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Best Christmas Movies to Watch to Get into the Christmas Spirit

It’s hard to believe we are finally nearing the end of 2020 and the holiday season is upon us. While the holidays feel a bit different this year, snuggling up and watching Christmas movies is one of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit. There’s nothing better than watching a holiday movie with a mug of hot chocolate to make it feel like Christmas time. This simple pleasure is one of the merriest parts of the season, along with decorating the tree and baking cookies, of course.

If you’re ready to cuddle up on the couch with a great holiday film but you’re not sure where to start, this list is undoubtedly for you. We have rounded up the best Christmas movies, featuring both classic and modern films. Watch together with your family or friends, catch up on old favorites, and discover new ones!


scrooged christmas movieA modern take on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a wildly successful television executive whose cold ambition and bad-tempered demeanor has driven away the love of his life, Claire Phillips (Karen Allen). But after he fires a staff member, Eliot Loudermilk (Bobcat Goldthwait), on Christmas Eve, Frank is visited by a series of ghosts who give him a chance to re-evaluate his actions and right his wrongs.
Despite Frank’s callous actions, the film feels heartfelt in a loopy Yuletide sort of way. 



Rating: PG-13
Genre: Other, Fantasy, Comedy
Runtime: 1h 41m

It’s A Wonderful Life

it's a wonderful life christmas movie

A feel-good classic movie of the 1940s that will pierce even the most cynical modern moviegoer's heart. “It's A Wonderful Life” is directed by Frank Capra, starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore.

This movie is about divine intervention and it begins on Christmas Eve in the small town of Bedford Falls, NY. An angel named Clarence pays a visit George Bailey, who is on the verge of committing suicide, to help him see what is truly important in life.

This is the kind of movie that will make you strive a little harder to be kind to others. It warms the heart and remains a Christmas favorite.

Rating: PG (Some Violence, Smoking, Thematic Elements)
Genre: Other, Comedy, Drama
Runtime: 2h 9m

Miracle on 34th St.

miracle on 34th street christmas movie

“Miracle on 34th Street” is a movie that is light, charming, delightfully funny, and completely captivating. A classic Christmas film directed by George Seaton, the movie stars Edmund Gwenn as Kriss Kringle, who is hired to play Santa at a flagship store on 34th Street for the Christmas season.

However, Kringle surprises everyone when he claims that he is the real Santa Claus, leading to a court case to determine his mental health and authenticity.

This film is enjoyable and cuddly, like a warm fire on a cold night.


Rating: PG (Some Mild Language)
Genre: Fantasy, Other, Kids And Family
Runtime: 1h 54m

Home Alone

home alone christmas

“Home Alone” is a comedy directed by Chris Columbus. The movie begins during the Christmas season where the McCallister family is preparing for a trip to Paris, France. Kevin (Macaulay Culkin), through a series of mishaps, is left at home as the rest of the family rushes to the airport and boards the plane to Paris. Kevin awakens to an empty house and believes his wish to have no family has come true. His excitement is short-lived when a pair of con men plot to rob the McCallister home and it’s up to Kevin to protect it. 

Forever a favorite, this whole movie is gloriously tinged with nostalgia, delivering laughs for the entire family this holiday season.

Rating: PG
Genre: Other, Kids and Family, Comedy
Runtime: 1h 42m

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

the grinch christmas

This movie is a live-action adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic, centered on the Grinch (Jim Carrey), a green, antisocial, revenge-seeking, grumpy recluse of Whoville who decides to ruin Christmas for all of the town’s citizens. As the Grinch starts wreaking havoc on the town, he becomes acquainted with Cindy Lou Who, a little girl who is searching for the meaning of Christmas and who helps to soften the Grinch’s heart.

A goofy take on the animated classic, this is a must-watch for Christmas movie lovers of all ages.


Rating: PG (Crude Humor)
Genre: Fantasy, Kids and Family, Comedy
Runtime: 1h 45m


elf christmas movie

“Elf” is a movie full of Yuletide cheer. Buddy (Will Ferrell), an orphan, accidentally ends up in the North Pole and is raised by elves, but as he grows into an adult, he discovers that he is different from the rest. Driven by his desire to discover his roots, Buddy travels to New York City in search of his biological father.

This spirited, family comedy is a classic in its own right and is a beloved Christmas movie to watch with the whole family.


Rating: PG (Some Mild Rude Humor | Language)
Genre: Fantasy, Kids and Family, Comedy
Runtime: 1h 37m

A Christmas Story

a christmas story


"A Christmas Story" is a movie based on the writings of author Jean Shepherd about a young Ralphie Parker, who spends his days avoiding a bully and wistfully dreaming about his ideal Christmas gift, a Red Ryder air rifle.

This movie is delightfully hilarious, entertaining, and packed with a healthy dose of nostalgia.




