Faves: Christmas Movies

I’m feeling extra-Christmasy this year. Despite being behind on shopping, it’s hard to not be in the spirit when you have a True Believer in the house (see: Coraline). There has been much talk of elves coming to prep the house for Santa, which cookies the big man in red would want, white or chocolate milk, and so on.  So in honor of my Christmasy mood, I thought I’d share with you my favorite Christmas movies. This is where my sister will shout, “WHERE IS HOME ALONE?!” Which, while it’s a movie I enjoy, it’s not one of my all-time favorites. She knows which Christmas movie holds that extra-special place in my heart. My whole family knows. Which is why they keep the TV remote away from me on Christmas day.

Note that at least half the movies on my list are not kid friendly. I don’t want to hear it if your kids wake up screaming that gremlins are going to get them or crying about being gifted slipper socks or Advent calendars filled with Nyquil caplets.


Billy gets the cutest, neatest Christmas present ever (Mogwai!), until it’s not so great. This movie could easily be categorized as a horror comedy thanks to some pretty gruesome Gremlin deaths and genuinely scary moments. Which is why this movie will not be watched by my sensitive kid until a few years from now.

Bad Santa

You will never look at Lauren Graham the same way again after the dressing room scene. Trust me on this. And Billy Bob Thornton gives a kid quite possibly the most depressing/disturbing treat-filled Advent calendar ever, which is why he is the titular Bad Santa.

While You Were Sleeping

Cute rom-com? Check. Set at Christmastime? Check. Starring Sandra Bullock? Check. It’s all good.

Sleepless in Seattle

Cute rom-com? Check. Set at Christmastime? Check. Starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks? Double check. It’s all good.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

As much an animated movie about Halloween as it is about Christmas, this is a modern-day stop-motion classic. Which will also not be seen by my sensitive kid for a few years: It can be a bit creepy for the young ones.


Bill Murray makes this movie as Frank Cross, a soulless TV executive (cough) who produces atrocious holiday insta-classic TV specials.Everything about this movie is sarcastic and twisted, which is why I love watching it every Christmas.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Dysfunctional family. A cat chewing through Christmas tree light cords. The best sled ride ever. A classic. Enough said.

The Ref

This is the second most-adult Christmas movie on my list. A deliriously demented look at a miserable marriage made worse by visiting relatives but better by a motor-mouthed criminal, it is not for kids or anyone offended by profanity: It’s Denis Leary at his most Denis Leary. And Judy Davis delivers quite possibly the best line reading ever.


This is such a silly, good-natured, kindhearted Christmas movie, that it’s one we can and will be watching with Coraline. I run hot and cold when it comes to Will Ferrell, but I love him in this as Buddy — he does a great job as a sweet, naive man-child in a world he doesn’t understand.

A Christmas Story

I can’t tell you how giddy I was a few months ago when Coraline saw our DVD of A Christmas Story and asked what it was about. I told her — and how it is Mommy’s favorite Christmas movie EVER — and she asked to watch it right then and there. So. Proud. “The Ralphie Movie” is already a favorite of hers, so my work here is done.

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