It’s that time of year again – the holiday season is upon us and with it comes a plethora of stressors. From gift shopping and party planning to family gatherings and travel, it’s no wonder that many people find themselves feeling overwhelmed and burnt out during this time of year.
But amidst all the chaos, there is one simple, yet highly effective way to find a little bit of peace and relaxation: watching your favorite Christmas films.
Whether it’s a classic like “It’s a Wonderful Life” or a more modern favorite like “Elf,” taking the time to sit down and enjoy a festive film can do wonders for your mental health and overall well-being. Here’s why:
1. It’s a chance to escape reality for a little while.
Life can be tough, and the holiday season can bring its own set of challenges. Watching a Christmas movie allows you to step away from reality for a bit and escape into a world of holiday cheer and magic. This can be especially helpful if you’re feeling overwhelmed or burnt out, as it gives your mind and body a chance to relax and recharge.
2. It’s a reminder of the good in the world.
Christmas movies often center around themes of love, family, and the spirit of giving. Watching these films can be a reminder of all the good in the world and help to put things into perspective. It can be easy to get caught up in the stress and negativity of everyday life, but taking a break to watch a heartwarming holiday movie can help you refocus on the things that truly matter.
3. It’s a source of joy and nostalgia.
There’s something special about revisiting a beloved holiday movie year after year. It can be a source of joy and nostalgia, reminding you of Christmases past and all the happy memories associated with them. Plus, the feel-good nature of most Christmas movies can help lift your mood and bring a smile to your face.
4. It’s a chance to bond with loved ones.
Watching a Christmas movie can be a great activity to do with loved ones, whether it’s snuggled up on the couch with your significant other or gathered around the TV with friends and family. It’s a chance to spend quality time together and create new memories that will last a lifetime.
Here’s 25 Must-See Christmas Movies to Get You in the Holiday Spirit:
1. It’s a Wonderful Life
It’s a Wonderful Life is a classic holiday film released in 1946. The movie follows the story of George Bailey, a man who is feeling overwhelmed and disillusioned with his life. On Christmas Eve, George is visited by his guardian angel, Clarence, who shows him what life would have been like for his loved ones if he had never been born.
As George witnesses the impact he has had on the lives of those around him, he comes to appreciate the value of his own life and the love and support of his family and friends. In the end, George learns that no matter how difficult life may seem, it is a wonderful gift that is worth living and cherishing.
It’s a Wonderful Life is a heartwarming and uplifting holiday film that has become a classic and a must-see for the holiday season. The film features a memorable performance by James Stewart as George Bailey and is sure to leave you feeling inspired and grateful for all the blessings in your life.
2. A Christmas Carol (1951)
A Christmas Carol is a 1951 British film adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic novel of the same name. The movie tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy but miserly old man who hates Christmas and refuses to celebrate it.
On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, who warns him that he will be doomed to wander the earth in chains unless he learns the true meaning of Christmas. Over the course of the night, Scrooge is visited by three more ghosts – the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come – who show him the error of his ways and the joy and compassion that the holiday season brings.
As Scrooge witnesses the suffering and happiness of others, he is moved to change his ways and embrace the true spirit of Christmas. A Christmas Carol is a timeless holiday classic that is sure to warm your heart.
Elf is a 2003 holiday comedy film starring Will Ferrell as Buddy, a human who was raised as an elf at the North Pole. When Buddy learns that he is actually human, he sets out on a journey to New York City to find his biological father and discover his true identity.
As Buddy navigates the unfamiliar and often hostile city, he brings his childlike innocence and enthusiasm for Christmas with him, spreading joy and cheer wherever he goes. Along the way, he encounters a series of obstacles and challenges, including a department store Santa who is more interested in his own success than the true meaning of the holiday.
But with the help of his new friends, Buddy eventually finds his father and helps him rediscover the magic of the holiday season. Elf is a hilarious and heartwarming holiday film that is perfect for the whole family and features a memorable performance by Will Ferrell.
4. The Grinch
The Grinch is a holiday film based on the classic children’s book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” by Dr. Seuss. The movie follows the story of the Grinch, a bitter and misanthropic creature who lives alone on a mountain overlooking the town of Whoville.
