Tis the Season for Movie Marathons: Top 20 Christmas Films That Define the Holiday Season

Snow-kissed streets, hot cocoa in hand, and stockings hung by a crackling fireplace—welcome to the holiday season! 

What better way to crank up the Christmas cheer than with a movie marathon that journeys through nostalgia, laughter, and heartwarming tales? So, snuggle up with your loved ones, unwrap the holiday spirit with our collection of films, and let the festivities begin!

Here are 20 Christmas films that capture the magic of the holidays.

1. The Polar Express (2004)

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Image Credit: Castle Rock Entertainment/IMDb

As a kid, did you ever wonder if Santa Claus was real? 

“The Polar Express” takes place on a magical Christmas Eve, where a young boy is whisked away on a massive train bound for the North Pole. On his adventure, he meets other young passengers, encounters dancing elves, and receives the ultimate gift: a chance to meet Santa Claus himself.

2. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

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Image Credit: Lee Mendelson Film Productions/IMDb

Discover the true meaning of the season with “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” an animated special that reminds us that the holidays are about more than just presents.

Charlie Brown, fed up with the materialism around him, takes on the role of directing the neighborhood Christmas play. Amidst the holiday hustle, a tiny shrub stands as the play’s centerpiece, a symbol of simple joys, cherished moments, and the warmth of togetherness.

3. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

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Image Credit: Liberty Films/IMDb

Feeling a bit existential this Christmas season?

In the film “It’s A Wonderful Life,” George Bailey, trapped in unfulfilled dreams, questions his purpose on a bleak Christmas Eve. A guardian angel appears, allowing George to witness the profound impact he’s had on those around him and the far-reaching ripples of his actions.

This timeless tale reminds us that our lives hold greater significance than we may realize, inspiring us to embrace the power of human connection.

4. A Christmas Carol (2009)

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Image Credit: ImageMovers Digital/IMDb

Adapted from Charles Dickens’s novel, “A Christmas Carol,” shows the cranky Ebenezer Scrooge getting a major wake-up call when he is visited by three ghosts. Through visions of his past, present, and potential future, he faces the consequences of his bitter ways.

In the end, the old man Scrooge is given a chance to rewrite his destiny, to be more kind and compassionate, and to reconnect with those he has wronged.

This classic movie teaches us that it’s never too late to change—so if you’re feeling like a bit of a Scrooge this Christmas, remember that there’s still time to spread some cheer!

5. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

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Image Credit: Hughes Entertainment/IMDb

Step into New York City’s enchanting holiday season with “Miracle on 34th Street,” an iconic Christmas flick that feels like a soul-soothing hug. 

When a desperate event planner rushes to find a last-minute Santa, an elderly man named Kris Kringle saves the day. Kringle’s genuine kindness instantly captures the hearts of shoppers and employees, but his uncanny ability to make wishes come true raises eyebrows.

Despite doubts about his sanity, his faith in himself and the spirit of Christmas triumphs.

6. A Christmas Story (1983)

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Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/IMDb

Relive the nostalgic charm of Christmas with “A Christmas Story,” a delightful tale of Ralphie Parker’s quest for the ultimate gift: a Red Ryder BB gun. From awkward Santa encounters to the hilarious saga of a leg lamp, every scene offers laugh-out-loud moments.

With a blend of humor, warmth, and a touch of childhood mischief, this film is a snapshot of a classic American Christmas.

7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

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Image Credit: Videocraft International, Ltd/IMDb

The catchy tune isn’t the only thing that makes “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” a holiday classic. 

The movie follows Rudolph, an outcast reindeer with a glowing red nose, who overcomes bullying and self-doubt to become Santa’s lead reindeer. Through his journey, Rudolph embodies the value of courage and the importance of embracing one’s unique qualities.

8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

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Image Credit: Imagine Entertainment/IMDb

Prepare for a holiday adventure like no other with “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” 

Watch the mischievous Grinch, played by Jim Carrey, in this live-action take on the beloved Dr. Seuss tale. As the Grinch schemes to ruin Christmas for the Whoville residents, his plan crumbles when the pure-hearted Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) touches his icy heart.

9. Klaus (2019)

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Image Credit: The SPA Studios/IMDb

In the snowy town of Smeerensburg, where feuds and frowns have replaced Christmas cheer, an aspiring postman named Jesper is sent to rekindle the town’s spirit. He meets a toymaker named Klaus, who possesses a magical ability to spread joy and kindness.

“Klaus” is a must-watch for the holiday season, carrying the message that the true meaning of Christmas lies within each of us.

10. Arthur Christmas (2011)

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Image Credit: Aardman Animations/IMDb

Ever wondered how Santa manages to deliver all those presents in one night? This movie’s got the answer!

