‘Twas a few days before Christmas, and all through our site, we listed holiday films ’til our ranking was right.
We here at HorrorGeekLife have been swept away by the holiday spirit as of late. We’ve reminisced about the killer Christmas tree short film Treevenge, as well as discussed five overlooked Christmas horror films that you should check out immediately. Now, though, we’ve put forth a team effort to bring you the definitive list of our favorite Christmas films, regardless of genre.
From holiday classics to modern horror films, we asked each of our writers to rank their 10 favorite Christmas films so that we could average each list together and come up with a site consensus. The final product left us with a few surprising entries, and blasphemous omissions that will likely land coal in each of our stockings. Oops.
Grab the milk, cookies, and spiked eggnog. Here are our 10 favorite Christmas films!
10. The Santa Clause (1994)
Tim Allen was a saint among white people in the 1990’s, and at least some of that can be attributed to his work in Disney’s The Santa Clause. Starring as Scott Calvin, a boneheaded but well-meaning father with the same initials as Santa Claus who inadvertently causes the REAL Santa Claus to fall to his death from a rooftop, Allen charmed families around the world with his signature humor in this unique holiday tale. If you like your Santa’s expendable and easily replaced by anyone willing to put on the suit, this is a can’t-miss Christmas flick.
9. Jingle All the Way (1996)
Speaking of boneheaded but well-meaning fathers, Howard Langston (as played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) ranks near the top of that list. His son, Jamie, is constantly let down by Howard’s workplace distractions, and it all comes to a head as Christmas draws close and Howard realizes he’s forgotten to purchase Jamie’s gift- the wildly popular Turbo Man action figure (with the arms and legs that move and the boomerang shooter and his rock’n roller jet pack and the realistic voice activator that says 5 different phrases including, “It’s Turbo time!” Accessories sold separately. Batteries not included.) Jingle All the Way is essentially a vehicle for Schwarzenegger to do and say ridiculous things, but it also features funny performances from Sinbad and the late Phil Hartman. It isn’t widely considered to be a classic, but it’s nestled safely under our tree.
8. Elf (2003)
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” Jon Favreau’s Elf has become a holiday staple in recent years, especially for those who watch their Christmas films on the Freeform channel, and it’s easy to see why. Infectiously light in tone and featuring jokes that work for adults and kids alike, Elf rides a committed Will Ferrell performance to hilarious heights, without sacrificing the emotionally investing and sweet family story at the heart of the film.
7. Gremlins (1984)
Gremlins is a must-have film on any Christmas list. Directed by horror maestro Joe Dante, the movie follows the town-wide chaos and destruction caused by small, evil monsters. All, of course, set against a Christmas backdrop. 100% of the horror provided by the film would have been avoided if the characters had followed three simple rules, so perhaps that’s a life lesson worth holding onto. Movie rules are made to be broken, however, and the consequences make Gremlins one of the most entertaining Christmas films of all time.
6. Die Hard (1988)
It’s become common knowledge in recent years that Die Hard is, in fact, a Christmas movie. It also just so happens to be one of the greatest action films ever made. Featuring perfect lines of dialogue, one of cinema’s all-time greatest villains (Alan Rickman), and goddamn Reginald VelJohnson, this is an unconventional holiday flick that all you Grinches can enjoy. It’s the reason we keep giving Bruce Willis chances.
5. Home Alone (1990)
You remember way back when we were discussing boneheaded parents? Well these jokers forgot their kid in Chicago while traveling to Paris. But let’s face it… Kevin kind of deserved it. I, too, would not let him sleep in my room if he were growing on my ass. Regardless of the protagonist starting the movie as a bit of a shit, though, Home Alone remains one of the funniest Christmas films ever made- mostly due to Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as the incompetent wet bandits. Merry Christmas ya filthy animal.
4. Krampus (2015)
Krampus is the perfect holiday horror film for those who hate their families- which is pretty much all of us, amirite? Blending comedy, fantasy, and horror, this Christmas flick takes a wild approach to delivering December morals, but it’s a ride well worth taking. Krampus delivers Christmas spirit aplenty, albeit with a much darker tone than the other films on this list.
3. Scrooged (1988)
“Bill Murray is back among the ghosts, only this time, it’s three against one.” Not a single version of A Christmas Carol made our list save for this hilarious 80’s modernization. Filled to the brim with dark humor and much cruder than any other iteration of Charles Dickens’ story, this Christmas comedy has been a holiday staple for many of us since we were young.
2. A Christmas Story (1983)
“Ohhhh fuuudge!” One of the most quotable Christmas films ever made, this holiday comedy classic has been a must-watch every year since its release in 1983. As further proof of its excellence, it’s the only holiday flick in existence that TBS airs non-stop on the night of Christmas Eve and all throughout Christmas day. We triple-dog-dare ya to find any Christmas ranking that doesn’t have A Christmas Story near the top.
1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is the perfect holiday film. Accurately capturing the Christmas spirit and how it can be diminished and strengthened in equal measure by our families and those around us, the film is hilarious, sweet, and entirely relatable. Clark Griswold’s mental breakdown is literally all of us during the holidays, and it’s always a pleasure to watch.
That does it for our favorite ten Christmas films. What are yours? Let us know in the comments and on social media!
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