The Ultimate Christmas Movie Bucket List

It’s official. The nightmare called 2020 is almost over (thank God), and it’s time to close it out with the most wonderful time of the year. Here’s a list of Christmas movies that will make you actually WANT to shelter at home (with a mug of hot chocolate and some Christmas cookies of course!)

Oldies but Goodies

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

This is the best movie ever made and you will not change my mind! It’s a classic with themes of friendship, selflessness, and generosity that are not only relevant, but crucial right now. It has a pure, gentle humor and an ending you’ll definitely need tissues for!

White Christmas (1954)

Further proof that I was born during the wrong time period, White Christmas is another can’t-miss classic featuring the iconic voices of Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. Crosby and his WWII buddy (Danny Kaye), now successful entertainers and producers, team up with a sister act to save a picturesque Vermont inn owned by their former general. It’s a beautiful story about love and loyalty that warms my heart every year. And if you’re impatiently waiting for Broadway to reopen, this Christmas musical might hold you over.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Yes, I know there’s a newer remake. No, I will not watch it. In this adorable Christmas classic, Macy’s mall Santa, claiming to be the real Santa Claus, unnerves a realistic Macy’s executive and her daughter as her attorney boyfriend tries to prove Kris Kringle’s claim in the New York Supreme Court. It is adorable, witty, and may just make you believe again.

A Christmas Carol (1984)

This popular story is nostalgic for me. My family watches it every Christmas Eve without fail, and even though it has been retold a million times, the George C. Scott version is my favorite. For an adaptation that will appeal to both kids and adults alike, check out Disney’s 2009 animated version featuring the phenomenal voice acting of Jim Carrey.

The Polar Express (2004)

I’m not a big fan of animated films, but I have to make an exception for The Polar Express. It’s just too magical to not watch, is great for all ages, and has an amazing soundtrack featuring Josh Groban. Need more reasons to watch? Tom Hanks voices most of the characters and does a fantastic job.

Holiday Romance

The Family Stone (2005)

A feel-good holiday film that will give you secondhand embarrassment and all the feels, this adorable rom-com will make you feel like you’re in all the chaos of a big family Christmas, even if you’re staying home this year. 

Four Christmases (2008)

There is no such thing as too many romantic comedies! In this one, Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaugn, both children of divorced families, visit four Christmas celebrations that reveal the truth about their relationship. Definitely the funniest one on the list if you need a break from the tearjerkers!

The Holiday (2006)

The Holiday movie marathons on TV are a staple of my Christmas and I love it. An emotionally-stunted American from L.A. (Cameron Diaz) and a heartbroken British columnist (Kate Winselt) swap houses over the holidays to escape their own lives, where they find love and new outlooks on life. Winselt and Jack Black create the most romantic, exquisite storyline. A must-see this Christmas.

Collateral Beauty (2016)

Inspired by my number 1 pick It’s a Wonderful Life, Will Smith’s modern take on a poignant holiday drama is underrated in my opinion. Just like George Bailey, Smith’s character is frustrated and in pain, failing to see all the good that is still in his life. That is, until he receives visits from Love, Time, and Death themselves.

Love Actually (2003)

In my opinion, this one is slightly overrated, but if you haven’t seen it at least once this Christmas, I think you’re missing out! An all-star, ensemble cast in the picturesque and romantic city of London, England at Christmastime: what’s not to love?

I hope these films bring as much joy and fond memories to you and your family as they have brought me and mine. Merry Christmas!