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10 Best Holiday Movies to Get You in the Festive Mood

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Liza is a homemaker. She has an obsession with coffee and loves photography, baking, cooking, and writing.

My holiday mood is not complete without binge-watching holiday movies. Here are ten of my favorites.

My holiday mood is not complete without binge-watching holiday movies. Here are ten of my favorites.

What to Binge Watch?

In my opinion, the holidays are all about comfort. Something happens on cold and gloomy days when it draws you to cuddle up in soft blankets, cozy sweaters, and thick socks and forget about your troubles.

I believe many of us have the same feeling during this time. One thing is for sure, my holiday mood is not complete without binge-watching holiday movies. Whilst cuddling under the warm blanket seems best but the comfort of a happy ending holiday movie always makes me feel jolly.

Therefore, if you are looking forward to the holiday season, I suggest getting these feel-good and fun movies on your list to get you in the festive mood.

If you own some of these movies on a digital optical disc (DVD), it's even better. Use the DVD player, insert the DVD, and hit the play button! I bet it will bring back the good old days' memories.

My Top 10 Holiday Movies

  1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  2. You've Got Mail (1998)
  3. While You Were Sleeping (1995)
  4. Home Alone (1990)
  5. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
  6. Last Holiday (2006)
  7. Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
  8. Gremlins (1984)
  9. Jingle All the Way (1996)
  10. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

  • Who's in it: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin, and Anthony Hopkins

I vividly remember watching this movie for the first time with my eldest sister and her two young kids. We enjoyed this live-action adaptation of the beloved children's book by Dr. Seuss which was originally published in 1957.

It tells a story about the whimsical city of Whoville. The inhabitants celebrate Christmas with much happiness and joy, except for an unsociable green Grinch who despises Christmas.

The Grinch resides in Mount Crumpit with his pet dog, Max. A tragic past incident has made him hate Christmas. Disgusted with the Whos' Christmas, the Grinch vows to crush their spirit by stealing all of their presents, decorations, and food while they are asleep.

However, the bitter grump Grinch finds a hitch in his plans when he encounters the delightful and sweet Cindy Lou (Taylor Momsen). At first, Cindy Lou was afraid of the Grinch, because of his appearance. Later, she realized that the Grinch has a tragic past after he saved her life from the stamping post and tries to help him by becoming his friend.

In my opinion, Jim Carrey absolutely nailed the Grinch. The film was fun and entertaining to watch with the family and has since become a holiday classic. By the way, Anthony Hopkins was a narrator in this film.

2. You've Got Mail (1998)

  • Who's in it: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Greg Kinnear, Steve Zahn, and Dave Chappelle

You've Got Mail isn't just an iconic rom-com starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It's also a Christmas movie. In the '90s, romantic comedies reached their peak, with many associated with a holiday theme.

It tells the story of two people who met online and are unaware they are also business rivals. Suddenly, Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) owner of the corporate Fox books chain store moved in and launch a mega bookstore not far away from a local bookshop owned by Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan). Guess what? They fall in love with the obscurity of the Internet. They haven't yet met each other, however, both continue sharing the story of their life through e-mail.

I feel like You've Got Mail is a rom-com you need to watch over the holiday. The movie is perfect for people who love New York City and who look forward to spending time with loved ones. That happily ever after ending is part of what makes You've Got Mail one of the best holiday movies ever made.

3. While You Were Sleeping (1995)

  • Who's in it: Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher, Peter Boyle, Glynis Johns, and Jack Warden

While You Were Sleeping is one of my favorite rom-coms from the '90s. And though it's definitely a rom-com, it's hard to neglect the holiday ambiance: the cold winter, the snow, and the family gathering all make it a perfect holiday movie.

The film is about a lonely woman named Lucy (Sandra Bullock), a subway worker smitten with a handsome commuter named Peter (Peter Gallagher). She rescues him from a mugging on Christmas, but unfortunately, he falls into a coma. At the hospital the situation gets chaotic, and she is mistakenly called his fiancé by his adorable family.

Lucy plays along as she fabricates a life between herself and a stranger she doesn't know. However, her feelings toward Peter change when she falls for his charming younger brother, Jack (Bill Pullman). Suddenly, the situation gets uproarious as she has to make a choice between the two brothers.

