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70 Best Christmas Movies of All Time

Did your favorite holiday flick make our list of the all-time best Christmas movies?

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

70 Christmas Movies Ft 1rd.com, via apple.tv.com (2), via amazon.com (10), via netflix.com (4)

The best Christmas movies to add to your must-watch list

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and you know what that means: It’s time for a Christmas movie watch party! Whether you’re a fan of classic Christmas movies, Hallmark Christmas moviesromantic flicks or the best Christmas movies for kids, there’s something on our list for everyone. ‘Tis the season to lounge on the couch in an ugly Christmas sweater, snuggled under a blanket with your loved ones. Picture hot cocoa steaming in your favorite mug while one of the best Christmas movies plays on your television. This must be the coziest feeling in the world.

Our list narrows it down to the best of the best, from classic cartoons all the way to the best Christmas movies on Netflix that have debuted in recent years. Make it a festive family movie festival with the best Christmas movies on Hulu, Lifetime and Amazon Prime to keep it easy and streamable. Have yourself a movie little Christmas!

Hosting family and friends for the holidays this year? Find decor inspiration, gift ideas and hosting tips on RD.com, and get ready to bring joy home for the holidays.

How we chose the best Christmas movies

As we all know, there are movies about Christmas, and then there are the Christmas movies we look forward to watching every single year. That is to say, these aren’t just the greatest Christmas movies; they’re some of the best movies, period. To make our list of the best Christmas movies of all time, each holiday flick had to have at least one of a few essential things: tons of great reviews, a fan following, classic Christmas movies status, a fun singalong or a certain seasonal magic that just makes it feel like Christmas. You know it when you see it! Get ready to laugh, cry and jingle bell rock along with these must-watch Christmas movies.

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Tom Hanks as the Conductor in The Polar Expressvia amazon.com

The Polar Express

Released: 2004

Rated: G

This whimsical, dreamy animated tale follows a group of pajama-clad kids, roused from slumber and pulled aboard a train bound for the North Pole. It’s based on the 1986 Caldecott-winning book of the same name, one of the best Christmas books for kids.

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the holidayvia amazon.com

The Holiday

Released: 2006

Rated: PG-13

This star-studded rom-com features the ol’ house-swap plot line. Kate Winslet stars as the owner of an adorable English cottage who swaps homes for the holiday with a Hollywood mogul (played by Cameron Diaz) in this romantic Christmas movie.

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Christmas in Connecticutvia amazon.com

Christmas in Connecticut

Released: 1945

Rated: Not rated

Return to classic Hollywood in this fun rom-com starring screen legend Barbara Stanwyck as a woman who pens the popular “Diary of a Housewife” column. When her publisher insists she host a Christmas dinner on the farm for a vet returning home from the war, she may just fall in love with him. Here are the best funny Christmas movies for anyone who likes their holiday dramas merry and light.

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Planes, Trains and Automobilesvia amazon.com

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Released: 1987

Rated: R

Steve Martin and John Candy play stranded businessmen who end up on a disaster-filled trek to finally get home for Thanksgiving. Get ready for laughs galore and just enough holiday sentiment to make your eyes tear up. This film ranks as one of our favorite Thanksgiving movies too. If you’re looking to settle into a cozy nook with a book instead, check out these Christmas books to read around the holidays.

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The Shop Around the Cornervia amazon.com

The Shop Around the Corner

Released: 1940

Rated: Not rated

One of the best Christmas movies is this classic love story that inspired multiple mistaken identity rom-coms, including You’ve Got Mail. Christmas Eve revelations finally bring love to light in this classic film. See how many of these Christmas movie trivia questions you can answer correctly.

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Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer Ecomm Via Apple.comvia appletv.com

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Released: 1964

Rated: Not rated

This Christmas classic premiered more than 50 years ago, and we’ve been watching it every year since. Based on the song of the same name, this stop-motion animated television special captures audiences with its sweet story about accepting differences. Want to make it a double feature? These are the best kids Christmas movies to watch on Netflix right now.

