Christmas Favorites: A sugar-coated tournament of Christmas films


Christmas and holiday films -- from big budget to animated -- hold special places in many a person's heart. So let's have a fun tournament to (not really) settle the debate of the best of all time.

Earlier in 2018, we took a look at the best summer movies of 1998. So I figured it was time to take a crack at the best Christmas movies, with you, the reader (or Twitter user) vote on the best one.

Now, before you starting shouting all of your favorite holiday films of all-time, let's take a breath for a moment. For the sake of time and not making this a tournament of 502 films, I have not included Hallmark or Lifetime movies from the last 20 years. These movies are plentiful, important to some, and staples for Christmas viewing to many others.

Instead, focus has been placed mostly on theatrical releases. Christmas classics like Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas were placed in the tournament. One, because they are considered classics. And two, Christmas and holiday films have really taken off in the last 18 years. Prior to the year 2000, actual Christmas films outside of television specials were a bit more of a rarity.

So, over the next 12 (or so) days, we will whittle down a list of 64 movies I've selected. Films are separated into four regions: The 2000's, the 1990's, the 1980's, and -- lumped into one -- films released between 1940 and 1979. During this time, look for other posts about some of my favorites (or yours, is you have a topic you want me to write about. Or you want to write about as a guest post).

Now, there might be some debate as to whether a few of these are Christmas films (Die Hard, Die Hard 2, and The Nightmare Before Christmas). That's for other people decide. Or if you don't feel these films are of the Christmas variety, feel free to not vote for that film when the time arrives.

Voting will take place on Twitter, starting with the Pre-1980's region.


The number one seeds

Unlike the tournament from earlier, I did not use the box office totals to rank the teams in each region. I used an eyeball test, ranking some films higher based on my own personal tastes, while ranking others based on what others might think. (This ranking system is not an exact science. If college football can't get it right, why should I?)

Number one in the 2000's region is Elf. The 1990's are represented by the number one seed Home Alone.

Over in the 1980's, I handed the number one seed to A Christmas Story (I can hear the Die Hard fans seething already). And in the pre-1980's region, number one is It's a Wonderful Life.

Pre-1980's


  • 1)    It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
  • 16) The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
  • 8) Holiday Inn (1942)
  • 9) Babes in Toyland (1961)
  • 5) Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  • 12) Scrooge (1970)
  • 4) White Christmas (1954)
  • 13) Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
  • 6) Meet Me in St. Louis (1947)
  • 11) The Holly and the Ivy (1952)
  • 3) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
  • 14) Scrooge (1951)
  • 7) The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (animated-1966)
  • 10) Frosty the Snowman (animated-1969)
  • 2) A Charlie Brown Christmas (animated-1965)
  • 15) The Bishop's Wife (1947)

1980's


  • 1) A Christmas Story (1983)
  • 16) One Magic Christmas (1985)
  • 8) Gremlins (1984)
  • 9) Lethal Weapon (1987)
  • 5) Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)
  • 12) Nutcracker (1986)
  • 4) Scrooged (1988)
  • 13) Babes in Toyland (1986)
  • 6) Prancer (1989)
  • 11) A Christmas Carol (1984)
  • 3) National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
  • 14) A Very Brady Christmas (1988)
  • 7) Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)
  • 10) Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)
  • 2) Die Hard
  • 15) Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

1990's


  • 1) Home Alone (1990)
  • 16) All I Want for Christmas (1991)
  • 8) The Ref (1994)
  • 9) While You Were Sleeping (1995)
  • 5) Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
  • 12) I'll be Home for Christmas (1993)
  • 4) The Santa Clause (1994)
  • 13) The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992)
  • 6) The Preacher's Wife (1996)
  • 11) Jingle All the Way (1996)
  • 3) Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
  • 14) Mixed Nuts (1994)
  • 7) Die Hard 2 (1992)
  • 10) A Christmas Carol (1999)
  • 2) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
  • 15) Jack Frost (1998)

2000's

1) Elf (2003)
16) Deck the Halls (2006)
8) The Holiday (2006)
9) Disney's A Christmas Carol (2009)
5) How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
12) Four Christmases (2008)
4) The Polar Express (2004)
13) Fred Claus (2007)
6) The Family Stone (2005)
11) The Santa Clause 2 (2002)
3) Love Actually (2003)
14) Eight Crazy Nights (2002)
7) Surviving Christmas (2004)
10) The Night Before (2015)
2) Bad Santa (2003)
15) Christmas with the Kranks (2004)

The 2000's didn't have quite the room for a few (i.e. Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, Just Friends) but Ryan Reynolds cannot be everywhere these days. And there was already more than enough Tim Allen to go around.

Happy voting!

photo credit: flickr.com

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