It's a Christmas movie filmed in Chicago, and is perfect for a holiday mood as the story is warm and delightful.

4. Home Alone (1990)

  • Who's in it: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Catherine O'Hara, and John Candy

Your holiday isn't going to be complete without a classic holiday movie. Home Alone is one of the most-watched holiday movies since it premiered in Chicago on November 10, 1990.

It tells the story of Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin), a bright eight-year-old forced to defend his suburban home from burglars. This happens after his family inadvertently leaves him behind on their Christmas vacation to Paris. When Kevin awakens to an empty house, he assumes that his wish to have no family came true. He's excited because he finally has the whole house to himself.

In the meantime, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), a pair of burglars known as the "Wet Bandits," are running a scam where they break into people's homes while they're away on Christmas vacation to steal their belongings. One of the houses they have in mind: the McCallister's. Thus, Kevin's excitement at being home alone turns sour when he realizes the burglars are trying to rob him.

To protect his house, Kevin sets booby traps—some insanely hazardous! He succeeds in protecting his house and Harry and Marv are arrested. The next day, Kevin wakes up and calls for his mother, but is disappointed to find that he is still alone. His mother then arrives and the two reconcile before his father and siblings join after.

Like any classic movie, what makes Home Alone enduring is that it's appealing to both children and adults—though on different levels.

5. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

  • Who's in it: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Catherine O'Hara, Tim Curry, and Rob Schneider.

Despite being a sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is a holiday classic. The sequel is as good as its predecessor.

Instead of celebrating Christmas in Chicago, Kevin and his family go to Miami, Florida. On the day of departure, the McCallisters accidentally oversleep, so they rush through the airport to make their flight. At the airport, Kevin is busy inserting batteries into his Talkboy, so he gets separated from the group. He boards the plane, blissfully unaware that he's on a flight bound for New York.

Before encountering his former foes—the "Wet Bandits" are now known as the "Sticky Bandits"—Kevin goes sightseeing around NYC. He relishes staying at The Plaza Hotel, using his father's credit card to check himself into the Presidental Suite.

In the meantime, Harry and Marv escape prison and emerge in New York City. Kevin uses his old antics against the Sticky Bandits to protect himself, and it is hilarious! Kevin is reunited with his mother in front of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. On Christmas Day, Kevin and his family wake up with plenty of gifts donated by the courteous owner of Duncan's Toy Chest.

By the way, the music score of Home Alone 2 is a masterpiece. It makes the ambiance of New York City connect with the holiday spirits.

6. Last Holiday (2006)

  • Who's in it: Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton, Alicia Witt, Gerard Depardieu, and Giancarlo Esposito

I've always been a massive fan of movies that include one of my interests ... food. Last Holiday is about a humble and shy lady, Georgia Byrd, a salesperson living in New Orleans. At work, she fancies her crush from afar, Sean Williams (LL Cool J), and then returns home.

In the evenings, while watching TV cooking shows, she prepares gourmet dishes. She also saves pictures of the places she wants to visit in her "Possibilities" scrapbook. One day, after a mishap at her workplace, she's told by a doctor that she has several brain tumors— a rare terminal neurological disorder called Lampington's disease. As a result, she only has a few weeks to live.

She immediately quits her job and spends her savings on a luxury holiday in Europe. She flies to Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic and finally embarks on the dreams in her “Possibilities” scrapbook. By a twist of fate, she became the center of attention in a social circle filled with politicians, wealthy businessmen, and nosy hotel staff.

When she ends her magical holiday, Georgia receives a fax saying she was wrongly diagnosed. She celebrates the news by reuniting with Sean and opening a restaurant together.

7. Christmas with the Kranks (2004)

  • Who's in it: Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd, Julie Gonzalo, Erik Per Sullivan, M. Emmett Walsh, and Elizabeth Franz

When I first heard about the two leads in this movie, I thought what an exciting pair. I was familiar with Tim Allen from his role on the family sitcom Home Improvement, and I knew Jamie Lee Curtis from the Halloween franchise.

Christmas With The Kranks tells the story of Luther Krank (Tim Allen), who is known by his neighbors as a guy who loves to celebrate Christmas big every year. When he and his wife Nora (Jamie Lee Curtis) see their daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo) depart for a Peace Corps assignment in Peru, Luther decides to forgo Christmas entirely this year. He suggests going on a ten-day Caribbean cruise and Nora agrees.