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Babes in Toylandvia amazon.com

Babes in Toyland

Released: 1961

Rated: G

This classic still lulls with nostalgic merriness and impressive visuals. You’ll also see magical set pieces and lots of toy soldiers. Set the kids in front of the TV and pop on this film—you’ll have plenty of uninterrupted time to shop online for all the important people in your life. Need some inspiration? Start with these gifts for sisters.

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Four Christmasesvia amazon.com

Four Christmases

Released: 2008

Rated: PG-13

Reese Witherspoon shines in this comedy about heading home for Christmas—to four different homes, that is. Vince Vaughn plays her longtime boyfriend, who weathers the family time by her side. It may not qualify as a classic movie yet, but give it a couple more decades, and it’ll rank up there with A Christmas Story.

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The Merry Gentlemanvia amazon.com

The Merry Gentleman

Released: 2008

Rated: R

Michael Keaton directed this art-house drama featuring gorgeous visuals that capture the stark isolation for those who are alone at Christmas. Next, check out these Christmas movie locations that actually exist in real life.

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The Best Man Holidayvia amazon.com

The Best Man Holiday

Released: 2013

Rated: R

The whole cast returns in this sequel to the 1990s hit The Best Man. Meet up with the group of friends as they descend upon a Christmas estate for tense dinners, plenty of melodrama and some choreographed dancing. Speaking of dancing, get ready to rock around the Christmas tree to one of these funny Christmas songs.

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Edward Scissorhandsvia amazon.com

Edward Scissorhands

Released: 1990

Rated: PG-13

In 1990’s Edward Scissorhands, things come to a head during Christmas when Edward, who has scissors for hands, carves sculptures and shaves ice into Christmas snowfall for the girl he loves. After the best Christmas movies, check out the best Christmas town in every state.

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Elf movie stillvia amazon.com

Elf

Released: 2003

Rated: PG

Elf sits among the top 10 on many best Christmas movie lists because it offers the kind of feel-good hilarity the whole family can enjoy. Prepare for tender moments that depict loneliness and the need to fit in interspersed with Will Ferrell’s particular brand of madcap comedy.

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White Christmasvia netflix.com

White Christmas

Released: 1954

Rated: Not rated

It’s one of the most spectacular classic Christmas movies, so feast your eyes on dazzling, over-the-top numbers bursting with the holiday aesthetic as stranded performers put on a show. There are also a few engagements, so if holiday romance is your thing, this film’s a sure bet. Looking for more love? Find it on the page of one of these romance novels.

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Almost Christmasvia amazon.com

Almost Christmas

Released: 2016

Rated: MA

Danny Glover stars as a recent widower who invites his grown kids home for Christmas. It’s a family melodrama that offers platters of romance and comedy alongside moments that will move you.

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Happy Christmas Ecomm Via Amazon.comvia amazon.com

Happy Christmas

Released: 2014

Rated: R

After a breakup, an immature woman played by Anna Kendrick moves in with her brother, his wife and their 2-year-old and tries to put her life back together during the Christmas season in Happy Christmas.

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The Santa Clausevia amazon.com

The Santa Clause

Released: 1994

Rated: PG

If something should ever happen to Santa, don’t worry. There’s a little-known clause that assures one of the most important Christmas symbols will carry on. Tim Allen plays the dad destined to become Santa in this heartwarming comedy about belief.

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Bad Santavia amazon.com

Bad Santa

Released: 2003

Rated: R

Amp up the Scrooge vibes in this crass take on the Christmas spirit. Billy Bob Thornton stars as a real-life Grinch—he poses as a mall Santa so he can rob stores.

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Scroogedvia amazon.com

Scrooged

Released: 1988

Rated: PG-13

Return to the heyday of 1980s comedy in this retelling of the classic A Christmas Carol story starring Bill Murray as the “Bah, humbug!” type.

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A Bad Moms Christmasvia amazon.com

A Bad Moms Christmas

Released: 2017

Rated: R

Best watched with a spiked eggnog in hand, A Bad Moms Christmas is one of the best Christmas movies to watch with your girlfriends. Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell return as seasoned moms forced to put on the perfect Christmas for their families and generally failing at it. Even worse: Their own moms are watching (and judging) their every move.

