A Better Guide for the 25 Days of Christmas

Every year there are many TV channels that try to bring you 25 days of Christmas movies. Many of them are repeated and get really old. I’ve made a list of 25 movies that can be watched in order to create the best Christmas ever. This way you won’t have to watch that certain “classic” a hundred times, and are able to enjoy it. Here we go!

1. “Edward Scissorhands” – The film that started Johnny Depp’s long and impressive career with Tim Burton also happens to be a new dark Christmas tradition. While the Christmas scenes are closer towards the end of the film, they are the most memorable and the most important. Alan Arkin is always my favorite part of this movie, he plays the perfect suburban dad.

2. “Die Hard” – Another film that isn’t necessarily always considered a Christmas movie, but always seems to be an Xmas tradition. The DVD for John McClane’s new adventure is out now, so you can watch this new classic and then catch up (don’t worry about the other two movies, they really don’t count). Also, Hans Gruber is one of the best villains ever.

3. “The Great Escape” – This is a personal pick for me, I love watching this movie every Christmas. There is one scene in which the boys sing The 12 Days of Christmas but that’s about it. I believe this is an Xmas classic for a lot of people so I shouldn’t feel so alone in this.

4. “Ren & Stimpy: Have Yourself a Stinky Little Christmas” – I watched this the other night and was surprised at how funny and heartwarming it is. The story is simple: Stimpy loses his fart and is depressed for years until Ren finally finds the little green cloud who got away, just in time for Christmas. Completely ridiculous, but really funny.

5. “Simpsons Roasting on a Open Fire” – This is the first Simpsons’ Christmas special, in which Santa’s Little Helper joins the family after Homer screws everything up. It’s an early Simpsons episode so it’s not funny, but it is still a great Christmas special.

6. “Miracle on 34th Street” – I’m talking about the original one here, not the remake with the guy who owns Jurassic Park (Richard Attenborough). This film ages very well, and Edmund Gwenn plays the best Santa Claus.

7. “Bad Santa” – Probably one of the funniest Christmas movies in recent years. Billy Bob Thornton plays the drunk Santa perfectly, and the line between acting and reality is very hard to comprehend. “Bad Santa” also features the last role for the late John Ritter as the squeamish department store manager. Unfortunately, Thornton has been playing this role in several movies since but this movie was the original and is just really funny. Also, this was Terry Zwigoff’s first film since his masterpiece “Ghost World.” It was miles away from being as good as that film, but it still was a terrific Christmas comedy.

8. “About a Boy” – Christmas plays a huge role for single guy Will in this 2003 film. Hugh Grant plays Will (his best performance ever), a man who is unemployed but lives off the royalties of a Christmas song his dad wrote in the ’60s. Most of the movie doesn’t take place during Christmas but the scenes that do are so funny and memorable that they put this film on this list.

9. “Home Alone” – Back when Macaulay Culkin owned the universe, he made this great Christmas family film. The movie lacks a little in laughs now that I’m older, but it is still very enjoyable and fun. I personally like the sequel better but the original shouldn’t be forgotten.

10. “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” – This one is just a lot funnier than its predecessor, and all of that blame goes toward Tim Curry. He is absolutely hilarious as the scheming hotel manager. Other than that the movie follows the same formula as the first, this time in New York City.

11. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” – Tim Burton’s second film on the list recently spent about a month in the theater playing in 3D. Nevertheless, I definitely recommend watching it (it’s hard to get on DVD, but will probably be playing somewhere on TV) sometime during December. Tim Burton’s imagination was in full bloom back in 1992 when he made this gem and I don’t think we’ve seen anything as original from him since (except for my fave Burton film: “Ed Wood”).

12. “White Christmas” – There’s always a place in everyone’s heart for this film just from it’s titular song. Everyone loves a white Christmas, no matter how young or old you are. This is the one where Bing Crosby tap dances with Danny Fucking Kaye, and shouldn’t be missed.

13. “A Muppet Christmas Carol” – The second best Christmas Carol interpretation. Michael Caine plays a great Scrooge, and the cast of Muppets are perfect. The best part: The singing vegetables.

14. “Scrooged” – My favorite Christmas Carol film. There are few better actors than Bill Murray out there and he absolutely hilarious in this. Even when he’s a friendly Scrooge at the end, he still finds a way to be incredibly funny.

