The 25 best Christmas movies ranked

Playing Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” tune is great and all, but there’s nothing like a beloved Christmas movie to put you in the holiday mood. Here, 25 of the best ones, ranked from good to very merry.

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Christmas movies ranked
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Christmas movies ranked

25. Ernest Saves Christmas

It’s a Christmas emergency: Santa Claus needs a successor and the accident-prone Ernest (Jim Varney) is just the man to help him out. Or not. Watch the trailer

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24. The Best Man Holiday 

Age-old rivalries (and romances) resurface when college friends—including Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Nia Long and Terrence Howard—reunite for Christmas. Watch the trailer

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23. Four Christmases

Was Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn’s chemistry great in this film? Nah. But did we laugh out loud when their vacation plans go awry and they’re forced to spend Christmas bouncing between the homes (four to be exact) of relatives? Definitely. Watch the trailer

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22. The Family Stone  

Type A Sarah Jessica Parker does not blend in seamlessly when Dermot Mulroney—her fiancé—brings her home to Connecticut at Christmas to meet his quirky family. Watch the trailer

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21. Die Hard

Yes, it’s a Christmas movie. Yes, we love that 1980s superstar Carl Winslow (Reginald VelJohnson) basically saves the day. Watch the trailer

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20. About a Boy

Come on, the penultimate scene takes place over Christmas in this film about a rich, child-free selfish Londoner (Hugh Grant) who never makes time for others until a 12-year-old boy won’t leave him alone. Watch the trailer

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19. The Santa Clause

It’s Tim Allen at his finest. When he accidentally kills a man in a Santa suit, he’s transported to the North Pole to assume the role before the following Christmas arrives, much to the delight of his son. Watch the trailer

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18. The Holiday

Before there was Airbnb, there was this film about Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet swapping homes between LA and the British countryside—and meeting the men (Jude Law and Jack Black) of their dreams. Watch the trailer

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17. Scrooged

This 1980s riff on Charles’ Dickens A Christmas Carol stars Bill Murray as a TV exec who feels no qualms firing a staffer right before the holidays—until he’s visited by a series of ghosts. Watch the trailer

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16. Meet Me In St. Louis

Not only does it star Judy Garland, this musical about four sisters learning about life and love before the 1904 World’s Fair features one of the best-ever renditions of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” sung by Garland herself. Watch the trailer

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15. The Preacher's Wife

A neglected preacher’s wife (Whitney Houston) gets spiritual guidance from the most charming guardian angel of all time (Denzel Washington). Watch the trailer

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14. Bad Santa

Old St. Nick—at least the mall version—just isn’t himself in this film starring Billy Bob Thornton as a Santa Claus poser with big plans to rip off shopping outlets on Christmas Eve. Watch the trailer

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13. How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Jim Carrey breathes new life into the Dr. Seuss tale about a Christmas Eve grump who plans to steal (versus distribute) all the kids’ toys. Watch the trailer

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12. The Nightmare Before Christmas

It’s Tim Burton at his best. When pumpkin king Jack Skellington gets bored scaring people in Halloweentown, he moves on to Christmastown and a new target: Santa Claus. Watch the trailer

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11. Elf

As a toddler, Will Ferrell was mysteriously transported to the North Pole and raised by Santa’s elves. Now, he’s on a mission to find his real dad—played by James Caan—in New York. Things don’t go well. Watch the trailer

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10. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Kermit the Frog is Bob Cratchit in yet another beloved retelling of Charles’ Dickens famous tale. Watch the trailer

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9. Miracle on 34th Sreet

Kris Kringle steps in to replace a drunken Santa Claus in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and people love him—that is, until he starts going around town claiming to be the real deal. Watch the trailer

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8. White Christmas

You’ve got Bing Crosby (and Rosemary Clooney, George’s aunt) crooning about the holidaysin snow-covered Vermont. What’s not to love? Watch the trailer

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7. It's a Wonderful Life

Tough day at the office: When George Bailey (James Stewart) wishes aloud that he had never been born, an angel appears to show him exactly how life would be without him. (Cue the tears.) Watch the trailer

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6. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

If Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) doesn’t inspire you to give your all when putting up your holiday lights, no one will. Watch the trailer

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5. Home Alone

Vintage Macaulay Culkin. You can’t go wrong. Watch the trailer

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4. Love Actually

Permission to replay Hugh Grant’s prime minister dance routine 17 times the next time you watch. Watch the trailer

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3. While You Were Sleeping

So, Sandra Bullock invents a relationship with a guy (Peter she’s been crushing on who’s now in a coma.) It’s still a total classic. Watch the trailer

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2. A Charlie Brown Christmas

If this film—featuring the Peanuts gang—about the commercialization of Christmas doesn’t calm your holiday anxiety after a trip to the mall, nothing will. Watch the trailer

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1. A Christmas Story

Hey, there’s a reason TBS plays this film commercial-free for 24 hours straight every Christmas. Watch the trailer

Buy it here

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