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Jingle All the Wayvia amazon.com

Jingle All the Way

Released: 1996

Rated: PG

One of the best Christmas movies for parents, Jingle All the Way may feel like a slice of real life. The plot is inspired by Christmas toy frenzies of the past—you know, the parents who did anything for Cabbage Patch Dolls, Tickle Me Elmos and other must-have seasonal toys. In this case, two rival dads vie for the rare Turbo-Man action figure topping every kid’s Christmas list.

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A Christmas Princevia netflix.com

A Christmas Prince

Released: 2017

Rated: PG

This popular Christmas movie offers a fluffy, sugar-coated love story set during the holidays as an intrepid reporter finds herself falling for the heir to the Aldovian throne. Speaking of romance, make sure to check out these gifts for your wife. They not only say “I love you” but also “I didn’t shop at the last minute.”

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Jack Frostvia amazon.com

Jack Frost

Released: 1998

Rated: PG

Some of the best Christmas movies thrive on themes of angels, ghosts and other magical entities coming along to teach people what the holidays are really about. In this case, it’s a wry snowman come to life who wants one last chance to show his family he cares.

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The Muppet Christmas Carolvia amazon.com

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Released: 1992

Rated: G

Out of all the remakes and adaptations of A Christmas Carol, the Muppets version rises to the top as it manages to be both witty and heartwarming in a way that kids and adults can enjoy together.

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The Preacher's Wifevia amazon.com

The Preacher’s Wife

Released: 1996

Rated: PG-13

This remake of The Bishop’s Wife stars Denzel Washington as a super handsome angel who comes along right around Christmas to help out Whitney Houston with some family problems. We may not be able to help you settle family feuds, but if your problem is around Christmas decoration ideas, we’re here to help.

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Trading Placesvia amazon.com

Trading Places

Released: 1983

Rated: R

This classic Christmas movie catapulted Eddie Murphy to superstardom. He plays the hapless man who falls victim to the schemes of two ultra-rich stockbroker bad guys, but he turns the joke on them.

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via amazon.com

Arthur Christmas

Released: 2011

Rated: PG

This adorable animated film is an unexpected delight with a heartwarming story that captures audience members of every age. The film follows Santa’s son, Arthur, on his quest to deliver a lost toy before the deadline (Christmas Eve!) is up.

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Nothing Like The Holidays Ecomm Via Amazon.comvia amazon.com

Nothing Like the Holidays

Released: 2008

Rated: PG-13

During the holiday season, nothing hits the spot like a great family Christmas movie set around the dinner table. This drama depicts strong bonds and the love that ties us together in relatable and heartfelt scenes by great performers.

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Die Hardvia amazon.com

Die Hard

Released: 1988

Rated: R

The most important adventures take place on Christmas Eve—including one of the best Christmas movies to feature a heist on the Nakatomi skyscraper. Who needs Santa when Bruce Willis delivers the goods in this classic action flick? Watching Die Hard is a fantastic Christmas Eve tradition.

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Love Actuallyvia amazon.com

Love Actually

Released: 2003

Rated: R

Love Actually feels like a ridiculous and romantic trifle. And it is. Giving into its many implausible plots and nutty scenarios is part of the ever-watchable charm that makes it one of the best Christmas movies to ever hit the big screen.

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National Lampoon's Christmas Vacationvia amazon.com

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Released: 1989

Rated: PG-13

Christmas lights will never be the same after you see the Griswold display. Chevy Chase plays the dad who tries to do what’s right for his family amid nonstop epic and hilarious fails in the classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

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The Charlie Brown Christmas Specialvia apple.tv.com

A Charlie Brown Christmas Special

Released: 1965

Rated: G

Nothing captures Christmas quite like Charlie Brown’s forlorn little tree and a rewatching of A Charlie Brown Christmas Special. Snoopy saves the day with some help from the ultimate wise man, Linus, plus the Peanuts kids, who learn the meaning of Christmas.