15. “The U.K. Office Christmas Special” – The American iteration of Ricky Gervais’ brilliant show has fully bloomed into it’s own masterpiece but the original has the better Christmas Special. Not only does it wrap things up for Tim and Dawn, it features Gervais’ best performance through the whole series.

16. “It’s a Wonderful Life” – This really isn’t my favorite Christmas tradition (the first hour and a half drag painfully), but a lot of people like it and it is iconic with Christmas so it must be on here. Jimmy Stewart is terrific in the role he was born to play.

17. “The Year Without A Santa Claus” – Always the weirdest Christmas special. The Heat Miser and the Snow Miser are two of America’s favorite holiday characters each with their own theme songs and miniature singers. I wish I had that. This special also feature one of the cutest things in the history of cute things: Vixen the Reindeer with the socks on her ears.

18. “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” – One of the many stories of how Santa Claus came to be is told in this classic. This is how I learned about many of the different aspects of Christmas. It also has a lot of great tunes. Mickey Rooney was about 100 years old when he played Santa in this, further proving that Mickey Rooney really is Santa Claus.

19. “Elf” – The new family Christmas classic cannot be beaten. Will Ferrell gives what could possibly be his best comedic performance as Buddy the Elf, a human raised by elves who must face the real world. The movie is filled with some of the funniest Xmas scenes in recent film history and features the beautiful and talented Zooey Deschanel.

20. “Love Actually” – This came out the same week as “Elf”, but really hasn’t seen the kind of love that it deserves (pun not intended). With an unbelievable cast and a sharp script, this movie is impossible to not fall in love with. Bill Nighy is the standout performer and is what people remember most about this movie. Emma Thompson wowed me with her performance in this movie. She portrayed real pain, and the scene when she finds out the necklace isn’t for her is heartbreaking.

21. “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas” – I’m sorry Jim Carrey, I’m talking about the original animated classic and not your awkwardly creepy Ron Howard remake. While this special doesn’t exactly age well, it’s still a great time to watch every year. Try not to sing along with the theme, I dare you.

22. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” – My earliest childhood memories are of watching this holiday classic. One of the warmest and coziest holiday specials ever made, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is Christmas itself in every form. If you don’t like this movie, you may be a Communist.

23. “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” – “Rudolph” has kind of become a cult favorite over the years, but when you watch it, it feels like you’re watching it for the first time all over again. Every song is Christmas perfection, every character is as cute and cuddly as they’ve ever been all these years. I remember watching this over and over throughout my childhood Christmas’s, a tradition that’s lasted for years and will last until the day I die.

24. “A Christmas Story” – Even though this movie takes place in the 1950s, it stirs up the best Christmas feeling in all of us. Little Ralphie wants his Red Ryder BB gun, and we all pull for him every year. This’ll be a hard movie to avoid till the 24th, since it’s on probably every channel 24 hours a day. Nevertheless, it is still a classic and is exceptionally hilarious. There are so many iconic scenes throughout “A Christmas Story” from the bunny suit, to the Chinese turkey, to visiting Santa, to Ovaltine, to “Daddy’s gonna kill Ralphie”… the list goes on! No matter how much it gets played, we’ll keep watching year after year.

25. “Christmas Vacation” – My favorite Christmas movie, right after “A Christmas Story.” Chevy Chase reaches the pinnacle of his hilarity. This is definitely the best “Vacation” movie, and the only one that actually takes place at the Griswold home. The whole movie is hilarious from beginning to end and is the perfect end to ones’ Christmas season. A lot of these other films seem a little tedious to watch every year, but this one never gets old. There’s always something new to see each time you watch it. Plus it features one of the best lines in a movie ever (see #12)..

1. One Magic Christmas
2. The Polar Express
3. Frosty the Snowman
4. Rudolph’s Shiny New Year
5. The Year Without a Santa Claus (Live-action)

Well there you have it. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. I’ll be around posting new reviews and such so you should all stick around. Oscar season is upon us and I’ve begun trying to catch many of the different bait that Hollywood likes to throw at us. Happy movie watching and an early Merry Christmas!



Filed under Christmas

57 responses to “A Better Guide for the 25 Days of Christmas

  1. Ralph L.

    Nice List, however I would have added Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy in there somewhere. 🙂

    So Long and Thanks for All The Fish,

    Ralph L.

