When it comes to the holiday season, watching classic films with friends and family may be one of the top activities on your list.
Holiday films are cheesy and almost always end with a neat resolution inspiring viewers to show kindness to friends and family or give back to the community. If you plan on revisiting the classics this December, here’s a personal guide for which ones take the cake, ranked in order of most to least important to watch:
1. ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’
Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” imagines an unconventional Christmas through dark fantasy. While other films have come before and after that imagine a “scary” Christmas, this one does it best.
The film tells the story of Jack Skellington, who rules over Halloween Town and stumbles on a portal to Christmas Town. Assuming the role of Santa Claus, Jack Skellington celebrates the holiday with a dark twist and fills the town with skeletal reindeer and terrifying gifts. The film contains several meaningful elements like stop-motion storytelling, a love story and a lesson on the meaning of Christmas.
As one of the most GIF-worthy and meme-able Christmas films to date, Jon Favreau’s “Elf” starring actor and comedian Will Ferrell presents Christmas with a comedic twist.
Ferell plays Buddy the Elf, a human who was accidentally sent to the North Pole as a baby and raised to adulthood and takes a journey in New York City to find his birth father. The film is filled with notable scenes, like Elf eating a plate full of candy spaghetti and starting a snowball fight with teenagers. The movie’s popularity even led to a musical of the same name in 2010, which received high box office acclaim. The film subverts the fantasy of Christmas and relays holiday themes of love and family.
3. ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’
Originally based on a 1957 book by Dr. Seuss, this animated television movie tells the story of the Grinch, a bitter hermit who lives on top of a mountain overlooking the town of Whoville.
The residents of Whoville happily celebrate Christmas every year, enraging the Grinch who plans to take down Christmas by dressing up as Santa and stealing every gift and decoration. As the Grinch realizes the residents of Whoville are still able to celebrate Christmas without material goods, he understands that Christmas is more about spending time together than buying gifts.
4. ‘A Christmas Prince’
When this Netflix original film was released in 2017, it wasn’t long before it became a trending Twitter hashtag full of memes and jokes poking fun at its cheesy romantic comedy elements.
The film tells the story of Amber, an aspiring magazine journalist who is sent to the fictional country Aldovia to report on a press conference given by the royal Prince Richard, who is positioned to assume the throne. Richard is said to be a “playboy” according to the media in the movie, but Amber and Richard eventually fall in love after she realizes he is more compassionate than she first thought. The film features overly dramatic twists and turns and corny romantic tropes. But unlike the rest of the films on this list, that is actually the movie’s greatest strength. Hailed by many on social media as the film that is “so bad it’s good,” this movie unintentionally has become a must-see Christmas classic.
5. ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’
Based on the Charles Dickens 1843 novel “A Christmas Carol,” the film takes a well-known Christmas tale and adds the zany and heartwarming appeal of the Muppets.
The movie tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a cheap, inconsiderate money-lender who does not participate in Christmas with his family and friends. The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future visit Scrooge – all of whom help convince him to lead a better life on Earth with kindness and to celebrate the holiday. The original Dickens story has been told in many films over the years, but in this movie, the Muppets all work together to tell the story in a way conducive to young viewers.