Come along for the ride in “Arthur Christmas,” where a boy and his family are on a mission to save Christmas after a glitch in the high-tech delivery system leaves one child’s gift missing. 

11. While You Were Sleeping (1995)

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Image Credit: Hollywood Pictures/IMDb

Toss aside those holiday clichés because Christmas movies aren’t just about elves and carols—they’re the perfect stage for love to bloom.

Enter Lucy (Sandra Bullock), a ticket operator in snowy Chicago. Her life takes an unexpected twist when she rescues her crush, Peter, resulting in a hospital mix-up that convinces his family she’s his fiancée. Suddenly, Lucy’s part of the family, but she encounters another twist when she crosses paths with Peter’s brother, Jack. 

Packed with heart and surprises that’ll make you giddy, “While You Were Sleeping” is your romantic escape this season.

12. Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)

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Image Credit: Double Wide Productions/IMDb

“Santa Claus: The Movie” unravels the tale of the famous man in red.

Picture this: a genius toymaker gains immortality and becomes the one and only Santa Claus, spreading joy to children like confetti. One day, his elf buddy, Patch, decides to strike out on his own but quickly realizes that it’s not all sugarplums and fairy lights out there—he bumps into a not-so-jolly toy tycoon, set on taking over and giving Santa the boot.

13. Elf (2003)

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Image Credit: New Line Cinema/IMDb

“Elf” introduces Buddy, an oversized elf who discovers he’s more of a human than a little helper. While tracking his long-lost dad in the chaos of the Big Apple, Buddy is hit with a plot twist: his dad’s been clueless about his existence all along. Now, Buddy faces some serious decisions that challenge his upbringing.

This movie is a rollercoaster of self-discovery, sprinkled with belly-laugh-worthy scenes that’ll make you feel the festive vibes.

14. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

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Image Credit: Hughes Entertainment/IMDb

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is a holiday hoot, filled with wacky scenes that turn a festive celebration into a chaotic comedy. 

Get ready to burst into laughter as the Griswold family dives into a whirlwind of mishaps we’ve all faced during the holidays: guests gone wild, electronics on the fritz, and the never-ending battle to make the decorations shine brighter than the star on the tree. 

It’s a wild sleigh ride of hilarity that’ll have you nodding and thinking, “Yep, been there, survived that.”

15. How The Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)

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Image Credit: The Cat in the Hat Productions/IMDb

The original “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” brings the Dr. Seuss storybook to life with colorful caricatures. 

Already seen the live-action remake? Sit back and experience this iconic holiday tale in a whole new light with the charming simplicity of the animated classic.

16. Scrooged (1988)

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Image Credit: Mirage Productions/IMDb

“Scrooged” features Bill Murray as Frank Cross, the cold and ruthless head of a TV network. After axing a staff member on Christmas Eve and turning away his family, Frank gets a much-needed reality check. Three ghosts drop by, leading him on a journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas.

If you’re into character transformation stories, this movie is the perfect holiday treat.

17. The Santa Clause (1994)

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Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/IMDb

Looking for a good old-fashioned holiday movie that the whole family can enjoy? “The Santa Clause” is your go-to!

When Santa accidentally tumbles off a roof, an ordinary guy steps into the red suit, taking on the role of the jolly old man himself. Juggling gift-giving duties and convincing the skeptics, this unsuspecting hero unwraps the spirit of Christmas against all odds.

18. Home Alone (1990)

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Image Credit: Hughes Entertainment/IMDb

Holiday staple “Home Alone” is loved by many for good reason.

After young Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) is left behind by his vacationing family, he takes matters into his own hands to fend for himself. You’ll find yourself rooting for Kevin as he outsmarts bumbling burglars with a series of clever traps.

Make it a yearly tradition for a hearty dose of laughter and holiday joy!

19. Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992)

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Image Credit: Hughes Entertainment/IMDb

Can’t get enough of Kevin’s ingenious antics? “Home Alone 2: Lost In New York” is the holiday sequel you’ve been waiting for. 

Christmas rolls around again, and Kevin’s family is off to Miami, but the boy winds up on the streets of New York instead. The burglars turn up once more, and Kevin hatches up a plan to thwart their toy store heist.

Buckle up for another round of merry mayhem!

20. Frosty The Snowman (1969)

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Image Credit: Rankin/Bass Productions/IMDb

Winter holidays just aren’t complete without snow-tipped landscapes, and “Frosty The Snowman” perfectly captures that charm.

Inspired by the Christmas song we all adore, the film shows a top hat bringing Frosty to life, setting off a whimsical adventure. Frosty and his young companion hop on a train to the North Pole, all while being chased by a magician who wants his hat back.

What’s your all-time favorite holiday film? Have any of these Christmas films become a part of your family traditions?

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Source: Reddit