The best Christmas movies to watch

Whether you’re a comedy fan or a horror fan, there’s a Christmas movie for everyone

Leila Hewitt, Arts & Culture Writer

Bonding over a Christmas movie with a big bowl of buttery popcorn has always been one of my favorite holiday activities. This year, I’m recommending a small selection of classic Christmas movies as well as a couple newer favorites. From heartwarming to heart-chilling, consider watching (or rewatching) these films to celebrate the holiday season this year.

“The Polar Express”

“The Polar Express” whirls you through a whimsical adventure to the North Pole packed with excitement, magic and the Christmas spirit. A spectacular watch for children and family alike, this movie also features an iconic soundtrack and a heartwarming lesson that teaches kids to never give up faith. This movie has received mixed reviews for animation that tends to fall into the “uncanny valley,” a style of imagery that causes discomfort because of its degree of resemblance to a human without actually feeling real. Many people consider the movie to be creepy for this reason as well as a few spookier scenes and images it depicts, such as a ghost riding the train. However, if you’re up for an adventure, “The Polar Express” is for you!


One of the best family Christmas movies by far is “Elf” since it’s witty, lovable and relatable. The plot features a human, Buddy, who is raised by Santa Claus and his elves in the North pole. Due to his unconventional lifestyle, Buddy struggles to fit into modern society. While learning about his place in the world, Buddy shows us timeless themes of learning how to find love and acceptance in a world where you’re often criticized for being different from the social norm. The humor is funny and engaging without being vulgar; this is another way “Elf” is perfect for families with younger children.

“Tokyo Godfathers”

Although not considered a classic, “Tokyo Godfathers,” directed by Satoshi Kon, also known as the director of “Perfect Blue,” is a heartwarming and comedic film with gritty aspects and transgender representation. A trio of homeless people survive on the streets together as a makeshift family when, on Christmas Eve, they discover an abandoned infant while searching in the trash for food. Together they attempt to save the baby’s life and utilize every clue they can to return the child to its family. “Tokyo Godfathers” is hilarious, suspenseful and touches on various heavy topics without dragging down the entire film. Although it is not Christmas for the entire duration of the movie, the recurring motifs of family and love bring about the holiday spirit in an entirely unique way. This movie is rated PG-13, however, I advise reviewing the heavier topics since it discusses such as suicide, transgender homelessness, and assault.

“Home Alone”

Slapstick comedy, laughable violence and festive wit come together to create “Home Alone,” a Christmas classic for adults and children alike. It creates the perfect child’s fantasy — and an adult nightmare — when eight-year-old Kevin McAllister is left behind when his family departs for a holiday vacation. Free to roam the house and do whatever he wants, Kevin gets into junk food, mischief and thrills when he has to defend himself and his home against burglars. “Home Alone” is one of the most renowned Christmas movies of all time and is worth watching or rewatching this holiday season.

“A Christmas Horror Story”

For those of you who enjoy more than a dash of spice in your Christmas movie selection, you may want to consider watching “A Christmas Horror Story.” It showcases violence, humor and thrills as well as a jacked Krampus that you won’t want to miss. An unnerved radio host in small-town Bailey Downs receives notice of four chilling disturbances in the area and takes you on each of those blood-curdling tales: a bad case of zombie elves in Santa’s workshop, a group of teens trapped in a haunted school basement, a family who accidentally brings home more than just a Christmas tree and an epic battle between Santa and Krampus. If you decide to add this movie to your list, be prepared for some ho-ho-horror.

The best Christmas movies will always make you feel something – be it love, gratitude, a bellyful of laughs or absolute horror making these movies perfect for the holiday season.