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What's Your Favorite Holiday Movie? Check This List for Contenders!

Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2023 8:40 PM

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What's your favorite go-to holiday movie? In the 100+ years of movie history, there have been many Christmas movies and holiday movies that we are able to enjoy both in theaters and at home.

For me, White Christmas with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen is a yearly tradition. I know that many people could not even imagine getting through the holidays without Elf and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation to make themselves merry.

Then there the movies that spur debate and discussion, which can make for some spirited conversations with family and friends. Is Die Hard really a Christmas movie? Is Love Actually a sweet romantic comedy or a cringe-inducing way to spend two hours?

Holiday Movie Shortlist

Check out this list of holiday movies that are on many lists of favorites for our readers. If they are playing at theaters now, find out where on the Showtimes page for each. There are also links to where you can watch them at home!

Have we missed any of your favorites? Let us know what you think!

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas [1965]
    The Peanuts gang celebrates Christmas with a pageant, and rediscovers the true meaning of Christmas.
  • A Christmas Carol [1984]
    George C. Scott plays Ebenezer Scrooge in this retelling of the classic Christmas story.
  • A Christmas Story [1983]
    It's the final days before Christmas in early 1940s Cleveland, and 9-year-old Ralphie wants one thing from Santa Clause more than anything else: a Red Ryder Carbine Action Air Rifle. As he trudges through the snow to school, faces the neighborhood bully and visits a malevolent department store Santa Clause, Ralphie connives, conspires and campaigns for the most fabulous Christmas present ever.
  • Die Hard [1988]
    A New York City cop (Bruce Willis) gets trapped in a Los Angeles high-rise occupied by terrorists on Christmas Eve.
  • Elf [2003]
    Will Ferrell plays a full-grown man raised as an Elf at the North Pole who has the expected problems fitting in. When he goes to New York in search of his real family, he finds that it is equally hard to fit in, especially when everyone seems to have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.
  • Frosty the Snowman [1969]
    Thanks to a magical hat, a snowman comes to life and befriends a group of children. Unfortunately, the magician wants his hat back, and one of the children decides to help Frosty go to the North Pole so that he'll never melt.
  • Going My Way [1944]
    Young Father O'Malley (Bing Crosby) is assigned to a troubled parish where he counsels the youth and charms the senior priest.
  • Holiday Inn [1942]
    Music by Irving Berlin, songs by Bing Crosby and dancing by Fred Astaire all add up to a delightful musical that also just happened to launch the hit 'White Christmas'.
  • The Holiday [2006]
    Desperate for a change of scenery, two women meet on the internet and swap houses for the Christmas holiday, discovering that a change of address really can change your life.
  • Home Alone [1990]
    Eight-year-old Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) is accidentally left behind when his family leaves for a vacation, so he's left to his own devices at home while his parents try to get back to him. When robbers (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) target his home, Kevin decides to take action, with comedic results.
  • It's a Wonderful Life [1946]
    Jimmy Stewart stars in this classic about a man who contemplates suicide, only to be counseled by an angel (who needs to earn his wings) on what the world would be like if not for a man named George Bailey.
  • Love Actually [2003]
    An ensemble comedy which tells ten separate, but intertwining, stories of love, mainly set in London, with all the vignettes leading up to a big climax on Christmas Eve.
  • Miracle on 34th Street [1947]
    When her toy department Santa shows up drunk for work, Macy's supervisor Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara) hires Kris - an elderly gentleman with a white beard who looks like Santa Claus - as her emergency replacement. She comes to regret her choice, however, when she learns that Kris believes that he really is Santa. Kris works not only to restore Doris' belief in Santa Claus but make her young daughter's wishes come true, all while trying to prove his identity in a court of law.
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation [1989]
    America's most dedicated dad, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), is determined to stay at home to create "the most fun-filled old fashioned family Christmas ever" -- but life has a particular way of throwing wet logs on the Griswold family fire.
  • The Santa Clause [1994]
    Tim Allen plays an executive who discovers that he is next in line to become Santa Claus.
  • Scrooged [1988]
    A contemporary comedy based on Charles Dickens' novel A Christmas Carol, focusing on a television executive (Bill Murray) who decides to exploit the holidays in order to boost ratings.
  • While You Were Sleeping [1995]
    A romantic at heart working at a Chicago L station adores from afar a man she's never met. When he falls onto the tracks and she saves him, it begins a chain of events where she is known by his welcoming family as his his fiance, but ends up falling for the man's brother. Will she marry the man of her daydreams, or pursue love that is right in front of her?
  • White Christmas [1954]
    Two army buddies with a song-and-dance act team up with two sisters in the same business to help their former commander in his Vermont lodge during the holidays.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Movie PosterA Christmas Carol Movie PosterA Christmas Story Movie PosterDie Hard Movie PosterElf Movie PosterFrosty the Snowman Movie PosterGoing My Way Movie PosterHoliday Inn Movie PosterThe Holiday Movie PosterHome Alone Movie PosterIt's a Wonderful Life Movie PosterLove Actually Movie PosterMiracle on 34th Street Movie PosterNational Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Movie PosterThe Santa Clause Movie PosterScrooged Movie PosterWhile You Were Sleeping Movie PosterWhite Christmas Movie Poster

Please note: If you purchase through the links above, we may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks for supporting The BigScreen Cinema Guide!

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