If you’re like millions of other people you spend a lot of time searching the internet each December for the best Christmas movies of all time. There are a ton of websites out there with their own lists and ranking of the best Christmas movies so we figured we’d throw our two cents into the interwebs.
We could probably make a very long list but we’re going to limit ourselves to 15 of the best Christmas movies, this way we won’t take too much of your time. So here are our picks for the best Christmas movies of all time. Oh, and yes…these are ranked in order.
#15 Mickey’s Christmas Carol
One of the many classic Christmas movies on the list and still one of the best. This is the Charles Dickens story told through the iconic Disney characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse. While the movie was made in 1983, it has the feeling of a much older movie. Some of your favorite Disney characters are here but the main characters are Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchit and Uncle Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge.
While the animation is over 30 years old, it still stands up to the test of time. If your kids love Mickey Mouse, this is a highly recommended Christmas movie and takes the 15th spot in our best Christmas movies of all time list!
#14 Christmas With The Kranks
Tim Allen is one of the funniest actors out there and he lands two movies on our list, as does Jaime-Lee Curtis. Christmas With The Kranks sees a suburban couple coping with their daughter leaving home for Christmas. While Mrs. Krank, played by Jamie-Lee Curtis, copes in her way. Mr. Krank, played by Tim Allen, decides it’s time to take back their lives and skip Christmas. Krank convinces his wife that a trip is in order and to pay for that trip they need to skip everything to do with Christmas. That idea does not go over well with the neighbors who are more involved in the Kranks lives than any neighbor should be.
While the Kranks spend the next few weeks avoiding the pressure from the neighbors and friends they get news that their daughter is coming home for Christmas. Hilarity ensues further and everything gets turned upside down. The botox scene with Tim Allen is especially hilarious. This is a great one if you like your sides to split and it has an ending for the weepers in the crowd as well.
Bill Murray is one of the 70’s and 80’s best comedic actors ever. Who can forget classics like Stripes, Caddyshack, and Ghostbusters? Scrooged was released in 1988 just a year before Ghostbusters II came out. The movie brings all of what you would expect of Bill Murray and like many other movies, tells the classic Charles Dickens story in a new way.
Murray plays Frank Cross, a TV station manager, and is producing a live TV show based on the Dickens story. Cross hasn’t exactly had the best life and eventually his scrooginess brings in the all too familiar ghosts of Christmas. As Cross thinks he’s going crazy he finally realizes that there’s more to life than just money and power. He eventually surrenders his heart to the spirit of Christmas and everyone lives happily ever after. This one makes our best Christmas movies of all time because of the different way director Richard Donner tells the story. Well worth your time to watch this one.
#12 A Charlie Brown Christmas
Come on people! Charlie Brown and Snoopy! Who doesn’t just love this movie? I don’t think this one even needs explaining. Released back in 1964 this is an icon in not only the movie world but also in many other best of lists all over the internet.
Creator Charles M. Schulz weaved such an amazing world with his Peanuts characters and they’re all here. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Peppermint Patty, Schroeder, Lucy, Pig Pen, and more! This movie is so iconic that every year people buy millions of Charlie Brown Christmas trees. Just watch it!
#11 The Polar Express
Tom Hanks stars (sort of) in this wonderful animated film from director Robert Zemeckis. I say sort of because this is one of the first movies where the animated character resembled the actor voicing the part. So Hanks is not only the voice but also drawn in animated form.
The movie revolves around a boy who takes a magical adventure to the North Pole on a magic train. Along the way the boy learns life lessons and the meaning of Christmas. It’s an excellent film in story as well as in production and animation. It deserves a spot in our best Christmas movies of all time list!
#10 How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Alright, I admit, Jim Carrey’s portrayal of the legendary Grinch was sort of creepy. But that’s to be expected from him as many of his characters have a creep factor. But let’s not discount Dr. Seuss here. The man created a creepy character to begin with. Just read the book again and check out the drawings. I think Carrey just brought that visual to a whole new level with his skills.
I know a new animated version of this story released this year. It didn’t make our list because we did not actually see it. But I’m fairly certain that I’d still pick this version over any other just because of Carrey’s performance. This one is a much watch and it leads us into the top ten.
#9 A Christmas Story
Another movie made in 1983 but has a feel of being around since forever. Okay, I know many people are probably going to scoff at my placing this one in 9th place. After all, it is a classic and most best Christmas movies lists place this one in the top 5 easily. Well, I like it, but I’ve never liked it well enough to watch it every Christmas. Yes I know, shocking
Listen, the movie is great. I love Ralphie and the whole Red Ryder storyline, the old man and his leg lamp and the overall nostalgic feel of the movie. I do think it’s worth your time to watch and it is in the top ten. What more can I say?
