Every year, countless new Christmas movies pop up in the theaters and on TV. (The Hallmark Movie channel has a veritable cult following when it comes to these new flicks every holiday season.) But sometimes it’s nice to sit on the couch with the family, pop up some popcorn, and watch a Christmas movie that is tried and true. Sometimes, you want something that you know will make you laugh, or create that warm and fuzzy holiday spirit inside.
There are plenty of Christmas classics, like Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Story. But one decade, in particular, did an excellent job of cranking out some Christmas hits: the 1990s!
Here’s our roundup of the best Christmas movies from the ’90s. Which do you insist on watching every single year? Let us know in the comments!
5. While You Were Sleeping
It’s Christmas Eve, and Sandra Bullock’s character, who works for the transit system, saves a handsome stranger (Peter Gallagher) from being hit by a train after falling on the tracks. All sorts of confusion and hijinks ensue as she accidentally convinces his family that she is his fiancée, as he lies in a coma in the hospital. While the plot itself is about love, the movie is set against the backdrop of Christmas, and issues like integrity are at the forefront. It’s a sweet movie that offers a good way to slowly adapt to the holiday season. You start to get in the spirit, but no one is hitting you over the head with jingle bells.
4. The Nightmare Before Christmas
There’s nothing quite like a Tim Burton experience to help usher in the holidays. Sure, this isn’t your typical cheery flick with Christmas miracles, but it’s a ton of fun. The ghosts and goblins that live in Halloween town access a portal to Christmas town in this stop-motion animated feature. Here we see what happens when the stereotypical features of Christmas, like carols and presents, are disastrously combined with the themes of Halloween. In the end, though, the true Santa delivers his magic to Halloween town in the form of snow, and everything ends up a-okay.
3. Die Hard
There is currently an intense debate happening around the internet about whether or not Die Hard is actually a Christmas movie. For my money, it absolutely is. The whole terrorist debacle takes place during a corporate Christmas party. But if you want to dig deeper, you can consider the fact that while Christmas is a cheery holiday, it can be the source of intense emotions and difficulty as families gather. In the worst cases, Christmas can feel downright hostile. In this movie, we have a fun Christmas party that is ruined by hateful terrorists. Who hasn’t been to a Christmas gathering that wasn’t totally upset by an unruly relative? See? Same.
2. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Yes, this film technically takes place in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. But it’s all about families gathering together and there’s snow and Thanksgiving is the unofficial start of the Christmas season, so this counts. And the chemistry between Steve Martin and John Candy is movie magic.
1. Home Alone
Yes, this is the mother of all modern Christmas movies. While some might consider this to be a kids movie, it most certainly is not. The comedy that Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern produce as the failed “Wet Bandits” is unparalleled, and the all-star cast is absolutely something to behold. While Kevin McCallister gets into plenty of trouble that would make any parent go batty, in the end, we have a beautiful story of love, forgiveness, and understanding. It gives us just the right amount of the warm fuzzies and keeps us laughing for an hour and a half. It’s the perfect Christmas movie.