The Best Christmas Movies to Watch

Hi y’all-hope you’re having a good start to December! I got my tree decorated this past weekend, and I’m loving the festive touch it adds to my living room. Stay tuned for a blog post with spotlights on my favorite ornaments. For today’s post, I’m sharing the best Christmas movies to watch! Even when there’s not a pandemic, a cozy night in watching Christmas movies is my favorite way to spend a December evening. Few things beat sitting on the couch in cozy clothes with the Christmas tree lit up and a beloved Christmas movie playing. Although I will miss certain Christmas gatherings this year, I’m also excited about extra time for Christmas movie watching at home without having FOMO. So to help you make the most of additional time at home this holiday season, I want to share my favorite Christmas movies to watch! Note that these are in no particular order.

Must-Watch Christmas Movies

Elf

“I like smiling, smiling’s my favorite.” Elf has so many quotable lines, and I never get tired of watching it. It’s so funny and entertaining, and definitely a must-watch every Christmas season. Starring Will Ferrell, Elf is about Buddy, a human raised by elves, who travels from The North Pole to New York City to find his real father, a publishing executive lacking Christmas spirit. Elf is so funny because Buddy thinks his elf mannerisms and antics are totally normal, even in a human world. My favorite scene is when Buddy gets the mailroom workers at his father’s office dancing on tables to “Whomp, There It Is.” Over Thanksgiving, my dad mentioned that he’s never seen Elf. I’m definitely bringing the DVD when I go visit my parents for Christmas.

Home Alone

Home Alone is another movie I must watch every Christmas season. It’s hard to believe this holiday classic is officially 30 years old. Watching the movie, it’s very obvious that the plot line would not be realistic at all today. Modern technology and post-9/11 security measures at airports would make many of the events in the movie impossible today. I know there’s articles out there with reasons why Home Alone couldn’t happen in the 20th century. I might do a follow-up post with some of the first things that come to my mind when analyzing the plot of Home Alone from a 2020 perspective.

There’s so many great scenes in Home Alone, but one of my favorites is when Kevin is out shopping by himself and asks the cashier if the toothbrush is approved by the ADA. Don’t know why I think that is so funny, but I do. Also, does it bother anyone else that Kevin doesn’t have time to eat his microwaved mac & cheese before he has to go finalize the burglar booby traps?

Home Alone 2

Sometimes movie sequels can be questionable, but that’s definitely not the case with Home Alone 2. Honestly, I think I might like Home Alone 2 better. It’s hard to pick a favorite between the two Home Alone movies (I don’t count the other ones because they don’t even have Macaulay Culkin! Overall, I think Home Alone has the better booby traps, but I really like the setting in New York City for Home Alone 2. I love the Home Alone 2 scene where Kevin puts the inflatable clown in the shower to make it look like his dad is showering when “housekeeping” makes an unexpected visit. Also, my family used the mimic the bogus “housekeeping” knock on family trips where we stayed in hotels.

Christmas with the Kranks

This comedy with Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis is another Christmas movie I enjoy watching every year. The continual showdown between the Kranks, who are boycotting Christmas, and their overly festive neighbors makes for a lot of amusing scenes. My best friend pointed out that it’s a bit unrealistic for the Kranks’ daughter to expect all Christmas plans to be in place as usual when she decides to come home at the last minute on Christmas Eve. Nevertheless, it’s still entertaining to watch them pull together an impromptu Christmas Eve party. Someday I want to read Skipping Christmas, the John Grisham book that Christmas with the Kranks is based on.

Four Christmases

If Reese Witherspoon is in a Christmas movie, of course I have to watch it! In Four Christmases, Reese Witherspoon co-stars with Vince Vaughn in this festive romantic comedy. To avoid family drama during the holidays, Brad and Kate intentionally plan a trip away every Christmas. They tell their families they are doing “mission work” of some sort. But then a massive fog in the San Francisco area cancels their Christmas Day flight to Fiji. When Brad and Kate’s families see them among the airport travelers with cancelled flights that the news interviews, they are stuck attending four different family Christmas celebrations in one day. Although they endure lots of hilarious awkward moments during the day, Brad & Kate end up making important discoveries about their relationship.

Charlie Brown Christmas

So, I realize this isn’t a full-length movie, but I have to include A Charlie Brown Christmas on my list of must-watch Christmas movies. It’s a classic that I have fond memories of watching as a kid. The soundtrack is amazing, especially the “Linus & Lucy” instrumental number. Most importantly, I love that A Charlie Brown Christmas recites the Christmas story from the book of Luke in the Bible. This Christmas special is a great way to remember the true meaning of Christmas while watching beloved Peanuts characters.