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Black Nativity Ecomm Via Amazon.comvia amazon.com

Black Nativity

Released: 2013

Rated: PG-13

Don’t miss Mary J. Blige as the Christmas angel in this musical drama based on the famous Langston Hughes play. The movie comes alive during the musical numbers, which are both lyrical and sometimes ultra-realistic. On that note, if you don’t know what to write in a Christmas card, song lyrics are always a good idea.

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The Family Stonevia amazon.com

The Family Stone

Released:  2005

Rated: PG-13

Get ready for slapstick comedy mixed with tragic heartbreak. The Family Stone is the kind of Christmas movie you can rely on for laughs and tears, and you’ll no doubt end up watching it again and again each Christmas.

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Meet Me in St. Louisvia amazon.com

Meet Me in St. Louis

Released: 1944

Rated: PG-13

Judy Garland’s iconic rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” bumps Meet Me in St. Louis onto any list of the best Christmas movies.

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Home Alonevia amazon.com

Home Alone

Released: 1990

Rated: PG

Macaulay Culkin steals the show as the kid left alone at Christmas who fights off bungling burglars while his mom and dad (Catherine O’Hara and John Heard) freak out from afar in the ’90s classic Home Alone.

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Happiest Season Movie Ecomm Via Hulu.comvia hulu.com

Happiest Season

Released: 2020

Rated: PG-13

This rom-com explores wanting to be accepted by those you love most, being true to your own identity and coming out to your conservative parents at Christmas. If this flick doesn’t put you in the festive mood, the best Christmas songs will do the trick.

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It's a Wonderful Lifevia amazon.com

It’s a Wonderful Life

Released: 1947

Rated: PG-13

Have a hankie handy for the happy reunion at the end of this film with a decked-out Christmas tree set, a crowded party, cute kids and your favorite line: “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”

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The Nightmare Before Christmasvia amazon.com

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Released: 1993

Rated: PG

The stop-motion animation looks charming and eccentric while the songs make you tap your foot and sing along in this story about a Pumpkin King who wants to take over Christmas. Don’t worry—Santa ends up safe and sound!

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Miracle on 34th Streetvia amazon.com

Miracle on 34th Street

Released: 1994

Rated: PG

This remake of the 1947 film about the power of belief is big on charm and Christmas miracles. There’s also a legit Christmas dream home at the end! For more merry-making, don’t miss these gifts for mom—the woman who says she doesn’t need anything but deserves everything.

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How the Grinch Stole Christmasvia amazon.com

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Released: 1966

Rated: PG

The TV classic boasts terrific animation based on Dr. Seuss’s iconic and bizarro illustrations. And it contains the added tune “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” with its genius lyrics that roast any scrooge-like meanie.

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via amazon.com

A Christmas Story

Released: 1983

Rated: PG

Watching A Christmas Story is how most kids learn to never touch their tongues to a frozen flagpole. During December, the film is always playing around the clock on TV, and you can catch any scene and still enjoy it.

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The Christmas Chroniclesvia netflix.com

The Christmas Chronicles

Released: 2018

Rated: PG

Kurt Russell gives an inspired performance as a rock ‘n’ roll Santa in this popular recent hit. Goldie Hawn, his longtime real-life partner, plays Mrs. Claus. Set aside some time for a double feature, because the kids will love this flick and the sequel that follows.

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The Christmas Chronicles Twovia netflix.com

The Christmas Chronicles 2

Released: 2020

Rated: PG

Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn reprise their roles as Santa and Mrs. Claus in an adventure involving the evil elf Belsnickel. The Christmas Chronicles 2 features live action mixed with spirited CGI. If you love animation, here are the best Christmas cartoons to enjoy.

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Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journeyvia netflix.com

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

Released: 2020

Rated: PG

One of the best Christmas movies of the past few years is the spectacular Netflix musical Jingle Jangle. A brilliant toymaker’s apprentice tries to steal his idea in this movie filled with exuberant art design, gorgeous costumes and rip-roaring dance numbers.

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Let It Snowvia netflix.com

Let It Snow

Released: 2019

Rated: PG-13

In this sweet rom-com, more than one teen romance takes off when the snow comes down. In one story line, a famous pop star gets snowed in to a small town on Christmas Eve. He spends time with a local teen, who is not impressed with his fame. Check out the best Christmas movies on Disney+ if you’re looking for more teen-dream rom-coms.

