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The 25 Best Christmas Movies to Put You in the Holiday Mood

Between the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, parties, and traveling hither and yon’, you need to set aside a little downtime. Prime Women has the recipe for holiday bliss: pour yourself an eggnog, search your TV listings or crank Amazon Prime and queue up some holiday spirit. Below is our recommended list of best Christmas movies, with something for everyone to enjoy! 

Contemporary Christmas Movies 

1. Love Actually. You knew it had to make the list. Love Actually stars Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman, Kiera Knightley and apparently every other actor who was available stars in this Yuletide staple. 

2. Elf. This movie’s optimism and charm make it simply impossible to resist. Starring Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Edward Asner and Zooey Deschanel, Elf truly has become a modern classic.

3. The Holiday. Nancy Meyers directs this romantic comedy where Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz switch houses during Christmas. The Holiday is a feel-good, modern holiday classic.

Christmas Movies from the 80s and 90s

4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Put on your ugliest Christmas sweater and join Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo and Juliette Lewis for National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

5. Home Alone. Starring Macauley Culkin as a scamp who has to outwit robbers Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern after being left by his family over Christmas vacation, Home Alone is a Christmas movie the whole family can enjoy. 

6. Mixed Nuts. Written and directed by Nora Ephron, Mixed Nuts stars Steve Martin, Rita Wilson, Rob Reiner, Madeline Kahn, Liev Schreiber, Adam Sandler and a host of others and the hi-jinks that occur at a crisis hotline one December night.

7. Scrooged. Bill Murray is a snarky TV executive haunted by 3 Christmas spirits in this take on a Dickensian classic. Also starring Karen Allen, Bobcat Goldthwait, Robert Mitchum and Carol Kane, amongst a host of others, Scrooged is the 1980’s take on the classic Christmas tale. 

8. The Muppet Christmas Carol. If you prefer your Dickens a little more loveable and fluffy, The Muppet Christmas Carol is for you! Plus, the music by Paul Williams is delightful. Let the kid in you enjoy The Muppet Christmas Carol with Michael Caine as His Scrooginess.

Nostalgic Christmas Movie Classics

9. A Christmas Carol. For those of you who like a traditional retelling of this Christmas classic. There are many options to choose from but we like the version of A Christmas Carol starring Alistair Sim.

10. The Bishop’s Wife. Who doesn’t love Cary Grant? David Niven, that’s who. Loretta Young is The Bishop’s Wife. Cary Grant is… heavenly.

11. The Shop Around the Corner. Before You’ve Got Mail, there was The Shop Around the Corner starring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan.

12. Holiday. Chances are you haven’t seen it before, but if you can find it, it’s charming. Holiday stars Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn pre-Bringing Up Baby and was directed by George Cukor.

13. Christmas in Connecticut. Starring Dennis Morgan, who wins a publicity stunt to dine on a home-cooked meal from a magazine’s house and home expert, played by Barbara Stanwyck. The only problem? She doesn’t own a home and doesn’t cook. Hijinks and good times abound in Christmas in Connecticut.

Old School Musicals

14. White Christmas. Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and the effervescent Vera-Ellen star. White Christmas will put the twinkle in your tinsel. Enough said.

15. Mr. Scrooge. If you like your Dickens to sing, try Mr. Scrooge with Albert Finney.

16. Meet Me in St. Louis. Have some tissue at the ready for the good, old-fashioned Meet Me in St. Louis. You can’t beat Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” to Margaret O’Brien.

17. Holiday Inn. Dance the night away with Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds and Virginia Dale in Holiday Inn.

The Not So Obvious

18. The Apartment. This is set at Christmastime but not necessarily about Christmas movie, The Apartment with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine is sweetly sincere.

19. The Desk Set. Toast the holidays and human intelligence with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy as they match wits in The Desk Set.

20. While You Were Sleeping. Taking place over the Christmas holidays, Sanda Bullock and Bill Pullman play the coupe you root for in While You Were Sleeping.

21. Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Though this technically takes place over Thanksgiving, Steve Martin and John Candy facing off in Planes, Trains and Automobiles makes great viewing anytime during the holiday season.

22. Die Hard. Recent years have brought debate about whether Die Hard, starring Bruce Willis, is a Christmas movie. It seems to have landed on the Christmas movie side, so if you would enjoy an action film unlike anything else on this list this one is for you.

The Gold Standards in Christmas Movies

23. Miracle on 34th Street. Spend quality time with little Natalie Wood, Edmund Gwenn as the sweetest Santa Claus ever, the fiery Maureen O’Hara, and handsome John Payne in Miracle on 34th Street. “I believe.”

24. It’s A Wonderful Life. “Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan…” It’s a Wonderful Life, just ask writer and director Frank Capra, Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed,  or that scurvy little spider, Lionel Barrymore.

25. A Christmas Story. If Christmas comes around and you haven’t watched this one yet, don’t worry. TBS runs it 24 hours on Christmas Eve through Christmas Day. A Christmas Story stars Darren McGavin, Peter Billingsley and Melinda Dillon.

We hope you enjoy the best Christmas movies from Prime Women! Did your favorite Christmas movie make the list? Join our Prime Women Facebook Group and let us know what movies you think should be included for next year! 

>READ: WHAT TO WEAR TO A CHRISTMAS PARTY THIS YEAR? BOLD RED!

>READ: A PERFECT DISH TO SERVE AT YOUR CHRISTMAS DINNER

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