The Definitive List Of The Very Best, Most Festive Christmas Films

What's that? We can OFFICIALLY get out our Christmas DVDS? Watch out for the stampede...

The season is upon us and it’s “officially” okay to put on your onesie, grab the mulled wine and whack on some Christmas schmultz. Sure, it’s always do-able whatever time of year it is, but it never quite feels the same singing Christmas carols in June, does it?

The hallowed Christmas movie is a tough gingerbread cookie to crack, which is what makes the ones on our list all the more special. What makes a truly great December classic? We’re glad you asked, Along with the tears, it’s got to give you some kind of hope in humanity – we’ve still got to get through Christmas Day with our extended family, remember. We reckon a good festive film should always feel like a warm hug from your nan.

It’s got to have the feel-good factor.

Bearing this in mind, we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite Christmas films to get us through those cold winter nights. The DVDs are stacked up and we’re ready to indulge. Which one is your favourite?

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

We decided to kick things off with arguably the greatest Christmas film there ever was. It’s hard to believe that when this classic tale was released in the ’40s it fell short at the box office. Thankfully, time is a great healer. Every year George Bailey desperately begs Clarence Oddbody for his life back in the howling snow, and every year we’re left an emotional wreck with masacara smeared down our cheeks. If you can get to the end of It’s A Wonderful Life without bawling your eyes out, then you’re a robot and Christmas just isn’t for you. That includes the cheese board, okay?

Elf (2003)

“It’s just nice to meet another human that shares my affinity for elf culture.”

It’s hard to remember what Christmas was like before Buddy the Elf traveled through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, past the sea of twirly-swirly gumdrops, and walked through the Lincoln tunnel. Will Ferrell hit the jackpot with this very realistic post-adoption tale of a Christmas elf struggling with his true identity. It’s definitely become an annual favourite. We’re a little ashamed to admit we once watched it in August. It’s taught us a lot – not least the importance of the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.

Little Women (1994)

“Late at night my mind would come alive with voices and stories and friends as dear to me as any in the real world. I gave myself up to it, longing for transformation.”

Who doesn’t enjoy a serving of ’90s Winona with their eggnog? Okay, so it’s not exactly a Christmas movie, but it features more than one Christmas and there’s a lot of snow so we’re overruling. This nineties version of an old classic really hits the button – not least because of its all-star line-up that includes: Clare Danes (doing her bestest Clare Danes cryface – she does it SO well), Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon, Gabriel Byrne (dreeeeamy) and Christian Bale. Winona steals the film with her portrayal of the unquenchably fiery Jo March. Trust us, it’s a goodun.

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

“It is so nice when you can sit with someone and not have to talk.”

It had to be you. There is so much to love about this eternal romance, written by our hero Nora Ephron and inspired by Woody Allen’s neurotic wit, especially at Christmas time. In 1989 Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan bickered their way into each other’s – and our – hearts as Harry Connick, Jr crooned in the background. Three decades later and it’s still relevant and it never fails to get us belly laughing with its razor-sharp script.

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

“You see, before he came down here, it never snowed. And afterwards, it did. If he weren’t up there now… I don’t think it would be snowing. Sometimes you can still catch me dancing in it.”

Tim Burton’s gothic tale of social isolation in the strange lands of suburbia is an unsettlingly beautiful creation. There is beguiling poetry to be found in this thoroughly modern fairytale: an artificial man, an unfinished creation, with scissors for hands. It’s a haunting storybook brought to life.

Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)

“Rose Smith, we can’t go on like this any longer. I’ve positively decided we’re going to get married at the earliest opportunity and I don’t want to hear any arguments. That’s final. I love you. Merry Christmas.”

If it gets more Christmassy than Judy Garland singing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ to her teary five-year-old sister, Tootie, we’re yet to experience it. A massive critical and commercial success then and now, Meet Me in St. Louis’ owes it all to its effervescent star. The realities of her transformation, however, make for a grim read in 2015. Under the direction of Vincente Minnelli, Garland’s appearance was radically changed by her makeup artist and included: reshaping her eyebrows, altering her hairline and modifying her lips. The pair would be married the next year and in 1946, daughter Liza was born.

Home Alone (1990)

“Ma’am, I’m eight years old. You think I would be here *alone*? I don’t think so.”

It’s fair to say that Home Alone raises more questions than it answers: how does Kevin’s mum only realise she’s lost a child when she’s halfway through a transatlantic flight to Paris? Exactly how inept are the police in Illinois? It may surprise you to learn that until 2011’s The Hangover: Part II, John Hughes’ family classic was still the highest-grossing live action comedy film of all time. 25 years later (yes, that’s twenty FIVE years!) we still can’t get enough of it. Home Alone has now become as synonymous with Christmas as those delicious little pigs in blankets – we can’t get enough of it.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Gonzo: “Hello! Welcome to the Muppet Christmas Carol! I am here to tell the story.”
Rizzo the Rat: “And I am here for the food.”

Christmas simply wouldn’t be Christmas without The Muppets and that’s a fact. It’s Christmas Eve in 19th century London and Rizzo the Rat is on narration-duty. If that wasn’t enough, Michael Caine makes an actual human appearance as Ebenezer Scrooge and Kermit and Tiny Tim Christmas scat. What more could you possibly wish for?

Miracle On 34th Street (1947)

“I believe… I believe… It’s silly, but I believe.”

Now we’re talking. This Oscar-winning tale takes place between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day at a New York department store in which Santa Claus claims to be the real Santa. Crazily, when this movie was first released they makers opted to debut it in May to benefit from the summer box office. These days it’s considered the ultimate feel-good Christmas movie that is guaranteed to melt the hearts of even the most cynical of bah-humbugs.

Scrooged (1988)

“I get it. You’re taking me back in time to show me my mother and father, and I’m supposed to get all goosey and blubbery. Well, forget it, pal, you got the wrong guy!”

Two words: Bill Murray. Six more: the gift that keeps on giving. Go on, you know it makes sense…

While You Were Sleeping (1995)

This one’s definitely our festive guilty pleasure – if only because we’re not sure how on-board we are with our heroine only achieving happiness and self-worth through a man and a wedding ring…but…but…Sandra Bullock’s never been lovelier. And we’re strangely attracted to her love interest, Bill Pullman. Yes, Bill Pullman. Set over the Christmas holiday, this ’90s box office hit still fills us with cheer. And, at the end of the day, isn’t that what Christmas films are all about?

The Shop Around The Corner (1940)

Introducing an unlikely location for a festive love story: a department store in Budapest. This ’40s classic was based on the 1937 Hungarian play Parfumerie by Miklós László – and was even reimagined in 1998’s You’ve Got Mail. Starring James Stewart as a gift-shop clerk and newly hired shop girl Margaret Sullavan. It’s hate at first sight. Or is it? Etc etc…you get the idea…

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