As I have mentioned, one of the things I love about Halloween is the time leading up to it. The decorations, the candy and especially the movies. Now, the 25 days of Christmas are beginning, and with the Christmas season comes Christmas movies. So with that in mind, I’ve decided to list my top 25 movies — one for each day — to enjoy during the season.
This was my favorite Christmas movie growing up. The story follows a young girl who finds a wounded reindeer and nurses it back to health at her family farm. She believes it is in fact one of Santa’s reindeer and over the course of restoring its health, manages to restore a little Christmas spirit in those around her — even her disenchanted father.
24. The Nightmare Before Christmas
This is the perfect Christmas movie for Halloween lovers. Jack Skellington rules as the Pumpkin King in Halloweentown, but he’s looking for something new. He is mesmerized when he sneaks out of Halloweentown and discovers Christmastown. He decides to take over Santa’s job and things don’t quite go as planned.
23. Fred Claus
Vince Vaughn stars as Santa’s bitter older brother. He’s been on the naughty list for many years, and with the way he shakes up the north pole after being forced to move, it doesn’t look like he’ll be on the nice list anytime soon.
22. Jingle All the Way
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in this tale of a man trying to get the perfect gift for his son. Arnold runs all over town to purchase a Turbo Man action figure, competing with other shoppers along the way.
This 2015 film brings Germanic folklore — and a bit of horror — to Christmas. When a boy has a bad Christmas, he accidentally summons Krampus to his family home. In countries such as Germany and Austria, Krampus is believed to be a beast-like creature who joins St. Nicholas on his journey around the Earth. While St. Nicholas rewards good children, Krampus snatches bad children into his sack and whips them with a switch.
20. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
The claymation classic tells the story of everyone’s favorite reindeer. Rudolph goes from searching for acceptance, to leading Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve. A perfect watch for children and families.
19. Christmas with the Kranks
Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis star as a family who usually go all out for Christmas. But with their daughter moved out, they decide to skip out on Christmas and go on a cruise. Everything is looking great until the Kranks hear that their daughter is coming home for Christmas and must hurry to get decorations up and a party put together.
18. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
Another great claymation classic. This film tells the story of Santa Claus and how he became the jolly man we all know and love. The story is complete with some wacky characters and great musical numbers.
17. Bad Santa
While it definitely isn’t a family film, Bad Santa is entertaining. Billy Bob Thornton stars as a burnt-out mall Santa who moonlights as a thief with his elf partner. When tensions run high during a job, Thornton finds himself drunk and alone and befriends a lonely boy and his mother. It’s crude and not suitable for children, but it will manage to pull at any adult’s heart strings this Christmas season.
16. Miracle on 34th Street
Whether you watch the original version released in 1947, or the the 1994 remake starring Mara Wilson — that girl who played Matilda — this may be the story that gave rise to Christmas Movies. When a young girl meets Santa for real, she must convince everyone else of his existence, including her mother.
A new twist on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” casts Bill Murray as the greedy, rude T.V. executive, Frank Cross. On Christmas Eve, Cross is visited by three ghosts who show him the error of his ways and teach him about the Christmas spirit.
14. A Charlie Brown Christmas
Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be a holiday without a Charlie Brown special. The Peanuts Gang causes mischief while learning the about the reason for the season.
13. Lethal Weapon
Nothing says Christmas like drug smugglers. Everyone’s favorite pair of detectives who prefer to work alone team up in this classic action film to distribute justice to some folks on the naughty list.
12. The Ref
When a burglar takes the worst couple possible hostage on Christmas Eve, he is forced to listen to them bicker all night long, and eventually helps them work some things out. Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis star alongside Dennis Leary in this wickedly funny Christmas tale.
11. White Christmas
Bing Crosby. Enough said. His voice just sounds like Christmas. It isn’t Christmas without at least putting on the soundtrack to this film.
10. The Santa Clause
Tim Allen doesn’t sleep on Christmas flicks. He made a name for himself with The Santa Clause and turned it into a series before going on to star in Christmas with the Kranks. In the first film of the series, Allen is forced to become Santa Claus after accidentally killing the jolly old fellow himself.
9. Disney’s A Christmas Carol
Starring Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge, this is one of the best adaptations of Charles Dickens’ beloved story.
Often overlooked as a Christmas movie, this film definitely earned its spot on the list. When a boy brings home an interesting new pet close to Christmas, he breaks two of three very important rules, sending his town into utter havoc. As little green creatures tear through town, the boy pet, Gizmo, must rescue suburbia.
7. Home Alone 3
He’s no Kevin McAllister, but Alex Pruitt isn’t dealing with a couple of second-rate thugs either. In the third installment of one of the ultimate Christmas series, Pruitt uses toys, tools and anything else he can find to fend off thieves looking to steal terrorist intel from a toy car.
6. Home Alone 2
Not as good as the original, but still one of the great. The second Home Alone reunites Kevin McAllister with his two favorite thieves, Marv and Harry, in New York City.
5. Home Alone
When Kevin McAllister is left home while his family goes on vacation, he must fend off Marv and Harry while they attempt to rob his home. Who doesn’t love Joe Pesci and Macaulay Culkin? Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal.
Elf is hilarious. Buddy the elf — played by Will Ferrell — quickly became one of the most loved Christmas Characters of all time. On a quest from the north pole to find his biological father, Buddy learns about New York City, spreads some Christmas cheer and even finds love.
3. Die Hard
There is not much that says Christmas more than drug smugglers, but if there is one thing that does, it’s German Terrorist Hans Gruber. This awesome Christmas flick is filled with explosions, gun fights and plenty of Bruce Willis. Yippee ki yi.
2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Chevy Chase at his best. The Griswold family’s luck isn’t much better during Christmas than in Las Vegas, Europe or on the way to Wallyworld. Hijinks ensue as they try to keep Christmas from getting completely ruined.
1. A Christmas Story
You’ll shoot your eye out kid. Nothing reminds me of Christmas quite like this film. It’s odd, but it is utterly hilarious. It has become Christmas time’s own cult classic. If you have the time, make sure to sit down and watch Ralphie try vehemently to convince everyone that a Red Ryder B. B. Gun is the perfect gift.
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.