10 Christmas Flicks for Millennials

In honor of National Christmas Movie Marathon Day, and for all the millennials out there, here's your must-see list!

By Jesse Conner

Peter Billingsley in "A Christmas Story."

© MGM/courtesy Everett Collection

  • Home Alone

    © 20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection

    It's not Christmas until you've visited Kevin McCallister's house, which is sure to be full of booby traps and burglars. No one wants to be alone on Christmas... well maybe if you have your dad's credit card and a house all to yourself, then it doesn't sound too bad.

    Home Alone

    Holiday / 1990 / PG

    When bratty 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) acts out the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother (Catherine O'Hara) makes him sleep in the attic. After the McCallisters mistakenly leave for the airport without Kevin, he awakens to an empty house and assumes his wish to have no family has come true. But his excitement sours when he realizes that two con men (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern) plan to rob the McCallister residence, and that he alone must protect the family home.

  • Elf

    © New Line/courtesy Everett Collection

    For most Christmas movies, the films are usually centered around the big guy, but why don't Santa's little helpers get more credit? Well, although this particular helper is anything but little, Buddy the Elf has a story and we think it's worth seeing especially since his motto is "the best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.” How can you say no to that?


    Comedy / 2003 / PG

    Buddy (Will Ferrell) was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa's elves. Unable to shake the feeling that he doesn't fit in, the adult Buddy travels to New York, in full elf uniform, in search of his real father. As it happens, this is Walter Hobbs (James Caan), a cynical businessman. After a DNA test proves this, Walter reluctantly attempts to start a relationship with the childlike Buddy with increasingly chaotic results.

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas

    © Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

    Taking a successful cartoon and turning it into a live-action film is not an easy thing to do, but when we think of the Grinch, we think of Jim Carrey's animated performance and it's definitely something that you don't want to pass up. From his wardrobe, to his voice, and even his demeanor, he's a force to be reckoned with.

    How the Grinch Stole Christmas

    Children / 2000 / PG

    In this live-action adaptation of the beloved children's tale by Dr. Seuss, the reclusive green Grinch (Jim Carrey) decides to ruin Christmas for the cheery citizens of Whoville. Reluctantly joined by his hapless dog, Max, the Grinch comes down from his mountaintop home and sneaks into town to swipe everything holiday-related from the Whos. However, the bitter grump finds a hitch in his plans when he encounters the endearing Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen).

  • The Santa Clause

    © Buena Vista/courtesy Everett Collection

    If you're a 90's baby, then we can almost guarantee that Tim Allen is the Santa Claus you know and love. Spanning into 3 movies, this non-traditional Santa flick is one that's full of imagination and comedy, and we're certain that after watching it, you'll never look at a chimney the same ever again.

    The Santa Clause

    Comedy / 1994 / PG

    Divorced dad Scott (Tim Allen) has custody of his son (Eric Lloyd) on Christmas Eve. After he accidentally kills a man in a Santa suit, they are magically transported to the North Pole, where an elf explains that Scott must take Santa's place before the next Christmas arrives. Scott thinks he's dreaming, but over the next several months he gains weight and grows an inexplicably white beard. Maybe that night at the North Pole wasn't a dream after all -- and maybe Scott has a lot of work to do.

  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

    © Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

    Christmas is a great time to connect with family and to just appreciate that you have each other in your life. This can be said for most of your family members, and the others... maybe not so much, but you still love them anyways. The best example you'll find of a functioning dysfunctional family is at the Griswold's house on Christmas.

    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

    Holiday / 1989 / PG-13

    As the holidays approach, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants to have a perfect family Christmas, so he pesters his wife, Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo), and children, as he tries to make sure everything is in line, including the tree and house decorations. However, things go awry quickly. His hick cousin, Eddie (Randy Quaid), and his family show up unplanned and start living in their camper on the Griswold property. Even worse, Clark's employers renege on the holiday bonus he needs.

  • A Christmas Story

    © MGM/courtesy Everett Collection

    This film is one that we're going to designate as our hidden Christmas gem of the list because there's a large chance that if you're a millennial that you haven't seen it because it was made before you were born. If that's the case, then you absolutely need to see this because it has everything you would expect from a traditional Christmas movie about a small town kid growing up and trying to navigate the holidays and his childhood.

    A Christmas Story

    Comedy / 1983 / PG

    Based on the humorous writings of author Jean Shepherd, this beloved holiday movie follows the wintry exploits of youngster Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), who spends most of his time dodging a bully (Zack Ward) and dreaming of his ideal Christmas gift, a "Red Ryder air rifle." Frequently at odds with his cranky dad (Darren McGavin) but comforted by his doting mother (Melinda Dillon), Ralphie struggles to make it to Christmas Day with his glasses and his hopes intact.

  • Love Actually

    © Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

    Standing alone as the only real rom-com Christmas movie on our list, this movie consists of nine parallel stories that are all full of love. This is a timeless classic that shows love during Christmas time in such a way that it may even have you looking for the nearest mistletoe.

    Love Actually

    Holiday / 2003 / R

    Nine intertwined stories examine the complexities of the one emotion that connects us all: love. Among the characters explored are David (Hugh Grant), the handsome newly elected British prime minister who falls for a young junior staffer (Martine McCutcheon), Sarah (Laura Linney), a graphic designer whose devotion to her mentally ill brother complicates her love life, and Harry (Alan Rickman), a married man tempted by his attractive new secretary.

  • It's a Wonderful Life

    © RKO Radio Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

    We sincerely hope that you've seen this magical film because it really makes you thankful for whatever you have and whoever you have in your life. It also acknowledges that at times it may feel like you don’t have much of an impact on people around you, and then it reminds you that you make much more of a difference than you might think. If you haven't seen this heartwarming, black and white classic yet, stop what you're doing and go watch it.

    It's a Wonderful Life

    Holiday / 1946 / PG

    After George Bailey (James Stewart) wishes he had never been born, an angel (Henry Travers) is sent to earth to make George's wish come true. George starts to realize how many lives he has changed and impacted, and how they would be different if he was never there.

  • Scrooged

    © Paramount Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

    You can probably guess from the title that Santa isn't at the helm of this flick. If you want to see Bill Murray letting loose early in his career as a scrooge-type character who's in for a rude awakening, we highly recommend this movie. Sometimes, if you don't take the time to take a step back and look at your life, you might not like what you see and where it's headed when you eventually do.


    Holiday / 1988 / PG-13

    In this modern take on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a wildly successful television executive whose cold ambition and curmudgeonly nature has driven away the love of his life, Claire Phillips (Karen Allen). But after firing a staff member, Eliot Loudermilk (Bobcat Goldthwait), on Christmas Eve, Frank is visited by a series of ghosts who give him a chance to re-evaluate his actions and right the wrongs of his past.

  • Bad Santa

    © Dimension/courtesy Everett Collection

    Our final pick is anything but traditional when it comes to what we imagine when we think about jolly Saint Nick. This is the Santa we think we might find at a gas station wearing an alcohol-soaked suit with a cigarette in his mouth. But just because he might look a little rough around the edges, doesn't mean he's incapable of spreading some holiday cheer...in his own way.

    Bad Santa

    Holiday / 2003 / R

    In this dark comedy, the crotchety Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) and his partner (Tony Cox) reunite once a year for a holiday con. Posing as a mall Santa and his elf, they rip off shopping outlets on Christmas Eve. This year, however, Willie is falling apart. He's depressed and alcoholic, and his erratic behavior draws the suspicion of mall security (Bernie Mac). But when befriending a small boy brings out his kinder side, Willie begins to wonder if there is still some hope for him.

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