It’s the most wonderful time of the year, isn’t it? The air smells of Christmas, and the atmosphere is all jolly; there’s the smell of freshly baked cakes and chocolates in the air.. and what else can make it the perfect Christmas without some classic feel-good Christmas movie recommendations?
These are my personal choice of the 20 best Christmas movies that will make you smile and one you can enjoy with your loved ones (or alone) crawling under a blanket with a cup of steaming hot chocolate!
Before jumping in, here’s a small note from Santa: the list is divided into two categories – the first ten films are all-time Christmas classics that are pre-loved and pre-approved. You can never go wrong with these!
The next ten movies are new additions to the list of Christmas movies. Chances are you haven’t watched many of these, so if you want to try something new or check out some latest Christmas films to watch this holiday season, I passionately recommend these!
We are wishing you an advanced Merry Christmas!
The All-Time Classics
1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Dr. Seuss’s original book How The Grinch Stole Christmas has been adapted three times for the screen. The first one, starring Boris Karloff, was a 1966 television special, the second one was a live-action one, and the 2018 version is the third one, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as The Grinch.
You can take your pick out of the lot. But the 2000 version is considered the best adaptation with a stellar performance by Jim Carrey. I personally love the 2018 animated version as well. No matter which version you go for, the film will surely take you back to your childhood, make you drown in nostalgia, and definitely make you smile at the end.
The story revolves around a strange magical creature called The Grinch who hates Christmas the Whos of Whoville and how six-year-old Cindy manages to change his mind. If you simply want to watch a classic Christmas movie that will make you smile, I highly recommend this one.
2. Home Alone (1990)
A few days before Christmas, eight-year-old Kevin wakes up to find himself alone at home after his family accidentally leaves him behind for a long trip to Paris. He must protect his house from all kinds of danger until his family returns home.
I still remember watching Home Alone as a child every Christmas because it gave me some unexplainable joy. This is a classic favorite holiday movie, especially for kids. There are some absolutely hilarious moments, and like every other feel-good Christmas movie, the ending can’t help but make you smile.
A perfect Christmas watch with your parents, if you’re looking for that.
3. Elf (2003)
Meet Buddy, a human raised by Santa’s elves who decides to go to New York City to meet his biological father. Considered one of the greatest Christmas films of all time (and rightly so), Elf just effortlessly makes you laugh.
If you want some easy laughs with a superb performance by Will Ferrel, this is the perfect movie for you. This is one of the Christmas films with a wicked sense of humor and some heartful moments that make you teary. An ideal combination for a snowy Christmas eve while you wait for Santa to deliver your presents.
4. Klaus (2019)
Yeah..no. I don’t mean your heartthrob Klaus Mikaelson.
Jokes apart, Klaus is comparatively new in this list, but there’s a reason why I am saying this is a Christmas classic. The film offers an alternative origin story of Santa Claus, independent of the otherwise popular story of Saint Nicholas. The animation is top-notch with a beautiful story and brilliant vocal performances.
The movie grabbed the award for the Best Animated Movie in the British Academy Awards and was also nominated for the Oscars. It is a must-watch if you like Christmas movies or just like animated films. This one is really close to my heart, and I hope it will be yours too. You won’t regret this.
5. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
There are very few films that one can call iconic, and this one is one of them. A Charlie Brown Christmas was the first television Christmas special based on the popular comic strip Peanuts. The movie has become a Christmas staple since its release in 1965.
It is also significant in its making because it was one of the first television specials that did not use the laughing track (it was typical for US animated comedies at that time). Significantly, The movie also features child actors as voice artists.
The story revolves around Charlie Brown, who is depressed even in the holiday season. On Lucy’s advice, he tries to direct a Christmas play. A perfect watch on Christmas eve.
6. The Holiday (2006)
Are old-school romantic Christmas-themed movies your thing? I have the best recommendation for you right here. Starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, The Holiday tells the story of Amanda and Iris, who arrange a home exchange to escape heartbreak during the holiday season.
For all those looking for love, are with their loved ones, and those who got their heartbroken, this one is for you. The plot is pretty predictable, but it is a feel-good, beautiful film that definitely deserves your time.
7. Love Actually (2003)
As a teen, Love Actually had always been my most favorite Christmas movie. It is going to be your favorite comfort movie if you like romcoms. The film has everything you could ask for. Christmas, check. Romance, check. Comedy, check. A stellar cast, check. Various aspects of love, check. Feel good, check.
The film focuses on various aspects of love through ten stories, all connected somehow or the other. I am not going to reveal much, but I can guarantee that this will become your new Christmas favorite if this is the first time you’re watching it.
8. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
If you are all for the old Hollywood black and white movie vibe, this is the perfect choice for you. It’s A Wonderful Life is not only considered one of the best Christmas films but also one of the greatest films ever made.
It is a must-watch for the stellar performances, lovely plot, and unique fantasy element. The film tells the story of George Bailey, whose suicide attempt on Christmas eve forces his Guardian Angel to intervene and show him the value of life and doing good to others.
Apart from being a perfect Christmas watch, it is also a great cinematic experience, which is a win-win situation.
9. The Polar Express (2004)
The best thing about this musical fantasy is its unique concept and plot. Not only does the film execute the plot exceptionally well, but it also makes it a treat to the eyes with stellar animation.
A young boy sees a train headed to the North Pole stop outside his window on Christmas Eve. The conductor calls him in, and the boy joins several other children for a journey to meet Santa Claus.
