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My Five Favorite Christmas Movies

Lists like these are almost inevitable this time of year. So is one of the most common questions: What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Well, here is my list in descending order:

While You Were Sleeping: While probably not on anyone else's top five list, I am a bit of a sucker for romantic comedies and there is something kind of wonderful about a story of someone finding a family for Christmas. This does have some stupid romcom tropes which bring it down a bit, but you gotta give Sandra Bullock a lot of credit for being this charming.

A Christmas Story: Okay, this movie has shifted for me. It used to be my #1 but has drifted downwards as I grew older. While still a wonderfully funny and occasionally dark take on one child's obsession with a Christmas gift, the theming hasn't aged particularly well. Yet it is endlessly quotable, especially around the holidays, and comes up on my Christmas movie rotation every couple of years.

Die Hard: Ah, the eternal argument. Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? For me, there are a few basic criteria when it comes to defining a Christmas movie, and oddly enough this one ticks a lot of those boxes. Regardless of opinion, this is still one of the best movies ever made and is a delight to watch, delivering on wit and emotion when all it had to do was give us good action.

It's a Wonderful Life: Perhaps not the most Christmassy Christmas film, this one delivers on something more important, the spirit of the season. James Stewart and Donna Reed star in this story of hope and what it means to live in this world, and how your actions affect the lives of those around you; how dreams and reality are often in conflict, and sometimes it is hard to see that what you already have is wonderful.

A Christmas Carol (1984): There are two things that define Christmas for me: love and giving. This story basically defined the concept of the modern Christmas and has been endlessly adapted. Yet this version, which is dark and serious, captures the hope and spirit of the story unlike any other (in my humble opinion), from the deeply sincere performance by George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge, to David Warner as Bob Cratchit. Yet for me it is Edward Woodward as the Ghost of Christmas present that truly sells the journey. Billie wrote a wonderful review of this version which pretty much says it all.

Honorable mention

The Muppet Christmas Carol: While keeping the spirit of Christmas, it goes for the opposite take on the material (in comparison to A Christmas Carol 1984). Even with the great Michael Caine as Scrooge, it leans hard into silly. Still, there are the Muppets in top form and they capture the heart at the root of the story. There is a reason this is on many top Christmas movie lists.

New Entries

Anna and the Apocalypse: Absurd and a bit uneven, this zombie apocalypse musical shouldn't have worked but is kind of just delightful. It is gory, so viewer discretion advised.

The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special: While technically not a Christmas movie, this is absolutely a Christmas movie. This short animated feature takes place after Episode XI and features the sequel cast in a bonkers adventure. While not the greatest thing ever made, it was more than enjoyable and possibly makes up for the actual Star Wars Holiday Special.

Happiest Season: Written and directed by Clea DuVall and starring Mackenzie Davis and Kristen Stewart, this is a pretty by-the-numbers romantic comedy with a Christmas theme – except that it is also filled with an amazing cast who give solid performances, and features a LGBTQ+ couple front and center.

And there you go, my five favorite Christmas movies and some other recommendations for this year.  I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a much better New Year!

Samantha M. Quinn spends most of her time in front of a computer typing away at one thing or another; when she has free time, she enjoys pretty much anything science fiction or fantasy-related.


  1. I'm Russian, so, my favorite Christmas movie is "Irony of Fate" by Eldar Ryazanov (original, not the shitty sequel).

  2. I have a fondness for a 1995 Mia Farrow movie called Reckless, a sort of black comedy Christmas movie.

  3. I just saw Happiest Season and while I thought it was beautifully done, it got too dark for me. At one point, I thought Abby should have just dumped Harper permanently and started a new thing with Riley.


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