23rd Dec2019

Alain’s Top 25 Christmas Movies!

by Alain Elliott

I absolutely love Christmas and the films made for it! I’ve had a hard time compiling just twenty five movies for my favourite festive films ever. But here is my list. Disagree with any of it? Have I missed out any of your favourites? Follow Nerdly on social media and let us know.


1. Home Alone

Not just my favourite Christmas movie but one of my favourite movies ever. A family somehow manage to go away for Christmas and leave their son behind home alone, while at the same time a pair of burglars are scanning that area ready to take as much as they can.

I smile from beginning to end watching Home Aloen and it’s one of those films that works just as well watching it as a child or an adult. Malculay Culkin is perfectly cast because the character should be annoying but isn’t at all. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are perfect as the burglars, their chemistry is clear to see. The stunts are fantastic and even though it’s an all out comedy it has heart, and a whole lot of it. From the family trying to get back to Kevin (especially the mother) or the neighbour and his granddaughter and all the little relationships elsewhere.

There’s been sequels (number 2 is great) and it’s been copied many times but nothing will ever beat this original.

2. Elf

Perhaps Will Ferrel’s best film. It’s a ridiculous, if not completely original script that director Jon faverau plays out perfectly. A man raised as an elf in the North Pole discovers he is actually human and sets out to New York to find his father.

It’s another one of those films that is great for the young and old and therefore perfect family viewing with joke after joke. New York at Christmas is a perfect setting, the snow, the colours, the outfits – Elf is very very Christmassy, you’ll be quoting it every Christmas.

3. Nativity

Somehow this isn’t loved quite as much s it should be. As far as I can tell it is not that well known outside of the UK and even here I don’t generally hear people talk about it as one. of the best Christmas movies but it really is. An uptight primary school teacher tells a white lie about his schools pantomime being filmed for Hollywood and things escalate very quickly.

In what is essentially a family comedy, Martin freeman still manages an acting masterclass and will have you laughing and crying straight after one another. Marc Wootton is great as lead support (he makes the sequels watchable too) and the whole cast are great. There’s some super catchy and original songs that you will be singing throughout December.

4. Arthur Christmas

The first animated movie on my list and it, Rightfully so, seems to have picked up quite a following for fans of Christmas movies. Santa’s son Arthur sets out on a mission with his Granddad to deliver a misplaced present to a girl in England. It’s superbly original, very funny and surprisingly emotional. There’s a great cast of characters and the whole film is set over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The animation is absolutely perfect, bursting out of the screen with Christmas colours. For a children’s movie it’s brilliantly odd at times and it’s perfect Christmas Eve viewing.

5. Krampus

Horror doesn’t get enough recognition for it’s Christmas-themed movies but the first Krampus movie that had a decent budget came from Godzilla: King of Monsters director Michael Dougherty. Here a boy manages to accidentally summon a demon on Christmas Eve.

Even if you don’t like horror, you will get plenty from the first 45 minutes, which is essentially a family Christmas comedy with a brilliant comedic cast. And then those second 45 minutes are all for horror fans and will leave other movie goers with their mouths wide open and hiding behind their blankets. The scary parts are absolutely insane, brilliant and gloriously dark. This is my Christmas Eve movie of choice.

6. The Santa Clause

Somehow 25 years old! A really clever and original script with Tim Allen at his comedic best. A man accidentally kills (well kinda, he at least knocks him off of his roof) Santa and finds himself as the replacement. The divorced parents and father/son relationship stories work really well for a Christmas movie and its very feel-good, leaving you beaming over the last ten minutes.

The sequels slowly decrease in quality but are still worth a watch.

7. The Family Man

He’s been in so many good films it should be no surprise that Nicholas Cage is in a good Christmas film! The Family Man is like some weird mix of A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life and it’s just a really nice comedy drama that’s full of emotion that starts on Christmas Eve.

8. It’s A Wonderful Life

This was a first time watch for me this year and while it didn’t quite live up to the hype it’s still one of, if not the most heart-warming, feel-good movies ever, as an angel comes down from heaven to make a businessman realise that his life is worth living.

It takes a while to get going and my major complaint is that it’s not actually that ‘christmassy’ but it’s a joy to watch and will put a smile on your face.

9. Die Hard

A Christmas party turns bad when the building it is in is taken hostage by terrorists. Of course it’s a Christmas movie! It has the music, the decorations, a Christmas party, there’s snow and it’s set on Christmas Eve! It might be a tad too long but the action is fantastic, Bruce Willis is in his prime and it’s endlessly watchable with a group of friends during the festive period.

10. Home Alone 2

Definitely better than 90% of sequels but it doesn’t quite top the original, partly because it’s basically the same movie set in New York. And that setting does add something special and I would say the stunts in this one are crazier and better. But the pigeon lady isn’t quite the same as the elderly neighbour, the Wet Bandits are a bit nastier, it’s slightly less believable (although they manage to write a story that doesn’t make the parents look completely useless despite losing their child again) and it unfortunately ‘stars’ Donald Trump. That said, it’s still a great movie.

11. Black Christmas (1974)

A group of sorority girls are stalked during their Christmas break. Known for being the first ever slasher and it’s not only an important part of cinema history it’s also a very good slasher movie. It’s very dark, very creepy but somehow very Christmassy. Maybe not for the family but still essential Christmas viewing.