Rating: PG 
Genre: Kids and Family, Comedy
Runtime: 1h 33m

The Santa Clause

the santa clause

The Santa Clause” is a 1994 Christmas comedy film directed by John Pasquin. Divorced dad Scott (Tim Allen) has custody of his son on Christmas Eve. After he accidentally kills a man in a Santa suit, they are magically transported to the North Pole, where an elf explains that Scott must take Santa's place before the next Christmas arrives. Scott thinks he's dreaming, but over the next several months he gains weight and grows an inexplicably white beard. Maybe that night at the North Pole wasn't a dream after all.

This silly but charming film is a feel-good tale of holiday pessimism turned to cheer.

Rating: PG 
Genre: Other, Kids And Family, Comedy
Runtime: 1h 37m

Disney's A Christmas Carol

a christmas carol

“A Christmas Carol” comes to life in a 3-D adaptation directed by Robert Zemeckis. This is an animated movie, retelling the 19th-century classic novel by Charles Dickens.

While London awaits the joyful arrival of Christmas, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey) thinks it's all humbug, berating his faithful clerk and cheerful nephew for their view. Later, Scrooge encounters the ghost of his late business partner, who warns that three spirits will visit him this night. The ghosts take Scrooge on a journey through his past, present and future in the hope of transforming his bitterness.

Rating: PG (Scary Sequences, Scary Images)
Genre: Animation, Fantasy, Other, Kids And Family
Runtime: 1h 35m

The Preacher’s Wife

the preacher's wife

"The Preacher's Wife" is a family-themed, romantic Christmas movie. 

A young minister, Henry Biggs (Courtney Vance), is having trouble in his marriage and desperately asks God for help. As an answer to his prayers, an angel from heaven named Dudley (Denzel Washington) is sent to assist the preacher. However, it seems like Dudley's arrival is causing even more trouble for Henry, especially when Dudley falls in love with his wife (Whitney Houston).  

This critically acclaimed film is also filled with music by Whitney Houston and is sure to be a holiday favorite!

Rating: PG 
Genre: Kids and Family, Comedy
Runtime: 1h 33m

The Muppet Christmas Carol

muppet christmas carol

Muppets characters, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, and the entire cast of the Muppet universe come together to retell their own version of the classic tale of an old and bitter miser's redemption on Christmas. 

This movie is an excellent version for children with all the original songs by Paul Williams. It is genuinely funny and charming and leaves out some of the intensity and drama of the original version.



Rating: G 
Genre: Fantasy, Other, Kids And Family
Runtime: 1h 25m

Frosty the Snowman

frosty the snowman

“Frosty the Snowman” is directed by Romeo Muller and is an iconic Christmas special that has a magical spirit to it. 

A discarded magic top hat brings to life the snowman that a group of children made, until a magician, professor Hinkle, wants it back, and the temperature starts to rise. Frosty will melt if the kids cannot get him away from Hinkle and warm weather, so he hops a train to the North Pole with young Karen.




Rating: G 
Genre: Animation, Fantasy
Runtime: 25m

The Polar Express

the polar express christmas movie suggestion


Late on Christmas Eve, a boy takes on a magical train ride to the North Pole on The Polar Express. On his journey, he learns that the magic of life never fades for those who believe.

This is a truly visually stunning and remarkable film that will leave movie watchers in awe.



Rating: G
Genre: Animation, Fantasy, Kids and Family
Runtime: 1h 40m

Santa Claus: The Movie

santa clause the movie

The story begins with Claus, whose passion is to deliver toys to children in his small town. Patch, an expert toy-maker elf in the North Pole, helps him fulfill this duty. However, Santa Claus eventually became tired due to the overwhelming workload, his partner Patch left the toy workshop to flee to New York City. He then took a job at a failing toy company run by an evil businessman who tried to jeopardize Christmas. This has left Santa Claus on a mission: to save Patch and to save Christmas. 

Even though some of the special effects are now dated, "Santa Claus: The Movie" is a classic, touching Christmas story that deserves to be rediscovered by younger generations.

Rating: PG
Genre: Fantasy, Other, Kids and Family
Runtime: 1h 47m

Jingle All the Way

jingle all the way


A father, Howard Langston, wants to make things right with his son, and vows to get him a Turbo Man action figure for Christmas. However, every store is sold out of them, and he must travel all over town and compete with everybody else in order to find one.





Rating: PG
Genre: Other, Kids And Family, Comedy
Runtime: 1h 28m

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

rudolph the red nose reindeer


This one's a unique story of how Rudolph, Santa's most famous reindeer, saved Christmas from an evil queen.

The movie has a great set of characters and animation and it’s considered to be one of the most underrated Christmas movies of all time.




Rating: G
Genre: Animation, Musical
Runtime: 1h 30m

The Man Who Invented Christmas

the man who invented christmas


In 1843 in London, author Charles Dickens finds himself in financial trouble after writing three unsuccessful novels. Desperate for a hit, Dickens depends on real-life ideas and vivid imagination to carry Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and different classic characters to existence in A Christmas Carol, creating a classic work that has shaped the holiday season as we know it for generations.

"The Man Who Invented Christmas" is a light-hearted film with some excellent touches and appealing performances.

Rating: PG (Thematic Elements|Some Mild Language)
Genre: Biography, History, Drama
Runtime: 1h 44m

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