There are a ton of Christmas films out there. And we dig most of them. Sadly, we work with a word count here, and there’s no way we can cover every gem in the available catalogue.
With that in mind, we’re gonna keep it pretty modern here. No cheesy-but-classic-and-lovable It’s a Wonderful Life selections, and while we love stuff like The Nightmare Before Christmas, that’s sorta a hybrid (is it a Halloween or a Christmas movie?), so consider that an honorable mention for now. Instead, below we’re picking some obvious choices and a couple of curve balls, keeping it heavy on the comedy because that’s totally our speed.
Remember: This list is far from comprehensive but any of these are a great choice alongside some spiked egg nog this holiday season!
You know this one, so you hardly need the background. But it’s a modern classic starring SNL-alum Will Ferrell as “Buddy” the Elf, an adult man with a hilarious identity crisis. It’s wickedly quotable and meme-able, too. Make sure you whip yourself up a nice meal of candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup (the four main food groups, after all), and sit down to revisit this one this holiday season.
Penned by the folks behind Crazy Stupid Love and sprinkled with some Coen Brothers magic, this may not seem like an obvious choice at first blush but it’s so unique in many ways that we had to include it. Billy Bob Thornton’s “Santa” character is so hilariously profane (most f-bombs in a holiday movie ever?) that it would seem a shame to leave it off this list due to its wickedly edgy style alone.
You saw this pick coming a mile away, but who can argue with it? The first Vacation flick is a superlative entry into the “road trip” pantheon of films—it’s effectively at the head of that genre—and Christmas Vacation had a similar effect on holiday films. Chevy Chase has never been better, Cousin Eddie’s always a damn hoot, and there’s just nothing not to like about this classic.
C’mon. You knew we weren’t leaving Home Alone off this list. It’s so baked into the public consciousness that its exclusion would have been a sin. And after all, watching Harry and Marv go through a repeating loop of total anguish never gets old:
A bit of a surprise pick here and, for some of you, a “deep cut” from the early 1980s.
If you’re unfamiliar, Trading Places is a take on Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper theme, wherein two guys from separate sides of the track have their lives flipped. Dan Aykroyd goes from top broker to hopeless destitute, while Eddie Murphy ascends from homeless man to commodities kingpin. The film centers around the nature vs. nurture argument but it’s also a holiday flick. Not only does it take place during Christmastime, but the themes have some religious trappings, as well.
Most importantly, Trading Places is a blast and features incredible talent, including Jim Belushi, Jamie Lee Curtis, and the aforementioned Aykroyd and Murphy. A must-watch flick.
We’ve always had a soft spot for Tim Allen and this one was likely a fixture of your childhood. While Allen never really made it as a silver screen leading man after leaving Home Improvement, The Santa Clause made you think it was possible for a hot second. It’s humorous without being tasteless, heartfelt without coming across as smarmy. In short, it’s pretty great.
In the eternal argument that continues to rage—“Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?”—let us here at Blenders unequivocally answer: Yes, it is. It doesn’t matter that it’s a film about killing terrorists—we see Christmas trees and lights during it all and, by golly, that’s good enough for us. No matter what time of the year, watching it makes us think of the holidays. It’s a treasure.
And because you’ve all seen the movie by now… here’s the famous end scene. " Yippee ki-yay."