The Best '80s Holiday Movies, From 'Christmas Vacation' To 'Gremlins'

I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a big fan of '80s movies. I routinely will preach my belief that the decade churned out the most entertaining movies in history to anyone who will listen, regardless of how well-received the decade's films are by the world at large (they usually don't have the best reputation). So not surprisingly, when the holidays come around, a high percentage of the movies that I enjoy watching to celebrate the season were made in the '80s as well. Which is why I've come up with a list of the best '80s holiday movies.

I will admit that a good number of classics that I enjoy did not come from the Rubik's Cube era. Mid-Twentieth Century films like It's a Wonderful Life, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and A Charlie Brown Christmas are all required viewing for me every December; as are a few selections from the '90s and '00s; like Elf, Home Alone, and The Muppet Christmas Carol. But when it comes to the number of can't-miss holiday hits, no decade can touch the 1980s. Classic comedies, animated family films, one of the greatest action films of all-time — there's really nothing that's lacking from the best '80s holiday movies and specials, so check them out below.

1. Scrooged

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It's Bill Murray in a wacko retelling of A Christmas Carol, what's not to love?

Stream Scrooged here.

2. A Christmas Story

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There's a reason TBS plays this thing for 24 hours straight every Christmas.

Stream A Christmas Story here.

3. Mickey’s Christmas Carol

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Everyone has their favorite telling of Charles Dickens' classic tale. This is mine.

Stream Mickeys Christmas Carol here.

4. A Muppet Family Christmas

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The funniest Christmas movie you didn't even know existed.

5. Gremlins

It's a comedy/horror/creature feature/Christmas movie — and there's nothing else even remotely like it. Only the '80s could produce such a gem.

Stream Gremlins here.

6. Die Hard

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How is it that one of the greatest action movies is also one of the greatest holiday movies? I don't know, but it is. That's the magic of the decade.

Stream Die Hard here.

7. A Garfield Christmas

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Unjustly overshadowed by other animated specials, Garfield put out some truly great and timeless holiday classics in the '80s.

Stream Garfield here.

8. Trading Places

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It's pretty light on Christmas, but it's one of the greatest comedies ever and features Dan Aykroyd in a Santa costume, so that's something.

Stream Trading Places here.

9. Ernest Saves Christmas

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Ernest P. Worrell is certainly an acquired taste, and while this movie is inferior to his Halloween masterpiece, it's still a worthy distraction.

Stream Ernest Saves Christmas here.

10. Planes, Trains, And Automobiles

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Technically, this is a Thanksgiving movie, but its holiday themes, travel troubles, and snowy setting make it great for Christmas, too.

Stream Planes, Trains, And Automobiles here.

11. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

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Without question, the greatest Christmas movie of all time. There is simply no other choice.

If someone told me I could only watch Christmas movies and specials from the '80s for the rest of my life, I would be totally fine with that thanks to the films that make up this list.

Stream National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation here.

Images: Warner Bros. Pictures