10The Polar Express (2004)
The Polar Express comes in at the #10 spot on our top 10 Christmas movies list. The movie revolves around Billy (Hayden McFarland) who longs to believe in Santa Claus, but finds it difficult to do so. With no belief from his family or word from the North Pole, he soon thinks Santa is a myth. This all changes, however, when a mysterious train visits Billy in the middle of the night. The conductor promises to take him, and a group of lucky children, to the North Pole. The conductor, (Tom Hanks), and other passengers help turn Billy’s crisis in faith into a journey of self-discovery.
9Love Actually (2003)
Next up is #9 on our top 10 Christmas movies list. Love Actually follows the mystery that is love with a host of characters. The holiday season provides the ideal backdrop as prime ministers, widowers, best men, and even love struck grade school kids take a stab at love. Academy Award winners Chiwetel Ejiofor, Colin Firth, and Emma Thompson provide solid performances that catch your attention. Also lookout for heartfelt acting by Liam Neeson–as he helps his stepson Sam (Thomas Sangster) around the ways of the heart.
8Bad Santa (2003)
Santa Claus is the best, and he has no faults…well, maybe just a few. Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) plays a Santa with more than an edge–he’s a thief. He teams up with his friend Marcus (Tony Cox), a lttle person, for a special holiday scam. Mall manager Bob Chipeska (John Ritter) suspects something is slightly off with Saint Nick. The laughs and action are all in good holiday cheer, but this picture is definitely for adults.
7National Lampoons Christmas Vacation (1989)
#7 on our top 10 Christmas movies list stars Chevy Chase. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation will keep slapstick fans entertained with enough gags and good-natured Christmas cheer to qualify as a good holiday film. Chase and his loyal gang are at it again, but try to keep things simple this go around. If you’re familiar with the franchise, you know that won’t be the case.
“Don’t expose him to bright light. Don’t ever get him wet. And don’t ever, ever feed him after midnight.” This sage advice is ignored midway through Gremlins with devastating results. This comic Joe Dante effort is set in a Norman Rockwell-esque small town during Christmas. Seeking a unique gift for his son, inventor (Hoyt Axton) purchases a cute and fuzzy little “Mogwai” from a Chinatown shopkeeper. A little bright light or water can’t cause that much of a problem, can it?
5A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
We’re halfway through our top 10 Christmas movies list. Toy Story, The Incredibles, Shrek, and even South Park must pay homage to the Peanuts gang and its leader Charlie Brown. Although he often faces tough obstacles and gets the short end of the stick–watch him on the pitching mound for proof–Charlie Brown gives 100%. The music is cool, his gang is hilarious (what’s not to like about Peppermint Patty addressing everyone sir or ma’am), and a teacher that no one understands. Can you say, Kenny?
4Die Hard (1988)
Die Hard isn’t a Christmas movie in the traditional sense, but it is great movie to play during the holiday season. The movie does take place in late December and is loaded with fun, action, suspense, and an awesome ending. What’s not to like? Bruce Willis has been in many movies in his long career, but none fire on all cylinders like Die Hard.
3Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
#3 on our top 10 Christmas movies list is Miracle on 34th Street. Edmund Gwenn (Kris Kringle) is a bearded old gent who is the living image of Santa Claus. Serving as a last-minute replacement for the drunken Santa who was to have led Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, Kringle is offered a job as a Macy’s toy department Santa. One of the store’s managers, Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara), soon begins having second thoughts about hiring Kringle. (He works under the premise that he’s actually the real Saint Nick, and begins telling customers to shop elsewhere for toys that they can’t find at Macy’s.) Just when you think he’s overstepped his boundaries a miracle saves the day.
2Home Alone (1992)
We don’t know anyone that doesn’t watch Home Alone and fall for it hook, line, and sinker. Audiences cheer for a young boy named Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) who is accidentally left behind when his family takes off for a Christmas vacation in France. Kevin initally celebrates when he realizes they’ve actually left him home alone, but must learn quickly how to protect himself–and the family home–from two completely incompetent burglars (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern).
1It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
George Bailey (James Stewart) has long considered himself a failure and due to a grave error at his bank, faces financial ruin and arrest. Seeing no way out, George considers suicide. High above Bedford Falls, two celestial voices discuss Bailey’s dilemma and decide to send down eternally bumbling angel Clarence Oddbody (Henry Travers)–who after 200 years has yet to earn his wings–to help George out. It’s good for all of us down here that Clarence arrived just in time–an inspirational gem.