1. Elf (2003)
This recent classic belongs on the top because of the sheer holiday cheer. Will Ferrell plays over enthusiastic Buddy, who, after realizing that he is a human and not actually an elf, travels from the North Pole to New York to find his father. Lots of awkwardness and hilarity ensues when Buddy has to deal with living in the real world, experiencing a crush, and fitting in with his new family. Rating: 10/10.
2. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Some may argue that Tim Burton’s critically acclaimed movie about a skeleton is strictly a Halloween movie, but there’s plenty of holiday spirit as well. Jack Skellington, the king of Halloween Town, is tired of doing the same thing every day, so he travels to Christmas Town in search of some excitement. The result? Him and the rest of the spookiest town around running Christmas and Santa being kidnapped by the Boogie Man. Rating: 9.8/10.
3. The Polar Express (2004)
This coming-of-age film in reverse celebrates the joys of being a child. A boy who begins to doubt Santa’s existence witnesses a train going by his house – which turns out to be the Polar Express, whose conductor invites him along to go to the North Pole. After discovering the other children who are coming along and meets a mysterious old man who claims to be the King of the North Pole, the boy starts to believe again. Rating: 9.5/10.
4. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
This classic television special follows the story that everyone knows. After being born with a glowing red nose, Rudolph is shunned by the other reindeer, only to be made the head of Santa’s sleigh team. During an awful storm that could’ve ruined Christmas, Rudolph saves the day. Rating: 9/10.
5. Home Alone (1990)
Every child either dreams or has nightmares about being left home alone just like Kevin, (Macaulay Culkin), did in this whirlwind of a story. When his parents realize their mistake after landing in Paris with the rest of the family, they discover all flights are booked, so they can’t go home. Kevin later has to deal with fighting off burglars and overcoming his disappointment that his family forgot him. Rating: 8.8/10.
6. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
This animated television special should make an annual appearance on anyone’s watch list. Surprisingly, the story tackles mental health in a responsible way. Charlie Brown admits to Linus that even though he should feel happy around the holidays, he just doesn’t. While the rest of the cast isn’t quite supportive at first, they end up all celebrating his unique Christmas tree choice and realizing the true meaning of the holidays is being around friends and family. Rating: 8.5/10.
7. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
Dr. Seuss’ traditional tale of the Grinch with his heart “two sizes too small” represents how everyone can be included in holiday festivities. After stealing all the Whos’ decorations and presents and noticing that they still participated in Christmas, the Grinch’s heart grew and he joined in. Rating: 8/10.
8. Gremlins (1984)
Quintessential 80’s film meets the holidays in this comedy/horror story. A man buys his son a mysterious creature from a Chinatown antique store as a present, but soon sees that something more sinister lurks beneath the surface. More gremlins spawn from Gizmo and wreak havoc on the town, but only the original, tame pet saves the day. Rating: 7.8/10.
9. Frosty the Snowman (1969)
In this understated television special, children build a magical snowman named Frosty, who delights them and sings songs. When he begins to melt, a girl helps him stow away on a freezer to the North Pole so he could survive the sun, meeting Santa in the process. Rating: 7.5/10.
10. Love Actually (2003)
The only romance-themed movie on the list, it centers on nine different stories of the friends and family of David, a recently elected Prime Minister. The end sees the happiness and completion of the new year with everyone meeting at Heathrow Airport. Rating: 7/10.