  2. onelinereview.blogspot.com

    This is the perfect Christmas movie list– you really nailed it! Putting DIE HARD on it was a nice touch. I’m a big fan of BAD SANTA. Very rarely does a NEW movie find its way into the once-a-year movie rotation, but I’ve seen BAD SANTA every year since it came out in ’03 and I don’t see that changing any time soon. MIRACLE on 34th STREET (1947) is definately the best Christmas movie of all time— gets me every time. “You think so. Those women think so. The point is will Mr. Macy think so!”


  3. Jana

    Great list!

    Might I add “The Ref.” It would be a great double feature with “The Christmas Story.”


  4. Sean

    I would have to say good overall but me being me I you missed some. Gremlins(1984) and The Ice Harvest (2004).

  5. Tom O'Keefe

    Uh… where’s “The Snowman”?

  6. farfocel

    What about “Jingle All the Way” and Arnie’s heroic struggle for Turboman? 🙂

  7. Anonymous

    _JAWS: The Revenge_.

    Don’t believe me? Watch the opening;
    I hear people singing Christmas
    carols, and I start to twitch….

  8. The Fronz

    Nice list, although remember that Tim Burton didn’t actually make Nightmare Before Christmas, he just came up with the basic story and characters. Henry Selick actually directed the film

  9. MrBurns

    John Ford’s “3 Godfathers” anyone?
    (BTW: Don’t you just hate it when someone posts “(film/book/cd-title) anyone?” in one of those forums, thus trying deperately to bond with others and at the same time wanting to be more clever for thinking about it?)

  10. nickflix1

    Like the List, but I think you could easily have removed something Like “Wonderful Life” and replaced that with either Gremlins, The Ref, or my personal favorite, A SOUTH PARK CHRISTMAS SPECIAL. This is my bonafide favorite XMAS special, and I’ve seen everything on this list. I’m talking about the 1st XMAS episode, not the later ones(although the newer ones ARE funny. XMAS Time in Hell and Red Sleigh Down). This episode is chockfull. Intro to Mr. Hankey, Kyle’s Mom is a Stupid Bitch, “Can we get rid of all the Mexicans?”, It’s hard to be a Jew on Christmas, Music and Lyrics by NY , minimalist composer Philip Glass(Happy Happy Happy! Everybody Happy!), Is it illegal for Jews to eat snowflakes?, and especially, this features the first time Kenny doesn’t die! Suck on dat!

  11. Anonymous

    Can’t have Christmas without “The Lion in Winter”. It’s the story of a typical family having a typically English Christmas. Yelling, screaming, imprisonment: threats of fratricide, matricide, and patricide — doesn’t that say “Christmas” to you? Anthony Hopkins needed to be in more pictures with Hepburn and O’Toole. Pass the mead and throw Johnny back in the wine cellar.

  12. Magma

    Awesome list, though many are what I thought were the traditional movies that got overplayed.

    I know it’s ridiculous, but I can’t get to Christmas without the awesomely bad “Jingle All the Way.”

  13. Steve Allan

    Lethal Weapon. The whole thing takes place at Christmas.

  14. Anonymous

    Black Christmas (either the original from the 70’s or the remake) or The Ref are my picks.

  15. Anonymous

    This is a great list! I would have liked to have seen “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” on it, though.

  16. Eh... Not so much

    I second Anonymous on Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol! It has the most beautiful songs. If you’re tired of all the old Christmas carols, this will refresh you.

    And I agree on The Ref and Lion in Winter. Watch these as a double feature, and suddenly Christmas with your senile Aunt June doesn’t seem like such a scary proposition.

    And I second you on avoiding Polar Express. My nephew loves this thing, but the eyes on the animated character just freak me out.

  17. Annie Foster

    Fantastic list!

    I have a soft spot in my heart for Mickey’s Christmas Carol (and Frosty the Snowman too!), but other than that your list seems perfectly complete!

  18. antonwalsh

    What about Some Like It Hot? Even if you’ve seen it a hundred times, I’m sure it would be easier to watch again than Home Alone 2.

    Scrooged is a great film. That was a nice touch including it.

  19. Anonymous

    Eyes Wide Shut is my favourite.
    The lightning with Christmas trees is beautiful.

  20. dinofilmo

    Aw, man, how could you leave off ERNEST SAVES CHRISTMAS? No, I’m not being sarcastic … it really is a surprisingly good movie, with a great Christmas “feel” and a lot of truly funny bits by Varney, and Douglas Seale is the best movie Santa ever (with apologies to the “two Eds” – Gwynn and Asner).

    Ernest: “No, there’s only one person authorized to operate that sack: his Big Red Oneness … The Claus.”

