13 Amazing Christmas Movies That You Can Actually Watch All Year Round
Tinsel, dumb sweaters, and consuming your body weight in chocolate. What's not to like about the holidays? Even more importantly, while you're hanging that tinsel, wearing that sweater, and eating that chocolate, you can load up on Christmas movies that are so good that you can watch them all year round. Seasonal purists might sneer and/or categorize you as "everything that's wrong with society," but, hey, you know they're the same people who refuse to buy on offer advent calendars after the fact. And, really, the last laugh's on them, because nothing takes the edge off January like a seasonal chocolate per day.
When you think about it, it's kind of peculiar that we don't spend the whole year round watching Christmas movies. After all, as the sheer quality of the films below suggest, these movies have to be spectacularly spellbinding to stand a chance at getting asses on theater seats in one of the most competitive times of the year for the film industry. They've got to deliver the biggest stars (often as an ensemble cast) and the most inventive stories (well, for the movies that aren't just innovative new takes on Dickens' A Christmas Carol).
So, forget the hand wringing about watching these at an appropriate time of the year and get stuck in this December and every month after.
Is there a lovelier Christmas flick than Elf? Nope. Will Ferrell plays Buddy, a human who grew up in the North Pole believing himself to be an elf, and, after learning the truth, heads to New York City to meet his dad, Walter, who's on Santa's naughty list. Hijinks ensue, your heart will be warmed whether it's December or July. Also, Ferrell's hilarious, but you knew that already.
2. 'It's A Wonderful Life'
While this is billed as one of the most classic Christmas movies, it's actually a little sobering for the festive season. Given that it touches on topics like depression and is a real tearjerker, this is actually a better one to watch at a safe distance from the season of too many egg nogs. This said, it's very beautiful and definitely worth a watch to restore your hope in the world (eventually) if you've never checked it out before.
3. 'Home Alone'
Even after Party Monster, Saved!, and that pizza-themed Velvet Underground tribute band, this still has to be the best thing Macaulay Culkin has ever made. The '90s icon stars as Kevin McCallister, a down-on-his-luck boy who gets inadvertently left at home by his family when they head to Paris for a Christmas vacation and has to fend off burglars on his own. The premise is so wacky you may forget it's a holiday movie at all.
4. 'Love Actually'
Whether you actually love or hate this movie (Lindy West's Love Actually re-watch for Jezebel may actually be just as entertaining as the movie itself), there's no denying it manages to pack an awful lot of Christmas into 132 minutes. Expect: an office Christmas party, a kids' Christmas pageant, snow, a Christmas hit single. All the seasonal things. Grinches will hate it, but if you're all about that time that Santa swings by, it's your jam.
5. 'The Santa Clause'
Dude accidentally murders Santa, must take his place. If this sounds like a horror film, don't worry. It's all very light and fun, somehow, despite the deeply existential premise more appropriate for October viewing. Tim Allen is luminous.
This modern day update of A Christmas Carol stars Bill Murray as awful human being and talented (if ruthless) TV exec Frank Cross. Cross is reaching Scrooge-esque heights of evil by ensuring the channel he works for gets good ratings by putting on a live version of, yes, sound the meta bell, A Christmas Carol. This means all his staff will have to work on Christmas Eve. Luckily, three ghosts swing by, and, well, you know the rest, but it's still great fun to watch.
7. 'Jingle All The Way'
When workaholic mattress salesman Howard (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) forgets to think about Christmas until the very last minute, he knows he's going to be in deep trouble with his family unless he gets his hands on the most sought after toy in town, the Turbo Man action figure. But there's another devoted dad who's also sworn he'd get the same toy at any cost, and the two dads go head to head. Ignore the 17 percent Rotten Tomato rating: watching Schwarzenegger use all the stunts he's learned over the years as an action star in the context of family-friendly seasonal viewing makes for a compelling-if-goofy movie.
8. 'A Christmas Story'
All Ralphie wants is a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model BB gun air rifle. But all anyone can tell him is, "You'll shoot your eye out." What's a 9-year-old in the 1940s to do? Good clean fun and too adorable: it'll give even the most hardened cynic amongst you that mulled wine afterglow.
9. 'Bad Santa'
For starters, this film's not quite wholesome enough to watch around family, so you might as well watch it to bring on the pre-Christmas feels. And for seconds, it stars not only Billy Bob Thornton as a charismatic shopping mall Santa with an alcohol and sex addiction but Lauren Graham AKA Lorelai from Gilmore Girls. Almost too much fun?
10. 'Miracle On 34th Street'
Nope, not the adorable 1994 remake (which you'll almost certainly watch to death during the festive period), but the original 1947 film which centers on the real Santa taking a job as a shopping mall Santa at Macy's. Jonesing for the modern version and can't imagine swapping it out for the older film? Edmund Gwenn, who played Santa, won an Oscar for his performance in the movie. This is some high-end festive entertainment.
11. 'The Holiday'
This ensemble rom-com is packed to the gills with talent and beauty: Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and Cameron Diaz all star, with the female leads playing dissatisfied women who trade houses in London and LA following bad luck in love. Bet you can't guess what happens next.
12. 'White Christmas'
A 1950s musical comedy starring Bing Crosby? Just what the doctor ordered for the dark post-Christmas days ahead. The movie centers on two World War II era American soldiers ,who join a sister act to perform a show in rural Vermont. Sure, it's a little slushy, but its heart is in the right place and the soundtrack, written by Irving Berlin, is everything.
13. 'The Muppet Christmas Carol'
You know the story, you know the puppets. But did you know why Michael Caine, who plays Scrooge in the adaptation, joined the cast? Caine told GQ that he played Scrooge because, "I had never made a movie that a 7-year-old can see," and his daughter at the time was just seven and had never seen any of her dad's movies. The Alfie star loved the movie, calling it a "good, fun film for kids," but, let's be real — it's also a good, fun film for non-kids, too.
Whether you're in it for action, romance, songs, or puppets, there's sure to be a film above to get you in the mood for Christmas even after Christmas is long gone.