Christmastime holds a special place in my heart — just a tad behind Halloween. While movie marathons are always fun in my book, holiday films have a certain comfort and nostalgia that nothing compares to. My list of must-watch holiday flicks pretty much consists of every single one, but there are a few that I find extra special. Some I specifically select for different moods or who I’m watching them with. So here’s my list of Christmas films that will please just about every type of person, the Grinch included.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (The Traditionalist)
I don’t think there is a movie with better, and perhaps more, one-liners, timeless jokes, and memorable sequences than Christmas Vacation. The 1989 film starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo will have you laughing nonstop as Clark Griswold tries desperately to make the most of Christmas while dealing with the hectic nature of the holiday. It’s a true classic that I find myself watching multiple times throughout the month.
Gremlins (The Creature-Feature Lover)
Another classic 80’s film, Gremlins follows Billy, a teen who is gifted a mogwai named Gizmo for Christmas. After he fails to follow a couple of key rules of care for Gizmo, a batch of new mogwai are hatched and eventually find themselves transforming into menacing creatures. It’s up to Billy and Gizmo, alongside Billy’s crush Kate, to save their town. A mix of horror and comedy, this film is perfect for people who want to sway from the standard holly jolly.
Elf (The People Pleasure)
If a film could challenge Christmas Vacation to a “classics” dual, it would be this holiday gem. You can never get tired of watching Will Ferrell portray the hilarious Buddy the Elf, and deliver all the standard Christmas joy. This is a film to watch with anyone and everyone.
Arthur Christmas (The Kids)
This funny British animated film follows a family of Santa Clauses and their massive operation to deliver toys to every boy and girl. Specifically Arthur, the cheerful son of the current Santa who has to save Christmas. The cute comedy features some big voices like James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, and Bill Nighy. It’s enjoyable for adults and wildly entertaining for the young ones.
Love Actually (The Romantic)
Another British comedy, also featuring the brilliant Bill Nighy, Love Actually is a bit more on the sappy end — but don’t let that fool you. There’s a lot of great talent in this movie, from Andrew Lincoln (The Walking Dead), the late Alan Rickman (Harry Potter series), to Kiera Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean), and more. It also features some hilarious adult humor (I stress the adult part) to dilute out any sappiness you may have a distaste for. “Romantic Comedy” may scare off some, but I promise, don’t let this be the one that got away.
Krampus (The Horror Lover)
Another film merging comedy and horror during the holidays, Krampus definitely has all the frights you need, but still keeps with the Christmas spirit. The film takes place during an intense winter storm when a family finds themselves being preyed upon by the Anti-Claus and his minions. It has some inventive monsters and a fun premise that will surely entertain someone who has a love for horror films.
Home Alone (The Sentimentalist)
For people around my age, Home Alone was THE holiday film. There was something extra fun about a kid living out his wildest dream, and showing up a couple of bad guys. While everyone on the planet has probably seen this film at least a dozen times — one more wouldn’t hurt.
Just Friends (The Noughties Fan)
I feel like this one is an under-appreciated gem from the 2000s. Ryan Reynolds and Anna Faris deliver in this otherwise mediocre holiday comedy — as their comedic chops really shine throughout. Reynolds, a bitter ex-nerd wanting revenge on his former bestie who friend-zoned him, while Faris tags along as a deranged pop star. Sure it’s a predictable romantic comedy, and also pretty goofy the whole way through, but that’s what’s so great about it.