Muppet Family Christmas

Not to be confused with A Muppet Christmas Carol, a Muppet Family Christmas is a one-hour TV special from the late 80’s. Fozzie Bear’s mother is excited about enjoying a trip away for Christmas. She rents her farmhouse to Doc, who is looking forward to a nice, quiet Christmas. When Fozzie and his Muppet friends unexpectedly show up for Christmas, it throws a wrench in their plans. The Sesame Street characters come caroling and join the party too. My family used to have this special on a VHS tape that we recorded directly from TV. It was a sad day when we accidentally recorded over it. However, several years ago one of my coworkers found a copy on Amazon that wasn’t crazy expensive and gifted it to me. If you want to check it out, you can watch Muppet Family Christmas in it’s entirety on YouTube:

Noelle

Noelle is a really cute Disney+ Original Movie that debuted last year. I definitely plan to watch it again this year. Noelle is the younger sister of Nick Kringle, who is struggling to fill the role of Santa after their father dies. The movie chronicles her quest to keep the Christmas spirit alive and continue her father’s legacy. Also, Duffy & ShellieMay make a cameo in this movie as teddy bears in a toy store.

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas

This movie is actually three animated shorts featuring classic Disney characters. The first story features Donald’s nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, wishing that every day could be Christmas. Then the second story is about Goofy and his son, Max, and their wish lists for Santa. The finale is a variation of O’Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi” starring Mickey and Minnie.

Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas

Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas is another round of animated shorts with Mickey & friends. This includes updated 3D animation, and five short stories. The first story is about Minnie and Daisy getting competitive with an ice skating exhibition, and learning an important lesson about friendship. Then the second story features Huey, Dewey, and Louie making a trip to Santa’s Workshop to make sure the get the key to the Nice List. Max and Goofy star in the third story, this time featuring a grown-up Max and his new girlfriend he’s bringing home for the holidays. Fourth in the line-up is Donald, who gets a little crabby when the Christmas rush alters his plans to peacefully relax with a cup of hot chocolate. The finale is a story about Mickey and Pluto and the bond they share.

Hallmark Christmas Movies

I can’t share a list of must-watch Christmas movies without mentioning Hallmark Christmas Movies! Since there are so many of them, I’m not going to share every single one worth watching. And let’s be honest, they all have the same basic plot line anyways. Even though Hallmark movies are predictable, I still love watching them. And the different Hallmark movies have enough plot variations that they’re still entertaining. If you want to see my checklist for quintessential elements of a Hallmark Christmas movie, check out this post I wrote last year. I’m going to highlight a few of my favorite Hallmark Christmas movies below:

A Nutcracker Christmas

I first discovered this Hallmark Christmas movie last year, and I think it might be my favorite. A Nutcracker Christmas typically comes on the Hallmark Drama channel, as opposed to the main Hallmark channel. After a family tragedy, a New York City Ballet dancer walks away from ballet, only to be reunited with her ex-boyfriend and former dance partner eight years later when her niece lands a guest star role as Clara in the Philadelphia Ballet. If you’re a fan of The Nutcracker ballet, you will love this movie!

Nine Lives of Christmas

Nine Lives of Christmas is a must-watch Hallmark Christmas movie for any cat lover. A bachelor firefighter gets in touch with his softer side when he adopts a stray cat that shows up at the fire station. He then meets a vet student who works at the pet store and has a cat of her own.

Switched for Christmas

I particularly love the Hallmark Christmas movies with Candace Cameron Bure, especially Switched for Christmas, where she plays a set of identical twins. They have a bit of a rocky relationship, and each thinks the other has things easier. So they switch places and realize things aren’t always what they seem. In addition, romantic interests that emerge while they are switched complicate matters. Any Hallmark Christmas movies with Candace Cameron Bure are worth watching, but I think this one is my favorite!

Christmas at Cartwright’s

This Hallmark Christmas movie features a struggling single mom desperately looking for work during the holidays, who stumbles into a position as a department store Santa. She develops feelings for one of the department store executives, who has no idea that she is “Santa Nick.” Also, the actor who plays Cyrus in Gossip Girl has a role in Christmas at Cartwright’s.

Obviously, this list of recommended Hallmark Christmas movies is not exhaustive, but these are the favorites that first come to mind!

Happy Christmas Movie Watching!

I’m thankful that even COVID can’t take away one of my favorite Christmas traditions. My best friend and I typically get together for a weekend of binge-watching Christmas movies, but with virus cases rising we decided it probably wasn’t the wisest to do that before Christmas and then going to spend time with family. I actually haven’t watched any of the Netflix original Christmas movies. So, we might have a virtual Christmas movie watch party to see one of those!

What are your favorite Christmas movies? Are there any I should add to my list of ones to watch?

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-xoxo Liz

Hey Y'all!

I'm Liz- and I'm here to inspire you to embrace the simple joys in life and encourage you to be your authentic self!

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