#8 The Santa Clause
This one is another new classic and needs no explanation. Tim Allen hits our list for the second time in a Christmas movie. This is everything you expect from Tim Allen. He’s excellent in this movie as is Judge Reinhold of Fast Times at Ridgemont High fame.
This is just a must watch every Christmas season. That’s about all that needs saying.
#7 The Christmas Chronicles
Move over Tim Allen, there’s a new Santa in town and his name is Kurt Russell. I loved Tim Allen’s Santa Clause and to be fair, this story is totally different. That being said, I know many people are going to scoff at this movie being placed on this list simply because it’s brand new. But man, Russell does an amazing job playing a new kind of Santa Clause.
The story revolves around a brother and sister whose father has passed away leaving their mother to raise them alone. The sister sets out to catch Santa on camera and drags her older brother into the fray. From there the fun begins and this is a total must watch! It’s new and fresh and the cinematography is amazing as are the effects. Watch this tonight!
#6 Home Alone
Another great Christmas movie that needs no explaining. Everyone knows the snotnosed, snarky, clever, and disrespectful Kevin McCallister. The film stars Macaulay Culkin, Daniel Stern, and Joe Pesci but also includes a respectable extended cast. It has McCallister being left home alone and then having to fight off two bumbling burglars. In the end, Kevin learns the error of his ways (NOT) and everyone is happy.
Recently Google made an ad that sort of recreated Home Alone using the Google Assistant. For me, that ad was just horrible. It got a lot of love across the internet and I was one of the few that didn’t care for it. But the original movie is still a classic and a must watch!
#5 Die Hard
Is it a Christmas movie? Is it not a Christmas movie? The debate rages on and frankly we’re firmly on the side of Christmas movie! Sure, it’s not your traditional Christmas story. There’s a bit more shooting, explosions and blood than any of the other movies on this list but it’s still a Christmas movie.
Bruce Willis plays detective John McClane who’s in town to visit his wife Holly Gennaro. Terrorists take over Gennaro’s office building, Nakatomi Plaza, and McClane swings into action to save his wife and save Christmas! YAY! Watch it!!!
#4 Trading Places
Okay, so you’re probably this far and asking yourself what in the world is this guy thinking? Trading Places in 4th position? Well, I don’t need to explain myself to you! This is an awesome movie and the second movie on this list with Jamie-Lee Curtis. The movie also stars Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd.
The movie is an amazing comedic ride that follows a snobby Wall Street investor and a sarcastic witty street con artist as they attempt to bankrupt two millionaire brothers. The brothers place a bet in which they pit Murphy and Akroyd against each other. Once the pair get wind of the brothers scheme, the game is on! This is funny on so many levels but NOT for children!
#3 The Nightmare Before Christmas
Tim Burton is a genius! This movie was an instant classic when it was released back in 1993. It’s a hybrid Halloween and Christmas movie and so well done. Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but his attempts to bring Christmas to his home causes confusion.
This movie also brings another star into our double best Christmas movies awards. Catherine O’Hara is a voice in this movie and she’s Kevin McCalister’s mom in Home Alone. So she joins Jaime-Lee Curtis and Tim Allen as having two movies on this list. Go watch this movie, it’s good for Halloween and for Christmas!
#2 National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Who doesn’t love the Griswold family!? This is not just one of the best Christmas movies of all time but it’s also one of the best movies period! This movie needs no explanation. Okay, maybe just two words.
Okay, I may get a boatload of hate for this one but hey, I love Elf! Yes, I know Will Ferrell has made some bad movies, but Elf isn’t one of those. The movie follows Buddy, a human who has found his way to the North Pole and is raised by elves.
Eventually Buddy’s massive size leads the elves to telling him the truth, that he’s human. This sends Buddy on an adventure to a magical place called New York City to find his human father, played by James Caan. Then of course, hilarity ensues and Buddy has some great adventures. The film stars Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Ed Asner, Mary Steenburgen, Zooey Deschanel, Peter Dinklage and is directed by Jon Favreau.
This is the one movie we watch with our kids multiple times throughout the Christmas season. It’s become our tradition and it absolutley deserves the #1 spot on our best Christmas movies of all time list!
Last Updated on February 3, 2021.