The best Christmas movies can be watched every year without fail, somehow getting better each time – and while there’s no excuse for playing Christmas music before advent begins, late November is a perfectly acceptable time to start rewatching all of your favourite festive films. Start with the ones that have maintained their status through the decades (the tear-jerking It’s A Wonderful Life and heartwarming Scrooge are at the top of our streaming queues) before moving on to more recent guilty pleasures – the more excessively sentimental, the better.
Argue with friends over the polarising cards scene in Love Actually; sympathise with Tim Allen’s hilarious plight in The Santa Clause; and relive your childhood with back-to-back screenings of Home Alone and Home Alone 2. Fancy a trip to the cinema rather than a night on the couch? See this month’s Mr Vogue Henry Golding in the quintessentially British Last Christmas, written by Emma Thompson and inspired by the songs of George Michael.
Read on for 12 of the best Christmas movies that we at the Vogue office never tire of; there's even something for the Scrooges among us too...
Love it or hate it, this saccharine movie has got all the bases covered when it comes to Christmas feels: unrequited love, new romance, handsome strangers in cosy pubs, and a snowy English village that looks like it would be an absolute nightmare for Ocado deliveries. As guilty pleasures go, The Holiday tops the list.
There seems to be umpteen adaptations of Charles Dickens’ story A Christmas Carol in the world, but we think the 1951 version starring Alastair Sim as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is the best – with Michael Caine in the Muppets version coming a very close second, of course.
Elf, starring Will Ferrell as Buddy – a grown man who has accidentally been raised as one of Santa’s elves – has become something of a Christmas classic since its release in 2003. If Ferrell’s brand of comedy isn’t for you, then watch the film for Zooey Deschanel’s rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”. If that doesn’t make you feel Christmassy, then nothing will.
© Warner Brothers
‘It’s A Wonderful Life’
If the measure of a good Christmas film is how much it can make you cry (which it is), then It’s A Wonderful Life is the greatest festive movie of all time. James Stewart as the worn down and depressed family man George Bailey, visited by his guardian angel on Christmas Eve, has us weeping into our cheese board before the opening credits have even stopped rolling.
Richard Curtis classic Love Actually has become such a festive telly staple since its release in 2003 that we can’t remember a Christmas without it. From a young Keira Knightley to a dapper Hugh Grant and the late, great Alan Rickman, it’s a veritable who’s who of British romcom talent. We won’t hear a word against it.
‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’
Jim Carrey’s turn as the green-haired, pot-bellied, Christmas-hating Dr Seuss character is totally flawless (in our humble opinion). We might have watched The Grinch so many times that we can recite every line, but that only makes it better. And funnier. If you have to watch a kids film, make it this one.
‘Home Alone’ (One and Two)
When we were small, the thought of being left at home by our parents or stranded alone in a New York hotel room over Christmas seemed like the scariest, saddest thing imaginable. Now, it feels like it would be the dream Christmas experience (minus the bumbling burglars, naturally).
© 20th Century Fox
‘The Santa Clause’
Christmas Eve starts off perfectly normally in ‘The Santa Clause’ – but when a suburban dad played by Tim Allen hears a noise on the roof, he assumes the worst and thinks the house must be getting burgled. Santa – startled to have been spotted – falls off the roof, and Allen is left to put on the suit himself, take the reins of the sleigh, and get delivering to save Christmas.
© Attila Dory/Walt Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock
How better to lift yourself out of those end-of-year blues than a satisfyingly cheesy film built around the songs of George Michael? Penned by Emma Thompson and starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, Last Christmas is quintessentially British with the biting humour to match. An instant festive classic.
© Jonathan Prime/Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock
Sick of all the festive schmaltz? Then give yourself a dose of Bad Santa. This 2003 movie, starring Billy Bob Thornton as a filthy-mouthed, filthily clothed department store Father Christmas will satiate that need for something a little less savoury.
‘Miracle On 34th Street’
Anyone who’s visited New York City during the Christmas season knows that Santa Claus lookalikes abound – but what happens when one of them is the real thing? In this 1994 remake of the 1947 classic, six-year-old Susan meets Kris Kringle, played by Richard Attenborough. All she wants for Christmas? A dad, a house, and a baby brother.
‘The Muppets Christmas Carol’
The festiveness of this Charles Dickens fable dials up to 11 when reenacted by singing, slapstick puppets. Packed with belly laughs, a heartbreaking Tiny Tim in frog form, and Michael Caine as Scrooge, it will make you want a Muppet version of every Christmas story.
© Jim Henson Productions/Kobal/Shutterstock
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