Opinion: 25 films to watch this holiday season 

Graphic by Kelly Ann Asker

As the end of the year rapidly approaches, so does the season for holiday films. From heartwarming Hallmark tales and raunchy rom-coms, to children’s Christmas classics and adult holiday favorites, the possibilities are endless when it comes to what to watch.

This list will span over 50 years of filmmaking and feature a variety of ratings and genres, but one thing they all have in common is that they’re a staple film this Christmas season!

Without further ado, let’s begin.

Dec. 1- Funny Farm (1988) When former sports writer Andy (Chevy Chase) and his wife Elizabeth (Madolyn Smith) move to their dream home in rural Vermont so Andy can write his novel, everything is seemingly perfect. Until they realize the locals aren’t as pleasant as expected — especially their mailman. With his marriage on the rocks, along with his manuscript, Andy and Elizabeth take drastic — and hilarious — measures to save their marriage. See where to watch”Funny Farm” here. Rated PG.

Dec. 2- Just Friends (2004) High schooler Chris (Ryan Reynolds) is in love with his best friend, Jamie (Amy Smart). When he finally gets the courage to tell her, she tells him she just wants to be friends. Years later, Chris has lost weight and turned into a very successful and attractive business man. When he runs into Jamie again in his hometown, it’s clear he still has feelings for her and will try anything to win her over. See where to watch “Just Friends” here. Rated PG-13.

Dec. 3- Spirited (2022) Although “Spirited” isn’t a Christmas favorite of mine by any means — you can read why by reading my review here — it has quickly become a staple for those with young teenagers. This musical follows the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future select someone on Earth who needs a “reality check”. After a year of research, the Ghosts go down to the candidate on Christmas Eve to give them a “haunting”, hoping it’ll give them a change of heart. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell and Octavia Spencer, “Spirited” is full of cheesy musical numbers and pop culture references, so if that suits your fancy, give “Spirited” a try. See where to watch “Spirited” here. Rated PG-13.

Dec. 4- A Bad Mom’s Christmas (2017) Any adult who’s ever had a stressful holiday with your parents visiting will relate to “A Bad Mom’s Christmas”. Stacked with a stellar cast, including Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristin Bell, Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon and many more, this story follows three friends (Kunis, Hahn and Bell) as each of their moms decide to come visit for the holidays. Each mom and daughter have their own rocky situation, and the story follows each relationship’s development, with lots of laughs in the process. “A Bad Mom’s Christmas” is a perfect adult comedy to watch this season if you’re a little stressed about a visit from your parents. See where to watch “A Bad Mom’s Christmas” here. Rated R.

Dec. 5- Love, Actually (2003) This film follows eight different couples, all of whose stories come together with the help of one thing in common: love. Starring Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley and many more, “Love, Actually” has made its way into many hearts. See where to watch “Love, Actually” here. Rated R.

Dec. 6- Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970) This classic animated tale, narrated by Fred Astaire, follows a postman as he explains some of the most asked questions about Santa Claus. A great watch for younger viewers, “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” is a short, yet fun classic story. See where to watch “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” here. Not rated.

Dec. 7- A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) Charlie Brown searches for a deeper meaning to Christmas with the help of Lucy, Linus, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts crew after getting sad about the commercialism around him. See where to watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” here. Not rated.

Dec. 8- Die Hard (1988) Whether or not you’re team “Christmas movie” or team “Not Christmas movie”, it is undeniable that “Die Hard” has become a staple of the Christmas season. A New York police officer (Bruce Willis) visiting his estranged wife gets the surprise of a lifetime when the Christmas party they attend is hijacked by terrorists. Realizing there’s no one else to save them, Willis’ character must save everyone before it’s too late. Starring Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman, “Die Hard” is a film that has to make your December watchlist, even if you don’t count it as a Christmas movie. See where to watch “Die Hard: here. Rated R.

Dec. 9- Love Hard (2021) “Love Hard”’s title is a combination of “Love, Actually” and “Die Hard”. When Natalie (Nina Dobrev) meets her perfect match on a dating app, she decides to fly across the country to surprise him for the holidays. However, 3,000 miles later and an awkward meeting later, she realizes she’d been catfished. The unlikely rom-com is a fun new edition to the Christmas movie scene. See where to watch “Love Hard” here. Rated TV-MA. 

Dec. 10- Godmothered (1996) An inexperienced godmother, Ellenor (Jillian Bell) ventures out to visit a little girl who submitted a request for help that was ignored. Ellenor does all this just to prove that people in the world still need godmothers. See where to watch “Godmothered” here. Rated PG.

Dec. 11- A Year Without Santa Claus (1974) When Santa comes down with a nasty cold and starts to feel unappreciated, he decides not to do his annual present delivery. His two elves, Jingle and Jangle, search the earth for anyone who still believes, hoping they can convince Santa to make his rounds anyways. See where to watch “A Year Without Santa Claus” here. Not rated.

Dec. 12- Noelle (2019) Kris Kringle’s daughter, Noelle (Anna Kendrick) wants nothing more than to carry on the family legacy one day and to do something important like her brother, Nick (Bill Hader), who will become Santa Claus one day. When Nick decides he can’t take the pressure anymore and disappears, Noelle has to find her brother before Christmas. See where to watch “Noelle” here. Rated PG.

