5. Love Actually (2003)
This was the movie that started the chain of terrible holiday-themed ensemble cast rom-coms (lookin’ at you, Valentine’s Day and New Year's Eve). OK, OK, so Love Actually is an all-Brit version and at least it’s not called “Christmas,” not to mention it has very little to do with the holiday itself ... but for all its cliches, I still adore this movie, particularly when Hugh Grant starts dancing across his house to The Pointer Sisters.
4. The Family Stone (2005)
I can watch this movie 17 times a season and not get sick of it. During the week of Thanksgiving this year, I watched it three times in three days! If I need to wrap something and I want background noise, it gets popped in. It’s feel-good family drama starring Sarah Jessica Parker at her least annoying.
3. The Polar Express (2004)
I was completely enchanted by this movie when it came out and not just because Tom Hanks voices practically every character. (It’s hard to say if Woody or Buzz is my favorite Santa—just kidding, totally Buzz.) Bonus points for the chills-inducing Josh Groban song at the end. P.S. The bell still rings for me. ❤
2. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Michael Caine is my very favorite Scrooge. I wasn’t really a Muppet fan as a kid, but Kermit as Bob Cratchit just melts my heart. Gonzo and Rizzo’s narration cracks me up and it’s such a fun twist on a gloomy Dickens classic.
1. The Santa Clause (1994)
A Christmas Eve tradition. I fell in love with this movie years and years ago and the charm has never worn off. (The terrible sequels magically don’t retroactively destroy for me.) It makes me cry every single time, but not before I quote nearly the entire thing with utter joy. “Look Barnaby, I just want to go home!” And David Krumholtz as an elf is my favorite.