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Ranking the Top 30 Christmas Movies

Christmas Movies | Graphic by Abigail Abbott | The Wright State Guardian

Christmas movies are an important part of the holiday season for many people. Arbitrarily picked from the hundreds of holiday films that exist, here are some classic and equally-lovable niche 30 Christmas movies ranked from worst to best. (Spoilers ahead!)

30. “Falling for Christmas”

In this Netflix original movie, Lindsay Lohan portrays an heiress who falls off a mountain and gets amnesia. So, of course, she wanders to a nearby cabin and befriends Chord Overstreet. “Befriend” means that she quickly falls in love with him. There is also a hilarious cartoon villain of an ex-fiance and a cute young daughter. 

29. “Love Hard”

Nina Dobrev plays the part of a journalist who only writes about her dates, which always go horribly wrong. Eventually, she meets the perfect guy on Tinder. He is funny, nice and attractive, so she impulsively flies across the country to spend Christmas with him. It turns out he is a catfish, but they end up becoming friends as she reverse-catfishes the boy whose photos were used until she falls in love with her catfish.

It sounds awful, and it is, but the couple is cute. Also, the title is a play on the two leads’ favorite Christmas movies: “Die Hard” and “Love, Actually.” It gets bonus points for that.

28. “A Christmas Prince 3: The Royal Baby”

This sequel is clearly a cash grab only worth watching out of severe loyalty to the series. The film also suddenly introduces superstitions and ghosts when neither of these were present in the first two movies. But, at the end, there is a baby!

27. “Snow Buddies”

Movies in the “Air Buddies” series are always adorable. The main squad consists of five golden retriever puppies who are siblings, and in this movie, they befriend Santa’s dog. This movie has magic and puppies, and really, what more do you need for a heartwarming Christmas film?

26. “Let it Snow”

Netflix’s attempt at a teenage version of “Love, Actually” can best be described as a solid attempt. There are cute couples, a lady in a tin foil hat, a star-studded cast and a baby pig. It is a cute enough movie, and there are many silly shenanigans.

25. “A Christmas Prince 2: The Royal Wedding”

While the new character of the wedding planner is an interesting addition, this movie generally keeps a lot of the charm of the first one while also shoehorning in a lot of tension between the leads and the betrayal of one of the royal family’s advisors, giving an element of mystery as to why this small, fictitious country is going bankrupt.

24. “The Princess Switch”

Vanessa Hudgens plays the two leads who are distantly related doppelgangers. One is a baker, the other is a duchess. You will be shocked to hear that they switch places for a few days, so the dutchess can experience the kingdom she is about to marry into. The duchess then falls in love with the baker’s sous chef, and the baker falls in love with the duchess’s fiance. 

23. “The Holiday Calendar”

Kat Graham plays a photographer who is gifted her grandmother’s old advent calendar, which ends up having magical properties. Each morning, she gets a tiny figurine gift, which foreshadows something important that will happen that day. It also leads her to a random love interest, until she eventually realizes that she is in love with her childhood best friend. 

22. “Good Luck Charlie: It’s Christmas”

Characters that children already know and love from the Disney channel are headed out to visit family for the holidays when the two of them get separated from the rest. Of course, you probably know what happens next: shenanigans, family and the true meaning of Christmas. 

21. “Scrooged”

Bill Murray makes an excellent, sarcastic 1980s Scrooge. This movie is an entertaining version of “A Christmas Carol” with a once-modern twist. It is entertaining, funny and clever, and it stars Bill Murray, so it is bound to be a good time. 

20. “A WowieBOZowee Christmas”

This niche film is a short movie made for kids. It takes on the more religious side of Christmas but mainly focuses on family. This family has taken in a jolly green bear as one of their own, and that bear alone is the reason this film is ranked as high as it is. He takes the two children on adventures sledding and making pancakes. 

19. “Polar Express”

Such an iconic film where kids are all taken from their parents’ homes in the middle of the night to ride on a train, drink hot chocolate and go to the North Pole. However, if they lose their tickets while on the train, they will be either kicked off or forced to do child labor. More importantly, though, it teaches children about friendship.

18. “The Santa Clause 2”

Did you know that if Santa does not have a wife, then kids everywhere can not get presents? Neither did Tim Allen until the start of this movie, so he makes a robotic clone of himself, which will later turn evil, and puts the moves on his son’s principal.

17. “Single All the Way”

Another Netflix original, this time with two roommates who pretend to date so that one of them does not have to admit he is single to his family. They drop this ruse pretty quickly, and the two of them both bond with the first guy’s hilarious, chaotic and loving family, which includes Jennifer Coolidge. The two men end up admitting very late in the film that they are in love with each other. 

And yet, still, history will say they were roommates. 

16. “A Christmas Prince”

A journalist lies to the royal family of a small country, saying that she is a tutor for the princess. Under this false identity, she is welcomed into the family, getting close to the young princess and vaguely handsome prince. They fall in love, and she uncovers a lot of juicy details about the royal family, which she now feels a part of. 

