Top Ten Christmas Movies

December 6, 2011

I hate winter; all the snow, the wind, the chapped lips, the battle of the thermostat. I don’t want to wear socks, stop asking me to put on socks.

I do like Christmas though, which is a stupid thing to say. It’s like saying “I like puppies” or “I like food.” Obviously.

One of best parts of the season are the Christmas movies, but not all Christmas movies are created equal. Here are my Top Ten favorites. I apologize to all of you who love A Christmas Story.  I find it incredibly boring.

1) Home Alone

In 10 Words or Less

Boy constructs impossible boobie traps to trick robbers.


Kevin McCallister: Can I sleep in your room? I don’t want to sleep on the hide-a-bed with Fuller. If he has something to drink, he’ll wet the bed.
Buzz McCallister: I wouldn’t let you sleep in my room if you were growing on my ass.

2) Elf

In 10 Words or Less

Man raised by elves seeks real father. Eats syrup.


Buddy: You stink. You smell like beef and cheese! You don’t smell like Santa.

3) It’s A Wonderful Life

In 10 Words or Less

Suicide attempt. Funny angel. Cry at the end.


Mrs. Hatch: [calling from upstairs] Mary, who’s down there with you?
Mary: It’s George Bailey, mother!
Mrs. Hatch: Well, what does he want?
Mary: I don’t know!
Mary: [to George] What do you want?
George Bailey: What do I want? Why, I’m just here to get warm, that’s all!
Mary: [calling up] He’s making violent love to me, mother!

4) The Family Stone

In 10 Words or Less

 Conservative meets liberal. Awkward. Smart. Cry at the end.


Ben Stone: You were shoveling snow.
Meredith Morton: I… What?
Ben Stone: You were just a little girl in a flannel night gown. And you were shoveling snow from the walk in front of our house. And I was the snow, I was the snow. And everywhere it landed and everywhere it covered. You scoop me up with a big red shovel. You scoop me up.

5) Love Actually

In 10 Words or Less

Ten love stories. Messy. Sweet. Message: Love Is All Around.


Prime Minister: Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion… love actually is all around.

6) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

In 10 Words or Less

Dysfunctional family. Slapstick comedy. Chevy Chase humor.


Eddie: You surprised to see us, Clark?
Clark: Oh, Eddie… If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am now.

7) The Muppet Christmas Carol

In 10 Words or Less

Sweet without sappy. Surprisingly funny. Beautiful story. Dickens classic.


Kermit: The world’s got a shine today. The world’s got a glow. There’s no such thing as strangers when a stranger says hello.

8) The Family Man

In 10 Words or Less

Wall Street to small town. Sweet love story. Counting blessings.


Arnie: [quoting Jack] Don’t screw up the best thing in your life just because you’re a little unsure about who you are.

9) Little Women

In 10 Words or Less

Four sisters growing up. Warm. Familiar. Slow and elegant.


Jo March: Late at night my mind would come alive with voices and stories  and friends as dear to me as any in the real world. I gave myself up to it, longing for transformation.

10) The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

In 10 Words or Less

Silly. Colorful. Witty. A good Christmas message.


The Grinch: Blast this Christmas music. It’s joyful and triumphant.


What are your favorites? Rudolph? A White Christmas?

It’s okay if you like A Christmas Story. I knew you probably would.


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41 thoughts on “Top Ten Christmas Movies

  1. Cara Smith

    Completely agree with this list, except I’d trade in A Family Stone for A Christmas Story. I can’t help it. It’s a classic!

  2. Trina Stewart

    It’s A Wonderful Life – a little corny but there are some great Jimmy Stewart moments!!! Love that man!

    White Christmas – Singing & Dancing, Christmas, Military Honor, LOVE!

  3. Pat Walsh

    It’s a Wonderful Life is great. But I REALLY do like Christmas story, and I just saw the musical play version in Hershey, and it was good.
    But my favorite is still White Christmas. I like the music, the predictable story, and I’ve watched it every year since I was about 10. (Which is probably why I like it best – it’s a classic Christmas movie for me.)
    Enjoy the movies and the season Kate!!

  4. Jess

    Love Actually – favorite movie of all time…but even better watched at Christmas!

