A definitive ranking of the best Christmas movies of ALL TIME

9 min read

Don’t @ me

Christmas is a wonderful time of year filled with fairy lights and presents (still waiting on that puppy dog @mum) and so much food you’re preeetty sure you could be in heaven. 

But the lead up to December 25 is less about celebrations and more about two things: panic present shopping and watching as many Christmas movies as humanly possibly. 

Because we’re procrastinating getting our own pressie shopping done, we’ve decided to rank 17 of the BEST Christmas movies of ALL TIME.


Before we get into it let us first preface the list by explaining all the things a Christmas film should be (in our totally professional non-biased opinion):

- Festive. The more Christmas trees, decorations, carols and people dressed in obnoxious costumes, the better 

- A little bit boring (not the “I need to turn this off right now” kind but the “there’s so many other things I should be doing with my time” kind)

- Cheesy. Full of cheese. So much cheese you want to be sick but you secretly love it

- Soppy. If you don’t have all the feels then its not doing its job 

- Full of cliches, full of horrible humour and true scripting gold

Got it? 

Read over them again to be sure. 

Take notes if you like. 

Ready? Aaannd here we go. 

17. Die Hard

No your eyes do not deceive you, Die Hard is indeed at the very bottom of this humble list. 

Why you ask? Simple: it is NOT a Christmas film. 

Yes it’s set on Christmas Eve but that’s about all the festivity that exists in its total 2 hours and 12 minutes. 

The film follows a New York policeman who finds himself involved in a terror heist on December 24.

It’s a GREAT action movie but this isn’t a list about action movies so, sorry Die Hard fans, this one is at the bottom. 

Don’t fight us. 

16. Bad Santa

So the plot of this film is a lot more Christmassy than Die Hard

On face-value it actually seems like a good contender for a top position on our list. 

Bad Santa is a dark comedy about a pair of mates who reunite once a year to run the same holiday con. Posing as a mall Santa and his elf, they rip off shopping outlets on Christmas Eve. Their saving grace comes in the form of a small boy who loves the holidays. 

Sounds cute, right? 

Until you watch it. 

Bad Santa is one of those films that toes the line of humour and indecency and, in our opinion, makes for some great drunk viewing but would be wasted time during Christmas. 

Sorry not sorry. 

15. A Christmas Prince 

Christmas comes early for a young journalist who gets her big break when she's sent abroad to get the scoop on a handsome prince who's set to be king…

…and falls in love with him (*GASP* we didn’t see that one coming). 

This flick falls into the very specific category of ‘films to watch when you’re feeling lonely this festive season’.

And also ‘films which are so cringe they’re good’. 

Is it festive? Yes. 

Will you wonder why you’re watching it? Double yes. 

You'll kinda feel like this:

14. The Princess Switch 

This Netflix original is The Parent Trap meets The Princess and the Pauper movie mashup you never knew you needed in your life until now. 

It’s Vanessa Hudgens x2 with questionable acting, an appalling English accent and a two-day love story that makes no sense BUT WE ARE OBSESSED.  

A must watch (but only with your best gal pals while drinking lots and lots of wine to get you through). 

13. The Holiday Calendar

Another Netflix original and one which has copped a lot of criticism but we’re not sure why. 

It ticks all the Christmas movie boxes: its festive (the main character is a Santa photographer), cheesy, soppy (yes there’s a love story) and FULL of deep and meaningful cliches (cue carriage ride through the snow).  

The main character Abby (AKA Kat Graham AKA Bonnie in The Vampire Diaries) gets a magical Advent calendar from her grandfather and suddenly all her wishes start coming true. 

Where can we get us one of those? 

12. The Polar Express

This is the movie everyone loves to hate. 

But it’s a CLASSIC so we can’t hate on it too much. 

About a boy who takes a train ride to the North Pole and finds himself along the way, this is a film you appreciate more with age. 

Like a good wine or two day old pizza. 

11. Scrooged

You’ve heard of The Ghosts of Christmas Past

It's another name for the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, a story about a cynic who gets haunted by three spirits over Christmas to teach him a lesson. 

Well think of Scrooged as the more modern slapstick version with Bill Murray in the starring role.

