The Unofficial 2021 Christmas Movie Ranking
By Kailyn Lunn, Entertainment Editor
The best thing about the holiday season is, arguably, the movies. They hold sentimental value as strong as family traditions and Christmas-related memories.
Everyone’s definition of a great holiday classic is different. The title “best Christmas movie” is subjective, and at times, it’s impossible to choose one film.
The Christmas movie label encapsulates a variety of genres and intended audiences; their common ground is the connection to the holiday.
Below, I listed my top 20 holiday films.
20. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer (2000)
People critique this lighthearted Christmas special for its awkward animation, subpar voice acting, and for being weakly fashioned around a satirical Christmas song. All of these are true. However, its ridiculousness makes it endearing. It’s odd and messy, but entertaining.
19. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (1974)
First, Rankin/Bass films riddle this list, and you should expect this. They mastered charming stories with great music. I found the mice much more entertaining than the humans, especially Albert, but the Trundles captured the Christmas spirit well. It’s cliche, but not painfully.
18. Frosty the Snowman (1969)
One could for sure call this film a classic because it doesn’t lose its touch as viewers grow older. Not only is it bound to fond memories, but I look forward to watching it every year. Jimmy Durante, the narrator, has a voice that sounds like coming home for the holidays.
17. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999), Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas (2004)
Watching these listings consecutively is the only acceptable way to watch. It isn’t uncommon to see multiple interrelated tales in Christmas movies. The media might overdo this concept, but the charm and familiarity of Disney’s characters cancels that out.
16. While You Were Sleeping (1995)
As a holiday film, it’s underrated. Any movie starring Sandra Bullock is bound to be great. The plot is simple, but the characters are loveable; the writing and acting are engaging, and at times, humorous.
15. Serendipity (2001)
Another love story, perfect for any hopeless romantic. What sets this film apart is the lack of villains. This movie portrays everyone fairly; the focus is entirely on the concept of finding lost love.
14. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (1964)
A timeless, loveable film that has also become a tradition in most households. As much as I hate using this adjective, it’s a cute movie. It’s well animated and tells a classic story.
13. The Polar Express (2004)
I can confidently say that watchers have fond memories related to this film, specifically the hot chocolate song. After watching again as an adult, the plot is missing a few pieces, and at times it can get confusing, but it’s a classic, nonetheless.
12. Eloise at Christmastime (2003)
The sequel to “Eloise at the Plaza” is just as fun and heartwarming with the addition of Christmas cheer. Julie Andrews’ strengths aren’t as prominent, but I’m convinced there isn’t a role she can’t play. This film is painfully underrated; I don’t hear about it enough.
11. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
I know some will be upset because the live action made the list and the original cartoon didn’t, but it’s just more enjoyable. Jim Carrey is hilarious, and the extra details added to the story make it more engaging.
10. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
There’s nothing like a Christmas-related comedic disaster. It’s predictable, and viewers seeking an obtainable message or plot might be disappointed. However, a little fun is necessary during the holiday season.
9. The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)
This seems to be the least favored film from The Santa Clause series, and I still don’t understand why. Jack Frost was a humorous and charming villain; all the characters contribute something special to the film alone and to the series.
8. The Christmas Shoes (2002)
Much like “Eloise at Christmastime,” this is another film I don’t hear about nearly enough. It’s heartbreaking, so it might not be suitable for younger audiences. The film adds a nice contrast to the usual upbeat nature of holiday movies.
7. Home Alone (1990)
I think it’s safe to say we all, well, anyone that watched the film as a kid, wanted to be Kevin McCallister. The villains steal the show at times with their goofiness, and the traps are iconic.
6. Love Actually (2003)
I could watch this movie year-round, and I do. It showcases love in many different forms and the cast made the most of their smaller stories.
5. The Santa Clause (1994)
A fantastic film for all ages that touches on themes of both the Christmas spirit and family values. Tim Allen fit the role perfectly. It captured the magic of Christmas.
4. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
I haven’t watched the original, so I can’t compare the two. I’m most familiar with the 1994 remake and I must watch it every year. Kris Kringle is an iconic character that’s subtly humorous.
3. Home Alone 2 (1992)
This is the best film in the franchise. I dreamed of being alone in New York, eating a pizza in the back of a limo. It’s very similar to the first movie, but the highlighted New York landmarks like the Plaza set it apart.
2. Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009)
Disney’s adaptation is my personal favorite, with the Muppets being a close second. The animation is absolutely stunning, and I enjoyed Disney’s straightforward approach to Dickens’ tale.
1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
It’s no surprise that this 1946 classic is at the top of the list, and that future films drew inspiration from it. It is a tribute to friendship, home, and the meaning of Christmas.