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

Happy December! As the countdown to Christmas has begun, lights are going up and the end of term is approaching, we could all do with some rest and that calls for Christmas films, which are a great way to get into the festive spirit! Here are 12 Christmas film recommendations, ranging from classics to newer adaptations. Cosy up with a blanket and a hot chocolate, and happy watching!

Klaus (2019)

Starting off with my favourite Christmas film! Klaus creates its own lore on the unfolding of the original Christmas story, gift giving and Father Christmas. It follows a spoiled postman who is sent to a frozen northern town, where he teams up with a lonely toymaker. With beautiful animation, music and interesting characters, this funny, touching, and hopeful film is a must see.

The Polar Express (2004)

Another animation, this film follows the adventures of children on a train to the North Pole on Christmas Eve, and is centred around the importance of friendship and belief. It’s definitely a well-loved classic; watching it on Christmas Eve has become a bit of a tradition in my family!

Love Actually (2003)

Following the lives and complex relationships of 8 couples in the weeks building up to Christmas, this film is a good character-centred watch. Prepare for drama, heartbreak and of course, love!

Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Whilst this film might not be classed as strictly a Christmas one, the magical story is certainly festive and deserves more attention in my opinion! It features the legendary guardians: Santa Claus, Jack Frost, the Sandman, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny and their allies facing off against the film’s re-imagining of the nightmare-wielding Boogeyman.

A Christmas Carol (2009)

Based off the classic novel, this adaptation follows the dark and hopeful story about Christmas spirit, greed, forgiveness and generosity through the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, who hates Christmas. Whilst there are many film versions of the story you could choose from, I particularly recommend the 2009 version for Jim Carrey’s Scrooge, and its wonderful visuals.

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

This wonderful classic, following frustrated businessman George Bailey, explores selflessness, gratitude and perspective. Do prepare for an emotional rollercoaster with this one, which is profoundly sad at parts – it’s an intense ride!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) and The Grinch (2018)

I would recommend both versions of this story (you could also go back and watch the first 1966 animation). A well-loved story about loneliness, selfishness and kindness, the 2000 version is live action whilst the 2018 version is animated.

Die Hard (1988)

A great choice if you’re looking for some action! A film in which a New York City police officer tries to save hostages from terrorists that have taken over Nakatomi Plaza.

Little Women (2019) 

Another film that is not strictly Christmas but in my opinion perfect for this season, this newer adaption of the novel follows the beloved March sisters and their dreams, affection, warmth, and sadness as they come of age. This film makes a beautiful use of cinematography and settings.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

I’m recommending the second Home Alone here because it captures the festive feeling of New York at Christmas so well! A great choice if you want to have a good laugh along with some festive cheer, following a young boy as he seeks to outsmart some crooks. 

The Nightmare before Christmas (1993)

Though it could also be considered a Halloween film also, this film is so visually unique and compelling. Jack Skellington, resident of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas to his delight.

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

One of the greatest Christmas musicals, starring Judy Garland, this touching film has stood the test of time!

And as a bonus – a couple of Christmas series you could watch, because I couldn’t not mention them! Dash & Lily, a cute romance which is bound to be a book lover’s dream, and Hawkeye, a good option if you want lots of action too. Both set in Christmassy New York!

Serena Mehdwan

Nottingham '25

Hi, I'm Serena, I'm a second year history student at the University of Nottingham. I love painting, writing about the things I love, and reading fantasy (and of course historical!) fiction novels :)