12 Traditional Christmas Movies To Watch This December

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Only six more days until Christmas! That’s more than enough time to get in all of these movies and then some! Or, you could just marathon them from Christmas Eve into Christmas day! In this list we’re looking at those movies that are the quintessential movies for the yuletide holiday season.

Like with any other list we do, this is not definitive and not everyone’s favourite films for the holiday will be here. We tried to keep it to the old classics and include a few more modern ones as well. If you don’t see a film that you love that you think deserves a place on this list, let us know in the comments.

For the TL;DR version of this list, watch the video above.

1. It’s A Wonderful Life – 1946

Written by: Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Jo Swerling and Frank Capra.

Directed by: Frank Capra.

Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore and Henry Travers.

Synopsis: An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.- IMDB.


2. Miracle on 34th Street – 1947

Written and Directed by: George Seaton.

Starring: Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn.

Synopsis: When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing. – IMDB.


3. Scrooge (UK)/A Christmas Carol (US) – 1951

Written by: Noel Langley.

Directed by: Brian Desmond Hurst.

Starring: Alastair Sim, Mervyn Johns, Hermione Baddeley, Jack Warner, Kathleen Harrison, Michael Hordern and George Cole.

Synopsis: An old bitter miser is given a chance for redemption when he is haunted by three ghosts on Christmas Eve… – IMDB.


4. A Charlie Brown Christmas – 1965

Written by: Charles M. Schulz.

Directed by: Bill Melendez.

Starring: Peter Robbins, Chris Shea, Kathy Steinberg and Bill Melendez.

Synopsis: In the digitally-remastered 1965 special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown complains about the overwhelming materialism that he sees everywhere during the Christmas season. Lucy suggests that he become director of the school Christmas pageant, and Charlie Brown accepts, but it proves to be a frustrating struggle. When an attempt to restore the proper spirit with a forlorn little fir Christmas tree fails, Charlie Brown needs Linus’ help to learn what the real meaning of Christmas is. – ABC.


5. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas – 1966 and 2000

Written by: Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman (2000).

Directed by: Chuck Jones (1966), Ron Howard (2000).

Starring: Boris Karloff, June Foray and Thurl Ravenscroft (1966). Jim Carrey, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin and Molly Shannon (2000).

Synopsis: Bitter and hateful, the crotchety Grinch, with “termites in his smile” and “garlic in his soul,” is irritated at the thought of the nearby village of Whoville having a happy time celebrating Christmas.

DDisguised as Santa Claus, with his dog made to look like a reindeer, he raids the village to steal all the Christmas things. The village is sure to have a sad Christmas this year. But although the Grinch tries to wipe out Christmas for the cheerful Whovillians, he discovers that the true spirit of the holiday season lies beyond his covetous grasp. – The Big Cartoon Database.

Discover the magic of the Mean One this holiday season! Oscar®-winning director Ron Howard and Oscar®-winning producer Brian Grazer bring Christmas’ best-loved grump to life with the help of the irrepressible Jim Carrey as The Grinch. Why is The Grinch (Carrey) such a grouch? No one seems to know, until little Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) takes matters into her own hands and turns both Whoville and The Grinch’s world upside down, inside out… and funny side up in her search for the true meaning of Christmas. – Universal Home Entertainment.


6. A Christmas Story – 1983

Written by: Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark.

Directed by: Bob Clark.

Starring: Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin and Peter Billingsley.

Synopsis: In the 1940s, a young boy named Ralphie attempts to convince his parents, his teacher, and Santa that a Red Ryder B.B. gun really is the perfect Christmas gift. – IMDB.


7. Home Alone – 1990

Written by: John Hughes.

Directed by: Chris Columbus.

Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard and Catherine O’Hara.

Synopsis: An eight-year-old troublemaker must protect his house from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation. – IMDB.


8. The Santa Clause – 1994

Written by: Leo Benvenuti, Steve Rudnick and Karey Kirkpatrick.

Directed by: John Pasquin.

Starring: Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold, Wendy Crewson, Eric Lloyd, Larry Brandenburg and David Krumholtz.

Synopsis: Scott Calvin is a divorced father whose strained relationship with his son, Charlie, begins to mend only after a bizarre twist of fate transforms him into the new Santa. When the current Mr. Clause falls off the roof on Christmas Eve, Scott dons Santa’s suit, and he and his son are whisked off to the North Pole. There he meets Bernard, the head elf, who tells him about the Clause, a contract stating that whoever puts on the Santa suit must also take on all the responsibilities that go with the position. Scott isn’t too thrilled about his sudden career change. Charlie, however, is overjoyed. – Disney.


9. Elf – 2003

Written by: David Berenbaum.

Directed by: Jon Favreau.

Starring: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Daniel Tay, Edward Asner and Bob Newhart.

Synopsis: After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity. – IMDB.


 10Love Actually – 2003

Written and Directed by: Richard Curtis.

Starring: Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Martine McCutcheon, Bill Nighy and Rowan Atkinson.

Synopsis: Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England. – IMDB.


11. The Polar Express – 2004

Written by: Robert Zemeckis and William Broyles, Jr.

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis.

Starring: Tom Hanks, Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett, Eddie Deezen and Michael Jeter.

Synopsis: On Christmas Eve, a young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express, while learning about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas. – IMDB.


12. Arthur Christmas – 2011

Written by: Peter Baynham and Sarah Smith.

Directed by: Sarah Smith.

Starring: James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton and Ashley Jensen.

Synopsis: The 3D, CG-animated family comedy ARTHUR CHRISTMAS, an Aardman production for Sony Pictures Animation, at last reveals the incredible, never-before seen answer to every child’s question: ‘So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?’ The answer: Santa’s exhilarating, ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole. But at the heart of the film is a story with the ingredients of a Christmas classic – a family in a state of comic dysfunction and an unlikely hero, Arthur, with an urgent mission that must be completed before Christmas morning dawns. – Sony Pictures Animation.

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About The Author

An avid reader who accidentally discovered her love and talent for writing and has loved movies for as long as she has been watching them. Stumbled into film-making and found her second love because she decided to read for a degree in it on a whim - kind of.