As Christmas approaches, the Grinch becomes increasingly frustrated with the cheer and joy of the Whos and decides to ruin their holiday by stealing all of their presents, decorations, and Christmas feast. With the help of his loyal dog, Max, the Grinch sets out on a mission to plunder the town and put an end to Christmas.
But as the Grinch carries out his plan, he is confronted by the kindness and generosity of the Whos, who continue to celebrate and share the holiday spirit despite his efforts. Slowly but surely, the Grinch’s cold heart is melted and he comes to understand the true meaning of Christmas.
The Grinch is a heartwarming and entertaining holiday film that is perfect for the whole family.
5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a 1989 holiday comedy film and the third installment in the National Lampoon’s Vacation film series. The movie follows the story of the Griswold family, who are excited to have a traditional and perfect family Christmas.
However, things quickly go awry as the Griswold’s eccentric relatives arrive for the holiday, including a cousin who is obsessed with cats, a hillbilly aunt and uncle, and an obnoxious in-law who is always one-upping everyone. As the holiday chaos ensues, the Griswold’s struggle to keep their spirits up and make the best of a difficult situation.
Through all of the mishaps and misadventures, the Griswold’s learn the true meaning of the holiday season and the importance of family and togetherness. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a hilarious and heartwarming holiday film that is perfect for the whole family. It features a memorable performance by Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold and is sure to have you laughing throughout.
6. Love Actually
Love Actually is a romantic comedy film released in 2003. The movie follows the intertwining stories of a group of people living in London as they experience the ups and downs of love and relationships during the holiday season.
The movie features an all-star cast, including Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, and Colin Firth, and follows a diverse group of characters as they navigate the challenges of love and relationships, including a newly elected prime minister who falls for a member of his staff, a widowed man who finds love again with a Portuguese housekeeper, and a struggling musician who falls for his best friend’s sister.
As the holiday season approaches, the characters’ lives intersect and they are forced to confront their feelings and make difficult choices. Love Actually is a heartwarming and romantic holiday film that celebrates the complexities and joys of love in all its forms. It is a perfect film to watch during the holiday season and is sure to leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.
7. Miracle on 34th Street
Miracle on 34th Street is a holiday film released in 1947. The movie follows the story of Kris Kringle, a kind and jolly old man who is hired as the Macy’s department store Santa Claus. Kris becomes a hit with the children and shoppers, but he causes controversy when he claims to be the real Santa Claus.
As Kris’s sanity is called into question, a young lawyer named Fred Gailey takes up his case and sets out to prove that Kris is the real Santa. Along the way, Fred and Kris confront their own doubts and beliefs about the magic of the holiday season and the existence of Santa Claus.
8. The Polar Express
The Polar Express is a 2004 animated holiday film based on the children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The movie follows the story of a young boy who is skeptical about the existence of Santa Claus and the magic of Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, the boy is awakened by a mysterious train called the Polar Express, which is headed to the North Pole. As the boy embarks on a journey to the North Pole, he meets a cast of memorable characters, including a friendly conductor, a singing hobo, and a team of dancing chefs.
As the boy travels to the North Pole, he is faced with challenges and obstacles, but he also experiences the wonder and magic of the holiday season. When he finally reaches the North Pole, the boy meets Santa Claus and comes to believe in the magic of Christmas.
The Polar Express is a heartwarming and entertaining holiday film that is perfect for the whole family. It features stunning animation and a memorable performance by Tom Hanks as the conductor and several other characters. It is sure to put you in the holiday spirit and leave you feeling inspired and grateful.
9. A Charlie Brown Christmas
A Charlie Brown Christmas is a holiday television special that first aired in 1965. The special is based on the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz and follows the story of Charlie Brown, a young boy who is struggling to find the true meaning of Christmas.
As Charlie Brown navigates the challenges of the holiday season, including finding the perfect Christmas tree and dealing with the commercialization of the holiday, he turns to his friends, including Linus, Snoopy, and Lucy, for guidance and support.
Through their conversations and experiences, Charlie Brown and his friends come to understand the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of celebrating with love and togetherness.
