12 Christmas Classics Ranked From Worst to Best

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It's nearly the most wonderful time of the year, so we've ranked 12 Christmas classics from worst to best (don't worry - we love them all)!

Table of Contents

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12. It's a Wonderful Life

Placing It's a Wonderful Life (1946) at the bottom of this list is by no means an insult. However, while the 1946 film is widely considered a classic - and rightly so - it has been outshined by many other stars on our list. Nevertheless, like many other festive classics, this one carries a very heartwarming message.

11. Elf

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On first glance, many might consider Will Ferrell's Elf (2003) to be one of those irksome and disposable comedies, but the truth is that it's the type of film that grows on you a little bit more each Christmas. Buddy the Elf has also become one of the most well-known Christmas characters, not unlike the Grinch.

10. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Tim Burton's iconic classic The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) is perhaps the most unusual entry on our list, and not because it's told in stop-motion animation, but because it is, in equal parts, a Christmas movie and a Halloween movie. However, it's also considered a 100% Christmas movie by many,

9. Love Actually

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Several stories intertwine in this British rom-com, which has more A-listers than all the MCU movies combined. Love Actually (2003) is a bonafide classic, although the inexplicably-beloved scene in which Andrew Lincoln's character is confessing his undying love to his best friend's wife should be scrubbed out.

Related: 10 Reasons Why 'Die Hard' Is a Christmas Movie

8. A Christmas Carol

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There are several big-screen adaptations of Charles Dickens' Christmas classic, but the Robert Zemeckis-directed A Christmas Carol (2009), which stars Jim Carrey as the merry-less miser, is by far among the most superior. Told in jaw-dropping stop-motion animation, this is also the most faithful adaptation.

7. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Jim Carrey is back again, but this time as the Grinch in another book-to-big-screen adaption. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) is a joyous watch, even if it is oddly unnerving in parts (the Whoville residents are the stuff of nightmares) and bursting at the seams with adult innuendos!

6. Gremlins

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Gremlins (1984) isn't just a Christmas movie - it's also something of a family-friendly dark comedy horror. But while it's nowhere near as fun as its 1990 sequel, it is the only Christmas movie out of the two, and it's great fun to watch adorable Mogwai Gizmo take on his slimy counterparts known as the Gremlins!

5. Die Hard

The debate as to whether or not Die Hard (1988) is a Christmas movie rages on, despite director John McTiernan recently confirming that it is. Nevertheless, even if you don't find this film "Christmassy" - understandable, of course - it is a holiday classic that stars Bruce Willis. What more could you want?!

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Related: 7 Reasons Why 'Die Hard' Isn't a Christmas Movie

4. The Holiday

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Like Love Actually, The Holiday (2006) features a star-studded cast from both sides of the Atlantic. However, this is a far classier affair than its predecessor, and there's just no getting past just how cosy it all is, whether it's Kate Winslet's cottage in Surrey, or Jude Law's hot chocolate-making skills!

3. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Remember what we were just saying about all the adaptations of A Christmas Carol? Well, look no further than The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992), which isn't just a great Christmas movie - it's also the best Muppets movie! An extended cut of the film is also heading to Disney+ in time for Christmas.

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2. The Polar Express

Despite being a beloved classic, The Polar Express (2004), which is also directed by Robert Zemeckis and told in CG animation, is considered quite creepy, with its "uncanny valley" humans. But be that as it may, the film captures those somewhat mysterious twilight hours of Christmas Eve perfectly.

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1. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Sacrilege - Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) is at our top spot, and the original is nowhere in sight! Well, the truth is that - and we think many would agree - this sequel is a bonafide classic, more so than the original. Talkboy, Tim Curry, Pidgeon Lady, Sticky Bandits, Duncan's Toy Chest - the list goes on!

Related: All the Home Alone Movies Ranked From Worst to Best