  21. Anonymous

    Good list. Actually, my favorite Christmas movie is We’re No Angels, the original with Humphrey Bogart and Peter Ustinov, not the awful remake. Bogie and friends play convicts trying to escape Devil’s Island, but they are caught up in the travails of a merchant family during the Christmas season. It has lots of sardonic humor, unlike the older Christmas classics. Check it out.

  22. cat_with_a_sea

    EMMET OTTER’S JUG-BAND CHRISTMAS makes me feel all mushy inside

  23. Anonymous

    “While You Were Sleeping”
    “A Lion in Winter”
    “We’re No Angels” (the Bogart version)

  24. XMAS

    Tim Burton deserves another place on this list. How about Batman Returns?
    An excellent “anti-Christmans” movie!

  25. revlillo

    Love your list! I would probably add THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER starring Jimmy Stewart and the guy who played the Wizard of Oz. This is the movie that was remade as You’ve Got Mail, but has heart and charm. It reaches its conclusion on Christmas Eve and features love and capitalism in Pre-Communist Budapest.

  26. Raven

    Depending upon your bent, this should either be in the “Watch” or the “Avoid” category, but either way deserves a spot on the list, just for outright weirdness:

    Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

    I’m not sure it gets any weirder.

  27. badkitty

    Surprised you didn’t include the great 1951 British movie Scrooge, with Alastair Sim as the best Scrooge of all time. Not to mention a great supporting cast with some of the most famous British actors of their day. I can’t get into the Christmas mood without watching it every year.

  28. Anonymous

    Black Christmas & Gremlins

  29. Konami989

    Great call on avoiding One Magic Christmas. That movie is downright dismal.

  30. Anonymous

    Do NOT avoid One Magic Christmas. That’s a classic!
    Dismal? Did you even watch to the end?

  31. Sean

    Holy Fuck Josh. This has to be a record.

  32. TheKeenGuy

    Agreed, ONE MAGIC CHRISTMAS is a beautiful and thoughtful film. It’s more honest and emotional than any other Christmas film I’ve seen.

    I also highly recommend A MIDNIGHT CLEAR.

  33. Jonjrguitar

    Don’t forget about Three Days of the Condor! It’s one of our favorite Christmas traditions! The entire film takes place around the holiday, and the final scene (Robert Redford crossing in front of a Salvation Army Band playing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen then turns to a freeze frame) is masterfully done. One of the best paranoia thrillers of the 70s.

  34. Full of Scorpions

    How about “Nester the Long-Eared Donkey”? Thought I was gonna throw myself out of a window when his Mom freezes to death during a snowstorm just to keep him warm!! Another good and mushy one!

  35. Anonymous

    Children of Men,I saw in theaters last Christmas and it works great as a kind of science fiction nativity story.

  36. Anonymous

    Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985) is a Christmas film. Really catches the holiday spirit.

  37. Anonymous

    A few more than have not appeared on the list nor in previous comments:
    * Gospel According to St. Matthew (Pasolini’s no-nonsense B&W version of Christ’s story)
    * Come to the Stable (a perennial fave of mine for years and year and years; a light-hearted tearjerker, if that makes sense)
    * The Gathering (the original)
    * I’ll Be Home for Xmas (WWII themes, made for TV, w/ Hal Holbrook, Eva Marie Saint)
    * Racing With the Moon (Sean Penn)
    * Xmas Carol versions with Reginald Owen (1939) and George C. Scott as Scrooge

  38. max_jaybo

    including not just one but both “home alone” movies instantly makes your list void.

    also, MST3k’s “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” episode, anyone? (:p @ mrburns)

  39. Anonymous

    Great list, but it always bothers me when people attribute The Nightmare Before Christmas solely to Tim Burton. Tim Burton didn’t direct it, nor did he write the screenplay.

    Granted, the long form title makes it confusing. It was based on some characters Burton drew and a poem he wrote. For that he gets a story credit, and (in the U.S.) his name before the title. Think of it as vaguely comparable to “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” – Stoker’s idea, not Stoker’s movie.

    So instead of “Tim Burton’s second movie on the list”, let’s make that Henry Selick’s first movie on the list and give the latter the gift of recognizing his work.

