Photo By: Roman Samborskyi/

With the holiday season fast approaching and winter break in sight, it’s time for a movie watchlist that can go along with a cup of hot chocolate.

Some of these may be over played, some are enduring classics, but overall, they are most enjoyable this time of the year. Even if they don’t hold up, these movies could bring back some fond childhood memories.


Speaking of childhood memories, Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) is not only able to bring out the inner child in all of us, but the childhood excitement we all feel around this time of the year as well. Getting close to its 20th anniversary, this movie is a must watch every holiday season. For those who haven’t watched it, Elf is about a human baby who is raised among elves in the North Pole and when he realizes he does not belong, he goes in search of his father in New York City during the holidays. The film is full of memorable scenes, great laughs, and heartwarming moments, making it a great watch at this time of year. 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Another performance that brings out an energy that only holiday movies can, is Jim Carrey’s take on the Grinch. Unrecognizable under very detailed makeup, Carrey portrays one of the most well-known holiday characters in this 2000 live-action adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, and frankly, he knocks it out of the park. The Grinch is a creature that hates Christmas and anything to do with it; in the movie, he lives on the outskirts of a village that loves Christmas. So naturally, he tries to steal it away from them. Much like Elf, though in a very different way, this movie has so much heart and great moments (many of which have become memes in their own right). Don’t miss this one this year.

Home Alone

A child’s biggest fear is being left behind from a Christmas vacation. However, Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin), manages pretty well to survive his Christmas alone in the Chicago suburbs while evading two burglars trying to break into his family’s home. McCallister is ingenious and funny, setting up traps for Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) that bring in some clever, and sometimes cringeworthy, physical comedy, which makes this movie very enjoyable.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

We return to the long-argued debate of whether this is a Christmas or a Halloween movie, but I say, why not both? Henry Selick, with great input from writer and producer Tim Burton, combines the two holidays in this creative and funny story. Beautifully animated, this movie has endured over time, and even if you are not a fan of musicals, this movie’s songs are catchy and a great introduction for those who are not into the genre.

Arthur Christmas 

Finally, a movie that explains how Santa is able to deliver gifts to all the children around the world in one night. This heartfelt movie introduces the long lineage of Santas and how the duty is passed down in the family. Arthur Claus, Santa’s son, brings the same energy Buddy brings in the movie Elf; they both share the same love for Christmas. However, his dad does not deem him capable of carrying out the now advanced techniques required to deliver the gifts. Arthur then becomes determined to prove his dad wrong. This one is a new(er) classic, having been released in 2011, but don’t let that discourage you from giving it a chance. 

The Night Before

Moving away from family holiday movies, The Night Before is a raunchy holiday comedy starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and Anthony Mackie. All Christmas movies seem to centre around New York City, and this movie is no different, as it follows three friends who meet for their annual holiday trip in the Big Apple. But, after realizing that it might come to an end, they try to make it the best year yet. The night brings chaos to all three, which results in hilarious scenarios for the audience. For anyone wanting to get in the holiday mood but with a mature comedy rather than family classics, this is worth checking out.

Honorable mentions go to the 1960s classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Tim Allen’s Santa Clause franchise and Christmas with the Kranks, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Jingle All the Way, and finally, The Polar Express, all of which are certainly worthwhile in their own right.

This list offers a few different takes on the traditional holiday movie, so hopefully there’s something in here for everyone. Whether you’re a Christmas movie veteran and none of this list surprised you, or you are getting into Christmas movies for the first time, I’m sure that something here will resonate with you.