The best Christmas movies of all time
Top 10 family Christmas movies
The Polar Express (PG)
On Christmas Eve, a doubting boy boards a magical train that's headed to the North Pole and Santa Claus's home. An animated film voiced by Tom Hanks, this is as spectacular to look at as it is touching and enchanting.
After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf (Will Farrell) at the North Pole is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity. Hilarious comedy kids and parents will love equally.
The Grinch (PG)
Inside a snowflake is the magical land of Whoville, populated by the ‘Whos’. All the Whos love Christmas – except for The Grinch, a nasty creature who plots to steal Christmas away forever. Jim Carey stars in this live action film that brings the Dr Seuss classic children’s book to life.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed. Premiering in 1946 and starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, this heart-warming, bittersweet film still has plenty to give and should be essential Christmas viewing.
The Santa Clause (PG)
When a man inadvertently kills Santa on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place. Starring comedian Tim Allen, this is the first of a light-hearted Christmas trio of movies. Don’t waste your time (or money) watching the sequels – this is far and away the best of the three Santa Clause films.
Nightmare before Christmas (PG)
When Jack Skellington, the bored Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, stumbles upon Christmastown, he decides to change Christmas into another Halloween. He kidnaps Santa Claus then delivers some alternative gifts to the children. A stop-motion animated classic directed by Tim Burton, it has all the dark and dazzling Burton magic you would expect, full of twisted characters and stunning imagery.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing. Starring Maureen O’Hara and a nine year-old Natalie Wood, this is the real deal – a Christmas movie that has something for both adults and children and makes you want to believe again in all the Santa Claus business.
Home Alone (PG)
When 8-year-old Kevin McCallister is accidentally left behind while his family flies to France for Christmas, he has to defend his home against idiotic burglars. Child star Macaulay Culkin stars in this black comedy for kids that is surprisingly charming.
A Christmas Story (PG)
Set in the 1940s, young Ralphie has to convince his parents, teachers, and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect gift for Christmas. Funny, touching and nostalgic without any of the saccharine sweetness of so many Christmas films, this is a festive flick that will appeal to all comers.
A White Christmas (1954)
Ex-Army buddies team up to become a top song-and-dance act and find themselves sharing the stage with a pair of beautiful sisters to perform a Christmas show in Vermont. Starring silver screen legends, Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, this is all about the song and dance from beginning to end with Irving Berlin’s tunes being the stand-out.
Naughty-but-nice Christmas movies (for after the kids go to bed):
So there are some Christmas movies that we love for all the wrong reasons… they’re silly, they’re subversive and they’re definitely not G-rated! Here are three of the best:
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Like all National Lampoon films, you have to love slap-stick comedy to get the most out of this franchise. On this outing, the Griswald family plan on staying home for the festive season to enjoy the best Christmas ever. Cue crazy scenes of Chevy Chase putting up Christmas lights, Christmas trees and other madcap family mayhem.
Bill Murray stars in this anti-Christmas classic that brings the old Dickens tale – cynical man is haunted by three Christmas spirits on Christmas Eve, thus teaching him the true spirit of Christmas – into the modern day. With Murray in the starring role, it is of course, darkly comic and a little disturbing.
Bad Santa (2003)
Rude, crude and surprisingly touching, Bad Santa is a dark comedy starring Billy Bob Thornton as a con man masquerading as a mall Santa. Out to rip off stores full of Christmas goodies, this bad Santa’s plans come unstuck when he befriends a troubled kid who needs his help.
Christmas TV specials from your long forgotten childhood
Back in the day (we’re talking pre-1980s here so before videos and DVDs came along, and a lifetime before Foxtel’s IQ digital recording boxes existed), much of the excitement of Christmas for kids came in the form of Christmas TV specials. Once a year – and only once a year – you could watch your favourite Christmas shows.
They were the same shows every year and re-ran multiple times during the weeks before Christmas. They were old and dated even in the 1970s, but they were a highlight of the festive season and set the tone for the Christmas yet to come. So here are three of our childhood favourites:
Frosty the Snowman
When Frosty the Snowman is accidentally brought to life, he must weather a storm of adventures and the dastardly plans of an evil magician before he can find safety and happiness. Premiering in 1969, this classic animated tale has aired every year since.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
We all know the familiar story of Rudolph, the young reindeer with the bright red nose, who is shunned by his reindeer pals for being different. But when Santa can’t deliver his presents on Christmas Eve because of fog, Rudolph and his nose save the day. Following the plot of this classic Christmas song, this beautiful stop-motion animation has been in high rotation since it premiered in 1964.
The Little Drummer Boy
If you want your Christmas fare a little more biblical, you can’t go past the gorgeously animated The Little Drummer Boy from 1968. Telling the story of a lonely little boy who visits a manger in Bethlehem to discover the greatest gift of all – love, this is the perfect Christmas movie complete with beautiful soundtrack.
What's your favourite Christmas movie?
This article was written by Ella Walsh and oriignally appeared on our sister site kidspot.com.au