30 of the best Christmas films to get you in the festive spirit

From Home Alone to It’s A Wonderful Life, we round up the best Christmas films to snuggle down to.

Christmas films

by Bryony Firth-Bernard |
Updated on

Just like your favourite Christmas songs and those not-so-funny Christmas cracker jokes and a fun Christmas quiz, one of the best ways to get into the festive spirit is to snuggle up and watch Christmas films. From heartwarming tales and romantic comedies to good old classics, the choice is endless.

But it’s not just the holiday spirit these Christmas films help us get into, as many of their stories hold important messages too.

Whether you’re after a Christmas film that makes you laugh or cry, something classic or modern, we’ve rounded up the best ones to get your Christmas movie marathon started.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

It's a Wonderful Life

Frank Capra’s iconic Christmas film was nominated for five academy awards. James Stewart plays George Bailey, a businessman who runs into financial difficulty and becomes suicidal until an angel shows him what life would have been like if he hadn’t been born. There's a reason this tear-jerker is a classic.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

Christmas vacation

If you’ve ever struggled with having in-laws over at Christmas, this film will make you feel a whole lot better. Starring Chevy Chase at the peak of his career, this one's a real Christmas cracker.

The Holiday (2002)


Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet play two women who swap houses for the holidays while finding love with Jack Black and Jude Law in the process. If you want a film that has a festive feel but isn’t too in-your-face Christmassy, then this is a great choice.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

The Grinch

Jim Carrey stars as the Grinch, who hates people and Christmas until six-year-old Cindy Lou makes it her mission to make him see the real meaning of the holiday season.

Home Alone (1990)

This was the second highest-grossing Christmas film to be made, just after The Grinch. We’ll never get bored of watching eight-year-old Kevin McCalister carry out his genius plan to protect his home from two burglars after he’s left there alone. The second film, Lost In New York, is equally as brilliant.

Love Actually (2003)

Love Actually

Arguably the cheesiest Christmas movie that hits our screens every year, but alas we love it still, especially when there’s such a cracking cast with Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightly, Alan Rickman and many more. It's not Christmas without the iconic scene of Emma Thompson crying to Joni Mitchell, which won't leave a dry eye in the house.

Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009)

Christmas carol

There have been so many remakes of a Christmas Carol, but this animated version from Disney really offers a unique twist on this well-known tale. Starring Jim Carrey as Scrooge, it’s a must-watch if you have the whole family over.

Jack Frost (1998)

Jack Frost

Make sure you have a box of tissues close by for this Christmas movie. This tells the tale of a boy who loses his dad on Christmas day only for him to then return in the form of a snowman so they can make up for lost time together.

The Polar Express (2004)

Polar express

This festive fantasy film is great for the grandkids and is all about a young boy who journeys on the train, The Polar Express, to the North Pole, where he meets Santa Claus and special friends along the way. It also stars Tom Hanks in multiple roles, is there anything that man can't do?

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Muppet's Christmas carol

Another great take on Charles Dickens's classic novel. The music in this film really pulls on the heartstrings and features all your favourite muppets, and it was the first muppets film to be made without its legendary creator, Jim Henson. Not to mention the brilliant Michael Caine stars as Scrooge.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Miracle on 34th street

This three-time Academy Award winning Christmas film is unarguably one of the best of all time. When Kris Kringle steps in to be Santa at a department store in New York, he claims to be the real deal. His sanity is soon questioned and he’s taken to court, but a kind-hearted lawyer steps in to defend him. It also features the very young and very adorable Mara Wilson in her second movie ever.

The Snowman (1982)

The Snowman

If you haven’t watched it you’ve probably read the book all about the young boy whose snowman comes to life and whisks him off on a magical adventure to meet Santa Claus. If you somehow haven't read or watched it, there's no way you haven't heard the iconic score.

Last Christmas (2019)

Last Christmas

One of the newer Christmas films on this list, this surprisingly heartwarming tale stars Emilia Clarke and Emma Thompson. It’s about a self-destructive young girl who works as an elf in a Christmas shop, until one day she meets a man who makes her start to believe in life again. With lots of charm and a surprising twist, this film is sure to revive your Christmas spirit.

Elf (2004)


Imagine being raised by elves to realise that you’re actually a human, well that’s what life is like for Buddy, who then travels to New York to find his real father. Hilarious, heartwarming, and a great all-round family film.

