Let’s talk about the best Christmas movies. Megan has a long list of her personal favorites, the movies she considers the best Christmas movies, and these are movies that she works her way through every year without fail.
There’s almost an equally long list of movies she doesn’t care for at all. (Sorry Scrooged and It’s a Wonderful Life, you don’t make this list.) The best part about most of the movies on this list is that they’re family friendly. (Most, not all. Sorry kids, Christmas Vacation won’t become a family tradition until you’re in high school.) And finally, this list is in no particular order because I just can’t choose.
Updated for 2021
1. Elf – You wouldn’t think one-liners like, “You smell like beef and cheese,” would put me into the holiday spirit, but they do every single time.
2. A Charlie Brown Christmas – Oh, Charlie Brown. The Peanuts gang telling the story of Christmas is straight up perfection.
3. Home Alone 1 & 2 – Still holds up! But also, what is wrong with those police who simply knock on the front door, decide the kid isn’t home, and tell her to just count her kids again? NO, SIR.
4. Christmas Vacation – Go ahead and judge, but this became the decorating the tree movie in our family many years ago. I love it because it’s funny, but also because I can’t watch without imagining my dad and brother cracking each other up, and my mom good-naturedly shaking her head behind them.
5. The Polar Express – Perhaps the most heartbreaking thing about this movie is that my kids have stopped asking when they can ride The Polar Express. Sunrise, Sunset.
6. The Santa Clause 1 & 2 – This is one of the few movie sequel situations where I can’t choose which one I prefer – the original or the second. (Sorry Santa Clause 3, you’re not in this race.) Scott Calvin as Santa Claus? More, please! (Update! I have decided that Charlie is intensely whiny in The Santa Clause 2, and I can’t believe this was ever a challenge! The original Santa Clause all the way!)
7. Love Actually – Oh sure, I’ve read the hilarious criticism of this movie and I say NAY. This movie is the greatest. Of course, every time I watch I hope Laura Linney won’t answer that damn phone. She can still be a great sister AND find love!
8. Fred Claus – Fred Claus would get a spot on this list for its depiction of the North Pole alone.
9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas – The original animated version, of course. Also, it’s short so it’s a pretty great before bedtime movie that still gets everyone in bed at a reasonable hour. (As I revisit this post as a parent of a teen and tween, I’ll tell you that this movie is tops on my kids’ list because it gets the family time obligation over and done with quickly.
10. Hallmark Countdown to Christmas – Are you a listener of our podcast? We have been reviewing Hallmark movies for a full year now on a weekly bonus episode of Long Story Short the Podcast! To be honest, this began as a “Wouldn’t this be funny” project, as Wendy had never before seen a Hallmark movie! And now here we are a year later!
We are digging in on Countdown to Christmas movies right now! Give it a listen!
Girls Gone Hallmark: Christmas in Tahoe – Long Story Short with Megan and Wendy: The Podcast
11. *New addition* The Christmas Chronicles – This Netflix original is a new addition to our annual lineup. We love Kurt Russel as Santa. While we thing that the original is far better than the sequel, the sequel does boast a truly beautiful North Pole.