  40. Apathygrrl

    The Ref! Love the Ref! Add the Ref. Good call on Scrooged, Die Hard, Nightmare before xmas, and the Muppet’s Carol, but why did you have to put both Home alones? *shudders* You should also add Batman Returns because of Michelle (Mrow) & Chris Walken 🙂
    Plus I like Gremlins now but when I was a kid it gave me nightmares.
    Oh and add Jingle all the Way on ones to avoid. eek. That movie was just irritating.

  41. Scaramouche

    “Danny Fucking Kaye”?

    “It’s a Wonderful Life” on a list of alternative Christmas movies?

    Fred Astaire was the star of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”, not Mickey Rooney.

  42. Anonymous

    You forgot Reindeer Games. It STARTS with five dead Santas. Nothing can be better. Except maybe Gremlins.

  43. Anonymous

    You listed “The Great Escape.” I think you meant “Stalag 17,” which took place during Christmas.

  44. Anonymous

    “Blackadder’s Christmas Carol” is one of the best antidotes to overly sentimental Xmas treacle, especially for fans of the Rowan Atkinson series.

    The South Park song special never fails to amuse those with a perverse and twisted sense of humor. “Merry F*ing Christmas” never fails to have me in stitches.

    Thanks for including “Bad Santa,” which is in my personal Top 10 Funniest Movies of All Time (Xmas or Not).

    But . . . no wacky Ramadan comedies?

  45. fidel

    no, i’m pretty sure he meant the great escape.
    the confusion is your own.
    additionally, i’d like to know how being a communist is an insult? exterior to stalin, who you’ll find, only purported to be a communist, commies generally just get a bad rap.

  46. Anonymous

    If you check all the cultural references, vehicle types, the stove in the kitchen, etc, they all date “A Christmas Story” to the 40s, not the 50s.

    Don’t forget “The Bishop’s Wife” a charming and understated movie, with a huge cast for a small film and great dialogue written by Billy Wilder & Robert Sherwood: “Oh Henry, that was no prayer!”

  47. Laura G.

    Good list! I agree with someothers-“The Ref” is a Christmas MUST! “The Lion in Winter” is another one on my Christmas list.

    Might I add:

    “The Matador”-even though the first part doesn’t take place during Christmas-it’s the Christmas scene that comes to mind when I see it on my shelf.

    “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”-not about Christmas, but Christmas is the back drop-and I think, adds something to the story that would be missing if it were set at another time of year. (Besides, I love L.A. stories…)

    “The Family Stone”-got this one because I was renting 3 movies one night and the clerk said “Oh-you get a 4th for free!”-so I grabbed it-and loved it! Diane Keaton is so wonderful! I don’t even care for S.J.P.-but this movie made even cynical me cry at the end!

    “Meet me in St. Louis”-not really a Christmas movie, but the movie that features Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” to Margaret O’Brien. It’s the Christmas scenes in this that really seal the deal.

  48. j

    how about “Chronicles of Narnia” with its magical, winter atmosphere and the triumph of good over evil theme?

    and “The Passion” for following the results and impact of Christmas to its conclusion?

  49. Josh

    I’d just like to say that I haven’t seen a lot of these movies (I’ve heard of them, I’m just a lazy poo). I also do know that Henry Selick directed NBC but I, and many people who know that, generally agree that that film is Tim Burton’s. I know that there’s a lot of fans who will disagree with me on this (I would too, I’m just trying to defend myself), so I understand.

    Narnia’s not a bad choice, and I’d like to add 2005’s “Millions” by Danny Boyle to the mix.

    BTW Fidel… I was just trying to be funny 😛

  50. Anonymous

    Lethal Weapon

  51. Anonymous

    Good list, boy.

    I just skimmed the comments, and while I may not have read each one carefully, I’m preeeeetty sure I didn’t see SANTA’S SLAY anywhere.

    Prettttttty hilariously awful.
    Watch it!

  52. Anonymous

    “A Christmas Story” takes place 1939 (the year “Wizard of Oz” was released) *not* the 50s.

  53. Adamus

    A Junky’s Christmas

  54. Dean J. Tambling

    I am enthusiastically seconding “Millions.”
    What a sharp, heartfelt movie. I love it.

  55. Sean

    December 5th is a day to remember. Over fifty post on one thread in one day. I’m proud of you Josh.

  56. Sarah

    I loved that list, especially the inclusion of Die Hard. However, I was disappointed to find that Gremlins wasn’t on it.

  57. Anonymous

    I totally agree with The Muppet Christmas Carol being on this list. However, I truly believe that the special Muppet Family Christmas needs to be included.

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