Full of weird looking creatures, bad 80s prosthetics and some quirky characters, Scrooged is a fun Christmas flick to get you through the holidays. 

10. The Grinch 

It’s Doctor Seuss, it’s Jim Carey, it’s a script that rhymes and weird costumes and insanely relatable humour. 

The Grinch is weird and wonderful and will warm even the coldest hearts over Christmas. 

9. The Nightmare Before Christmas 

This animated film is basically about the king of Halloween, Jack Skellington, discovering Christmas and plotting to kidnap Santa Claus so he can run the show. 

Jealous, much? 

With creepy looking monsters and a real dark story, The Nightmare Before Christmas might get mistaken for a Halloween film. 

But don’t be fooled, this old fan favourite is indeed a Christmas movie. And, like all good Christmas movies, it’s got a love story. 

It’s also a musical, so it’s a win-win really. 

8. Miracle On 34th Street

Mara Wilson (AKA Matilda) stars as six-year-old Susan Walker who is skeptical about Santa Claus. 

This movie is so 90s and so heart-warming and might even have you believing that Santa really does exist (sorry to any people who haven’t realised it’s actually their parents by now). 

7. Christmas with the Kranks

One of the most underrated Christmas movies of all time. 


And with the BEST leading couple: Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. 

Tim and Jamie play a husband and wife who decide to go away for the holidays but must face the wrath of their Christmas obsessed neighbours. 

Don’t listen to the haters, this one is comedy gold. 

6. The Santa Claus

It seems Tim Allen has a thing for Christmas movies, not that we’re complaining. 

The basic gist of the film (for the uncultured among you) is that a dude called Scott Calvin (AKA Tim Allen) puts on Santa Claus’ suit after the real Santa falls off his roof delivering the goods. 

Tim’s character is transported to the North Pole where he is slowly transformed into Santa (helloooo luscious white beard) and his Christmas spirit is restored. 

Tim Allen brings an adult humour to the whole film which means you’re 20-something year-old self will love it just as much as your 10-year-old self. 

5. The Muppet Christmas Carol 

Nuff said. 

You might not love the Muppets but this one is a must-watch so do yourself a favour. 

4. Home Alone 

We still have no idea why the kid doesn’t just call the cops, but the craziness that results is hilarious A.F. 

In the role Macaulay Culkin is best known for, Home Alone follows mischievous Kevin McCallister as he is left behind over Christmas (parenting 101) and has to take matters into his own hands when robbers try to break into his family home.

We have no idea how an 8-year-old kid can be so smart (and stay so chill).  

3. Love Actually

The movie that’ll make you laugh, cry and possibly hate Kiera Knightly a little bit, Love Actually is the gift that keeps on giving. 

It follows nine different but adjacent storylines across the Christmas period and every time we watch if we fall more in love with it. 

Or if you’re a monster maybe you’ll hate it, but no judgement. 

Love it or hate it this is one Christmas movie you have to at least give a chance, if for nothing else but the stellar cast. 

Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Kiera Knightly, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy…it’s the best Christmas present anyone could ask for (except for that puppy @mum again). 

2. The Holiday 

Jude Law. 


Also, Kate Winslet and Jack Black as the most unexpected adorable couple. 

The Holiday is an all-round feel good flick that will leave have you popping in Airbnb hot-stat. 

I wonder if we can find a place with a Jude Law look alike… 

1. Elf


Elf is will have you laughing out loud all the time every time you watch it and anyone who says you have to be under 10-years-old to enjoy is an absolute liar. 

The definitive peak of Will Ferrell’s career (who needs Ron Burgundy when you have Buddy the elf), he doesn’t disappoint with the holiday humour and if you don’t relate on a spiritual level then we honestly cannot be friends. 

If you don’t douse your cereal in maple syrup, then who even are you?

If you don’t spin round and round in a revolving door, then what do you do in your spare time? 

And if you’re not mates with an Arctic Puffin then…yeah that one’s probably fair. 

So do you think we got the rankings right? 

Do you hate us a little bit? 

One thing’s for sure: we got your Christmas viewing sorted. 

Images: Giphy / Giphy, The Princess Switch / Netflix


We just ‘ADORE’ having Amy Shark in Nova’s Red Room. Check it out below, it’s a lot better than our pun.

Written By Krisinda Merhi