It’s been pretty warm throughout many (normally chilly) parts of the country this December, and when we’re not bundling up our jackets to romp in the snow outside, it can be hard to muster up some good ol’ fashioned Christmas spirit. But luckily, there are other ways to spread holiday cheer. From listening to Christmas songs (Mariah’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” on repeat, obviously) to baking cookies shaped like reindeer and Santa, there are a ton of ways to get yourself in December mode.
But one of the absolute fool-proof ways? Holiday movies, of course! There are so many awesome holiday movies out there that make us feel all warm and happy inside, but here are the ones that fill us to the very top with *all* of the Christmas spirit.
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
We’ll start with an oldie, but a goodie. The story of Clarence getting his wings once and for all by helping the down-on-his-luck George Bailey is one that will always tug at our heartstrings. This is a holiday movie for everybody — it’s wholesome (read: no awkward sex scenes that the grandparents will be shocked by), yet the beautiful love story between George and Mary makes it a perfectly romantic film to cuddle up and watch with your partner. Plus, the ending just fills us with all the warm fuzzy Christmas feels.
Love Actually (2003)
And while we’re talking about romantic Christmas movies, we can’t possibly leave out Love Actually, a.k.a. the film that made me believe in love. The ten separate-yet-intertwining stories are all sob-worthy yet beautiful in their own ways, and it’s got a seriously rockin’ Christmas-y soundtrack (yes, including “All I Want For Christmas Is You”). It’s hilarious, heartbreaking, heart-mending, and so detailed that you get something new out of it every single time.
A huge thank you to the year 2003 for gifting us some pretty fabulous holiday movies. . . such as Elf, the reason why we’re all running around obnoxiously yelling “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” Plus, we could listen to our girl Zooey Deschanel sing Christmas carols all freakin’ day.
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
If you want an ultra-cheesy animated Christmas tale, the claymation specials we all know and love are the way to go. It’s hokey in the most adorable way, and we’ll always feel for Hermey, Rudolph, and the inhabitants of the Island of Misfit Toys. Plus, can we talk about how adorable claymation reindeer are? Clarisse + Rudolph 4ever.
The Year Without A Santa Claus (1974)
Oh, and while we’re talking about claymation, it’s not Christmas until we hear Heat Miser and Snow Miser work out their brotherly quarrels via song:
In the words of Chandler Bing, could there be anything catchier?
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Otherwise known as the movie that will make you believe in Santa again, this one is a classic that will never fail to make you feel all the end-of-the-year cheer. Plus, there’s the incredible talent of Maureen O’Hara. And sure, it might be black and white, but it helps to know that with her red hair and green eyes, The Queen of Technicolor was pretty much Christmas personified.
Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
OK, no offense to Charles Dickens, but my absolute favorite version of his classic A Christmas Carol involves Kermit the Frog, The Great Gonzo, and Rizzo the Rat. Because honestly, what better way to celebrate the holidays than with The Muppets? It’s adorable and hysterical and so Christmas-y it hurts a little bit.
The Holiday (2006)
If you’re a fan of Love Actually, but haven’t seen The Holiday, get on that, STAT. When Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet) in London and Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) in California both get their hearts shattered by their significant others, they decide to swap homes for the holiday. . . leading them to meet who they really were meant to be with all along. Love and Christmas just go so perfectly together, guys.
A Christmas Story (1983)
“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” When it comes to Christmas spirit, A Christmas Story is just one of those movies that will do the trick every time, reminding us of all those Christmas mornings when we searched under the tree for that *one* gift we wanted more than anything. Sure, Christmas isn’t about presents, but let’s be real: it’s a darn good feeling to get what you want from Santa.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1983)
Rounding out this list of holiday cheer is none other than the story of the Griswold family Christmas, with all their wacky antics from Christmas light displays to uprooting an insanely massive Christmas tree to the holiday bonus Clark wasn’t exactly expecting. It’s not Christmas without the pure insanity of the Griswolds.
Happy holidays and happy watching!
(Images via RKO Radio Pictures, Universal Pictures, New Line Cinema, NBC, 20th Century Fox, Buena Vista Pictures, Columbia Pictures, MGM/UA Entertainment Co., Warner Bros.)