Gearing up for a Christmas movie marathon is always a hassle if not prepared so don’t waste your precious film-watching time surfing through Netflix—just bookmark our definitive guide of the best seasonal films instead. From the classics like The Grinch to Christmas-movie-legend Home Alone, here are the 10 best classic Christmas movies that the whole family will love.
1- Gremlins (1984)
You can’t mess up the three simple rules to keep a gremlin from wreaking havoc: don’t expose it to the light, don’t get it wet, and never feed it after midnight. Naturally, over the course of this Christmas comedy horror, all three of those rules are broken. The ensuing chaos makes for riotous viewing.
2- Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
It is universally acknowledged that the Home Alone franchise went on for three films too long – but this first sequel is surprisingly wonderful. Sure, it follows almost the exact same formula as the original, and simply relocates to the Big Apple, but with a formula this good, and with Macaulay Culkin still on board (he wisely bowed out after this one), it’s hard to complain.
3- Elf (2003)
In which one of Santa’s elves (Will Ferrell) discovers that he’s actually a human and sets out to New York to find his father, could have been supremely annoying if it weren’t for Ferrell’s absolute commitment to his ludicrous role. Elf manages to be both self-aware and defiantly uncynical.
4- How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
In this live-action adaptation of the beloved children’s tale by Dr. Seuss, the reclusive green Grinch (Jim Carrey) decides to ruin Christmas for the cheery citizens of Whoville. Reluctantly joined by his hapless dog, Max, the Grinch comes down from his mountaintop home and sneaks into town to swipe everything holiday-related from the Whos. However, the bitter grump finds a hitch in his plans when he encounters the endearing Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen).
5- The Princess Switch (2018)
One week before Christmas, a duchess switches places with an ordinary woman from Chicago, who looks exactly like her, and they each fall in love with each other’s beaus.
6- Miracle On 34th Street (1994)
Six-year-old Susan Walker (Mara Wilson) is skeptical of the Christmas myth surrounding Santa Claus, a trait she perhaps learned from her mother, Dorey (Elizabeth Perkins). When tasked with hiring the Santa who will pose with kids at Macy’s, Dorey enlists a man with the curious name of Kris Kringle (Richard Attenborough) who claims to be Santa himself. His assertions are met with scoffs and threats of institutionalization, but a young lawyer, along with Susan and Dorey, comes to his defense.
7- Trading Places (1983)
Upper-crust executive Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) and down-and-out hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) are the subjects of a bet by successful brokers Mortimer (Don Ameche) and Randolph Duke (Ralph Bellamy). An employee of the Dukes, is framed by the brothers for a crime he didn’t commit, with the siblings then installing the street-smart Valentine in his position. When Winthorpe and Valentine uncover the scheme, they set out to turn the tables on the Dukes.
8- Edward Scissorhands (1990)
A scientist (Vincent Price) builds an animated human being — the gentle Edward (Johnny Depp). The scientist dies before he can finish assembling Edward, though, leaving the young man with a freakish appearance accentuated by the scissor blades he has instead of hands. Loving suburban saleswoman Peg (Dianne Wiest) discovers Edward and takes him home, where he falls for Peg’s teen daughter (Winona Ryder). However, despite his kindness and artistic talent, Edward’s hands make him an outcast.
9- The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown’s beloved pumpkin king, who has become bored with the same annual routine of frightening people in the “real world.” When Jack accidentally stumbles on Christmastown, all bright colors and warm spirits, he gets a new lease on life — he plots to bring Christmas under his control by kidnapping Santa Claus and taking over the role. But Jack soon discovers even the best-laid plans of mice and skeleton men can go seriously awry.
10- The Polar Express (2004)
A young boy boards a train and embarks on an extraordinary journey to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. His life takes a turn after he encounters special people that make his journey memorable.