These Are 13 Of The Best Christmas Movies Ever According To Rotten Tomatoes

New Line Cinema

It's the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas, per se — the pre-Christmas period. The period during which you're pretty much required to only watch holiday-themed movies. In honor of this blessed, entertainment-filled season, here are the 13 best Christmas movies — according to Rotten Tomatoes — that you need to see before Santa arrives this year.

OK, so, there's actually more than 13 movies on Rotten Tomatoes' list. Like, a lot more. The critics over at Rotten Tomatoes actually put together a list of the 50 — yes, fifty — Best Christmas Movies of All-Time, as determined by their score on the site's fresh-rotten metric. And boy oh boy is it filled with some good ones.

"Christmas has come to represent different things to people over the years, and the movies here reflect that in kind," the description of the rankings reads. There's legitimately something for everyone, from traditional flicks, to yule-tide specials, to tinsel-toned comedies, and ho, ho, ho-rrors.

Curious about how they narrowed their picks down? Well, "every movie on the list is Fresh [with a rating of at least 60 percent], and plays around with the spirit of Christmas and the holidays as a central theme," the site explains. "Then we sorted them all by Adjusted Tomatometer. And now you’re ready to enter a wonderland of cinematic history." Hooray!

You can scroll through Rotten Tomatoes' full ranking here, by the way. And below, check out our picks for the 13 best Christmas movies (in no particular order) from their list. Merry pre-Christmas period!


'Scrooged' — 70% Fresh

Bill Murray stars as Frank Cross in this modern, dark comedy take on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." Emphasis on "dark comedy" — this is far from formal prose.


'The Nightmare Before Christmas' — 95% Fresh

Tim Burton's stop-motion animated dark fantasy is a real treat for holiday-heads. Jack Skellington's story combines both Halloween and Christmas themes, and the soundtrack is pretty killer, too.


'The Santa Clause' — 74% Fresh

Tim Allen plays Scott, a divorced dad who accidentally kills Santa and is recruited to take his place. Sounds dark, right? Well, it's not. It's a heart-warming comedy that's fun for the whole family.


'Elf' — 83% Fresh

Will Ferrell is Buddy the Elf, a misplaced, Christmas-loving man-boy in search of his father. Son of a nutcracker!


'Batman Returns' — 80% Fresh

It's Christmas in Gotham, and Batman (Michael Keaton) is tasked with taking down Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) and the Penguin (Danny DeVito) in this sinister Tim Burton-directed flick. It might not be your traditional Christmas movie, but it sure is fun to watch for the holidays.


'Gremlins' — 84% Fresh

The Mogwai-turned-Gremlins wreak havoc around the holidays in this Steven Spielberg-produced comedy-horror hybrid. Remember: Never let the mogwai get wet, and never, ever, ever feed it after midnight.


'A Christmas Story' — 89% Fresh

This beloved holiday comedy taught an entire generation why sticking your tongue to a frozen pole is a very, very bad idea. Also, nothing's funnier than a pink bunny suit.


'Love Actually' — 63% Fresh

You know it, you love it, you might as well watch it again.


'Home Alone' — 63% Fresh

8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) gets left home alone when his family forgets to take him on their Christmas vacation. He feasts, shaves his face, and he fends for himself against some dastardly robbers. It's a classic for a reason, people!


'Diehard' — 93% Fresh

This is undoubtedly a somewhat unconventional Christmas-time pick, but all action in the film starts happening right after the hoildays, so ... Yippie ki yay, motherf*cker.


'Bad Santa' — 78% Fresh

Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) is a con-man who poses as a mall Santa to pull off a heist. It's dark, it's funny, and it's probably not one you want to watch with your grandma.


'A Charlie Brown Christmas' — 93% Fresh

It's an adorable seasonal staple and a lesson in commercialism!


'Edward Scisscorhands' — 90% Fresh

Johnny Depp is the sensitive, scissor-handed Edward who falls in love with the ever-melancholy Kim (played by Winona Ryder). The film concludes at Christmas-time with a tragically beautiful lesson in self-acceptance.


And there you have it. The 13 best Christmas movies from Rotten Tomatoes' Top 50 list. Now go grab some eggnog and get watching.