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10 Greatest Christmas Movies of All Time

There’s no better way to decompress over the holidays than by losing yourself in a great festive flick. Check out our countdown of the best Christmas movies of all time, and let us know which titles you’d like to see added to the list in the comments section!

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Children watching movies on tablet during ChristmasPhoto: Shutterstock

10 Best Christmas Movies Of All-Time

Christmas is all about great food, family time, and of course, presents. But let’s not forget the time-honoured tradition of vegging out in front of the TV with your favourite Christmas flicks. Here are eight movies that complete your holiday, and offer a great excuse to kick back, relax and sip on some eggnog. Have you got a favourite movie we missed? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Blu-ray cover of Scrooged (1988)Photo: Amazon.ca

10. Scrooged (1988)

Scrooged is a hilarious modern-day take on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, with Bill Murray’s cold-hearted TV-exec, Frank Cross, taking the place of Ebenezer Scrooge. Key differences between Scrooged and the original story include: A fired underling who storms his bosses’ office with a shotgun, a ghoulish, martini sipping-version of Jacob Marley, and a trip back to Cross’ childhood courtesy of a crazed, supernatural New York cabbie. Scrooged is a black comedy with a heart of gold, and a classic that shouldn’t be missed.

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Blu-ray cover of National Lampoon's Christmas VacationPhoto: Amazon.ca

9. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

From your redneck cousins to the in-laws that won’t go away, Christmas is often spent in the company of family you would just as soon leave at the airport. It’s this element that makes Christmas Vacation so funny: It’s relatable. Clark Griswold’s (Chevy Chase) determination to get his “old-fashioned family Christmas” perfect is a struggle most people can relate to, even though you may drive yourself mad in the process. Granted, most people’s Christmas tree won’t catch fire, but Christmas Vacation reminds us of how much can go hilariously wrong during the holidays. Really, isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

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Blu-ray cover of Gremlins (1985)Photo: Amazon.ca

8. Gremlins (1985)

Even if you haven’t seen Gremlins, chances are you know the story: impossibly cute creatures called Mogwai turn into havoc-wrecking monsters and terrorize a small town, leaving only a reluctant hero (Zach Gilligan) and his crush (Phoebe Cates) to save the day. What does this all have to do with Christmas? Not much, but there’s no denying that Gremlins is an original, hilarious and horrifying romp that just happens to take place at Christmas. Do yourself a favour and skip the sequel!

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Blu-ray cover of Lethal Weapon (1987)Photo: Amazon.ca

7. Lethal Weapon (1987)

Lethal Weapon made Mel Gibson an international star, solidified Danny Glover as one of Hollywood’s most reliable actors, and pioneered the “buddy cop” genre. Oh, it’s also one of the funniest, most thrilling and most violent Christmas movies ever! The premise is pure Hollywood: two mismatched LAPD detectives team up to solve a crime that proves to be way more than either bargained for. You could argue that it hasn’t dated well (Mel Gibson’s hair is laughable), but Lethal Weapon is still fun after all these years.

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Blu-ray cover of Elf (2003)Photo: Amazon.ca

6. Elf (2003)

Though on paper it sounds dumb, Elf works holiday magic, especially if you love Will Ferrell’s particular brand of over-the-top slapstick. The story of a human baby raised in the magical world of Santa’s workshop, Elf plays up Ferrell’s man-child side with delightful aplomb (especially when he journeys into real-world New York to track down his biological father). It won’t provoke much thought, but Elf is an overload of sugary-sweet holiday cheer, and a showcase for Ferrell’s hilarious comedic chops.

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Blu-ray cover of A Christmas Story (1983)Photo: Amazon.ca

5. A Christmas Story (1983)

Coasting heavily on the nostalgia factor, A Christmas Story is as corny as it gets, but captures the spirit of being a kid during the holidays better than any film to date. Set in the 1950s U.S. Midwest, nine-year-old Ralphie’s quest to land an “Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle” is the stuff of childhood fantasy, and brings a warm and fuzzy feeling to any grownup with a yuletide soft spot. Just don’t forget, you’ll shoot your eye out!

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Blu-ray cover of The Nightmare Before ChristmasPhoto: Amazon.ca

4. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Leave it to the master of melancholy, Tim Burton, to turn a Christmas movie into a spook-fest featuring a werewolf, vampires and a singing skeleton. If you can get over the fact that The Nightmare Before Christmas mostly takes place in Halloween Town (yes, that’s what it’s called), then you’ll find a brilliantly animated, charmingly written holiday musical with a spooky twist. FYI: Given that it features the kidnapping and torture of Santa Claus, hold off on showing this to your youngest tots.

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Blu-ray cover of Home Alone (1990)Photo: Amazon.ca

3. Home Alone (1990)

John Hughes’ Home Alone remains a classic for multiple reasons: Macaulay Culkin is charming as heck, and his bone-crunching booby-traps speak to the inner sadist in all of us; Angels With Filthy Souls is the most entertaining movie-within-a-movie ever; and Home Alone features hilarious performances by Canadian SCTV-alums, Catherine O’Hara and John Candy. If you didn’t get any of those references, stop what you’re doing and watch Home Alone right now, it’s a freaking classic!

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Blu-ray cover of Die Hard (1988)Photo: Amazon.ca

2. Die Hard (1988)

Before you say this isn’t a Christmas movie, stop and think about it: Die Hard is about an office Christmas party hijacked by some very naughty Euro-trash terrorists. Then, from the rooftop there arose machine gun clatter, and down comes Bruce Willis to dish out carnage and splatter. He makes a naughty or nice list, then checks off each one, and proceeds to hand out Christmas presents to ruin the terrorist’s fun. If that’s not a compelling enough argument, Die Hard’s status as an all-time great action-thriller should be enough of a reason for you to give this classic a spin.

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It's a Wonderful Life is regarded as one of the best Christmas moviesPhoto: Amazon.ca

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Seriously, did you really think anything other than It’s a Wonderful Life would take the top spot? This 1946 fantasy drama is the father of all Christmas movies, and one of the bonafide classics of Hollywood’s Golden Age. America’s most decent person, George Bailey (James Stewart, in his greatest role) wants to commit suicide on Christmas Eve, but is saved by angel Clarence Odbody, who shows him how life would’ve turned out for the people around him if he hadn’t been born. It’s the ultimate feel-good story of family and redemption. Do yourself a favour and watch it…right now.