I’ll admit it, I love the holiday season. There are few joys in life like sitting around a fire, sipping hot chocolate, and hanging decade-old ornaments on the tree. But the best part of those cold, winter nights surrounded by loved ones is the movies we watch while decorating the house and baking cookies. A visit to old Hollywood always does the trick when trying to find the best films possible. Here is a list of all my favorite classic Christmas movies.
- The Shop Around the Corner
A classic story retold in other films since, this movie follows two shop workers who are falling in love without knowing it. Though they constantly bicker and do not get along, neither knows that the other is the pen pal they have been developing feelings for. This movie set in Budapest has always been a favorite of mine. The little shop feels comfortable, and it reminds me of home.
- Christmas in Connecticut
The holidays and Barbara Stanwyck — could there be a better combination? This story follows writer Elizabeth Lane as she must fabricate the home life she falsely portrayed to her boss. Through failed wedding ceremonies, pancakes flipped in the air, and a cow who likes to wander, Elizabeth finds herself falling in love with a handsome soldier who is visiting her hometown for the holidays. Full of laughter and holiday spirit, this feel-good film is always fun to watch at Christmas.
- It’s a Wonderful Life
In my humble opinion, I don’t think there is a better Christmas movie than It’s a Wonderful Life. In fact, I believe there are few movies in general that can top it. This near-perfect certified classic follows George Bailey as he establishes a life for himself and his family before being met by hardships and struggling to cope with them. I’ve often turned to this movie when encountering my own difficulties, and it never fails to remind me of how lucky I am to be alive and surrounded by people who care about me. But its most important lesson — every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.
- Holiday Affair
This underrated classic starring Janet Leigh follows a single mother trying to make a memorable Christmas for her son while also struggling to decide between two men she’s involved with. There’s something so familiar and warm about this story of family and love. As my go-to Christmas Eve movie, I can say with certainty that it will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will make you want to hit the department store.
- Meet Me in St. Louis
My favorite holiday film Meet me in St. Louis is a cultural staple and, I believe, a truly perfect film. Starring Judy Garland and her beautiful voice, this film follows a family at the turn of the 20th century preparing for the World’s Fair while learning about life and love. This musical features “The Trolley Song” as well as my favorite Christmas song, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Watching Judy in a beautiful red gown, gently singing a lullaby on a dark winter night, perfectly encapsulates the holiday season. There is nothing quite like sitting down with a plate of freshly baked cookies, admiring your fully decorated tree, and enjoying this wonderful movie.