17 Greatest Christmas Movies

The Christmas season offers some of the greatest movies to watch with the family. From classic films to modern flicks, our picks for the best family-friendly holiday movies will help you get in the holiday spirit.


A Christmas Story

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Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Rating: PG

Synopsis: All 9-year-old Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun, but everybody keeps telling him, "You'll shoot your eye out." This Christmas classic filled with holiday hilarity chronicles Ralphie's attempts to convince adults that a Red Ryder BB gun is the perfect present.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

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MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Synopsis: Feeling depressed by the commercialization of Christmas, Charlie Brown searches for the true meaning of the holiday. With help from the rest of the Peanuts gang, Charlie Brown finds his answer; decorates a small, barren Christmas tree; and sings Christmas carols.

Elf

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MPAA Rating: PG

Synopsis: Buddy (Will Ferrell) is the only human ever raised by elves at the North Pole. With Santa's permission, Buddy journeys to New York City to find his Grinchlike birth father, experiences the Big Apple, and teaches his father to put family first -- all while spreading a little Christmas cheer.

Eloise at Christmastime

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MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Synopsis: Six-year-old Eloise spends most of her time making mischief in New York City's Plaza Hotel while her mom travels the world, leaving her nanny (Julie Andrews) in charge. One of her missions this Christmas is to reunite her friend Bill with his former girlfriend, the daughter of the hotel owner who is getting married on Christmas Eve.

Fred Claus

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MPAA Rating: PG

Synopsis: Santa's older brother Fred (Vince Vaughn) has spent his entire life in Santa's shadow. When Fred gets in trouble with the law, he has no choice but to head home for the holidays and earn money working in his brother's toy shop. Fred isn't cut out for making toys or spreading good cheer, and his stay at the North Pole puts the most wonderful time of the year in jeopardy.

Frosty the Snowman

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MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Synopsis: A magician and a group of schoolchildren fight for possession of a top hat after it magically brings a snowman to life. The animated short based on the popular Christmas song follows the children, the magician, and Frosty on a train to the North Pole.

Home Alone

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MPAA Rating: PG

Synopsis: Eight-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is accidentally left at home when his family flies to France for Christmas. He has a great time home alone, but after uncovering a plot to rob his house, Kevin faces off with two moronic burglars.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

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MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Synopsis: Sick of Whoville's Christmas merriment, the Grinch dons a Santa suit and steals all the Whos' Christmas presents, trees, and food. Despite his best efforts, the Grinch learns he can't "steal" Christmas and embraces the holiday, in this 1966 animated adaptation of Dr. Seuss' book of the same name.

It's a Wonderful Life

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MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Synopsis: When George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) realizes that he will be sent to jail after his uncle loses $8,000 of the family business' money and that evil-minded Mr. Potter will take over his hometown, he contemplates suicide on Christmas Eve. An angel named Clarence shows George what Bedford Falls would be like if he had never been born, helping George realize that his life has been a wonderful one and should continue.

Jingle All the Way

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MPAA Rating: PG

Synopsis: In this Christmas adventure, two fathers, Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Myron Larabee (Sinbad), compete to purchase the holiday's hottest toy -- a Turbo-Man action figure -- for their sons.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

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MPAA Rating: PG

Synopsis: Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzy the Bear, and the rest of the Muppet team retell Charles Dickens' classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge being held accountable for his miserly ways by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

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MPAA Rating: PG-13

Synopsis: Everything goes wrong for the Griswold family in this Christmas classic -- after all, it wouldn't be a Griswold adventure without Christmas light fiascos, unexpected guests, Christmas-bonus drama, and explosions. Chevy Chase is at his finest in this memorable adventure.

The Polar Express

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MPAA Rating: G

Synopsis: A young, pajama-clad boy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus hops on a magical train bound for the North Pole on Christmas Eve, where he experiences an incredible journey of self-discovery. He learns that life's wonders never fade for those who believe in Santa Claus and the magic of Christmas.

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

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MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Synopsis: After being laughed at by his peers for his bright red nose, Rudolph finds adventure with a playful elf who wants to be a dentist and a prospector named Yukon Cornelius. The trio outruns the Abominable Snowman and finds an island of misfit toys. When Rudolph returns to the North Pole to see if Santa can find a home for the neglected presents, Santa and the other reindeer, beset by a foggy night, decide his odd nose could be helpful after all.

The Santa Clause

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MPAA Rating: PG

Synopsis: When an accident causes Santa Claus to fall from Scott Calvin's (Tim Allen's) roof, he and his son finish Santa Claus' deliveries and travel to the North Pole. Scott discovers that he must become the new Santa and attempts to break the news to his family.

Scrooged

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MPAA Rating: PG-13

Synopsis: Television executive Frank Cross (Bill Murray) will do anything to increase his network's ratings, including forcing his staff to put on a live production of A Christmas Carol -- which means they have to work through Christmas Eve. To Frank's surprise, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future pay him a visit and with their help, he realizes he must change his mean spirit.

White Christmas

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MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Synopsis: Two army-buddies-turned-performers team up with a singing sisters act to save their former general's failing inn. With romantic mix-ups, beautiful dance numbers, and Bing Crosby's crooning Christmas carols, White Christmas is a holiday classic.

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