Tinged with magical passages, buckets of good will and an alternate plotline with the disturbing kick of a Black Mirror episode, this tribute to the efforts of a small-town do-gooder (James Stewart, in his most beloved role) cements the idea of Christmas as a time for giving.
What makes a Christmas movie? It seems easy to define, but the debate around whether or not certain films deserve to be categorised as such shows that it’s not quite so simple. Is it just any movie that takes place around the holidays? Or must it also tell us something about the season, and what it means to gather with friends and family and reflect on the year that was and what comes after? In all truthfulness, though, you know a Christmas movie when you see it – and the best of the bunch you end up watching every December.
It’s easy to be a Scrooge about all the fluffy feelings and warm sentiment that saturate our screens as soon as the weather outside gets a tad frightful. But no matter how grumpy you are, deep down, you know there’s at least one movie that you just can’t help but throw on to let yourself know that the most wonderful time of the year has arrived. It doesn’t have to be light and jolly, either. There are plenty of Christmas movies that qualify as crude, or sad, or straight-up cynical – and we’ve included the full range of yuletide feelings on this list of the best holiday movies ever made.
🎅 The best kids Christmas movies to watch this year
📺 The best Christmas specials of all-time
🎄 The best animated Christmas movies for the whole family
🧝 The best Christmas movies on Netflix in the UK
🎁 The best Christmas markets to visit in Europe and worldwide
🎅 The best places to go for Christmas
🎄 The best Christmas towns to visit around the world