    Christmas Vacation is a Witmer family tradition. Nate and I quote it to each other year-round. Where ya gonna put a tree that size?

    I’ve never seen A Christmas Story (gasp!).

  5. Katie

    Love Actually is my favorite. Elf is a close second-I find it hilarious every time.
    Also, I find it annoying when people say “Christmas is my favorite holiday”. If your favorite holiday happens to be Columbus Day or Flag day, that would be something worth announcing, but I imagine most people I know would claim Christmas as their favorite holiday.

    1. motleymama Post author

      My favorite holiday is actually Easter, but I don’t go around announcing it because again–who doesn’t love Spring and Chocolate and matching floral dresses?

  6. Erin

    I agree with The Christmas Story. Kind of gross and weird.

    My favorites:

    White Christmas
    Home Alone
    All I Want for Christmas
    Little Women
    The Family Stone
    A Very Brady Christmas Special (don’t judge. it’s awesome)

      1. Erin

        Oh, and Lasinoh is amazing for chapped lips. Yes, the nipple cream. For both nipples and lips. Sometimes I even smear it on my kid’s cheeks.

  7. Dara

    I love Elf. And the newest version of the Christmas Carol, with Jim Carrey. Best version in my opinion, probably because it’s closest to the story, complete with the creepy parts.

    Also, I have to watch The Nativity Story every December, sometimes two or three times. It reminds me why I celebrate Christmas.

  8. Heidi

    Great List!
    1. White Christmas — Love story. Classic misunderstanding. Fun clothing. Bing Crosby’s voice’s melty.
    2. Holiday Inn — Watch it. It’s cry-worthy.
    3. Charlie Brown Christmas
    4. Home Alone 2 (I don’t usually enjoy sequels, but this one is a keeper.)
    5. Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer (Good lesson — it’s okay to be different.)
    6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
    7. Meet Me in Saint Louis (Not really a Christmas story, but it’s got a few Christmas scenes in it.)
    8. Miracle on 34th Street
    9. Mickey’s Christmas Carol
    10. The Holiday (Jude Law!)

    Also, not quite the same quality, but a childhood favorite: A Chipmunk Christmas

  9. Bec

    great list. I would have to say It’s a Wonderful Life is my favorite. And I’ve seen Home Alone about a million times and never knew that’s how Buzz repsonded to Kevin!

  10. A

    My favorite line from Love, Actually is: “Where the F— is my F—king Coat?” There are many opportunities to quote it.

  11. bridget

    he’s making violent love to me mother! such a good quote, good movie.

    i love the holiday, but does it count? i mean, it’s not entirely christmasy but i looove it.

      1. Junior

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  12. Shirley

    Thanks to you, I too put Family Stone in my Netflix queue (but now maybe I’ll get to watch it in VA instead) and I brought Love Actually home from the public library. The trouble is, I decided to watch it in Spanish. I sat there clueless. On my second run-through, I’m resorting to the Spanish subtitles and feeling only somewhat less dumb. I guess a person takes this jabberjabberjabbering of the lips entirely too much for granted. I guess the Spanish classes I’ve paid for failed significantly. I guess I’ll have to have a third go at it, in my own tongue.

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  14. Madeline

    Fabulous list. I would add While You Were Sleeping & Sleepless in Seattle. In the same spirit of Love Actually, they take place at the holidays but aren’t strictly Christmas movies.

    I have never gotten through its a wonderful life! But I recorded it this weekend & am bound and determined to try again.

  15. Kimberly

    I wrote my top ten Christmas movies list last year too, and this year I’m thinking I would swap White Christmas for Home Alone. . . just because I grew up watching it and not White Christmas so its a little higher on the list. Also I had Miracle on 34th street on there and I go several Christmases without watching it so maybe that one should go too. . . I just love all the kid classic Christmas specials, so I have a lot of those on my list. I taught my daughter to love Frosty the Snowman and so far we’ve watched it every day since Thanksgiving. Its going to be a loooong December :)

  16. Mandy

    I’ve still never seen A Christmas Story.

    I love It’s A Wonderful Life any time of the year. I actually never thought of it as a Christmas movie for some reason.

    I think I love the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas so much that I have a grudge against the newer one simply because it exists.

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