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Christmas films on TV this Christmas

Get your festive fix with our pick of the best Christmas films on the telly over Christmas 2016

By Ellie Walker-Arnott and Tom Huddleston

From classic heart-warmers like 'It's a Wonderful Life' to soppy yuletide rom-coms like 'The Holiday' – they're all on over Christmas 2016, so stock up on joy and goodwill with our list of the best festive films on TV. 

RECOMMENDED: The best Christmas movies of all time 

Festive films on TV this Christmas

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)


The original (and best) version of this cockle-warming courtroom drama, following the trial in New York of a man who may very well be the real Santa Claus.
Fri Dec 23, 2.10pm, Channel 4. 

The Grinch (2000)

Jim Carrey plays the title character in this colourful take on Dr Seuss’s book about a big green meanie who hates Christmas. It’s all a bit loud and lurid, but kids will lap it up.
Fri Dec 23, 8pm, Sky Christmas. 

Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

Film Family and kids
Richard Attenborough brings bags of twinkly charm to this remake of the classic story – you truly believe he might be the actual Father Christmas.
Christmas Eve, 11am, Film4. 

The Holiday (2006)

Film Comedy
The ultimate seasonal guilty pleasure, this spry romcom sees LA girl Cameron Diaz and Brit Kate Winslet trading houses for the Christmas season, and doing a spot of learning and growing in the process. It should be vile, but the charming performances make it weirdly wonderful.
Christmas Eve, 2.35pm and 10pm, Sky Christmas. 
Tue Dec 27, 9.45pm, Sky Christmas. 
The Muppets Christmas Carol
Photograph: Walt Disney Pictures

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Film Family and kids
Bizarrely, this riotously funny and ridiculous take on Charles Dickens’s novel adds frogs, pigs, rats, slapstick, pratfalls, songs and immense silliness, but still manages to feel true to the spirit of the story. And Michael Caine is a magnificent Scrooge.
Christmas Eve, 5.50pm, Channel 4. 

Scrooged (1988)

If you absolutely have to get a Hollywood star to play Scrooge, Bill Murray’s the perfect choice: he can do irascible-with-heart better than most. This spiky media satire may be a little crass for Dickens fans, but it has some big laughs.
Christmas Eve, 2.45pm Channel 4. 
The Snowman
The Snowman

The Snowman (1982)

It’s not Christmas without Aled Jones warbling ‘Walking in the Air’ while an innocent child is abducted by a large white guy with a carrot on his face. This adaptation of Raymond Briggs’s story has become a festive staple, and it’s easy to see why.
Christmas Eve, 4.45pm, Channel 4. 

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Film Animation
Tim Burton’s cult animated musical favourite is a riot of Halloween ghoulishness and festive cheer, as the fiendish Jack Skellington comes to learn the true meaning of Christmas.
Christmas Eve, 6.35pm, Sky Christmas. 

The Polar Express (2004)

Film Action and adventure
‘Back to the Future’ director Robert Zemeckis broke new ground in special effects with this schmaltzy seasonal story about a magical journey to the North Pole courtesy of the titular steam train.
Christmas Eve, 6.55pm, ITV2. 
Christmas Day, 1.05pm, ITV2. 
Photograph: Renown Pictures

Scrooge (1951)

Film Drama
For those of a certain age and disposition, there’s only one real cinematic Scrooge: Alistair Sim, star of ‘St Trinian’s’ and ‘The Ladykillers’, the most effusive Ebenezer of them all. This Ealing classic remains the best adaptation of Dickens’s story (though the Muppets do run it close).
Christmas Eve, 5.10pm, Channel 5. 
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