The Definitive List of the 10 Best Christmas Movies of All Time

Is this list actually “definitive”? I just spent 10 minutes putting it together.

How could it not be definitive?

From 10 to 1, here’s how I’m ranking the top Christmas movies of all time (i.e. the first 10 that I happened to think of).

Honorable Mention: It’s a Wonderful Life

This movie is depressing, sappy, and not at all funny. If I wanted the full pathos experience on Christmas, I’d spend time with my family.

No. 10: Batman Returns

It’s a Tim Burton movie set in the Christmas season. That’s good enough for me. Michelle Pfeiffer in that Catwoman suit? How could I not include it?

No. 9: Love, Actually

“I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes.” If I didn’t include this movie, I’d be risking a divorce.

Plus, any Christmastime movie with Alan Rickman as a villain has to be included in the top 10. That’s a rule I just came up with.

No. 8: Any Harry Potter Movie

I’m technically cheating by including the entire Harry Potter franchise here, especially since these aren’t Christmas movies per se, but this is my list, I can apparently make and break rules as I wish, and there’s a lot of Christmas in the Harry Potter story.

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry gets his first Christmas present: The all-important Cloak of Invisibility.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Harry on Christmas Eve finally returns to his birth place and sees his parents’ grave.

Don’t tell me these movies aren’t really about the magic of the holiday season.

Plus, I repeat, any Christmastime movie with Alan Rickman as a villain has to be included in the top 10. That’s an ironclad rule.

No. 7: The Muppet Christmas Carol

It’s short, it’s a classic story, it has Michael Caine and Yoda voice actor Frank Oz, and it has the Muppets. What’s not to like?

No. 6: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

This might be the best of the National Lampoon’s Vacation series, and this selection enables me to get Elaine Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the list, so that’s a big win.

No. 5: Home Alone

It’s a childhood classic. I haven’t watched it in at least 20 years, but any John Hughes-written Chris Columbus-directed film with Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as the bad guys has to be included.

Except for Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. That movie sucks.

No. 4: Elf

If this is your personal No. 1 Christmas movie, you’ll get no complaints from me. In this, we get actors Will Ferrell and director Jon Favreau at their best.

And we get great supporting spots from James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Peter Dinklage, and Amy Sedaris.

If you don’t have this in your top five, you sit on a throne of lies and smell like beef and cheese.

Every year on Thanksgiving evening, my wife and I put on Elf and put up the Christmas tree.

This will be a classic for decades to come.

No. 3: Bad Santa

Com’on. Drunk Billy Bob Thornton playing himself in a Santa outfit, Bernie Mac as the bad guy and peak Lauren Graham as a Santa-philic whiskey-pouring Jewish bartender.

I’m not saying this is the greatest scene in non-pornographic cinematic history, but I’m also not saying it’s not.

Also, this is the last non-animated movie with American legend John Ritter. We see Samir from Office Space (Ajay Naidu) as a nameless sexually conflicted aggressor. And Alex Borstein has a small role in her pre-Susie Myerson and Associates days.

By the way, mazel tov to all the badass Jewish women out there.

Happy Hanukkah!

No. 2: Mixed Nuts

This is probably the most underappreciated Christmas movie and Nora Ephron film of all time.

Steve Martin as a suicide-prevention hotline coordinator. Liev Schreiber as a cross-dressing transsexual in his first cinematic role. Adam Sandler as a pre-Billy Madison ukulele-playing t-shirt “writer.” Steven Wright as Steven Wright with a gun in a phone booth.

This movie has it all.

Is it good?


Is it funny?


Is it perfect for Christmas day with the family?

Absolutely fucking not. But it’ll do in the background on a boozy Christmas Eve with friends.

No. 1: Die Hard

Fuck yes, this is a Christmas movie, and it has to be in the top 10 because of our longstanding ironclad rule.

Guns. Explosions. Peak Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman. Cheesy dialogue.

Yippee ki-yay, motherfuckers!