It's the time of year when Christmas movies - both old and new - come out in storm to be watched by millions of people from all over the world. While there are many Christmas movies that have become holiday classics and are watched on an annual basis, such as It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, there are many more movies out there to enjoy.
Nowadays, streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix have their own Christmas movies for people to watch - and some of them are actually quite good. But, with families traveling, watching new movies in theaters, and getting together for gift-giving, there's only so much time to watch actual Christmas movies.
Related: The Best Christmas Movies On Hulu
So, we've gathered up the best Christmas movies of all time; that way people can avoid spending their time watching the not-so-great Christmas movies and only dive into the classics, the breakout hits, and the ones that have perhaps gone unnoticed over the years.
Michael Dougherty's Krampus follows a standard routine - child in a dysfunctional-but-loving family begins to lose his belief in Santa Clause, and something special happens to re-ignite the flame. Except here it's not good ol' Saint Nick that visits young Max, but Krampus, the anti-Santa of European folklore who punishes those who've misbehaved and lost their way.
Dougherty's horror-comedy is an acerbic take on a festive standard. Relying on practical effects - the Krampus itself is an actor (Luke Hawker) in a suit - Krampus is a demonic festive romp for those with a cynical side. With a cast that includes Adam Scott, Toni Collette, and David Koechner, the regular laughs and well-timed scares make this the best festive offering of recent years.
9. Home Alone
Home Alone represents every parents worst nightmare over the holiday period. What starts as a dream for black sheep Kevin McAllister, as he's incidentally left behind by his family when they take off for Christmas vacation, soon becomes a fight for his life against a pair of hapless house burglars.
A hit upon release in 1990 and a staple to this day, Home Alone is the kind of festive regular movie that can be hard to avoid due to routine airing on TV over the period. For good reason, though, as the slapstick third act where Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are tormented by all manner of improvised traps - involving paint cans and toy cars and whatever Kevin can find - is still a crowd-pleaser, even if it feels like a prequel to the Saw franchise at times.
8. Die Hard
Die Hard is an all-time great action film set at Christmas. That does not inherently make it a Christmas movie, but that hasn't stopped people making it an indelible viewing tradition. For many, it isn't Christmas until they've seen Hans Gruber falling to his death from the Nakatomi Plaza.
There's no debating the quality of John McTiernan's genre masterpiece. It's a clever, sweaty, bloody, explosive tale of one-against-all as Bruce Willis' John McClane holds the line against a troupe of tough, efficient German terrorists. Every second line is quotable and every action scene is triumphant. Weighed up as a Christmas film, however? There's just not enough beyond a few well-decorated trees and some convenient timing for it to be a top contender.
The exact kind of weird feature you'd expect from Bill Murray in his hey-day being directed by Richard Donner, of Superman and Lethal Weapon fame. Perhaps the darkest take on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (that isn't just a straight adaptation), Scrooged is a delightfully strange, occasionally sadistic rejig of the literary classic.
Frank Cross (Murray) is Scrooge, a ruthless TV executive being punished for overworking his staff to produce a lavish performance of A Christmas Carol during the holidays. Over the course of his three ghostly visits, Cross sees the darkness of his legacy; the homeless man he shunned now frozen to death and his personal assistant's child now institutionalized. The movie is a cult favorite for its decidedly more “grown up” delivery, playing with the fourth wall and poking fun at the whole idea of a Christmas film. The effects are great, too, the expensive at-time-time make-up and design creating some of the most chilling imagery to be found in any Christmas movie.
Before Will Ferrell was Ron Burgundy, he was Buddy the Elf, a human raised among Santa's elves as one of their own. Festive joy incarnate, Buddy cannot live knowing his biological father is on the naughty list, and sets out to convince him to change his ways and get off the naughty list.
It's hard to imagine anyone, anywhere, creating a more obnoxiously Christmas-y movie than Elf, and that's largely because there's few better at being obnoxious than Will Ferrell. Hyper-actively kinetic and operating above-room-volume at all times, Elf is the film for anyone who starts counting the days to Christmas in September and have their presents bought one week into December.