The Christmas movie category is a strange one. Many are classics, but many are worth a skip too. Yet somehow, even the worst Christmas movies are so-bad-that-it's-good. Maybe it's the childlike sense of nostalgia that watching a festive movie brings, which makes them great. Or maybe it's the only Christmas activity that provides peace and quiet each festive season. Either way, a touch more seasonal cheer can never go awry during the festive season. So we’ve listed the best Christmas movies–as polled by our colleagues at Esquire—for you to watch and receive the Christmas spirit.
It’s a wonderful life (1946)
A perennial festive favourite, It’s a wonderful life is a renowned Christmas classic. Directed by Frank Capra, this is based upon The Greatest Gift, a short story written by Philip Van Doren. Its storyline centres around George Bailey, a businessman who when wishes he wasn’t born, is met with an angel Clarence, who shows him how life would be if he did not exist. If you are planning a Christmas movie marathon, start here.
Home Alone (1990)
Still searching for that nostalgic, child-like feeling this Christmas season? Cosy up and watch Home Alone. One of the seasons most iconic movie, it’s storyline needs little explanation. If you want to festive flick with serious throwback vibes, you won’t get better than this one.
Love Actually (2003)
Dive into love and loss in London amidst the festive season, with Love Actually. Told through nine comedic and heart wrenching intertwined stories, the movie explores the emotion that connects all, love. Directed by Richard Curtis, and with a cast of predominantly of British actors, its satirical humour is ever-present throughout. A great watch if you are looking for a bit more love, laughter and a throwback soundtrack.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
If you aren’t feeling particularly festive—but are also looking for a laugh—look no further. How the Grinch Stole Christmas will sure-fire get you in the spirit. Featuring a classically comedic performance from Jim Carey, this movie combines comedy, fantasy and drama. And based on Dr. Seuss's 1957 book, it's a nostalgic nod to childhood.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
An iconic family favourite during the Christmas period, George Seaton’s Miracle on 34th Street. The plot revolves around a department store Santa, who claims to be the real thing. This instant holiday classic has reinforced Christmas spirit from 1947, till now.
Harry Potter (2001)
Not your typical Christmas movie, but what’s more festive than magic? Based on the series of fantasy novels by J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter is a great festive fix. Our favourite movie for the Christmas season? The first in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, showcases Harry's first introduction to magic, family and activities done a loving Christmas day. Much like Home Alone, this movie strikes that childlike, magical feeling when watching. You can’t beat it.
Arthur Christmas (2011)
A newer festive release (which you can catch on Netflix currently) is Arthur Christmas. Although an animated comedy, the movie is perfectly suited for both adults and children, due to the well-written script and unique storyline; centring on Santa’s youngest son Arthur and his mission to save Christmas. Looking for something for the whole family? This is it.
This list would be incomplete without including this modern holiday classic. Elf is a genuinely funny Christmas movie, thanks to Will Ferrell’s comedic performance as Buddy the elf. If you enjoyed Step Brothers and Anchorman, you will definitely love this one.