Christmas movies are a staple of the holiday season. Whether you're watching them on TV, streaming services, or even pulling out an old videocassette (what are those), these special films bring back memories of our childhoods and help us get into the holiday spirit.
Read through this list of our favorite Christmas movies and see if they match up with your go-tos.
Introduced as a Christmas special in 1969, Frosty the Snowman is based on the classic song of the same name. It airs every year on CBS, so it's always easy to catch this Christmas staple. Of course, this story is about a group of children who build a snowman (Frosty) who comes to life with the help of a magic hat. Wild adventures ensue as the children want to ensure that Frosty doesn't melt, so they decide he must go to the North Pole, which of course will involve Santa.
If you haven't seen Frosty the Snowman, make sure to rent the DVD or see it air this Christmas season.
It seems like several generations at this point have grown up with Macaulay Culkin is his life-defining role as Kevin McCallister in Home Alone. When Kevin is "mistakenly" left alone when his family flies to Paris for Christmas, he initially loves being home alone, but he soon has to deal with two burglars and protect himself from their attempts to break in.
Much of the movie takes place on Christmas and has been a Christmas classic for almost 30 years. You can find it on streaming services or DVD throughout the holiday season.
Produced by the same company that created Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a stop-motion animation Christmas special originally aired on NBC, though it now runs on CBS. Based on the classic "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" song, it tells the story of Rudolph and his strange glowing nose. During the Reindeer Games, Rudolph's nose is exposed and the other reindeer taunt him for it.
When Rudolph runs away, he gets into several adventures, but in the end, he becomes the hero who saves Christmas.
Are you maybe noticing a trend with Christmas movies on CBS? A Charlie Brown Christmas is another one. This special with the characters from Peanuts finds Charlie Brown depressed in the holiday season. Linus explains the true meaning of Christmas and in the end, everyone happily celebrates with Charlie.
Despite its strange origins from the Coca-Cola company and jazz score, this movie is beloved by millions of Americans and enjoyed each year for Christmas.
Narrated by the adult Ralphie Parker looking back on his past, who just wanted one thing for Christmas (a dangerous weapon), A Christmas story is a series of classic vignettes in the family. It tells a story of Christmas and Christmas-adjacent tales that would become a cult classic.
The film is actually based on monologues from author Jean Shepherd performed on radio, as well as additional material from other short stories of his. The film is considered one of the best Christmas films of all time.
While perhaps not originally intended as a Christmas movie, the classic Bruce Willis action thriller is now considered a holiday classic. The film takes place on Christmas Eve as our hero John McClane wants to reconcile with Holly, but everything gets derailed---and massively.
While the film certainly doesn't have the beats of a traditional Christmas film like the first few we've gone over, it holds a special place in many people's holiday movie libraries and isn't going anywhere.
Perhaps one of the most well-known Christmas stories, How The Grinch Stole Christmas! has been produced in many iterations. The original children's book by Dr. Seuss was enormously popular, so it follows the 1966 animated television special would be as well. Also aired on CBS, it tells the story of the Grinch who hates Christmas, steals it from Whoville, but then learns the spirit of Christmas in the end and celebrates with the Whos.
It's a classic tale perfect for getting anyone into the holiday spirit, even your friends and family who don't love the season quite as much as you do.
One of the few pure comedy Christmas movie classics, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is part of a series of Vacation films. It tells the story of a family Christmas gone wrong until eventually, things go right.
It's pure fun and great to watch with the whole family (as long as they're old enough).
New Line Cinema
The newest of the Christmas classics, 2003's Elf stars Will Ferrell as one of Santa's elves who learns he's actually human. Ferrell as "Buddy" travels to New York to meet his real father, getting into some interesting shenanigans along the way.
Elf is a true Christmas story, featuring a protagonist who fully believes in the spirit of Christmas, despite the world shouting against his beliefs, making him believe he doesn't fit in anywhere. In the end, Buddy proves to the world that Santa and Christmas are real and everyone has a happy ending.
What would Christmas be without a romantic comedy? One of the most classic romantic ensemble movies, it delves into how love works in different forms with 10 different, but interlinked stories. At the end of the film, all of the characters are together in London's Heathrow Airport with happy endings.
Much of the movie takes place on Christmas Eve, on Christmas, or has to do with Christmas--making this a perfect Christmas film.