What Is The Perfect Christmas Day Movie?

by Paul on December 24, 2012

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Well Christmas has finally arrived, and once all the presents are opened I know that your first impulse is to open up one of the new movies you just received and start watching, right? Wrong. This is the perfect day to sit down with all ofA Christmas Carol (1951) your extended family and watch a truly great Christmas movie together. It doesn’t matter if you choose a movie that most people have previously seen because half of the room will fall asleep at some point anyway. After having read a great number of blog posts this holiday season, as well as having watched a lot of Christmas movies myself, I have compiled the following list to help show all the possibilities and choices that would help enhance your day. I tried to limit this list to movies that include Christmas as a major plot point, have a Christmas song as part of the story, or in some way embraces the spirit of the season. I am certain that I missed quite a few films that could be added, so feel free to put your suggestions in the comment box and I will add them for next year’s list.

Scrooge (1935): Starring Sir Seymour Hicks as Ebenezer Scrooge.

A Christmas Carol (1938): Starring Reginald Owen as Ebenezer Scrooge.

Remember The Night (1940) Starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred McMurray.Shop Around The Corner (1940)

The Shop Around The Corner (1940): Starring Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullavan and Frank Morgan.

Beyond Tomorrow (1940): Starring Harry Carey and C. Aubrey Smith.

Holiday Inn (1942): Starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. It features the songs “White Christmas” and “Happy Holidays“.

Meet Me In St. Louis (1944): Starring Judy Garland and featuring the Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)song, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas“.

Christmas Holiday (1944): Starring Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly.

I’ll Be Seeing You (1944): Starring Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotten and Shirley Temple.

Christmas In Connecticut (1945): Starring Barbara Stanwyck and Sydney Greenstreet.

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946): Starring Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell and Henry Travers. This movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Miracle On 34th Street (1947): Starring Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, John Payne and Natalie Wood. This film wasMiracle On 34th Street (1947) nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.

It Happened On 5th Avenue (1947): Starring Victor Moore and Charles Ruggles.

The Bishop’s Wife (1947): Starring Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young. This film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Holiday Affair (1949): Starring Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh.

Scrooge/A Christmas Carol (1951): Starring Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge. This is commonly considered the best of the Christmas Carol films. It was released as Scrooge, except in the United States, where it was released as A Christmas Carol.White Christmas (1954)

White Christmas (1954): Starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen.

Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol (1962): This is the 53 minute animated film starring Jim Backus as the voice of Mr. Magoo.

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (1964): Claymation animated TV special.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965): This is the original Peanuts classic film starring Charlie Brown and all his friends.Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) (Including Snoopy.)

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966): This is the 26 minute animated classic.

Frosty The Snowman (1969): Claymation animated TV special.

Scrooge (1970): Starring Albert Finney as Ebenezer Scrooge. This is a musical version of the Charles Dickens’ story.

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1970): Claymation animated TV special.

A Christmas Carol (1971): This is the animated short film with Alastair Sim as the voice of Scrooge.

A Chipmunk Christmas (1981): This is the animated TV special starring Alvin, Simon and Theodore.

The Snowman (1982): This is the animated short film.A Christmas Story (1983)

A Christmas Story (1983): Starring Peter Billingsley. “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983): Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchet and Uncle Scrooge as… well Scrooge.

A Christmas Carol (1984): This is the TV movie starring George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge. (Despite my dislike of most TV movies, IA Christmas Carol (1984) think George C. Scott is the best Scrooge of them all.

Santa Clause: The Movie (1985): Starring Dudley Moore, John Lithgow, and David Huddleston as Santa.

A Garfield Christmas (1987): This is the TV animated short film.

Scrooged (1988): Bill Murray stars in this modern day telling of the Charles Dickens’ tale.

Ernest Saves Christmas (1988): Jim Varney stars is this comedy that outdoes all the other Ernest movies. That isn’t saying very much, though.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989): Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo star in one of the funniest and most National Lampoon's Christmas vacation (1989)outragous Christmas comedies ever made.

Prancer (1989): Starring Sam Elliott, Cloris Leachman and Rebecca Harrell.

Home Alone (1990): Macaulay Culkin terrorizes Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern.

Edward Scissorhands (1990): Hardly a Christmas film, but many would be upset if I left it off of the list, so here it is: Tim Burton’s sentimental, albeit somewhat scary, fantasy tale.

Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992): Macaulay Culkin terrorizes Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. (Didn’t I just say that a minute ago?)

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992): With Kermit as Bob Cratchit and Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge, this film is a musical family favorite for everyone to enjoy.The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

A Nightmare Before Christmas (1993): This is the revolutionary stop motion animation film.

The Nutcracker Suite (1993): Starring Macaulay Culkin.

The Santa Clause (1994): Tim Allen stars as the “new” Santa Claus.

Trapped In Paradise (1994): Nicholas cage, Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey star as three brothers who can’t get out of town after they rob a bank.

Miracle On 34th Street (1994): This is a re-make of the 1947 film that isn’t as good, but has enjoyable performances, especially from Sir Richard Attenborough as Santa.

Mixed Nuts (1994): Steve Martin heads an all-star cast in the overwhelmingly hysterical film from director Nora Ephron.Mixed Nuts (1994)

The Ref (1994): Dennis Leary takes a family hostage on Christmas Eve, but as this comedy proves, Christmas always makes the unexpected happen.

The Preacher’s Wife (1996): This is a remake of The Bishop’s Wife, and it stars Denzel Washington, Whitney Huston and Courtney B. Vance.

Jingle All The Way (1992): Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad and Phil Hartman star in this film that is… well, funny, but bad.

Jack Frost (1998): Starring Michael Keaton and Joseph Cross.

Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas (1999): Mickey Mouse bring all his friends for this animated, feel good event.

Reindeer Games (2000): Ben Affleck stars in the action spectacular that promises plenty of guns, blood and robbers dressed like Santa.

The Family Man (2000): Starring Nicholas Cage, Tea Leoni and Don Cheadle.How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000): Jim carrey stars in this live action remake of the animated classic.

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001): Starring Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.

The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs. Clause (2002): Tim Allen is back, and this time he needs a wife!

Bad Santa (2003): Billy Bob Thorton stars as a… bad Santa.

Elf (2003): Will Ferrell stars in this comic/family film.

The Polar Express (2004): Director Robert Zemeckis revolutionized animated films with the help of Tom Hanks and this magical story from Chris Van Allsburg.

Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas (2004): So many Mickey Mouse Christmas cartoons, and so little time.

Christmas With The Kranks (2004): Tim Allen is back for more Christmas fun, and this time he brings Jamie Lee CurtisChristmas With The Kranks (2004) with him.

Surviving Christmas (2004): Starring Ben Affleck, Christina Applegate and James Gandolfini.

Joyeux Noel (2005): This film is based on true events that took place on Christmas Eve in 1914.

The Family Stone (2005): Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson head an all-star cast in this Christmas time drama.

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006): Tim Allen is back for more family friendly fun.

Deck The Halls (2006): Starring Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito.

The Nativity Story (2006):

The Holiday (2006): Starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black and Jude Law.

The Very First Noel (2007): Animated short film with the voice talent of Andy Griffith.

Fred Claus (2007): Starring Vince Vaughn, Kevin Spacey and Paul Giamatti.

Four Christmases (2008): Starring Vince Vaughn and Resse Witherspoon.

Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas (2009):

Disney's A Christmas Carol (2009)

Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009): The Disney animated film starring Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge.

Arthur Christmas (2011): This is a 3D animated film starring the voice talents of James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent and Bill Nighy.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jane Austen December 24, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Merry Christmas, Sir! I love to watch a great many of these movies over the holiday season, but there are so many on this list that I have not seen! I have a certain order of things. It starts on Thanksgiving Day with A Miracle on 34th Street. I own the original the remake and enjoy them both. It’s a good transition into the season since it starts on Thanksgiving Day. I love the Tim Allen Santa Claus series, since I can watch it with my kids. Every version of A Christmas Carol I can manage is a must. Christmas Eve calls for Family Man. Christmas with the Kranks is not on my list simply because the book was SO much better. :) White Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Elf, Home Alone, Merry Christmas Charlie Brown, It’s a Wonderful Life, are all fantastic and will be watched.

But I have favorites not on YOUR list. How is that possible?!? Here goes.

The Nutcracker (1993): Starring The New York City Ballet and Macaulay Culkin takes us from a Victorian Christmas Eve celebration to the magical world of the Sugar Plum Fairy. And suitable for children, which is a big plus for me.

Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas (2009): Takes the PBS Kids characters and transports them to a semi-full-length feature complete with catchy musical numbers and warm fuzzy feelings as we watch the man with the yellow hat and George celebrate the season together and with their many friends. Are you ready for Christmas Day to come? Sing it with me! Or if you’re a monkey, hum!

VeggieTales: The Incredible Singing Christmas Tree, The Star of Christmas, The Toy that Saved Christmas, and my personal favorite, Saint Nicholas: Each with it’s own heart-warming story, we join the VeggieTales cast for a series of Christmas adventures in which we are reminded to remember the real reason for the season, give generously to others, and celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Frosty the Snowman (1969), Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer (1964), and Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970): We watched these in my house as a child and I like to play them at least once a season now. You can’t leave out our friends on the island of misfit toys!

And finally…my favorite two for Christmas Day. One for the kids, and one for me.

The Very First Noel (2007): With Andy Griffith as the narrator and voice of Melchior the Wise Man, we hear the entire story of the birth of Jesus. It is adorable animation and some of the most enjoyable Christmas music you will hear in a short 23-minute feature. The theme song throughout is Joy to the World, and that’s what this new favorite of mine is all about.
The Nativity Story (2006): What could be better on Christmas Day than a wonderful portrayal of the birth of Jesus? This film shows us the realities of life under the cruel King Herod, the controversy of Mary’s pregnancy, the difficult journey they faced to Bethlehem, the political intrigue of the arrival of the Magi to Jerusalem, the insecurity and resulting wrath of Herod, the miracle of the Jesus’s birth and those who came to see him.

Merry Christmas!


Paul December 24, 2012 at 8:06 AM

Thanks for adding so many to the list. Some of these I haven’t seen and others I just forgot all about, but hopefully this list will continue to grow.


R.A. Kerr December 27, 2012 at 11:01 AM

This is a fabulous list. Am glad “Arthur Christmas” made the list. :)


Paul December 27, 2012 at 3:51 PM

I haven’t seen Arthur Christmas yet. Is it entertaining?


R.A. Kerr December 27, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Arthur Christmas is FANTASTIC! We saw it just the other night with both kids and adults and everyone loved it. Clever, witty script + amazing animation + perfect voices. You’ve got to see it!


Paul December 27, 2012 at 5:43 PM

Thanks for the heads up… I will certainly get to it soon!


Laura January 4, 2013 at 6:49 PM

What a thorough list! Enjoyed going over it very much. :) ARTHUR CHRISTMAS is a new favorite of my family’s.

Best wishes,


Paul January 4, 2013 at 10:32 PM

I’m glad you enjoyed the list! I still haven’t seen “Arthur Christmas”, but after hearing how much everyone likes this film I am going to make sure I get to it soon. Thanks for stopping by.


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