After doing a play by play of the worst quality Christmas movies ever made, I thought it was only right to make a list of the good movies that people at one point paid to see. Here are the classic Christmas flicks that are can’t-misses this (every) holiday season:
1. I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1998) Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Jessica Biel
Classic 90’s Christmas movie full of N*SYNC and Tiger Beat cover boy, JTT. When I first saw this movie my sister and I watched it roughly 7 times within a 3 day Video King rental span and I don’t even regret one second of it. JTT & Jessica Biel are supposedly in college except that they have lockers. Jake (JTT) is a classic prankster always looking to make money so he rents out beepers to help the cool kids in college cheat on their finals. BEEPERS. Resident bad boy, Eddie (Adam Lavorgna for all you 7th Heaven fans) messes up his plan and then sticks him in a Santa suit and puts him in the desert with no way to get home for Christmas with his hot piece girlfriend Allie (Jessica Biel). Eddie goes in for the steal yo girl moves on Allie and the whole movie is Jake trying to get Allie and also get home for Christmas.
Best Quotes: “Hey jingle balls! Move your candycanes!”-Eddie, “Santa just yammied in my handbag.”, Anything that Nolan the Elf says
Bonus Points: Jessica Biel singing along to Aqua but is also supposed to be the cool hot girl (conflict of interest), JTT being the perfect boyfriend who quotes poetry and has devilish good looks. All the 90’s style and college cliches.
2. Home Alone/Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1990, 1992) McCaulay Culkin, Catherine O’Hara, Joe Pesci
Okay so I got in a legit fight with someone the other night about how Home Alone 2 is better than the original. Yes they’re both A+ movies and it’s not Christmas until you watch Kevin McCallister get into some good ole’ mischief, however, my argument is that Home Alone 2 is better simply because of the hotel employees. Those three idiots MAKE the movie and obviously that’s also what makes 2 different from 1. The opposing argument is that the second is the same exact movie as the first, meaning that the second was a knockoff and unnecessary. I respect the point of view, but I stand by The Sticky Bandits of NY, the idiots who work at the Plaza and the turtle dove ornaments from Mr. Duncan.
Best Quotes: Home Alone: “Buzz! Your girlfriend! Woof!”-Kevin, “Look what you did, you little jerk!”-Uncle Frank (the meanest uncle alive.)
Home Alone 2:“Get outta here you nosy little pervert, or I’m gonna slap you silly!”-Uncle Frank, “Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal, and a Happy New Year!”-Gangster Johnny plus everything else he ever says.
Bonus Points: Buzz calling Kevin a troutsniffer created a nickname that my sisters and I have played out for far too long.
3. Elf (2003) Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, James Caan
I don’t think I’ve seen a Will Ferrell movie I don’t like but can you really go wrong with him in an elf costume frolicking around NYC like it’s the gum drop forest? No, no you can’t. If you’ve never shouted out in a creepy low voice, “Byeeee Buddy, hope you find your dad!” when saying goodbye to someone then I don’t think we can be friends.
Best Quotes: “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?”, “You smell like beef and cheese, you don’t smell like Santa.”, “This place reminds me of Santa’s Workshop! Except it smells like mushrooms and everyone looks like they want to hurt me.”
Bonus Points: Seeing a side of Zooey Deschanel that isn’t the typical quirky, weird character we always see her playing.
4. The Santa Clause/ The Santa Clause 2 (1994/2002) Tim Allen
Again we have another toss up of which one is better. On the one hand, we have the original when Tim Allen was at the top of his game and on the other we have Chet, the new reindeer that will never fail to make me laugh when he bops around the sky and shouts gibberish. Charlie is obviously little and cute in the first one (with a flawless bowl cut) and Tim Allen’s sarcasm, specifically toward Neil’s sweater collection is so on point. The second one features a teenaged surly Charlie, which my pre-teen self had a crush on when this came out, but I can’t be as sympathetic toward him. Your dad is Santa, bro. Stop whining about it and spray painting everything in rebellion.
Best Quotes: The Santa Clause-“The only thing you need to worry about is where you’re going to buy your sweaters after the circus pulls out of town.”, “We shared a bowl of sugar, did some shots of brown liqour, played with my shot guns, field-dressed a cat, looked for women…”
The Santa Clause 2- “I have 33,000 offspring, all in private school.”-Easter Bunny
Bonus Points: The second installment has a super cringe worthy performance from Molly Shannon. Also as noted before, the reindeer babble is A+ comedy. Yes, we’ve already established I have the maturity of a small child.