However, their plan gets hijacked by a phone call from Blair. On Christmas Eve morning, while Luther and Nora are packing for the trip, Blair reveals she is at Miami International Airport, en route home with her Peruvian fiancé Enrique as a surprise for her parents.

She will be home that night with Enrique to celebrate Christmas. When Blair asks if they are having their usual party that night, a panicked Nora says yes. This is when the chaos happens as Luther and Nora find themselves trying to decorate the house and coordinate a party with only twelve hours to spare before their daughter and future son-in-law arrive.

Christmas With The Kranks is enjoyable and best watched with a family.

8. Gremlins (1984)

  • Who's in it: Zach Gilligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Polly Holiday, and Howie Mandel

Gremlins is set in the fictional Rockwellian town of Kingston Falls. The movie starts with Randall Peltzer (Hoyt Axton) purchasing a mogwai named Gizmo from a Chinese antique shop owner named Mr. Wing. The owner warns Randall to not get the mogwai wet, to not expose them to light, and never to feed them after midnight.

Randall gifts the mogwai to his teen son, Billy, who immediately spills water on Gizmo, who strangely multiplies. But, these new Mogwai are different, more mischievous.

Later, they trick Billy into being fed after midnight and their transformation into reptilian-like gremlins is complete. The gremlins threaten to overthrow the snowed-in, yuletide-adorned town, with Billy, Gizmo, and Billy's girlfriend Kate (Phoebe Cates) in pursuit.

In the end, Mr. Wing reclaims Gizmo at the Peltzer home. As he leaves, Gizmo bids Billy goodbye. Mr. Wing concedes that Billy may be ready one day, and when he is, Gizmo will be waiting. Gremlins is one of the best '80s Christmas movies, especially if you love dark comedy.

9. Jingle All the Way (1996)

  • Who's in it: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Rita Wilson, Robert Conrad, Jake Lloyd, and Jim Belushi

Everyone knows Arnold Schwarzenegger as an action movie star. I first saw his comic side in the 1990 movie Kindergarten Cop, and he was funny in that movie. He nailed his role as an undercover kindergarten teacher.

Jingle All the Way is the story of two rival fathers: a workaholic mattress salesman named Howard Langston (Schwarzenegger) and a postal worker named Myron Larabee (Sinbad). They're both desperately trying to purchase a Turbo-Man action figure for their sons on a last-minute, Christmas Eve shopping spree.

Turbo Man is a popular television superhero and every parent is trying to get their hands on the action figure. Obviously, the item is sold out in every toy store. The hijinx gets increasingly more ridiculous after encountering Myron Larabee, a father who with the same notion.

Overall, Jingle All the Way is a light-hearted and fun family flick. Plus, there is something about Schwarzenegger running around and fighting to get his hands on the action figure. Generally known as a big action hero, he made this movie laughable and enjoyable.

10. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

  • Who's in it: Sir Richard Attenborough, Elizabeth Perkins, Mara Wilson, Dylan McDermott, Robert Prosky, and James Remar

In this remake of the classic 1947 movie, Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins) is a Cole's department store events director who finds that her life is changed forever when she encounters a mysterious and kindly elderly man who calls himself Kris Kringle (Richard Attenborough). She begs him to take a job as a mall Santa and he accepts.

Kringle's presence dramatically increases the store's sales, so he's hired to be Cole's main Santa for the holiday season. Kris insists that he is the one, true Santa, but Dorey is not very pleased with what she hears. In the meantime, six-year-old Susan Walker (Mara Wilson) is skeptical of the Christmas myth surrounding Santa Claus, a trait she perhaps learned from her mother, Dorey. As he did with her mother, Kringle confides to Susan that he is the real Santa.

Unfortunately, Kris is framed for a crime and finds himself on trial where he has to prove that Santa exists and that he is him. Dorey's neighbor, Bryan (Dylan McDermott), who has feelings for her, is on-board to prove both Kringle's innocence and the fact that he is Santa.

Honestly, no movie can replace the original, but this remake is a sweet, gentle, and good-hearted story that stays true to the holiday spirit. I highly recommend watching both Miracle on 34th Streets with your family!

© 2022 Liza