The top 10 holiday movies that need to be watched every December

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Now that the most wonderful time of the year is upon us, it’s time to break out the cocoa and curl up by the fire to watch the holiday classics. With the constant stream of cookie cutter Christmas movies coming out of the Hallmark Channel and Netflix, it is easy to get lost and forget to make time for our holiday favorites. Here is the list of the all-time greatest holiday movies that must be watched every year to put you in the holiday mood. 

10. “Scrooged” (1988) 

Kicking off our list is the modern take on Charles Dickens’ seminal tale, “A Christmas Carol.” While this classic remains one of the most retold stories of the season, this particular version stands out due in large part to the comedic genius of the film’s star, Bill Murray. Ebenezer Scrooge is now Frank Cross, a greedy TV executive who requires the help of three ghosts to find the true meaning of Christmas. 

9. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1966/2000) 

Whether you are a fan of the original animated version, or the later Jim Carey live-action film, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” will forever be a favorite, as it shows that the holidays mean much more than the gifts, decorations and the great roast beast. 

8. “The Polar Express” (2004) 

Let’s be honest, every kid of the 2000s fantasized about taking a ride on this legendary train, and what could be better than Tom Hanks belting out a song about everyone’s favorite winter beverage? 

7. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989) 

Probably one of the most successful films of the “National Lampoon” franchise, “Christmas Vacation” is a hilarious telling of the joys, and more often pains of the holiday season. 

6. “Home Alone” (1990) 

This iconic film has forever taught audiences that a kid can always beat two idiots and that the most important part of the holidays is spending them with the ones you love. 

5. “Elf” (2003) 

Probably the funniest movie of the holiday season, “Elf” can make anyone, even a cotton-headed ninny muggins, bust a gut from Buddy’s antics spreading Christmas cheer throughout New York City. 

4. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965) 

Despite being the shortest entry on this list, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” still brings audiences the same nostalgic feelings of any great holiday film, even more than 50 years after its TV premiere. Nothing beats watching the Peanuts gang ice skate across the frozen pond or watching Linus place his blue blanket around their tiny tree. 

3. “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947) 

The classic black and white tale of the Macy’s department store Santa who insists he is the big man himself is the quintessential film to put anyone in the holiday mood. While it may be the least known movie on this list for millenials, “Miracle on 34th Street” will make viewers of all ages believe in Santa Claus just like little Susan Walker and the entirety of New York City. 

2. “A Christmas Story” (1983) 

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, then it’s your own fault considering it is played for 24 hours straight every Christmas. Narrated by his adult self, “A Christmas Story” tells the tale of 9-year-old Ralphie Parker and his quest for an official Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle—despite the inescapable warning from the adults in his life, “You’ll shoot your eye out.” 

1. “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) 

The undisputed greatest holiday movie of all time is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” While you could argue with me all day long that a film from the ‘40s does nothing for an audience of the 21st century, “It’s a Wonderful Life” set the standard for holiday movies and the way they should make people feel. The movie’s overall message is everyone’s life is important and everyone’s life matters. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is not just one of the greatest holiday movies of all time; it’s one of the greatest movies of all time. Period. 

Thumbnail photo courtesy of @homealoneofficial Instagram.


Gino Giansanti is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at gino.giansanti_jr@uconn.edu.

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