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Holiday Rushvia netflix.com

Holiday Rush

Released: 2019

Rated: PG

A single dad loses his lucrative radio show job right before Christmas in this touching film. His kids, used to affluence, are in for some lessons when they all downsize in this heartwarming comedy.

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Dashing In Decembervia amazon.com

Dashing in December

Released: 2020

Rated: PG

If you’re looking for a beautiful Christmas romance, go for Dashing in December. Andie MacDowell plays a mom whose grown son returns home to her ranch for Christmas, only to find himself falling for her totally dashing ranch hand. Here are more great LGBTQ movies to indulge in.

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Noellevia netflix.com

Noelle

Released: 2019

Rated: G

Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader play Santa’s adult children, who have to take over duties after their father’s passing. But neither is really up to the job in this delightful comedy, which you can find on Disney+.

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The Holiday Calendarvia netflix.com

The Holiday Calendar

Released: 2018

Rated: G

In this heartfelt romantic comedy, a woman receives an advent calendar from her grandpa. Once she opens it, the contents of each day seem to magically connect to what’s happening in her life—and might even predict the future.

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Dolly Partons Christmas On The Squarevia netflix.com

Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square

Released: 2020

Rated: PG

Dolly Parton provides all the songs in this Emmy-winning musical about an executive (Christine Baranski) who’s selling all the land in her hometown right before Christmas. What a Scrooge! Take the opposite approach this holiday by creating the best holiday ambiance in your home with easy DIY Christmas decorations anyone can make.

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Christmas With The Kranks Via Amazonvia amazon.com

Christmas with the Kranks

Released: 2004

Rated: PG

In this Christmas comedy, a couple (Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis) decides to skip Christmas, since their grown daughter is away, but then she announces she is coming home after all—with her new fiancé in tow. Her parents try to throw together the perfect last-minute celebration, with hilarious results.

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Holiday In The Windvia netflix.com

Holiday in the Wild

Released: 2019

Rated: PG

In Holiday in the Wild, Kristin Davis plays a divorcée who goes on her second honeymoon solo. It’s a safari, so she ends up needing to save a baby elephant with her hunky pilot—played by Rob Lowe. Sparks fly.

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The Last Holidayvia amazon.com

Last Holiday

Released: 2014

Rated: PG-13

Queen Latifah gives a moving performance in this totally brilliant rom-com about a woman who decides to live life to the fullest when she’s diagnosed with a terminal illness right before Christmas. LL Cool J plays the co-worker who follows her across the globe (in the snow!) to let her know he’s in love with her before it’s too late.

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Anna And The Apocalypsevia amazon.com

Anna and the Apocalypse

Released: 2017

Rated: R

If all you want for Christmas is a zombie movie—that’s also a musical that takes place during the holidays—then Anna and the Apocalypse was made for you. Christmas season is also the season of the undead, with singing, fighting teens to boot. Speaking of teens, yours will love these hilarious Christmas memes.

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Klausvia netflix.com

Klaus

Released: 2019

Rated: PG

Audiences and critics love this animated retelling of the Santa Claus myth. In this moving story, a hapless mailman joins forces with a reclusive toymaker to bring gifts to the kids in the local village.

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Holidate Movie Stillvia netflix.com

Holidate

Released: 2020

Rated: PG-13

Holidate is the ideal romance for anyone who loves, loves, loves the holidays. You’ll find every seasonal celebration in this one, including Christmas, as a fake couple is thrown together during every festivity. Will they realize their one true love is right under their nose? It’s a holiday rom-com, so you bet.

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The Bishops Wifevia amazon.com

The Bishop’s Wife

Released: 1948

Rated: PG

Cary Grant stars as a dashing angel who descends to earth to answer a bishop’s prayer. Soon, the angel finds himself falling for the bishop’s wife in one of the most beloved classic Christmas movies.

