21 Essential Christmas Movies

After much consideration and debate here is our list of 21 Essential Christmas Movies, you know, if we were stranded on a snow covered island. 

Much the way it is with Christmas music, many of the classic movies are more popular today than when they debuted. That's because "tradition" is such an important part of Christmas and with every passing year many of our favourite songs and movies become further entrenched in our Christmas routines. 

Every year, new Christmas songs are released with the hopeful ambition of becoming a future Christmas tradition. Similarly, every year there seems to be at least one Christmas movie vying for a spot in our hearts and, every now and then, one makes it in.

Without further ado here are Sound of the Season's 21 Essential Christmas Movies:

21. Four Christmases - 2008

Modern day holiday mayhem ensues when a couple attempts to duck each other's in law's at Christmas by 'leaving town'. Four Christmases is a light comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon.

20. The Santa Clause - 1994

Tim Allen plays a man who accidentally off's Santa and then becomes responsible for carrying on the tradition. Judge Reinhold also appears in this now, Christmas classic.
A Christmas Story - 1983
A Christmas story is set in the 1940s and recounts the story of a boy who sets out to convince everyone, including Santa that a Red Ryder BB Gun is the perfect Christmas gift. 
18. Holiday Inn - 1942

The drama of this Christmas love triangle plays out at an Inn that only opens during the holidays. Holiday Inn stars Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire and is one of the earliest Christmas classics on our list. 

17. The Nightmare before Christmas - 1993

 Tim Burton's twisted take on the collision of Halloween and Christmas comes alive in this animated featuring Danny Elfman as Jack Skellington, the King of Halloween Town who discovers Christmas Town.  

16. Bad Santa - 2003

Billy Bob Thornton is basically the Grinch in a Santa suit. Thornton is a grouchy con man who uses the Santa suit as a disguise to rob department stores. 

15. The Polar Express 2004

The magic of technology made this story of a child embarking on a magical journey to the North Pole even more amazing when it was released in 2004. Tom Hanks is realistically visually portrayed as the 'conductor' and his performance in this animated beauty is terrific. 

14. The Holiday - 2006

Imagine swapping homes with someone who's having the same guy problems as you at Christmas then falling in love with a local. Or, just check out 'The Holiday'. 

13. Miracle on 34th St. - 1994

Richard Attenborough and Elizabeth Perkins put their stamp on this classic story. 

12. Arthur Christmas - 2011

Arthur Christmas is a surprisingly touching tale of Santa's clutzy son and his mission to get a misplaced toy to a girl within 2 hours. 

11. Love Actually - 2003

Hugh Grant is pretty loveable in this light, romantic Christmas comedy as 8 loosely related romantic storylines play out over the days leading up to Christmas.

10. How the Grinch Stole Christmas - 2000

Will a revenge-mad, hairy green beast find his heart in this 2000 version of Dr. Suess' classic story starring Jim Carey? 

9. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation - 1989

"Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here." Clark Griswold, 1989. That pretty much sums it up. 


8. Home Alone - 1990

A young boy is inadvertently left home alone at Christmas. When thieves attempt to burglar the home they find out what kind of a trouble and 8 year old (played by Macaulay Culkin) can make. 

7. Die Hard - 1988

Some people debate whether or not Die Hard is safely considered a "Christmas movie". Hey, when the good guy beats the bad guys like McLane it becomes just the Christmas movie we need.

 6. A Christmas Carol - 1938

You might not know their names but Reginald Owen and Gene Lockhart star in the oldest movie on our list. A Christmas Carol gives a nasty miser named Ebenezer Scrooge a chance of Christmas redemption.

5. Scrooged - 1988

Bill Murray plays a modern day Ebenezer who is haunted by 3 Christmas spirits on Christmas eve. 

 4. Dr. Suess How the Grinch Stole Christmas - 1966

 A grumpy hermit attempts to steal Christmas from the Whos in Whoville in this animated classic featuring Boris Karloff.

3. Miracle on 34th St. - 1947

Kris Kringle suddenly finds himself in a court of law having to prove that he is in fact Santa. 

2. Elf - 2003

Will Ferrell plays a human that was adopted by elves and raised at the North Pole who needs to connect with his 'true identity' by going to New York City.  

1. It’s a Wonderful Life - 1946

A dad who learns what life would be like for those he loves had he never existed. We think Tom Hanks would make a great lead for a modern day version of this one but James Stewart's performance is iconic.

If you feel we've made an error by omission please drop us a note in the comments section below. 

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