The Christmas Chronicles (2018)

Christmas Chronicles

Starring the brilliant Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn as Santa and Mrs Clause, this film follows two children who jump into Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve causing Santa to lose all the presents. Again, this is a newer release, but with just as much laughs as the golden oldies.

Deck the Halls (2006)

Deck the Halls

This comedy starring Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick is a very funny tale of two very competitive dads in the run-up to Christmas. Chaotic, hilarious, and star-studded; this one is sure to give you a laugh.

Home Alone 2 (1992)

Home Alone2

We may have already mentioned the first one, but arguably, the second Home Alone film is just as good as the original (if not better). Set in New York, Kevin manages to once again be split up from his family- is anyone watching this kid- before bumping into his enemies from the first movie.

Falling for Christmas (2022)

Falling for Christmas

If you're in the mood for something you might not have seen before, then Falling for Christmas is a festive love story that will really warm your heart. Starring Lindsey Lohan, this story follows what happens when a young woman loses her memory. Equal parts silly and festive, it's perfect for Hallmark lovers.

Arthur Christmas (2011)

Arthur Christmas

This animated film has a range of very famous voices including James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton, Ashley Jensen, plus many more. Set on Christmas Eve, this modern classic shows what really goes on behind the scenes at Santa's workshop.

The Santa Clause (1994)

Santa Clause

This is definitely up there with one of the classics. Although it might be aimed at children, grown-ups love it too. Starring Tim Allen, it tells the tale of a man who accidentally becomes Santa. If you like this, try the two equally-beloved sequels.

Bad Santa (2003)

Bad Santa

This is definitely not one to watch with younger members of the family but is great if you're looking for some dark humour to make you laugh this Christmas. It tells the story of a Santa who attempts to rob a shopping mall over the Christmas holidays.

Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Nightmare before Christmas

A Tim Burton classic with a slightly unconventional tale of Christmas, this follows Jack Skellington from Halloweentown who stumbles upon Christmastown and hatches a plan to kidnap Santa.

White Christmas (1954)

White Christmas

An old classic movie that's a must at Christmastime. It tells the story of a singing and dancing duo who become romantically involved with a singing sister duo. They team up to save a failing Vermont Inn at Christmastime. This is the film equivalent of a cup of hot chocolate, warming and sweet.

The Noel Diary (2022)

The Noel Diary

When a man returns to his hometown to settle his mother's estate, he discovers an old diary and meets a young woman on her own journey of discovery. It's a newer Christmas rom-com to add to your list to watch.

Single All the Way (2021)

Single all the way

Wanting to avoid his family's questions about being single at Christmas, Peter persuades his best friend Nick to pretend to be his boyfriend while he's home for Christmas, but could this be the start of something more serious?

Love Hard (2021)

Love Hard

An online romance gone wrong. It follows the story of a young woman who travels to her online love interests home town only to discover she has been catfished. Full of festive hijinx and surprising heart.

A Christmas Prince (2017)

Christmas Prince

When a young journalist is sent overseas to report on a royal event, she decides to go undercover to investigate the family. This is another cheesy crowd pleaser, and if you can't watch those kinds of movies at Christmas, when can you?

The Princess Switch (2018)

Princess Switch

Who knew Vanessa Hudgens would become the unofficial queen of cheesy Christmas movies? One week before Christmas, a Princess and an ordinary woman from Chicago realise they look alike and decide to do a switch. The swap leads to them both finding love in their new found worlds.

Nativity (2009)


The perfect family film for Christmas with plenty of famous faces popping up throughout. This film follows a primary school teacher slash failed actor and his role of directing the school's nativity play. They soon find out that a big Hollywood director is coming to see the play, which adds to the mounting pressure of the show.

Holidate (2020)


After growing bored of her mum constantly trying to set her up with a man for Christmas, Sloane strikes up a deal with a new friend which soon turns into romance. Starring two Hollywood heartthrobs, there's something in this movie for everyone.

Lorna White is a Senior Digital Writer at Yours.co.uk. She was previously a writer at Yours Magazine writing features and news stories before joining the digital team. Lorna loves the great British countryside and likes to spend her spare time out and about in her home of Nottinghamshire walking her dog, Pippin.

To enjoy more regular stories just like this, become a Yours subscriber and become part of our fun and friendly community of like-minded readers.


Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us