12. Scrooged

One of the most original takes on the Christmas Carol story set in modern day (well 1988) sees Bill Murray at his over -the-top and loud very best. He and the script are good enough to make this seem unlike any other movie of the same tale and they make a lead character who you should hate, somehow likebale by the end.

13. Gremlins

A Christmas Eve present goes horribly wrong when the boy who receives it breaks the three rules he was given. Probably the most well known ‘horror’ Christmas movie and because of Gizmo, people seem to forget this isn’t exactly a children’s film (the original script is even nastier!). There’s a whole lot of Christmas love here but also plenty of hate (including that great speech), its a surprise that this has quite so much love from mainstream movie goers but it is that good.

14. Bad Santa

There’s not too many 18 rated Christmas movies and when Bad Santa was released it felt like there was nothing else like it at all. Two ‘friends’ pose as Santa and his helper to rob department stores each year. Billy Bob Thornton is at his obnoxious best and it must be that magical Christmas spirit because you end up quite liking him in the end. Brett Kelly as the kid is beyond great and this has more than a couple of moments where are actually laugh out loud even when watching it on my own.

15. Miracle On 34th Street (1994)

Plenty of people prefer the original but the 1994 version is the most well known and popular. A lawyer sets out to prove his client is the real Santa Claus. Richard Attenborough as Santa Claus could not be any better and the sign language scene is one of my favourite scenes ever. It’s another story that could be a bit too silly in the wrong hands but there’s no chance of that happening here and it’s a very well written script.

16. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Chevy Chase at his most likeable and silly in the most memorable National Lampoon movie as the Griswald’s have one big family Christmas. Full of characters that you’ll not easily forget and lines you’ll be quoting every year. The Christmas lights scenes are brilliantly played out and there’s a good dose of how frustrating the season can be but still making sure you’ll be smiling as the credits roll.

17. Get Santa

A British film from horror movie director Christopher Smith. He uses a story that would only ever work at Christmas with a fantastic mainly British cast. A father and son try to save Christmas when they discover Santa Claus in their shed. The family-led story makes it perfect for watching with children and it has that magical elements despite not being full of snow, Christmas songs and the like. This should be much more well known than it is, hopefully its popularity will pick

18. The Muppets Christmas Carol

I have to admit to not being a fan of The Muppets in general but that just shows how good Christmas Carol is. Michael Caine is surprisingly well cast, the muppets are more lovable, fun and hilarious than ever and there’s some very catchy songs.

19. All I Want For Christmas

I don’t think I ever see this one mentioned but it’s became a staple in my yearly Christmas movie watch. A young Thora Birch and Ethan Embry play a brother and sister who desperately try and get their parents back together by Christmas Day. It’s silly in the same way Home Alone is and its nearly as much fun with a great cast. One of the most feel-good and fun family festive films.

20. Fred Claus

Unfortunately not remembered quite as fondly as similar comedies like Elf and National Lampoons (and probably never will be as Kevin Spacey has a smallish role) but it’s very funny. Vince Vaughan and Paul Giamatti are great as fighting siblings (Santa and Fred Claus) and much of the movie is set the North Pole. Almost as quotable as Elf!

21. A Christmas Story

Not half as popular in the UK as it is in America but it’s still a very funny Christmas comedy – the basic story is about one young boys journey to get the toy gun he desperately wants for Christmas. The whole main family are very entertaining and there’s some very memorable scenes – the lampshade and child’s snowsuit come to mind. It’s definitely worth checking out.

22. The Night Before

A comedy with Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon Levitt & Anthony Mackie as they go out on Christmas Eve when they are probably too old to do so, looking for the Holy Grail of Christmas parties. Scenes like a guy being very ill in a church full of people at Christmas perhaps shouldn’t be as funny as they are but the cast show great chemistry and it all ends with a cameo from Miley Cyrus and a group of friends sing along to Wrecking Ball, so what’s not to love?

23. How The Grinch Stole Christmas

A fantastic-looking version of the Dr. Seuss classic story. Jim Carrey is excellent as The Grinch who plans to ruin Christmas for the residents of Whoville. Maybe a little bit too scary for young children but its frantic nature mixed with its feel-good message make it a must watch.

24. The Christmas Chronicles

Netflix have provided a whole lot of poor Christmas efforts but last year’s Christmas Chronicles is one of the few hits. A brother and sister attempt to capture Santa Claus but have much more adventure than they expect. You’ll wonder why no-one has cast Kurt Russell as Santa before and this is a fantastic family adventure.

25. Daddy’s Home 2

One of the newest editions to the Christmas movie genre but a highly entertaining and funny one. Some of the morals in this are a bit skewed but Mark Walberg and Will Ferrell have great chemistry and John Lithgow and Mel Gibson are nice editions, while Linda Cardellini is as reliably good as ever. It is FULL of Christmas too – snow, music, setting, decorations, lights and much more!

I understand I have missed out plenty of good movies. There’s countless great versions of A Christmas Carol, The Snowman (although a short film) is a classic, Netflix’s 2019 Klaus is fantastic, horror has some great ones with the brutal Inside or the cult classic Rare Exports. I encourage you to watch as many as you can this festive season!


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