Commentary: Top 10 Christmas movies to watch over the break

Taylor Moore
Social Media Editor

Abelina J. Nuñez
LV Life Editor

The most wonderful time of the year is here. And now that there is a nip in the air, it is time to get cozy under a blanket with hot cocoa and a great Christmas movie. 

Here are our top 10 movies that capture that spirit of Christmas to keep you holly and jolly, or a little on edge. 

For this list, we chose movies that could be watched with the entire family, or alone away from home – homesick for that Christmas feeling. Some are perfect for cuddling, while others offer some good old nostalgia.

10. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, 1964

Kicking off our list is “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” a classic that never gets old. The movie focuses on the young red-nosed reindeer facing bullying for being different. But in the end, that light-up nose is a super-power.  Rudolph is able to save Christmas by lighting Santa’s sleigh through a horrible snow storm. Via the art of claymation animation, this movie focuses on overcoming obstacles and accepting everyone regardless of their differences. 

If you’re looking for a movie that you and the little ones can enjoy, this is it. This movie can be rented on Amazon Prime Video, but often streams on CBS when it gets closer to Christmas.

9. Krampus, 2015

For horror-movie-lovers who are looking for a Christmas movie with good scares, “Krampus” is just the movie you’re looking for. The movie puts a spin on the most joyous time of the year by introducing Krampus, a beast from European folklore sent to punish naughty children who do not keep the spirit of Christmas in their hearts. Since its release, the movie has become an all-time favorite because of its balance between comedy and horror, all the while keeping the elements to make it worthy of our top Christmas movie list. You can rent “Krampus” through Redbox, Apple TV or Amazon Prime Video, or stream it with a premium subscription with Hulu or Peacock. 

8. Elf, 2003

“Elf” is a popular comedy movie that is always played during the holiday season. This movie has the most popular scenes and sounds that everyone knows, like the most popular TikTok sound that is used during December when it is Christmas time, “Okay people, tomorrow morning 10 a.m. Santa’s coming to – Santa.” Or  the infamous Buddy the Elf Pasta, which is spaghetti with lots of sugar – maple syrup, chocolate syrup, M&Ms, marshmallows and a chocolate fudge Pop Tart. Buddy, an oversized toy-making elf played by Will Ferrell, was raised at the North Pole and feels out-of-place since he has a nagging feeling of not belonging with Santa’s much tinier helpers. So he decides to go meet his biological father in New York City, where he experiences wacky culture shock. You can stream “Elf” on HBO Max or with a premium subscription with either Hulu or Amazon Prime. 

7. The Santa Clause, 1994

This Christmas movie is part of a series for which the sequels are actually as good as the original, but let’s just focus on “The Santa Clause” for now. A-list actor and comedian Tim Allen, plays the part of Scott Calvin, an average joe who is forced to take up the Santa mantle after causing the accidental demise of Saint Nick himself. The movie portrays the strength of the love a father has for his son, a love so strong that Calvin ends up embracing his transition into Santa Claus to make his son happy. Full of joy and laughs, we recommend this movie as the start of your Christmas-movie binge, that way you can follow it up with “The Santa Clause 2” and “The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.” You can steam the entire series on Disney+. 

6. Santa Buddies, 2009

If you are looking for a family friendly Disney movie for little ones that will have them interested throughout the whole movie, then “Santa Buddies” is perfect. “Santa Buddies” has everything you are looking for to get into the Christmas mood. And who would not want to see a Disney movie with cute little Golden Retriever puppies? The five pups –  Butterball, B-Dawg, Rosebud, Mudbud and Buddha –  come together to help Santa Claus, Santa Paws and his son, Puppy Paws, to save Christmas since the world starts to forget its true meaning. You can stream “Santa Buddies” on Disney+. 

5. The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993 

This movie also made our Top Halloween Movies list, so it is important to note that this holiday classic can be watched during the spooky season or Christmas season. Director Tim Burton and music composer Danny Elfman put together an iconic musical, so iconic that Disneyland keeps up its Nightmare before Christmas decor from September until January. Everyone knows the story of how Jack Skellington fell in love with the warmth of Christmas so much that he stole the holiday for himself and the citizens of HalloweenTown. This movie has the perfect blend of Halloween scary fun and Christmas joy, perfect for those who cannot choose between the two holidays. You can stream “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on Disney+. 

4. A Christmas Carol, 2009

Every Gen Z has watched this movie multiple times during their childhood in bed with hot chocolate in hand. “A Christmas Carol,” which has been reimagined numerous times, including a version starring Barbie, is the right movie. This animated version starring Jim Carrey will keep you from wanting more with unexpected plots and a great message about the spirit of the season. Ebenezer Scrooge, a grumpy old man who hates the Christmas joys, discovers the true meaning of Christmas from an eye-opening journey featuring visits  from three ghosts, who drag him all around England. Scrooge faces his past and must act on it before time runs out and be able to change his future. You can stream this movie on Disney+. 

3. Home Alone, 1990

The famous scene of “Pass this to Kevin,” and a luggage is passed down through the whole family just to find out they left Kevin McCallister at home, alone, while his family is on Christmas vacation. If you are looking for a Christmas movie that will make you laugh throughout the whole movie then this is the right movie for you. “Home Alone” will keep the whole family laughing and invested while bundled up at night. McCallister, an 8-year-old troublemaker, comes up with booby traps to protect his house from two burglars, all while spending Christmas alone. You can stream this movie, along with the sequels, on Disney+. 

2. The Polar Express, 2004

Possibly the greatest movie about Christmas of all time, “The Polar Express” (2004) is about a magical train who takes children to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. The movie’s perspective comes from a young boy experiencing doubt on whether Santa Claus actually exists and gets taken on the adventure of a lifetime, all the while restoring his faith in the joyous holiday. On this journey, he learns about friendship and bravery, while also witnessing the beauty of the North Pole and drinking delicious hot chocolate served with a catchy musical number. The animation is a work of art, and actor Tom Hanks takes on the role of not one, not two, but three characters in the film, including Santa Claus. It’s a must-see Christmas classic to enjoy under a thick blanket with the tree lights, and don’t forget to make yourself a cup of hot chocolate to go with it all. You can stream this movie on HBO Max. 

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 2000 

Yet another iconic character from actor and comedian Jim Carrey, this beloved Dr. Seuss’s tale becomes a live-action classic. Jim Carrey’s portrayal of the Grinch, a green, reclusive, Christmas-hating grump, is what puts this movie at the top of our list. Carrey disappears into the role while adding in his signature physical comedy. The Whoville set is taken straight out of the children’s book and the jokes will get laughs out of the entire family, no matter how old. This movie could turn the biggest scrooge into a Christmas diehard, just like the Grinch. You can stream our No. 1 listed movie on HBO Max. 

We had a hard time narrowing down our list to 10, so here is a short list of honorable mentions, which are also totally worth watching this holiday season: 

  • Rise of the Guardians (2012) 
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970) 
  • Gremlins (1984) 
  • A Christmas Story (1983) 
  • Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999) 
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) 
  • Frosty the Snowman (1969) 
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) 
  • Arthur Christmas (2011) 
  • Love Actually (2003)

Taylor Moore can be reached at taylor.moore@laverne.edu

Abelina J. Nuñez can be reached at abelina.nunez@laverne.edu

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Taylor Moore is a junior broadcast journalism major and LV Life editor for Spring 2023. In her fourth semester on Campus Times, she has previously served as the social media editor and staff writer.

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Abelina J. Nuñez, a junior journalism major, is arts editor for the Campus Times and a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine. She has previous served as LV Life editor, social media editor and staff writer.

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