Every year, new Christmas movies pop up faster than kids ripping open presents from Santa, but there’s something compulsively rewatchable about a true Christmas classic. So, we have created a list of the 10 best Christmas movies to get you in the festive mood this December! From old classics to new gems, we’ve got the films to turn even the biggest Grinch into the happiest Buddy.
10: Jingle All the Way
After seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger fight the Predator and hunt down Sarah Connor, it may come as a surprise to see him cast in the Christmas comedy Jingle All the Way. But we wouldn’t have it any other way! Arnie swaps the rainforest for the suburbs as he races around town to find the coveted TurboMan action figure for his son.
This ridiculously entertaining film is so 90s that it came with frosted tips and a Tamagotchi. There’s slapstick action, an increasingly desperate protagonist, and heartfelt moments that will melt even the Scroogiest heart. But buried beneath this layer of 90s cliches is a hyper-relevant satire on the tragedy of buying the love of your family instead of simply being there for them, which holds up no matter what era it’s viewed in.
For those hoping for a few frightful delights in their stockings, Krampus is the perfectly spooky gift. Instead of Santa Claus coming to town this Christmas, one unfortunate family gets a visit from Krampus, a goat-like creature straight from German folklore. And he’s here to deliver a little more than a lump of coal.
In this creepy Christmas classic, you’ll experience diabolical gingerbread men, demonic elves, and living toys tormenting Toni Collette, Adam Scott, and David Koechner. Thanks to a deft balance of humour, horror, and excellent creature and sound design, Krampus hits all the right notes and lands among our 10 best Christmas movies this December.
8: How the Grinch Stole Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is an adaptation of the Dr Seuss Christmas classic, packed with a perfect sense of holiday charm that beats the Santa hat off most others in the genre. This Seussian mainstay has us all revisiting Whoville every year while Jim Carrey delivers a wonderfully over-the-top performance that keeps things childishly camp and full of cheer. If you can’t seem to find your Christmas spirit, take a trip back to Whoville, and you may just find that small heart grows three sizes this December.
7: Bad Santa
Spike the eggnog this holiday season with Bad Santa, a foul-mouthed yet undeniably hilarious treat for grownups only. Billy Bob Thorton shows us the bleak underbelly of Christmas as he plays an alcoholic, sex-crazed mall Santa who’s out to rob the stores on Christmas Eve with his elf sidekick.
Bad Santa’s go for broken humour pushes the limit of what we consider acceptable during the holiday season. While it may seem to be about a cynical and unsympathetic Father Christmas at first glance, it ultimately delivers a heart-warming story of redemption. Billy Bob Thornton’s portrayal of the emotionally complex Santa Claus will have you rooting and cheering for the anti-hero because underneath the booze and debauchery is a man who just wants love, acceptance, and a fresh start.
6: The Nightmare Before Christmas
Is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Halloween film or a Christmas movie? Why not both? This Tim Burton and Henry Selick classic is a frightfully jolly and cheerily spooky stop-motion adventure worth watching at both times of the year!
Its creepy cast of characters, from Jack Skellington to Sally and Oogie Boogie, makes this musical about a botched Halloween-Christmas merger an absolute delight. So, sit down, sing along, and get lost in the macabre mayhem this holiday season.
5: The Muppets Christmas Carol
How do you improve a story as perfect as A Christmas Carol, one of the most beloved (if not a little overdone) Christmas classics? Well, you add the Muppets, of course! The 1992 adaptation The Muppet Christmas Carol features a star-studded cast with Gonzo as Charles Dickens, Kermit as Bob Cratchit, and the legendary Michael Caine as Ebeneezer Scrooge. Throw in a few earworms performed by the Muppets cast, and you’ve got a certified classic.
The playful puppetry and sense of whimsy that comes with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop doesn’t take away from the film’s everlasting message: It’s true that wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas.
The most recent addition to our 10 best Christmas movies list is 2019’s animated feature, Klaus. Unlike the traditional story of a jolly, red-suited Santa Claus, Klaus is an animated feature that tells a different kind of Christmas tale. The movie is set in 19th-century Norway and follows Jesper Johansen, a meek mail carrier (voiced by Jason Schwartzman), and Klaus, a gruff woodsman (voiced by J.K. Simmons) who carves toys for children. Together, they bring presents and Christmas joy to a divided town. Their gorgeously animated journey will tug at your heartstrings and cause even the Grinchiest viewers to shed a tear this December.
3: Die Hard
Although John Mctiernan’s Die Hard has a higher body count and several more explosions than, say, It’s a Wonderful Life, it’s still a Christmas classic! John McClane’s Christmas Eve battle royale against Teutonic terrorist Hans Gruber atop the Nakatomi Plaza stands tall as one of the best action Christmas movies ever made. What starts as a raucous romp filled with firefights and one liners unravels into a touching tale of a father reconnecting with his family, reminding us of what the holidays are really about. Who needs “Ho, ho, ho!” When you’ve got “Yippee ki-yay, motherf****r!”
2: The Santa Claus
Although the idea of the ever-lovable Tim Allen causing the death of Santa, only to find his body swelling and growing hair involuntarily has all the makings of a Cronenberg horror-show. The Santa Clause has remained a staple on almost everyone’s list of the best Christmas movies ever.
This schmaltzy 90s classic will have you whisked away to Santa’s workshop as you watch Scott Calvin learn the ins and outs of being Father Christmas. While the second and third instalments also deserve a watch this December, it’s hard to beat the magic of Tim Allen slipping into the big red suit for the first time. (dead Santa notwithstanding)
A perfectly sweet serving of cinematic eggnog, Elf will tear out the inner child in all of us with the same enthusiasm we once had, ripping into presents on Christmas day. The not-so-secret weapon to this success is Will Ferrell as the plus-sized elf, Buddy, who leaves Santa’s workshop to find his biological father in New York City.
The hustle and bustle of the Big Apple is the perfect foil for Ferrell’s unflinching zest for the little things in life. Enchanting sights are met with harsh realities as he encounters “free” gum and fake Santas. Elf explores what makes Christmas so special, blending laughs and emotion in proportion.
Get into the Christmas Spirit with these Flicks
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, so it’s time to put up the tree, hang the holly and work your way down our list of the 10 best Christmas movies to watch this December!
And, for some hot tips on some of the best gifts this holiday season, check out our tech blog for a rundown on the latest gadgets and gizmos.