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Top 7 Most Iconic Christmas Movies

As the weather turns frosty and the holiday lights start to twinkle, there’s nothing better than curling up on the sofa with a big blanket, festive socks and a warm mug of cocoa for one of your favorite Christmas movies. Whether it’s a movie you watch every single year with your family or a comedy you’ve never seen before, there’s something for everyone on our list of the Top 7 Most Iconic Christmas Movies.

1) It’s a Wonderful Life

Arguably the original Christmas movie, this 1946 picture is a classic. Not only does the old black-and-white cinematography remind you of Christmas in the olden times, but also the movie has remained a favorite for over half a century. While the movie takes place against an adorably festive backdrop, it also tells a heartwarming story that’s relevant all year long. Family man George Bailey gets the chance to see what life in his town would be like had be never been born, with guidance from his endearing guardian angel, Clarence. Get ready to tear up and remind everyone in your family how much you love them.

2) Home Alone

It’s a difficult feat to make the story of an abandoned eight-year-old fending off burglars into a comedy, but Home Alone does just that! And for some reason we love every minute of it. With incredibly quotable moments like, “Keep the change, ya filthy animal” and the adorable comedic timing of little Macaulay Culkin, this movie remains a Christmas favorite to this day.

3) Elf

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” This movie is Will Ferrell at his best. Ferrell plays  Buddy the Elf – a human who was raised by elves at the North Pole – and travels to New York during Christmas to find his biological parents. Hilarity and chaos ensue, but ultimately Buddy teaches his family the true meaning of Christmas. This movie is just about as quotable as Mean Girls, and if you’ve seen it once you’ll watch it again every year. Personally, I have the movie memorized. It’s casual.

4) Miracle on 34th street

There are many ways to experience Miracle on 34th Street-whether it’s the stage adaptation, the 1947 movie or the ‘90s remake. The last one is my personal fave; it stars Mara Wilson from Matilda! This movie tells the story of Kris Kringle, the real Santa Claus, who listens to children’s Christmas wishes at the Macy’s in New York City. This movie is the reason that I really believed that all the Santas whose laps I sat on were real, and helped me hold onto the Christmas spirit a little longer.

5) Love Actually

Love Christmas? Love adorable British people? Love love? That’s basically all there is to this movie, which follows the lives of about a dozen English couples as they deal with their love lives during the holidays. There’s a story for everyone, from a young school boy with a crush, to a man in love with his best friend’s wife, to two porn stand-ins who fall in love. Aside from filling your heart with Christmas cheer, this movie shows that you really do find love in the most unlikely places.

6) The Nightmare Before Christmas

Tim Burton’s groundbreaking animated musical is fair game for movie nights October through December! Whether you’re watching it for Halloween or Christmas, you’ll be transported back to your childhood days of cartoon magic and beloved characters like Jack Skellington and Sally the Doll. The movie doesn’t grow any less charming as you grow up; in fact, you learn to appreciate its stunning art even more.

7) The Santa Claus

When Tim Allen accidentally knocks out Saint Nick, he and his son travel to the North Pole and learn that – surprise! – Tim Allen is now the new Santa Claus, and must take on all the duties of the big man. If you ever wondered what life as Santa might be like, you’ll learn it’s not quite as glamorous as you might think. 

Hi! I'm Melanie VandenBerghe. I'm a second year english major at Cal Poly with a passion for literature, art, and film. In addition to writing for Her Campus, I serve on the executive board of the Cal Poly English Club and am an active member of Greek Life. In my free time I enjoy netflix, good food, and occasionally going outside.
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