As funny as it would be to play up the mystery of what she will do in this situation, you already know that in the sequels they get married and have a baby, so it is obvious that they work things out.

15. “Four Christmases”

Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn play a couple who have been together for years at the start of the film. They lie to their families, saying they are doing charity work in a tropical country when they plan to have a vacation. When their flight is canceled and they are shown on TV, they decide to visit all four of their divorced parents’ houses. 

14. “The Holiday”

Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet swap houses for Christmas after they have both reached low points in their lives. While staying at each other’s houses in different countries, Winslet falls in love with Jack Black and befriends an elderly man, and Diaz falls in love with Winslet’s in-movie brother and befriends his two young daughters. 

13. “A Christmas Story”

Another movie that is simply a classic. From the pink bunny suit to the Red Ryder BB gun, this movie is hilarious and has something for everyone. There are leg lamps, bars of soap in children’s mouths and fist fights. Somehow from all of this, there are good themes of family and love, even when things go wrong and they have to eat at a Chinese restaurant on Dec. 25.

12. “Christmas Vacation”

This one stands apart from the crowd because, unlike most the others, this one can be deeply uncomfortable to watch around your family. Regardless, it is a classic and hilarious, both in the dialogue and in the many shenanigans that take place through the course of the film.

11. “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Charlie Brown’s holiday specials are always wonderful. This film is no exception, and it could be said to be the best example. Look no further than Charlie Brown’s iconic yet pathetic Christmas tree, which spreads a beautiful message of acceptance for even the sparsest of evergreen trees.

10. “Barbie: A Christmas Carol”

With the Barbie Renaissance that we are currently in, you may or may not be surprised to hear that Barbie portrays Scrooge in this movie. There are a lot of adaptations made so that the format of the classic “A Christmas Carol” can fit into the early 2000s Barbie animated movie themes. These changes make for a very lovable film that gets across the same message of the spirit of Christmas while leaning more toward strong female friendships. Also, Barbie has an adorable cat that joins her in Christmases past, present and future. 

9. “Rudolph”

Claymation is always a good choice for children’s movies. This film expands on the classic character of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. In case you do not know, he has a very shiny nose, and all the other reindeer laugh and call him names. This is a story of him setting out on a quest and being a hero.

8. “The Santa Clause”

What better way to start a family-friendly movie than with the unintentional murder of a beloved magical figure? Seriously, Tim Allen causes Santa’s death at the beginning, which, in this universe, means that he will be the next Santa. Ignoring the implications that all Santas are historically replaced by their killer, this film is adorable, including magic and themes of family and belief.

7. “The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause”

Widely regarded as the worst one in the trilogy, “The Escape Clause” is ranked first out of these three movies, starring Tim Allen as Santa. Something about Jack Frost as a villain and a young red-headed girl turning him good again with the power of a warm hug just screams that this is an amazing Christmas movie.

6. “Die Hard”

A controversial choice but one that feels correct. Bruce Willis takes on a group of terrorists and wins with the help of a few other way less heroic characters. He walks barefoot over broken glass to save his wife and a bunch of strangers right before Christmas and has a bunch of iconic one-liners. 

5. “Home Alone”

Nothing captures the true spirit of Christmas like a slightly neglected child setting elaborate traps to trick two stupid burglars. The resourcefulness and mischief of this young boy are endearing, hilarious and somehow inspiring. 

4. “Love, Actually”

A wonderful and heartwarming film showcasing many different relationships between a large group of people who mostly do not know each other but are all connected. It is a nice, cheesy movie with an extremely star-studded cast and so many romantic subplots that one of them is bound to make you giggle and kick your feet.

3. “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000)

One of the best Christmas movies of all time and the best “Grinch” movie by far. Jim Carrey captures the spirit of the role throughout the film, whether he is in ‘evil’ or ‘kind’ mode. This is a hilarious take on the well-known Dr. Seuss story, which adds a lot of lore to the universe.

2. “Noelle”

Anna Kendrick as the daughter of Santa? Yes, please. This film is charming, containing themes of kindness, love and individuality. The main character is Noelle, the daughter of Santa. After his sad passing, Noelle’s older brother is supposed to take over but runs away right before Christmas. This sets up a quest in which Noelle discovers that she is beginning to inherit the classic powers that every Santa has had for generations. 

Even better, this is a Disney+ original film, so it is now canon in Disney that Anna Kendrick is Santa. 

1. “Elf”

This now 20-year-old film needs no introduction. To put it simply, this movie has all the ingredients of a great Christmas film: magic, candy, romance and family. Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel are an unlikely but iconic pair in this uplifting flick, which is nostalgic, fresh and evergreen, like a Christmas tree.

While this list may be a little controversial to some, it helps provide movie ideas for your next Christmas movie marathon! 

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