10. Home Alone
Home Alone is a 1990 American family comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus. The film stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, an eight-year-old boy who is accidentally left behind when his family goes on a Christmas vacation to Paris.
Left to his own devices, Kevin must defend his home from two bumbling burglars, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), who are attempting to rob every house in Kevin’s suburban Chicago neighborhood. Despite being just a child, Kevin proves to be a resourceful and clever defender, setting up elaborate booby traps to thwart the burglars’ efforts and outsmart them at every turn.
As Kevin navigates the challenges of being home alone, he also learns important lessons about independence, responsibility, and the value of family. Despite initially feeling abandoned by his family, Kevin ultimately comes to understand the importance of their love and support and becomes more grateful for the time they spend together.
Throughout the film, Kevin also discovers the joys of the holiday season, including decorating the Christmas tree and baking cookies, and comes to appreciate the true meaning of the holidays. Home Alone is a heartwarming and entertaining tale that has become a holiday classic for audiences of all ages.
11. The Santa Clause
The Santa Clause is a 1994 American Christmas comedy film directed by John Pasquin. The film stars Tim Allen as Scott Calvin, a divorced father who accidentally causes the death of Santa Claus and is then magically transported to the North Pole, where he is told that he must take Santa’s place and deliver presents to children around the world.
As Scott struggles to adjust to his new role as Santa, he must also deal with the challenges of being a single parent and the backlash from his ex-wife and her new husband, who do not believe in the existence of Santa.
With the help of an elf named Bernard (David Krumholtz) and the guidance of the head elf, Curtis (Peter Boyle), Scott begins to embrace his new identity and the magic of Christmas. He also begins to repair his relationships with his ex-wife and son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd), and learns the true meaning of the holiday season.
12. A Christmas Carol (2009)
A Christmas Carol is a 2009 American animated Christmas fantasy drama film written, co-produced, and directed by Robert Zemeckis. The film is an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novella of the same name and stars Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old man who is visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.
At the start of the film, Scrooge is a cold, heartless man who cares only about making money and despises the holiday season. However, after being visited by the ghosts, Scrooge is taken on a journey through his past, present, and future and is shown the error of his ways. He learns about the importance of kindness, generosity, and compassion, and ultimately decides to change his ways and embrace the holiday spirit.
13. The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Nightmare Before Christmas is a 1993 American stop-motion animated musical dark fantasy film directed by Henry Selick and produced/co-written by Tim Burton. The film follows Jack Skellington, the “Pumpkin King” of Halloween Town, a world filled with monsters, ghouls, and other creatures who celebrate Halloween every day.
Despite his role as the leader of Halloween Town, Jack becomes bored with the same old holiday and yearns for something new. One day, he discovers Christmas Town and becomes fascinated by the holiday and its traditions.
Determined to bring Christmas to Halloween Town, Jack sets out to kidnap Santa Claus and take over the role of delivering presents to children around the world. However, his attempts to bring Christmas to Halloween Town do not go as planned, and Jack must learn to appreciate the uniqueness and beauty of both holidays.
The Nightmare Before Christmas is a delightful and unconventional holiday movie that combines elements of both Halloween and Christmas into a unique and memorable tale. Its stunning stop-motion animation, catchy music, and lovable characters make it a beloved classic for audiences of all ages.
14. The Muppet Christmas Carol
The Muppet Christmas Carol is a 1992 American musical fantasy comedy film directed by Brian Henson and produced by Jim Henson Productions. The film is a retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic novella, A Christmas Carol, and features the Muppets, a group of puppet characters created by Jim Henson, in the lead roles.
In the film, the miserly old Ebenezer Scrooge (played by Michael Caine) is visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, who show him the error of his ways and the importance of kindness, generosity, and compassion. Along the way, Scrooge is also visited by the Muppets, who play various characters from the story and add their own unique brand of humor and charm to the tale.
The Muppet Christmas Carol is a fun and entertaining take on Dickens’ classic tale that is sure to delight audiences of all ages.
15. Frosty the Snowman
Frosty the Snowman is a 1969 animated Christmas television film based on the song “Frosty the Snowman”. The film follows the story of Frosty, a magical snowman brought to life by a group of children who place a magical hat on his head.
