When the Christmas season arrives, there’s an endless library of Christmas movies available to see, and that period between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day is the time to fit them all in. There are ten movies that are essential viewing in my house.
10. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Okay, it’s not exactly a movie, but how can you go through the entire season without watching this at least once? We actually own it on streaming, so we can watch it whenever we choose, and without commercials, but I still see people get excited when they find out it’s going to be broadcast on TV, and with good reason.
9. Dr. Suess’s The Grinch (2018)
We saw this in the movie theater, and I was pleasantly surprised by it. It was cute and charming and worlds ahead of that awful live-action version with Jim Carrey as the title character. Dr. Suess’s work has, in my opinion, failed to translate well with live-action, but it thrives with CGI/animation. It didn’t score so well on Rotten Tomatoes, but I still say it’s a new classic.
8. Home Alone (1990)
I remember when this came out in theaters when I was in fifth grade. It was the movie to see, and it’s hard not to see it as a staple of Christmastime movie-viewing.
7. The Family Stone (2005)
I should hate this movie. Sarah Jessica Parker plays an uptight businesswoman, clearly representing a conservative, who spends Christmas with her boyfriend’s progressive family in their house. Her values consistently clash with the Stone family, who can’t help but see her as homophobic and racist. Still, from my perspective, her character comes across as sympathetic as she deals with a family that had basically already condemned her before giving her a chance.
6. Little Women (1994)
I don’t know if this actually counts as a Christmas movie, but we tend to put this movie on around Christmastime, and it just feels Christmasy to me. There’s a new adaptation of this movie that we’ll probably go see, and I’m curious how it will hold up to this version.
5. Love, Actually (2003)
A lot of people dump on this movie. A lot. But, I’ve always enjoyed it. Many don’t care for the multiple narratives, and obviously the left doesn’t like that there’s not a single same-sex love story featured in the movie, but whatever. It’s smarmy and pleasant to watch.
4. Die Hard (1988)
This one might not technically deserve to be on this list because I’m the only one in my house who will watch it. But, come on, it’s a Christmas classic, and probably one of the best thrillers ever made that spawned way too many sequels that don’t come close to matching the quality of the original.
3. A Christmas Story (1983)
For years, I’d see this movie probably multiple times on Christmas alone, but never from start to finish thanks to TNT’s 24-hour marathon of the movie. I own it now (because why not?) and while there’s nothing smarmy or sappy in this movie, it still recalls a simpler, more innocent time I think we all wish we could go back to.
2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
It’s almost embarrassing to admit that I never actually saw this movie in its entirety until last year. Now, I can’t imagine not watching it this season. Despite being thirty years old, the humor still works and doesn’t seem terribly dated. Sure, something probably offends the delicate liberal snowflakes, but really, you don’t get a more solid Christmas comedy than this one.
1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
If there’s any movie that just has to be viewed this season, it’s this one. This movie is where my dog Zuzu’s name came from, and no matter how many times we see it, it never gets old. A true classic if there ever was one.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis