Not all Christmas movie families are made equal. Some are wonderful, while others are downright criminal. When watching holiday classics, it's easy to sometimes forget just how bonkers the plot lines truly are.
Perhaps it's too much eggnog or inhaling too many fumes from that Christmas candle, but something about the holidays has a way of making everyone act a bit strange. While some of these parents just wanted to get their kid the perfect holiday gift, others were leaving theirs at home...alone.
Here are the 5 best (and 5 worst) families in Christmas movie history.
10 Best: The Langstons, Jingle All the Way
Howard Langston may be an overworked mattress salesman who never had time for his family, but he was determined to make up for it by vowing to get his son the new Turbo-Man toy for Christmas. The only problem is that the postal worker Myron Larabee is in the same situation. An epic rivalry ensues that makes Feud seem like playground games. And sure, in the film, Howard does try and buy a counterfeit toy, and impersonates an officer, and gets in a physical fight over a piece of plastic... But it was for his son, and that means something. The film was released during the 1996 holiday season, during the exact same time when very real fights were blossoming around the now-infamous toy, Tickle Me Elmo.
9 Worst: The Millers, The Santa Clause
So, imagine this: You’re little Charlie Calvin, and you just discovered that your dad is actually Santa and you got to go to the North Pole. Pretty awesome, right? Well, that’s until you have to go back to your mom and new stepdad, who just so happens to be a psychiatrist. Throughout the film, Charlie’s mom and her husband are completely self-absorbed and do nothing but try and convince Charlie that Santa isn't real. They are quite possibly the blandest, most boring, Yuletide-killing parents in holiday film history.
8 Best: The Engels, Krampus
The Engel family Christmas started out normal enough; food, family, and fighting. Problems arise when Max Engel, the youngest of the family, loses his holiday spirit after being mocked for believing in Santa. Naturally, this conjures up a demon from the underworld known as Krampus, who punishes those who have lost the Christmas spirit.
Though the Engels start out dysfunctional, they quickly come together and fight to protect each other. It's a heartwarming story of a family who learns the importance of togetherness. Unfortunately, by the end, there aren't many family members left alive...Oops.
7 Worst: The Kranks, Christmas with the Kranks
Luther and Nora discover that their daughter won’t be coming home for the holidays. Therefore, Luther decides that this year, he and Nora will completely skip Christmas by acting like the holiday doesn’t even exist. No Christmas cards, no tree, nothing. Problems arise when their neighbors fight back against the Krank’s Christmas rebellion. Luther ends up holding Frosty the Snowman hostage and even ices his driveway to keep his neighbors away. The Kranks then learn that their daughter will be coming home for Christmas, but unfortunately, every Christmas tree in town is sold out. So, as one is wont to do, Luther breaks into his neighbor's house-- a neighbor who is dying of cancer!-- to steal their Christmas tree. Truly, great family entertainment.
6 Best: Daniel and Sam, Love Actually
Out of Love Actually's massive ensemble cast, the story of Daniel (Liam Neeson) and his son Sam is the most heartwarming. Daniel is left to raise his stepson alone his wife's tragic passing. Despite the hardships of being a single father, Daniel is extremely supportive of Sam and even motivates him to chase after the girl of his dreams who is about to board a plane back to America.
With the encouragement of his father, Sam breaks through airport security and is chased through the terminal by security guards, all so he can get a kiss from his crush, Joanna. Despite the fact that he just committed a serious crime, it's one of the most heartwarming scenes in cinematic history.
5 Worst: The Stones, The Family Stone
Simply put, the Stones are atrocious people. The entire film is basically you watching Sarah Jessica Parker get harassed for two hours (which is, in all fairness, highly entertaining). In the film, Everett brings home his new fiancé Meredith (Parker) for Christmas and the entire Stone family instantly hate her. Not only is she called a racist and a bitch, but the abuse gets so bad that she’s forced to call in her sister from out-of-town. The Stones instantly fall in love with her sister and fawn over her, leading Meredith to go on a raging bender. The worst part of the film is that this horrible family is so relatable.
4 Best: The Parkers, A Christmas Story
Not only are the Parkers a classic American family, but everything that happens in A Christmas Story is so true to real life. The anticipation for Christmas, dealing with school bullies, going to see Santa... every moment of the film is so spot-on that you can't help but root for this family. Sure, Ralphie's dad may have gotten him a gun for Christmas, but his father had good intentions, right? And really, isn't it a father's job to give his sons the gifts that their mother never would? If it wasn't for impulsive fathers, would any of us have ever owned nerf guns or our first Nintendo?
3 Worst: The Griswolds, Christmas Vacation
Christmas Vacation saw the return of the Griswolds, as they host their entire family for the holidays. Things quickly go awry when the relatives arrive. Throughout the film a cat is electrocuted, Clark saws down a tree that smashes through his neighbor’s window, their Christmas lights cause a city-wide blackout, and Uncle Lewis gets launched into the air by a sewer explosion. Are we missing anything? …Oh right, Clark also kidnapped his boss. Take a few minutes to go count the number of crimes and misdemeanors the Griswold’s have committed in this film alone.
2 Best: The Whos, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
It takes a very strong, very good person to wake up Christmas morning, discover everything has been stolen, but still be grateful and happy. When the Grinch realizes that the Whos don't need presents or that fine roast beast dinner, it even encourages him to be a better man (or whatever the hell he is). The standout Who is little Cindy Lou, who wasn't even afraid to confront the Grinch even as he broke into her own home... There are a few questions left standing, like, are all the Whos related? And where exactly were Cindy Lou's parents when their home was invaded?
1 Worst: The McCallisters, Home Alone
As much as we all love Home Alone (it was even once the highest-grossing holiday movie ever), let’s face it, the McCallister family is completely inept and negligent. How on Earth do a mother and father leave home, get to the airport, check-in, board a plane, take off, and only then realize they’ve left their son at home? And the parents weren’t the only crappy people in the family. There was Buzz, the tormenting older brother, and that a-hole uncle too. With a family like that, I have a feeling that even if you include the whole breaking-and-entering fiasco, that was probably the best holiday Kevin McCallister ever had. And if you're planning on forgiving the McCallister family, remember... they forgot Kevin a second time too!