This isn’t something we do every year like FreeForm does, but we have 25 holiday films that we love watching! So curl up in your favorite fuzzy socks with a mug of hot cocoa (or egg nog if that’s more your speed) and check out our Christmas movie recs!
1.) The Christmas Carol (1951)
This one’s a classic, but boy is it a wild ride. This film definitely struck fear into my soul when I watched it as a child. It’s no wonder that Scrouge had a change of heart!
2.) The Santa Clause
Watching The Santa Clause is part of a long-standing tradition in my household. Not only is the North Pole the stuff of fairytales, but the snarky, heartfelt script aged extremely well.
3.) Home Alone
Kevin McAllister’s boobytrap shenanigans never get old! Did you know that Angels with Filthy Souls is a film within a film? It was made specifically for Home Alone, even though “keep the change, you filthy animal” has become such an iconic line. The more you know!
4.) Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Because, of course it is. Who doesn’t want to be in New York City during the most magical time of the year? And at the Plaza hotel, too!? (Save a seat in that limo and a slice of cheese pizza for us, Kev!)
This made our list for obvious reasons. The frosty climes, an abundance of magical snowmen- both adorable and abominable- sure helped! At its heart, it’s a story about a family that has lost so much but also has much to gain. They just needed to open a door… and build a snowman.
6.) Frozen 2
Okay, so we might be a little addicted. Nothing says Christmas like love, tragedy, a surprisingly entertaining 80’s synth-pop ballad, and a woman finding her place in the magical cosmic order, right?
7.) The Holiday
It’s got Cameron Diaz, it has Kate Winslet, it’s got Jack Black and Jude Law! Need we say more? This would be the perfect year to pull an Amanda, cozy up in a remote English cottage with a crackling hearth, buy a ton of junk food (and maybe some booze), and not speak to anyone. Obviously, so we don’t give them COVID.
8.) The House without a Christmas Tree
I watched this movie as a kid, and I still think about it. The holidays do have the power to bring out the very best and the very worst in people. It’s about deep familial dysfunction and charity. This one’s a tearjerker, though- so only watch it if you want to have a good cry!
9.) Eight Crazy Nights
This animated Hannaukah special contains one of my favorite holiday songs, which is, of course, The Chanukah Song (written by Adam Sandler- yes, I know). This feature offers a nice reprieve from the deluge of Christmas-centric films.
10.) Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
Yet another holiday classic. Growing up, I always thought that Richard Attenborough (Kris Kringle) was actually Santa Claus. He’s just so convincing! This modern update was written, acted, and directed with such heart and brevity that it’s no wonder it made our list!
11.) Barbie and the Nutcracker
Barbie’s take on the Nutcracker ballet was one of my favorite Christmas films growing up. If you can stomach the early 2000’s graphics and the cheesy voice acting, you’ll be in for a magical, uplifting holiday treat (with romance)!
12.) The Christmas Shoes
This CBS made-for-TV film is about lost things that are found and that hearts really can change around the holidays for the better. I remember watching this movie with my family for the first time back in the early 2010s. We were all sick with the flu and utterly inconsolable. Good times!
13.) Fantasia 2000
We know that this one really isn’t a Christmas film per se, but something about the music selection has a distinctly celebratory and epic vibe. The beautifully animated stories have uplifting themes of hope, family, love, and rebirth. We’re loving those themes this season!
The wintry Russian backdrop isn’t the only reason why this one is on our list. Anya’s desire to do whatever it takes to find her long lost family also makes a good case. We’re also loving the epic road trip plagued by a villain who is (quite literally) hellbent on destroying our witty, snarky heroine. Oh, there’s a fantastic love story, too!
15.) It’s a Wonderful Life
If you’ve ever gotten down about yourself during the holidays, this movie might be what the doctor ordered. It’s a lovely reminder that the world would certainly be a darker and sadder place in your absence.
16.) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Obviously, the Christmastime scenes have a big part to play in why this one is on our list, but I actually have a little theory about why the Potter films are shown on the holidays. As you know, Chris Columbus and John Williams directed and wrote the score (respectively) for Sorcerer’s Stone and its sequel, but they also directed and wrote the score for Home Alone, as well. I think we make the correlation subconsciously.
17-19.) The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
We’re loving epic adventures and tales of love and friendship during these dark times (figuratively and literally). It’s always nice to be reminded that good can triumph over evil by the power of grace and mercy.
20.) The Christmas Prince
The Christmas Prince is a fun little Christmas film that has a distinctly Princess Diaries vibe with a WattPad plot treatment. It’s got the Sad Boy Prince and Plucky Main Character tropes that we adore so much. If you haven’t seen it yet, want to indulge in some lighthearted fun, and are willing to suspend your disbelief to humor us, we highly recommend it!
21.) Polar Express
This Christmas adventure is complete with magical trains, a wintry adventure to the North Pole, entertaining musical numbers, Tom Hanks, fantastic characters, and a conversation about what it truly means to believe in something. This one’s a winner in our book!
22.) How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The world-building done in How the Grinch Stole Christmas is incredible, colorful, and chock full of whacky Christmas fun. It added so much to the original source material. In my personal opinion, it’s one of the very few book-to-film adaptations I enjoy more than the book itself.
This animated feature is beautifully animated, scripted, and acted. It tackles the origin of Santa Claus in an original and heartfelt way that brings a warring community together and heals the hearts of the cruel, callous, and downtrodden through pure altruism. Not only does it have gravitas, but it’s also hilarious which is a tricky balance to strike. This film is a triumph.
24.) Rise of the Guardians
I do love my animated films something fierce! The Rise of the Guardians takes a seal team six-esque action movie-approach to well-known mythological figures like Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, the Easter Bunny, and Jack Frost. It’s such a fun ride!
25.) A Charlie Brown Christmas
Leaving this classic off our list would be a crime! It’s got writing letters to Santa, Christmas Pageant shenanigans, a therapist (we’re not sure if Lucy really counts, though), ice skating, high flying action sequences (curse you, Red Baron!), and a community coming together despite its differences to decorate a Christmas tree. A Charlie Brown Christmas checks off every item on our list of Christmas movie pre-requisites!
Which movie are you going to watch first?