The 10 best ever Christmas films

Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without spending a good chunk of time watching Christmas films on repeat.

I’m not the only one who feels this way, judging by the passionate response I got on social media when I asked you to let me know your favourite Christmas movies of all time!

But what makes a good Christmas film? Lots of the most-loved festive flicks have a sentimental theme, and that’s why we love them – but I’m definitely sentimental about the films too.

Many of my favourites I watched when I was a child, and I think the familiarity and magic of Christmas past is a large part of why I’m so fond of them.

Some of you have a long list of festive faves you watch every year to get you into the Christmas spirit – Kirsten Linton commented on Facebook that she’s having to start her movie fest earlier and earlier in the year in order to have time to get through them all!

If Christmas film-watching is a new tradition in your house or you’re looking for a fail-safe list of hits to watch this winter, check out this list of my favourites and contributions from the Christmas Organised community on social media for some inspiration!

The Holiday

This is a really enjoyable, easy-watch rom-com from 2006. 

Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz play the lead characters Amanda and Iris. 

They both have problems in their love lives so decide to leave their troubles behind them and swap homes for the Christmas holidays. 

Before you know it they each meet a new local love interest (Jude Law and Jack Black)…

If I’m honest The Holiday is a tad cheesy – but it’s also a fun watch and who doesn’t love a bit of romance and a happy ending at Christmas time?

The Polar Express

Tom Hanks plays loads of characters in this magically festive film – try and spot them all when you next watch it!

Apparently Tom originally planned to play every role, but it turned out to be too much work, even for him!

The Polar Express tells the story of a boy who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus and embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express train.

He learns about friendship, bravery and the spirit of Christmas along the way.

The motion capture technology used to make this film was really ahead of its time in 2004 and, for me, the distinctive look really adds to the nostalgia.

Gremlins

Gremlins was my absolute favourite film when I was a child.

I loved the super-cute mogwai, even when I discovered what they turned into if you didn’t follow their special care instructions!

But just to warn you, this 1984 Steven Spielberg film is a surprisingly dark and scary horror story, even though it’s also a comedy. 

The story begins when an inventor gives his son an unusual pet from Chinatown as a gift. 

He’s warned to keep his new mogwai away from bright light, water – and not to feed him after midnight.

When the rules for keeping him are inevitably broken, the cute mogwai spawns evil green monsters that cause chaos, death and destruction.

Brilliant fun!

Elf

This was an extremely popular choice from the Christmas Organised community on Instagram and Facebook.

Heronlegs50, Victoria Mouneney and Sarah Rebecca Elizabeth Prior all named it as their favourite festive film of all time.

This silly, feel-good festive flick was released in 2003 and Will Ferrell is cast in the role as Buddy, a human raised by elves.

He goes on a mission to New York to track down his biological father and discover his real identity.

Buddy has some difficulties adjusting to life in the Big Apple, but still manages to spread Christmas joy and slapstick humour along the way.

I’d say Elf is one of the best Christmas films to enjoy with the whole family.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Based on Dr Seuss’ 1957 book of the same name, this was the first of his books to be adapted into a full-length film.

Released in 2000, The Grinch tells the story of the Whos. They live in the magical land of Whoville – and they all love Christmas. 

The Grinch, brilliantly played by Jim Carrey, lives just outside Whoville. He hates both the Whos and Christmas and plans to steal it from them.

Carrey was the perfect choice of actor to play the Grinch, with his fantastic comedic timing and physical performance.

Be aware that, although this is a funny film, there are also some dark themes and scary moments.

A must watch!

Love Actually

Released in 2003, Love Actually is a Christmas-themed romantic comedy drama, written and directed by Richard Curtis.

The story starts five weeks before Christmas and plays out in a weekly countdown until the big day, followed by an epilogue that takes place one month later.

Following 10 stories and numerous different characters some of which begin to interlink, the film explores various aspects of love.

Emma Thompson’s performance is particularly brilliant – the scene where she unwraps a Christmas present from her husband (played by Alan Rickman) and realises he’s involved with another woman is just so heart-breaking.

It’s not all tears though as there are also some hilarious moments, including Hugh Grant dancing around 10 Downing Street – plus a perfect Christmas soundtrack.

Oh and Colin Firth’s in it. Need I say more?!

The Snowman

This beautiful adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ book is another of my childhood favourites.

The animation is a bit dated now – but, for me, this just adds to its nostalgic charm.

When I watch The Snowman, I know my Christmas has definitely started!

It totally captures the wonder of Christmas, telling the story of a snowman who comes to life and his friendship with a young boy.

No matter how many times you’ve already seen it, it’ll have you crying and smiling at the same time.

Miracle On 34th Street

There are two versions of this festive classic – one made in 1947 and another in 1994.

I’m most fond of the 1994 remake – but they’re both excellent and definitely worthy of making your Christmas film watch list!

Mara Wilson (who later appeared in Matilda) plays a girl who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, but when Kriss Kringle (Richard Attenborough) starts work at the department store run by her mother she begins to think again…

Few films will help you feel the magic of Christmas like Miracle On 34th Street and it’s perfect for a chilled Sunday afternoon.

Die Hard

There’s a long-running debate about whether Die Hard is actually a Christmas film or not…I’m on the fence, but it’s a great film and Christmas Organised Facebook follower Julie Bailey said it’s on her festive fave list…so it’s on this one too!

To be fair, it is set at Christmas time – but that’s the end of the seasonal cheer as John McClane (Bruce Willis) is forced to fight off German terrorists.

This is an exciting, action-packed watch, but bear in mind the 18 certificate when planning what to watch with the whole family – there’s definitely no Christmas sentimentality here!

It’s A Wonderful Life

I just had to include this 1946 Christmas classic on my top 10 list.

The lead character is George Bailey and he’s been having a hard time – so much so, he travels to a bridge with the intention of ending his life.

Thankfully he meets Clarence, his guardian angel, who reminds George of the love and happiness in his life.

A film that starts with a suicide attempt might sound a bit depressing for Christmas time, but It’s A Wonderful Life is, in fact, really life-affirming and all about what love really means.

I hope you enjoy my 10 best Christmas films! 

I’m sure you have your own favourites – do share them with me and the Christmas Organised community on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Alex x

I will receive a small commission on products purchased via affiliate links on this page. This is at absolutely no cost to you and I only suggest products that I would recommend to my friends and family.

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