Dec. 13- The Christmas Chronicles (2018) Brother and sister Teddy (Judah Lewis) and Kate (Darby Camp) scheme a plan to trap Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. But their plan doesn’t go as they expected and they end up having to help an irritated Santa Claus and his elves to say Christmas. See where to watch “The Christmas Chronicles” here. Rated PG.

Dec. 14- Elf (2003) Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell), a human who was left at the North Pole as a baby, leaves his home to go find his biological Dad in New York City. While attempting to fit into the modern world and bonding with his new family, Buddy also reminds them of the importance of the Christmas spirit. See where to watch “Elf” here. Rated PG.

Dec. 15- Happiest Season (2020) Abby (Kristin Stewart) plans to propose to her girlfriend Harper (Makenzie Davis) while at her family’s holiday party. But things go wrong when Abby learns that Harper still hasn’t come out to her conservative parents. With familiar faces like Aubrey Plaza and Dan Levy, “Happiest Season” is a fun new film about family, acceptance and trying to have a happy holiday. See where to watch “Happiest Season” here. Rated PG-13.

Dec. 16- Last Christmas (2019) Kate (Emilia Clarke) is always down on her luck, working as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop. But things start to look up when she meets Tom (Henry Golding), who turns out to be the perfect guy. As the holidays approach, her and Tom’s romance grows. This film is full of love and has a plot twist that will have you near tears. See where to watch “Last Christmas” here. Rated PG-13.

Dec. 17- How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) The classic Dr. Seuss story comes to life with Jim Carrey as The Grinch and Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who. The Grinch hates Christmas, and the people of Whoville too, but little Cindy Lou is determined to show the Grinch from Christmas cheer. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is hilarious and full of quotable moments. See where to watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” here. Rated PG.

Dec. 18- The Holiday (2006) Both desperate for a change of pace, Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Iris (Kate Winslet) swap houses for the holidays. With Amanda now in Surrey and Iris in Los Angeles, they find love in unlikely places. See where to watch “The Holiday” here. Rated PG-13.

Dec. 19- Home Alone (1990) Poor 8-year-old Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) gets the shock of his life when he wakes up to find his family left for Christmas Vacation to Paris without him. While awaiting his family’s return, his house becomes the target of two thieves (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern) who are determined to break in. Kevin must defend himself — and his home — from the duo. See where to watch “Home Alone” here. Rated PG.

Dec. 20- The Santa Clause (1994) Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is a divorced dad who ends up with custody of his son on Christmas Eve. Things go horribly wrong when he accidentally kills Santa and decides to put on his famous red coat. Scott and his son Charlie (Eric Lloyd) are then magically transported to the North Pole where Scott finds out he’s the new Santa Claus. Although he’s in denial, his body starts to change after months pass, proving he might really be Santa after all. This means he’s got a lot of catching up to do before the holiday rolls around.  See where to watch “The Santa Clause” here. Rated PG.

Dec. 21- The Polar Express (2004) When a train pulls up to a boy’s house in the middle of the night and the train conductor announces it’s going to the North Pole, the boy decides he has to hop on board. Meeting unlikely friends and running into crazy scenarios, the boy and all the other passengers have the night of their lives on board the Polar Express. See where to watch “The Polar Express” here. Rated G.

Dec. 22- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) This is my favorite Christmas film of all time. Capturing the family love — and stress — that comes with the holidays, and the comedy of all the things that can go wrong, “Christmas Vacation” is a hilarious yet heartwarming film. Clark Griswold’s (Chevy Chase) only goal is to have a perfect family Christmas, but it seems like the more he tries, the more chaotic and awry things become. “Christmas Vacation” is extremely quotable, full of laughs and will make you truly appreciate those who try their hardest to make the holiday great. See where to watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” here. Rated PG-13.

Dec. 23- White Christmas (1954) Army buddies and singers Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) meet sister performers Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen) and end up in Vermont where they put together an act to bring visitors and money to a ski resort belonging to Wallace’s and Davis’ old Army General. This musical masterpiece is perfect to watch when you’re dreaming of a white Christmas. See where to watch “White Christmas” here. Not rated.

Dec. 24- A Christmas Carol (2009) Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey) hates Christmas, and happiness, and pretty much everything else. He constantly berates his family and those around him for their cheery views, resulting in them disliking him. On Christmas Eve night, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who show him glimpses of his past, present and future. See where to watch “A Christmas Carol” here. Rated PG.

Dec. 25- A Christmas Story (1983) All Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder Air Rifle. Between his bully, his overbearing yet loving mom and his stern dad, Ralphie must make it through the Christmas season. See where to watch “A Christmas Story” here. Rated PG.

As snowflakes gently fall to the ground and chills fill the air, the magic of the holiday season awakens. From heartwarming classics to snowy adventures, this collection guarantees to add a touch of festivity and enchantment to your winter nights.

Gather ‘round the television with some hot cocoa and immerse yourself in the Christmas season. Merry movie-watching, and may your winter be filled with holiday cheer and magical moments.

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