Family members occupy each cushion of the couch, the fireplace is crackling in the background, and you find a movie to enjoy together. But when you're flipping through channels or browsing through the family movie collection for a holiday classic, what's your go-to?
Here are our top 10 holiday movies.
10. The Santa Clause (1994)1 of 11
What happens when an average Joe suddenly finds himself in a big red suit delivering gifts around the world? After Santa falls to his death from a roof, Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) finds out. With his kid at that age where he's beginning to question the magic of Christmas, this movie's a great reminder to keep children believing.
9. Frosty the Snowman (1969)2 of 11
The classic Gene Autry Christmas song gets the animated film treatment. After a magical silk hat turns a snowman to life, he and a young girl named Karen make for the North Pole before he melts. At 25 minutes, this wintertime tale is a perfect treat for kids with short attention spans.
8. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)3 of 11
Sure, it was remade 50 years later, but we still like the classic with black and white treatment. Law enforcement institutionalizes a department store Santa after declaring he's not acting, he's the real Santa Claus.
A young lawyer comes to his defense in court by claiming the man cannot be insane because he is who he claims to be. The movie is perfect for instilling the Christmas spirit and magic in people of all ages.
7. Home Alone (1990)4 of 11
A parent's worst nightmare: Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) is left all alone while two small-time burglars try to beak into his family's house. We have only one recommendation: Don't let your kids get too many home-style obstacle course ideas from this early 90s treat. So long as you keep that at bay, you'll have a blast watching this kid-beats-up-bad-guys comedy with the family.
6. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (1964)5 of 11
Another Gene Autrey song turned television special, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is a stop-motion animation film that tells the classic tale of the outcast reindeer guiding Santa's sleigh through stormy weather.
If you're family is in the mood to watch this classic, you're in luck. The special has aired every year on CBS since 1964, making it the longest running Christmas TV special in history.
5. Elf (2003)6 of 11
Fish (Elf) meet land (New York City). After spending his life annoying and frustrating the North Pole's tenants as an oversized, clumsy elf, Buddy (Will Ferrell) goes to the Big Apple to find his father.
What ensues is your typical Will Ferrell hijinks and hilarity. It's a great flick that successfully combines our waning Christmas spirit with some good laughs.
4. Christmas Vacation (1989)7 of 11
The Griswolds, one of cinema's favorite, ever-changing families, host their in-laws (and cousins) for Christmas. The audience is, of course, invited to this highly dysfunctional, and hilarious, home for the holidays. Clever jokes on scouting Christmas trees, home decorations, shopping, holiday bonuses and turkey dinner—it's all covered in this holiday classic.
3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)8 of 11
The great horror maestro, Boris Karloff, narrates Dr. Seuss' children's book about the hateful Grinch who, so irritated by the nearby village's holiday joy, plots to steal all of their Christmas gifts.
Ron Howard later remade the short into a feature-length film with Jim Carrey in the title role, but we recommend a family viewing of the animated version. If you're having trouble finding your dusty DVD, fear not, the animated short remains a staple on television.
2. A Christmas Story (1983)9 of 11
Easily one of the most quotable holiday movies ever made, "A Christmas Story" includes now-famous scenes of leg lamps and insane department store Santas. But cloaked in a story of a young boy wanting nothing more than a Red Rider BB gun is a narrative of family and kindness. And TBS continues its annual tradition of playing the film on repeat for 24 hours throughout Christmas day.
1. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)10 of 11
George Bailey (James Stewart) is a man at his wits' end, ready to jump off a bridge on Christmas Eve before an angel comes to his rescue. The angel reminds George of how important he is to everything he cares about and everyone he loves.
George is shown his selfless life has had a greater impact than he could have ever imagined. Once a near-universal tradition to watch this movie on Christmas Eve, "It's a Wonderful Life" is a must see for everyone, young and old.