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The Top 10 Holiday Movies, Ranked

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

Cutting out any traditional holiday sweetness, let’s get straight down to the cold, hard rankings:

#10. Love Actually

While I understand that Love Actually is a classic Christmas staple, I’ve never really understood the hype. For THAT scene of Hugh Grant dancing, and the fact that it is so iconic, I’ll give it ranking #10 but, by no means is this me saying it’s romantic to go confess your love to your best friend’s wife. Yikes.

#9. Home Alone (the first one)

Let’s not lie to ourselves, we all secretly thought we could be as clever as Kevin McAllister if we ever encountered burglars. While there are definitely questions to be raised about how the parents were forgetful enough for there to be FIVE of these movies, the first one is always good for a solid laugh.

#8. The Polar Express

Has hot chocolate ever sounded as exciting as it did during the musical number in this movie? Granted, the animation is a little weird-looking but, it’s also the movie that ingrained the importance of believing in the holidays, so it earned a special little place in my heart.

#7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Credit: AGD Blogs 

One word: “Claymation.” That is the best version of the film and the only one that matters to me. There are so many random good things about this movie like the Island of Misfit Toys, and Yukon Cornelius. The best part though is undoubtedly Hermey, the dentist elf, when he declares, “YOU CAN’T FIRE ME, I QUIT!”

#6 The Santa Clause

I’m not sure what it is about Tim Allen that makes him such a good Santa Claus, but he just is. I think I liked this movie in part because, for once it was the adult having to be the believer, not the kid, and also I just really liked the non-animated version of the North Pole in this movie.

#5. Miracle on 34th Street (1947 version)

Ah, another Christmas classic, but this time well-deserving of the title. I love the fact that this movie is in black and white, and the entire storyline of how a man was able to convince an entire legal system that he is Santa Claus through acts of goodwill and inexplicable coincidence. The last scene with Kringle’s cane in the house always gets me.

#4. A Charlie Brown Christmas

Any Peanuts movie is always in my top five movies about any holiday, no matter what. I love this one though especially because of the fir tree, and Charlie Brown’s determination to not get bogged down by the materialism that has come to encapsulate Christmas.

#3. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Is this a Christmas movie or a Halloween movie? In my eyes, definitely Christmas. Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, unintentionally terrorizing children in an attempt to find some deeper meaning for himself in Christmas is an undeniably (terribly) funny story of good intentions and bad consequences.

#2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jim Carrey version)

I had such a tough time putting this in as #2 because I love, love, love this movie. So much. I also love the animated one, especially when he does his little smile, but Jim Carrey in this version absolutely makes the movie. Cindy Lou Who (a younger, better Jenny Humphrey) has the most iconic hair, and the Grinch talking to himself in his cave is all of us in the middle of a stress breakdown let’s be real. I’ll repeat, I really, really, really love this movie.

#1. Elf

The undisputed King of Christmas movies. Tied with the Grinch in my opinion, but popular vote through my daily poll declared this the winner. Will Ferrell, chocolate syrup on spaghetti, a hard-edged businessman learning how to be a real father, and (questionably creepy) but situationally cute Christmas carol duets? There’s nothing that compares.

Agree or disagree, sadly only one of these movies could win out and that was Elf. If you haven’t seen all of these movies, however, I do 10/10 recommend watching them before the Christmas season is over. Happy holidays!


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Maya is currently a junior in Sargent College at Boston University, studying Human Physiology.
Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.