7 Best Holiday Movies

C. Lentz breaks down his top 7 best holiday movies.

Graphic made by C. Lentz

C. Lentz breaks down his top 7 best holiday movies.

When it comes to the holiday season, there’s nothing quite like viewing a classic holiday movie, either for nostalgia, or for a relaxing pastime. However, there are a multitude of options to choose from. I’ve chosen my seven favorite films from the genre which are the ones that I believe deserve the most recognition. 


#1 – It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Perhaps one of the most iconic Christmas movies of all time, It’s a Wonderful Life tells the story of George Bailey through the business hardships he goes through in addition to the powerful optimism and positive influence conducted through his actions. The more serious messages of the film relating to depression and pessimism paired with the light-hearted tones including comedic drama and thankfulness creates a classically powerful and nostalgic viewing experience for the entire family.


#2 – Home Alone (1990)

Telling the story of a young boy who finds himself home alone during the holidays, Home Alone is one of the most lighthearted movies you can watch. Packed to the brim with humor and drama, this film brings not only silliness to the table, but also core values. The underlying message of the appreciation of loving family creates a heartwarming viewing experience. Home Alone is one of the more modern movies that can be considered nostalgic holiday classics, and it always portrays the lighthearted enjoyment we thrive on during the holidays.


#3 – How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1967)

Based on the book by Dr. Suess, How The Grinch Stole Christmas is so popular, it not only earned a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, but also two remakes. The first of which is a live action recreation starring Jim Carrey (2000), though it popularly did not live up to the original animation in any sense, called by critics “headache inducing” and “an ugly piece of work.” Illumination Entertainment also attempted a remake due to the semi-recent invention of computer animation. Though it undoubtedly received better reception than the 2000 version, it got an average rating of 60%, setting in stone my personal notion that originals are almost always the best. Made in 1967, the original hand-drawn animation retains the whimsical atmosphere of Dr. Seuss while bringing families a heartwarming (though quite blatant) message of kindness and forgiveness. 


#4 – Miracle On 34th Street (1947)

This old-time classic tells the story of Santa Claus in New York as he makes friends, fights ridicule, and succeeds in making the world a happier place during the holidays. Though the film’s pacing can be slow at times, every second of it is filled with sentimentalism, as well as holiday cheer. Miracle On 34th Street was also redone in 1994, though similarly to the two animated versions of The Grinch, the remake isn’t as critically acclaimed. In my opinion both versions bring different elements of the holidays to the table, though I do prefer the older film. 


#5 – A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

Perhaps the cartoon that started the trend of holiday themed animations, A Charlie Brown Christmas brings Charles Schulz’s hilarious, festive cartoons to life. Aired on television in the 1900s, this is a simple movie that tells the simple meaning of Christmas. Despite Charlie Brown’s holiday gloominess (an aspect of the film that may be more relatable than ever in 2020), Schulz brings Christmas into the homes and hearts of all who watch this movie, particularly younger kids. 


#6 – A Christmas Carol (1951)

The classic story of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is perhaps the most movie-adapted book ever, with approximately 20 different versions. Though we all have our favorites, one of the very first adaptations (starring Alastair Sim) holds the top spot for many, including myself. It stays incredibly faithful to Dickens’ original vision for the ghost tale, and its old age ensures its quality, as well as authentic dialogue. 


#7 – A Christmas Story (1983)

This nostalgic and humorous film follows the story of a kid from the 1980s during the holiday seasons through his trials, triumphs, and quirky family drama. The story is highly relatable (at least in years past) and provides an interesting look into a child’s dreams and visions for the holidays, while sending a message of positivity and lightheartedness. In fact, the TBS channel plays this on TV all 24 hours on Christmas Day. 


These are my top seven picks for best holiday movies. They are all timeless classics that are heartwarming and festive, in addition to sending wholesome messages to people of all ages!