13 Must-Watch Christmas Classics

couple watching must-watch christmas classic movies

December is here and Christmas cheer is in full effect. Time to take an even deeper dive in the Christmas spirit by streaming these must-watch classics with your loved ones. Here is our list of all the must-watch Christmas movies, known and adored by all generations. If you find a Christmas movie on this list you have not yet watched – add it to your to-do list for this holiday season. 

1) Nation Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Packed with chaos, comedy, and love – this movie is a foolproof recipe for a Christmas classic. Chevy Chase leads in this hilarious slapstick comedy. Although this was the third movie to be released in the Lampoon series (5 total), it made a considerable amount more than the first two films. Its predecessors being National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) and National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985).

All three movies follow along with a tight-knit vivacious family eager to have a fun-filled vacation. Their plans never quite seem to come to fruition, at least not how they ever expect. This Christmas was no different as their extended family shows up for the holiday with no warning or invitation. Let the disarray begin! If you throw this movie on you’ll be sure to share a lot of belly laughs with your loved ones.

2) A Christmas Story (1983)

It’s not an action-packed film, but it’s one that is still delightfully entertaining. Based on the colorful writings of author Jean Shepard, this cult classic Christmas film follows the ever-so endearing 9-year-old Ralphie Parker throughout Christmas Day as he attempts to convince everyone around him that a Red Ryder BB gun is the perfect Christmas gift for him. By the end of this beloved movie, one thing is for certain: you can’t help but love Ralphie. 

3) Home Alone (1990)

Does an 80s or 90s baby even exist that isn’t in love with this movie? Macaulay Culkin made a name for himself featuring as the main character in Home Alone, followed by Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992). We all know the story, but here’s a refresher: 8-year-old Kevin McCallister is left home alone after his family mistakenly left him behind when they left for a trip to Paris. Burglars target his home and little Kevin is left no choice but to defend his family home by whatever means possible. Things get messy, scary, chaotic, and right-down entertaining.

4)  The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

When two holidays collide, it is truly magical. This Christmas movie gives off hefty hints of Halloween as the plot follows Jack Skellington, Halloweentown’s pumpkin king, as he attempts to merge his world with another majestic place called “Christmastown”. His efforts might have gone too far as he attempts to spread joy and take over Christmas by kidnapping Santa Clause. And well, you’ll have to watch to find out the rest. But let’s just say things don’t go according to Jack’s plan.

5) Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

He had a very shiny nose (like a lightbulb), and he also had his very own movie made about him. This 1964 Christmas classic movie is loved and known by all generations. Following along Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer with his friends Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen in this classic animated stop-motion film dating all the way back to 1964. 

6) Miracle on 34th Street (1947 & 1994)

Maureen O’ Hara and John Payne turned this 1947 comedy-drama into not just a Christmas classic, but a cult classic. It was even nominated for Best Picture the year of its release. The plot centers around a man named Kris Kringle who claims to be the real Santa Clause. He is discovered by filling in for an intoxicated Santa-for-hire. A woman ends up hiring him at a local Macy’s department store. Once word spreads that he believes he is the real Santa Clause, it causes quite a stir. This revelation eventually leads to a court case questioning his mental stability. Although the plot seems heavy, there are laughs and Christmas miracles throughout. Don’t miss out on this truly magical must-watch Christmas classic this holiday season. Available for streaming on HBO Max and on Hulu with a Premium subscription.

7)  The Santa Clause (1994)

Tim Allen brought this movie to life along with two sequels to follow. This heartfelt flick follows along a divorced Dad, named Scott, and his struggle to maintain both a healthy career and a healthy relationship with his young son. Things took a rapid turn for Scott, the non-Santa Clause believer, when the real Santa has a seemingly fatal accident. Fate was in Scott’s favor, as he was forced to step up and take over the role of Santa (AKA Mr. Clause) over at the North Pole. A blessing in disguise that just might save his disparaging relationship with his son.

Filled with Christmas magic, and an enchanting behind-the-scenes look at how the North Pole operates, this movie could not be more perfect to get even non- believers in the Christmas spirit.

8) The Grinch Who Stole Christmas  (1966 & 2000)

This one needs no introduction. No matter what generation you come from, you are surely familiar with The Grinch Who Stole Christmas in some capacity. Whether it be the Dr. Seuss children’s story published in 1957, the first film released in 1996, the Jim Carey movie released in 2000, or the movie titled “The Grinch” that released in 2018 — we all had a path that made us fall in love with this grumpy green character. Fall in love with the Grinch all over again by rewatching The Grinch Who Stole Christmas this holiday season.  

9) It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Another oldie, but a goodie. It’s a Wonderful Life has a deeply meaningful plot with lots of lessons to be learned throughout. This film kicks off with a man named George Bailey who is contemplating taking his own life on Christmas Day.  However, a guardian angel shows him what the world would be like without all of his good deeds he’s done over the years. Hint – it’s not so great. Turns out the world is a better place with George in it. This heartfelt Christmas movie tugs at your emotions. It makes a strong case for you to believe in angels and Christmas miracles. You can watch this black-and-white cult classic for free with your Amazon Prime subscription. 

10) Scrooged (1988)

When Bill Murray is on the roster for a comedy film – you better bet your buns it’s going to be a knee-slapper. Scrooged is a hilarious 1988 Christmas fantasy comedy that mirrors the 1843 novel, “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Centered around a self-centered television executive who is a real Christmas-hater. On Christmas Eve he is visited by a series of ghosts that attempt to shower him with Christmas spirit. Will it work? Watch and find out if you already haven’t.

11) Jack Frost (1998)

The stakes are high in this Christmas movie, Jack Frost. A lousy father dies in a car accident at Christmas time and is reincarnated a year later as a snowman. This is his final chance to make things right with his son. He either succeeds, or will be gone forever. Michael Keaton serves us all the feels as the lead actor / snowman. 

12)  A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

Trying to beat out the Christmas blues, Charlie Brown volunteers to put on the Christmas play as recommended by his friend Lucy. Nothing seems to go as planned, but he keeps on trucking. In the end, he discovers the true meaning of Christmas and what it’s all about. This movie is a must-watch Christmas classic for children and adults of all ages. It also made a major impact on American Christmas culture to this very day as it led to the term “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” which refers to a Christmas tree that’s small, bare, and not-so-perfect. 

13) Frosty The Snowman (1969)

You didn’t really think we were going to include Jack Frost and not Frosty The Snowman – blasphemy! We all know the tune, “Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul…”. Now, it’s time to familiarize yourself with this classic Christmas movie if you already haven’t done so. The story is all about a snowman that comes to life after a group of children build him out of snow and top him off with a hat. Trouble arises when professor Hinkle wants his hat back. However, if the hat is taken off of Frosty – he will melt and fade away. So, the children help out Frosty try to escape professor Hinkle by B-lining to the North Pole.

Need More To Get You In The Christmas Spirit?

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