5. Miracle on 34th Street (1994) Mara Wilson, Dylan McDermott, Elizabeth Perkins
Mara Wilson was absolutely the adorable child actor with the lisp who grew up to be the adult who had the same exact face and haircut as her childhood days and suddenly it was no longer cute. Google a picture of her now. You’ll instantly regret it. Anyway, with her cute little I’m 8 years old but I talk like I’m 45 act and the eye candy that was Dylan McDermott, this movie was a win-win. It’s touch and go for a minute when Santa gets locked in a padded room, but NYC believes and everything turns out AOK. (Sorry if I just spoiled this movie from 1994 for everyone.)
Best Quotes: “I’m not just a whimsical figure who wears a charming suit and affects a jolly demeanor. You know, I’m a symbol. I’m a symbol of the human ability to be able to suppress the selfish and hateful tendencies that rule the major part of our lives. If you can’t believe, if you can’t accept anything on faith, then you’re doomed for a life dominated by doubt.” That’s some deep shit from Kris Kringle. “Would it please the court if I gave you your Christmas card? I don’t think I’ll see you again. Unless I get arrested which is highly unlikely because it’s Christmas Eve and I’m going to bed uncharacteristically early.”-Susan (Imagine this said with a lisp)
Bonus Points: Dermott’s name in the movie is Brian Bedford, if that’s not the hottest name you’ve ever heard I don’t know what is. He also defends Santa Claus at trial. He’s a real stand-up gent.
6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen
Some may still love the cartoon of the Grinch, but I stand by the fact that Jim Carey as the Grinch is literally one of his best roles. Plus we get to see an innocent Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who before she went all bad girl punk rock after Gossip Girl and gave us all the scaries. It still tugs at my little heartstrings when baby grinch gets made fun of by the mayor and wears a paper bag on his head.
Best Quotes: “Am I just eating because I’m bored?”, “Even if I wanted to go my schedule wouldn’t allow it. 4:00, wallow in self pity; 4:30, stare into the abyss; 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one; 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me – I can’t cancel that again; 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing… I’m booked.”
Bonus Points: Seeing Martha May throwing herself at The Grinch who has the green hairy body of a stout pregnant woman.
7. Love Actually (2003) Every British Actor Ever
Ahh an ensemble cast of Brits falling in love during the holidays—sign every guy up to watch this. Just kidding. This movie is obviously a chick favorite, mostly because of Hugh Grant and his dazzling accent/smile. For all men forced to watch it, there is comic relief in Billy Mack the foul-mouthed washed up rockstar making a comeback. This is one of those flicks that should’ve been a Hallmark movie but they ended up getting a little star power behind it. Regardless it instills in our minds that airports are for tearful reunions and never crowded like nightmares at the holidays, Christmas is for telling the truth (and falling in love), and Wisconsin is a vacation spot for Brits.
Best Quotes: “Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don’t buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!”-Billy Mack, “American girls would seriously dig me with my cute British accent.”-Colin, “Let’s go get the shit kicked out of us by love.”-Sam “I had an uncle called Terence once. Hated him. I think he was a pervert. But I very much like the look of you.”-Prime Minister
Bonus Points: In unconventional love stories we root for the “chubby”, potty-mouthed girl to end up with England’s prime minister. Also we get to see Hugh Grant dance around to 80’s music. Story lines that almost ruin the movie=the porn couple (try watching that with your parents) and the little kid declaring his love for an 8 year old who can belt out All I Want For Christmas Is You. No. Seriously the creepy looking kid almost ruins the movie.
8. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) Chevy Chase
Full disclozj, I saw this movie for the very first time last year, which is why it fell at the bottom of the list. But it’s obvious as to why this movie is a Christmas classic. It brings out the nightmare that is family Christmas in the most entertaining way possible.
Best Quotes: “Merry Christmas. Shitter was full.”-Eddie, “Hey Griswold. Where do you think you’re gonna put a tree that big? Clark-“Bend over and I’ll show you.”
Bonus Points: Trashy Eddie, my fave ❤
The last two movies are mostly added in to make it an even 10 but need to be defined as separate because these are the two holiday movies that you watch when you want to be overwhelmed with the feels and have a big, ugly cry.
9. The Family Stone (2005) Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Dermot Mulroney, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson, Claire Danes
The fear of bringing a serious boyfriend/girlfriend home for the holidays and having your family think they’re a real asshole. Sarah Jessica Parker plays the most hated person ever and then some serious shit happens. Get your tissues ready.
10. Jack Frost (1998) Michael Keaton, Kelly Preston
The dad dies within the first 10 minutes of the movie and you already know you’re in for a real depressing couple of hours. He comes back reincarnated as a snowman and tries to mend his relationship with the son he never was there for when he was alive. I stumbled upon this movie this past weekend, not really ready for a good cry but nothing else was on and it was actually embarrassing how hard I cried at the end. So there’s that. The weather has to get warmer at some point and I think we all know what higher temps do for dad ghost snowmen.
Before I get sass as to why A Christmas Story isn’t on this list it’s because I’ve never once seen it. Whoops. Sorry. Baiiiiiiii.