My favorite Christmas movies, ranked

Emma Niland, Staff Writer

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By Emma Niland

Not any different from the entire season of Christmas itself, Christmas movies bring a general feeling of joy and magic. Blame it on the shamelessly good looking leading actors or the cheesy story lines, but Christmas movies are a guaranteed method of getting you into the Christmas spirit. 

I’m a big supporter of watching Christmas movies whenever you want, even in the middle of July. And with so many to choose from, with so many different genres and decades, finding the perfect Christmas movie can be an intimidating challenge. So, for those of you who need a good Christmas movie to snuggle in and watch, I ranked my favorites. 

  1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

One of the funniest movies of all time, and one of my personal favorite movies, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation brings all of the themes most important during the Christmas season together. While I have cringed more times than I can count while watching this movie from the physical pain Clark Griswold experiences to try to get the perfect Christmas for his family, it is an annual routine for me to find a way to watch it around Christmas time.

  1. Elf (2003)

In truth, this list would be meaningless if this movie wasn’t mentioned. Will Ferrell brings on a light and humorous tone to this story of finding love and acceptance. With so many quotable lines and scenes, including the famous lines, “He’s an angry elf,” and, “SANTAAAA,” Elf truly encompasses all that the Christmas season has to offer. I can’t think of a better movie to watch in any situation- with parents and family members, children you’re babysitting, or with friends. 

  1. Love, Actually (2003)

Nine intertwined stories of love. What more could a rom-com fanatic want? I have watched this movie so many times I can reenact some of the scenes by heart. The best part of the movie, however, is Sam, the young aspiring musician who falls for Joanna, a girl in his class who he believes will never love him back. While all of the intertwined romantic endings in this movie are enough to draw tears from your eyes, the most tear-jerking scene is when Sam runs through the airport to find Joanna and kiss her cheek. Cue the Awww’s.

  1. A Christmas Story (1983)

A true family classic, A Christmas Story takes viewers through the life of Ralphie Parker who spends his time dreaming of his dream Christmas present, the Red Ryder air rifle. This movie has it all—humor, family, friendship, and yes, the infamous leg lamp. I can watch this movie at any time of the year, and as I get older I pick up on more of the advanced humor. 

  1. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (The Jim Carrey version, of course) (2003)

While many prefer the cartoon version of this film due to the creepiness of the characters when played by real actors, I love this version of Dr. Seuss’ story. Sure, Jim Carrey’s take on the Grinch gave me nightmares as a child, but I have grown to love this portrayal of such a coming-of-age, heartwarming story.

  1. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

One of the classics, the 1964 version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a work of pure claymation art. It was one of the first Christmas movies I had ever seen, thus it being one of the more memorable ones to this day. There’s nothing like a traditional movie to get you in the holiday spirit, especially if said movie comes with a song that is known by arguably every American- “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” It’s also less than 50 minutes long, making it a great option for a quick movie.

  1. Home Alone (1990)

Ah, Home Alone. Full of humor and light suspense. I always find myself watching this movie around Christmas. It never fails to make me feel grateful for my family and that I have, knock on wood, never been left behind on a family vacation. If you’re in high school and you still haven’t seen this movie, we’ll watch it together. Just give me a time and place. 

  1. A Christmas Prince (2017)

Netflix seems to produce holiday-themed rom-coms by the dozen, but A Christmas Prince has to be my favorite out of them all. So cheesy you could grate it, this movie has no shortage of romance, predictable plot twists, and of course the most perfect ending one could want from a movie such as this. 

  1. The Polar Express (2004)

Based off of the novel, The Polar Express is a Christmas classic for all ages. The experiences of the protagonist bring the audience through a journey of self-discovery and friendship. As a 10-year-old watching the movie, I wished to get a golden ticket to ride the Polar Express to be like the children in the movie.

  1. Die Hard (1988)

I’m not positive if this movie counts as a Christmas movie, but it takes place during the Christmas season, and it’s one of the best movies of all time, so here it is. A true thriller, Die Hard is suspenseful to say the least. Although it’s definitely not appropriate for young audiences thanks to its R-rating, it’s still, without a doubt, an incredible story about a race to fight terrorists and save hostages.