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.
It’s easy to be a Scrooge about Christmas movies, especially these days. Streaming platforms have shamelessly muscled into the Hallmark market, churning out quick, cheap holiday romcoms with C-list casts every year, hoping to land on something so irresistibly cheesy it briefly becomes a seasonal phenomenon. Put that cynicism aside, however, and most of us can admit that we all have at least one movie we return to every December – the one that allows us to embrace nostalgia unapologetically and lets us know that the most wonderful time of the year has arrived.
It doesn’t have to be schmaltzy and saccharine, either. Maybe it’s a golden era classic like It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street. Maybe it’s something more modern and goofy, like Elf or Home Alone. Maybe it’s raunchy and rude, like Bad Santa or Christmas Vacation, or just plain dark, like Black Christmas. That full range of yuletide cheer can be found on this list of the best holiday movies ever made. No matter what kind of Christmas movie you prefer, you’ll find one that warms your core like a cup of hot cocoa.
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