I feel it is one of the best childrens’ films that I have seen, and the amount of imagination and creativity that this film holds never fails to win my heart. Fantasy films are always a treat to watch, so I would heartily recommend this one, especially if you are still a child within.
10. A Christmas Carol (2009)
No list of Christmas movie recommendations is complete without A Christmas Carol. The staple Christmas watch is based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel of the same name and is an evergreen one. You can never get bored of Ebenezer Scrooge and his dark mind.
The Disney animation features brilliant actors such as Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, and Colin Firth and is a good choice for both children and adult viewers.
The story has a dark side, which an analytical mind would definitely enjoy. There are ample reasons to love this movie, but for now, if you want to enjoy a good animated film with some great actors, this is the best pick. Brownie points because it is a Disney movie, after all!
1. Princess Switch (2018)
Princess Switch is the perfect Christmas movie to watch with your friends or at a girls’ holiday night out! The plot is a typical rom-com plot: a duchess switches places with a commoner who looks exactly like she, and they fall in love with each other’s boyfriends. Cliché?
I recommend it just as a light watch if you are just looking to have fun. The script is pretty happy with some crazy moments. A good one-time watch, if you ask me.
2. The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
Rumors say that the newer Christmas movies are all rom-com, and nobody makes anything for kids anymore. Now I don’t think films made for children are ONLY for children, but that is a discussion for another day.
My point is, The Christmas Chronicles is literally the perfect kid-friendly Christmas comedy to binge with your kids, brothers, sisters, or absolutely anyone! Kate and Teddy are two overenthusiastic and curious kids who end up spotting Santa on Christmas eve. They want to capture him in their camera (kids today, oh god), so they jump into his sleigh. However, some really unexpected things happen.
The movie is exceptionally well made and has the old-school classic Christmas movie vibe. For those of you who want a fresh holiday movie to watch, I recommend this one. The popularity of the first film even resulted in a sequel which was released in 2020.
3. A Knight Before Christmas (2019)
This is another rom-com but with a difference! If you’re a fan of the time-travel romance trope, this one is a perfect choice. The film revolves around a medieval knight who travels to the present day only to fall in love with a science teacher who has lost all hope for love.
It is a typical rom-com with all the elements intact and can also be watched as a family film. It is definitely going to be your guilty pleasure!
4. Love Hard (2021)
Love Hard is a totally relatable Christmas movie for the current-gen because it is all about online dating. If you were a TVD fan and shipped Stelena or Delena, this is also your chance to watch Nina Dobrev in a non-vampy role after long!
Love Hard is about Natalie, who is tired of her disastrous love life. She begins talking to Josh, a guy she met in a dating app, and it instantly clicks. But when Natalie decides to fly to Josh’s city to surprise him for Christmas, she realizes something. Alright, no more spoilers.
The movie is a good one-time watch featuring a cute couple and a happy ending—everything you want to watch while you enjoy some Christmas cake.
5. Last Christmas (2019)
Brace yourselves, Khaleesi is back, but this time she is not on her dragons but her legs, enjoying a snowy Christmas. Ahh, GOT references are boring now, isn’t it?
Jokes apart, Last Christmas, starring Emilia Clarke as Kate, received mixed reviews, but I think it is a cute Christmas watch. It is not my first choice, but if you want to watch something new, Last Christmas is worth trying.
The story is about a girl who has a dead-end job as a Christmas store worker and falls in love with a mysterious man, Tom, which changes her life. The most cliché plot for a rom-com, but we love familiar stuff sometimes, don’t we?
6. Holidate (2020)
Two strangers, who are fed up with being single on holidays, decide to be each other’s platonic partners until real feelings tiptoe into their lives. Again, nothing you haven’t heard of before. But Christmas movies are not about out-of-the-world plots but more about having that feel-good holiday vibe.
Holidate definitely ticks those boxes. It is a charming and sweet film about love and friendship which is worth watching.
7. Let it Snow (2019)
Based on the John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauran Myracle young adult novel of the same name, Let It Snow revolves around a group of teenagers who come together on the snowy stormy night. What follows is a rollercoaster ride, and by the time it’s Christmas, nothing will be the same again.
This is the perfect choice for teenagers and young adults who want to watch relatable comedy. If you are a fan of John Green, this movie is worth watching! It is also a great choice if you have a special Christmas sleepover with friends.
8. A Boy called Christmas (2021)
Apart from the usual stuff, my favorite part of Christmas is the array of brand new Christmas movies that we are blessed with every year. Based on a book of the same name by Matt Haig, the film revolves around a young boy called Nikolas who goes on a quest to discover Elfhelm, the fantasy village of the elves.
It is a classic fantasy movie with a magical quest, so you will love it if that is your thing. I personally really like this one because fantasy and Christmas just seem to be such a perfect combination!
9. A Christmas Prince (2017)
Are you craving a fairy-tale-like royal romance but with a Christmas theme? A Christmas Prince is the one for you. As the title reveals, the movie does have a prince.
A young journalist is tasked with getting a scoop on the prince (and to-be king), who has a notorious reputation of being a playboy. I guess you know what happens next?
Just watch it for the satisfaction of a royal romance with some Christmas vibes. You’ll love it.
10. 48 Christmas Wishes (2017)
In this Christmas comedy, two of Santa’s elves lose an entire town’s letters to Santa. A total massacre! 48 Christmas Wishes is once again a Christmas movie about Santa and his elves. Kids will love this one.
But just a heads up, this is a movie solely made for kids, so it might not impress you if you’re looking for something which isn’t absolutely childish. Nevertheless, a good one-time watch if you don’t want something heavy.