As Frosty sets out on a journey to find a place where he can stay warm and not melt, he is pursued by a mean magician named Professor Hinkle, who wants to get his hat back. Along the way, Frosty meets a young girl named Karen, who helps him evade Professor Hinkle and find a new home in the North Pole.
Frosty the Snowman is a delightful and heartwarming tale that celebrates the magic of the holiday season. Its catchy songs and lovable characters make it a beloved classic for children and adults alike.
16. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a 1964 animated Christmas television film based on the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. The film follows the story of Rudolph, a young reindeer who is born with a shiny, red nose that makes him different from all the other reindeer.
Due to his unusual appearance, Rudolph is ostracized by the other reindeer and is not allowed to join in their reindeer games. However, Rudolph’s unique ability to guide Santa’s sleigh through foggy weather ultimately leads him to become an important member of Santa’s team.
Along the way, Rudolph meets a misfit elf named Hermey, who dreams of becoming a dentist, and a prospector named Yukon Cornelius, who is searching for silver and gold. Together, Rudolph, Hermey, and Yukon embark on a journey to the Island of Misfit Toys, where they help the toys find new homes and learn the true meaning of friendship and acceptance.
17. The Snowman and the Snowdog
The Snowman and the Snowdog is an animated holiday film that follows the adventures of a young boy and his snowman and snowdog, who come to life on a snowy Christmas Eve. As they embark on a magical journey, they encounter new friends and obstacles, and ultimately discover the power of friendship and love. Along the way, they learn the importance of cherishing the memories of loved ones who have passed away and keeping their spirit alive. The film is a heartwarming and uplifting tale that is sure to bring joy and cheer to the holiday season.
18. The Holiday
The Holiday is a romantic comedy film released in 2006. The movie follows the story of two women, Amanda and Iris, who are both experiencing romantic troubles in their respective relationships. Amanda is a successful but unhappy film trailer producer who is reeling from a recent breakup with her unfaithful boyfriend. Iris is a British woman who is stuck in a loveless relationship with a man who is more interested in his career than in her.
As a way to escape their problems, the two women decide to swap houses for the holidays, with Amanda heading to Iris’ charming cottage in the English countryside and Iris traveling to Amanda’s luxurious Los Angeles home. While in each other’s homes, both women end up finding new love and romance, and they return home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Throughout the movie, the two women also learn valuable lessons about love, relationships, and themselves, and they come to realize that sometimes taking a chance and stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to unexpected and wonderful outcomes. The Holiday features an all-star cast, including Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black, and is a heartwarming and entertaining film that is perfect for the holiday season.
19. Jingle All the Way
Jingle All the Way is a 1996 holiday comedy film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad. The movie follows the story of Howard Langston, a busy father who is always too caught up in work to spend quality time with his family. When Howard realizes that he has forgotten to get his son Jamie the “Turbo-Man” action figure that is the must-have toy of the holiday season, he sets out on a frantic last-minute shopping trip to try to find one before Christmas.
As Howard races against time and rival parents to secure a Turbo-Man toy, he encounters a host of obstacles and mishaps, including fighting with mall Santas and getting arrested. Along the way, Howard learns the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of being there for his family.
Jingle All the Way is a hilarious and heartwarming holiday movie that is perfect for the whole family. It is a classic holiday film that is sure to put you in the holiday spirit.
20. The Snowman
The Snowman is a 1982 animated television film based on the 1978 picture book of the same name by Raymond Briggs. The film tells the story of a young boy whose magical friendship with a snowman comes to life one winter’s day.
On a snowy Christmas Eve, the boy builds a snowman in his backyard and, to his surprise, the snowman comes to life and introduces himself as “The Snowman.” The two become fast friends and embark on a series of adventures together, including flying through the night sky and visiting the North Pole to meet Father Christmas.
As the night wears on, the boy realizes that the Snowman must eventually melt, and he sadly watches as his friend disappears. But the boy is left with the memories of their magical time together, and he looks forward to building another snowman and experiencing the magic again the following year.
The Snowman is a heartwarming and beautifully animated film that is perfect for the holiday season. It is a classic tale of friendship and the magic of the holiday season that is sure to delight audiences of all ages.
