caring for it.

With outstanding performances from Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, and Corey Feldman, “Gremlins” has become a beloved holiday classic, offering a perfect mix of humor, scares, and heartwarming moments.

Moreover, the movie provides insightful commentary on consumerism and the perils of irresponsible pet ownership.

18. “Edward Scissorhands” (1990)

“Edward Scissorhands” (1990) tells the emotional story of an artificial man with scissors for hands who a kind lady takes in.

The film stars Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, and Dianne Wiest, with a captivating performance by Vincent Price. Director Tim Burton’s unique style and heartfelt narrative make this movie a timeless classic.

The poignant themes of love, acceptance, and identity resonate with audiences every Christmas. “Edward Scissorhands” is a must-watch for those who appreciate unconventional Christmas tales that delve deep into the human experience.

19. “Klaus” (2019)

“Klaus” from 2019 is a heartwarming animated film that reimagines the origin of the legendary Santa Claus. The movie features the voices of J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, and Joan Cusack, portraying a fresh take on the timeless Christmas tale.

The animation style is visually captivating, and the storyline provides a delightful twist on the traditional concept of Santa Claus. “Klaus” brings to life a charming and original Christmas story perfect for the festive season.

The film beautifully captures the spirit of goodwill and the joy of giving, making it a must-watch for Christmas.

The Magic of Christmas Movies

I am filled with holiday joy and nostalgia every year as I cozy up with classic Christmas movies. These films transport me to a world of wonder and merriment, always putting a smile on my face and warming my heart.

The Christmas season wouldn’t be complete without the timeless tales of love, laughter, and goodwill portrayed in these movies.

From cherished classics to modern favorites, Christmas movies are an essential part of my holiday traditions, bringing a sense of comfort and joy that I eagerly look forward to revisiting each year.

  • Joy and Nostalgia: Cozying up with classic Christmas movies each year.
  • Transport to Wonder: Films that bring a world of wonder and merriment.
  • Timeless Tales: Love, laughter, and goodwill are depicted in these movies.
  • Essential Traditions: Integral part of holiday traditions, offering comfort and joy.

Why Christmas Movies are Evergreen

Every year, I find myself drawn to the timeless appeal of Christmas movies. The familiar themes resonate with me, offering comfort and a sense of continuity during the holiday season.

The enduring traditions in these films warm my heart, making them an essential part of my annual celebrations. It’s like revisiting old friends, as the magic of Christmas movies never fades and continues to enchant me.

Whether it’s the heartfelt stories, iconic performances by actors like Michael Caine and Diane Keaton, or the nostalgic small-town settings, Christmas movies hold a special place in my heart, making them evergreen classics.

  • Timeless Appeal: The enduring allure of Christmas movies.
  • Comfort and Continuity: Familiar themes that resonate and offer comfort.
  • Enduring Traditions: Films that are an integral part of annual celebrations.
  • Magic That Never Fades: Heartfelt stories and iconic performances that enchant.

The Role of Christmas Movies in Holiday Traditions

Our family eagerly anticipates our ritual of watching cherished Christmas movies every year. These movies bring us together and create lasting memories, adding a layer of joy to our celebrations.

The festive spirit they bring is irreplaceable, and the holiday season wouldn’t be complete without these beloved traditions.

Whether it’s watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” or enjoying “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,”. Each film plays a significant role in shaping our holiday traditions, creating an atmosphere of warmth and togetherness that we look forward to year after year.

  • Family Ritual: Anticipation of watching cherished movies together.
  • It is creating Lasting Memories: Movies that unite and create shared experiences.
  • Irreplaceable Festive Spirit: Integral to the holiday season’s joy and spirit.
  • The atmosphere of Warmth and Togetherness: Films that shape holiday traditions and togetherness.


Q: What’s Your Favorite Christmas Movie to Watch Every Year?

A: Choosing just one Christmas movie to watch yearly is always a tough decision. Classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol” are hard to resist, while modern favorites like “Elf,” “The Polar Express,” and “Love Actually” bring holiday cheer. Ultimately, your favorite Christmas movie will depend on your taste.

Q: What are some classic Christmas movies to watch every year?

A: Some classic Christmas movies to watch every year include “A Christmas Carol,” “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” “Muppet Christmas Carol,” and “The Santa Clause.”

Q: Why is “The Christmas Story” a must-watch during the holiday?

A: “The Christmas Story” is a must-watch during the holiday season because it has become a beloved classic that captures the essence of the holiday spirit and traditions.

Q: What are some lesser-known Christmas movies that are worth watching?

A: Some lesser-known Christmas movies that are worth watching include “Christmas in Connecticut,” “Holiday Inn,” “The Shop Around the Corner,” and “The Best Man Holiday.”

Q: Are there any unconventional or dark Christmas movies that are popular?

A: Yes, there are unconventional or dark Christmas movies that are popular, such as “Bad Santa,” “Black Christmas,” and “A Year Without a Santa Claus.”

Q: Which Christmas movies are best suited for a family movie night?

A: Christmas movies that are best suited for a family movie night include “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” “The Christmas Prince,” “The Family Stone,” and “The Year Without a Santa Claus.”


Christmas movies hold a special place in our hearts and play a significant role in our holiday traditions. They bring joy, warmth, and a sense of magic during the festive season. 

Whether it’s revisiting classic films or discovering new favourites, the holiday season offers a wide array of movies that cater to everyone’s taste:

  • Classic Films: Revisiting time-honored classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street” bring back cherished memories and embody the season’s spirit.
  • Animated Favorites: Enjoying the charm and wonder of animated films such as “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “The Polar Express,” which captivate viewers of all ages.
  • Comedy Delights: Laughing along with beloved comedies like “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “Elf,” adding humor and light-heartedness to the holiday festivities.
  • Romantic Tales: Indulging in heartwarming romances like “Love Actually” and “The Holiday” offers a blend of love and cheer.
  • Action-Packed Adventures: Experiencing the thrill of action-packed films such as “Die Hard” and “Batman Returns” offers a different take on holiday-themed excitement.
  • Unconventional Picks: Embracing the unique charm of unconventional movies like “Gremlins” and “Edward Scissorhands,” adding variety and intrigue to the holiday movie lineup.

So grab some hot cocoa, snuggle up by the fire, and embark on a festive movie marathon that will surely become a cherished yearly tradition. What’s your favorite Christmas movie to watch every year? Share your thoughts and spread the holiday cheer!

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