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A Christmas Talevia amazon.com

A Christmas Tale

Released: 2008

Rated: R

You’ll find yourself enraptured by this acclaimed French drama (you won’t mind the subtitles!) starring the legendary Catherine Deneuve as a matriarch hosting a Christmas family reunion. If you’d rather skip the family party this year, these Christmas getaways will help you escape the cold.

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Black Christmasvia amazon.com

Black Christmas

Released: 1974

Rated: R

There have been subsequent remakes, but this classic Christmas movie—a full-on horror flick—still packs a chilling punch as sorority sisters battle a killer over Christmas break. It’s perfect if you like your Christmas more macabre than merry.

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Office Christmas Party via amazon.com

Office Christmas Party

Released: 2016

Rated: R

If you’re in the mood for raucous comedy, look no further than this anthem to wild Christmas parties. It stars Jason Bateman, Jennifer Anniston, Kate McKinnon and Olivia Munn.

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Feliz Navidad Ecomm Via Amazon.comvia amazon.com

Feliz NaviDAD

Released: 2020

Rated: PG

Mario Lopez plays a single dad (Feliz NaviDAD, get it?) whose daughter signs him up for a dating app in this sweet Christmas rom-com directed by Melissa Joan Hart.

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Better Watch Outvia amazon.com

Better Watch Out

Released: 2017

Rated: R

Horror fans will love this dark take on Home Alone as a babysitter and her young charge battle home invaders during Christmas. But nothing is as it seems. Heed the title! And if you’re stuck babysitting this holiday season, these Christmas crafts for kids will keep them busy—sans horror, we promise.

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The Night Beforevia amazon.com

The Night Before

Released: 2015

Rated: R

If you’re looking to sit back with some silly, R-rated comedy, try this romp about three friends (Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who are determined to tie one on before Christmas.

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Metropolitan Movie Ecomm Via Hbomax.comvia hbomax.com

Metropolitan

Released: 1990

Rated: PG-13

It’s a very WASP-y Christmas with this talky, Oscar-nominated indie film about rich college kids trying to be sophisticated. Inevitably, Christmas break brings plenty of drama.

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The Christmas Doctorvia hallmarkmoviesandmysteries.com

The Christmas Doctor

Released: 2020

Rated: PG

For Hallmark fans, The Christmas Doctor is one of the best Christmas movies of all time. Everyone loves this romance about a doctor doing a temp gig in a small town over the holidays. She doesn’t like to be tied down, but her handsome landlord makes that impossible!

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krampus the movievia amazon.com

Krampus

Released: 2015

Rated: PG-13

Getting coal in your stocking is a piece of cake compared with a visit from this horned monster who comes for naughty kids. This horror comedy is not for the little ones in your family! Keep them busy with these Christmas brain teasers instead.

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The Knight Before Christmasvia netflix.com

The Knight Before Christmas

Released: 2019

Rated: PG

A medieval knight time-travels to the present day, where he falls for a high school science teacher. Prepare for a super sweet holiday romance!

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The Man Who Invented Christmas Via Amazon.comvia amazon.com

The Man Who Invented Christmas

Released: 2017

Rated: PG

Dan Stevens (of Downton Abbey fame) plays Charles Dickens in this delightful biopic about the author who penned one of the most famous Christmas stories, A Christmas Carol, back in 1843.

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When Harry Met Sallyvia amazon.com

When Harry Met Sally

Released: 1989

Rated: R

This classic rom-com climaxes during the holiday season, when the two besties finally figure out they don’t want to spend another holiday without each other.

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Prancer Ecomm Via Hulu.comvia hulu.com

Prancer

Released: 1989

Rated: G

This sweet drama stars Sam Elliott as the widowed father of a young girl who believes she’s found one of Santa’s reindeer. If you can unglue yourself from the couch, these Christmas party themes will take your holiday get-together to the next level.

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Additional reporting by Chloë Nannestad.

Molly Pennington, PhD
Molly is a writer and collage artist with a PhD in film and cultural studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Her professional astrology services and artwork are available at Baroque Moon Astrology. She covers the zodiac, books, movies, TV and culture for Reader’s Digest, and loves to talk about all the ways we make meaning.