21. The Family Stone
The Family Stone is a 2005 romantic comedy-drama film about a family coming together for the holidays. The movie follows the story of Everett Stone, a successful but uptight businessman, and his partner, Meredith, as they travel to his hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut to meet his family for the holiday season.
Everett’s family is a quirky and close-knit group, and Meredith struggles to fit in with them and win their approval. As the holiday season progresses, tensions rise within the family as secrets are revealed and old conflicts come to the surface.
Through the ups and downs of the holiday season, the family members are forced to confront their issues and learn to accept and love each other for who they are. The Family Stone features an all-star cast, including Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Dermot Mulroney, and Rachel McAdams, and is a heartwarming and entertaining film that is perfect to watch at Christmas.
22. The Christmas Chronicles
The Christmas Chronicles is a 2018 holiday film directed by Clay Kaytis and produced by Chris Columbus. The movie follows the story of two siblings, Kate and Teddy Pierce, who are struggling to cope with the recent death of their father.
On Christmas Eve, the siblings decide to try to capture Santa Claus on film in order to prove to their doubting mother that he is real. Their plan takes an unexpected turn when they accidentally crash Santa’s sleigh, causing him to lose the all-important list of who is naughty and nice and scatter the presents across the city.
With the help of Santa and a helpful elf named Belsnickel, Kate and Teddy set out to recover the presents and save Christmas. Along the way, they learn the true meaning of the holiday season and the importance of family and togetherness.
The Christmas Chronicles is a heartwarming and entertaining holiday film that is perfect for the whole family. It features a charming cast, including Kurt Russell as Santa Claus, and is sure to put you in the holiday spirit.
23. The Christmas Card
The Christmas Card is a Hallmark Channel original movie that premiered in 2006. The movie follows the story of Cody, a soldier serving in Afghanistan, who receives a Christmas card from Faith, a mysterious woman living in a small town in California.
The card touches Cody deeply, and he begins to correspond with Faith, sharing stories about their lives and the challenges they face. As they continue to exchange letters, Cody and Faith form a deep connection and begin to fall in love.
When Cody’s deployment ends and he returns home, he sets out to find Faith and meet her in person. As he travels to her small town, he discovers that Faith is facing her own struggles and that their connection may not be as simple as he thought.
The Christmas Card is a heartwarming and uplifting holiday film that celebrates the power of love and the magic of the holiday season. It is a perfect film to watch during the holiday season and is sure to leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.
24. The Best Man Holiday
The Best Man Holiday is a 2013 romantic comedy film and the sequel to the 1999 film The Best Man. The movie follows a group of college friends who reunite after 15 years during the Christmas holiday season.
As the friends come together, they soon discover that they have all changed in the years since they last saw each other, and old rivalries and tensions surface. When secrets and lies are revealed, the group’s relationships are tested and they are forced to confront their past and present issues.
Despite the challenges, the friends learn to come together and support each other as they navigate the ups and downs of the holiday season. The Best Man Holiday features an all-star cast, including Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, and Terrence Howard, and is a heartwarming and entertaining film that will get you in the Christmas spirit ready for the holidays.
25. Arthur Christmas
Arthur Christmas is a 2011 animated holiday film produced by Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation. The movie follows the story of Arthur, the clumsy and overlooked younger son of Santa Claus, who is tasked with saving Christmas when one of the presents fails to be delivered to a little girl on Christmas Eve.
With the help of his grandfather, Grandsanta, and a high-tech operation run by his older brother, Steve, Arthur sets out on a journey to deliver the missing present and save Christmas. Along the way, they encounter a series of mishaps and obstacles, and Arthur learns the true meaning of the holiday season and the importance of family.
Arthur Christmas is a heartwarming and entertaining holiday film that is perfect for the whole family. It features a charming cast of characters, including the voices of James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, and Bill Nighy, and is sure to put you in the holiday spirit.
So if you’re feeling stressed out this holiday season, don’t underestimate the power of a good Christmas movie. Put on your favorite film, grab some hot cocoa, and let the holiday cheer wash over you. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel after just a little bit of festive escapism. Happy holidays!