Top-5 Christmas Movies Lists

17 Dec

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Compiling a massive list of Christmas movies we recommend has been a pet project for a couple years now. Over the years, Caitlin and I have developed a list of must watches every year (It’s a Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown, Rudolph), some we mix in when we’re in the mood (One Magic Christmas, Die Hard, Home Alone) and then a few new ones we try out to see if they stick. Our collection of favorites grows and grows, but we still didn’t come close to covering the wide swath of Christmas movies of all genres, so we invited a few friends to help us cover all that Christmas has to offer.

We’ll go through top-5s from each of the following along with a bunch of our author’s over-all top-5s:

  • Animated and Under-Appreciated by Caitlin
  • Comedies by Brian
  • Dark Comedies and Action by Alec
  • Not Christmas Movies by Monte
  • Lifetime by Emily
  • Horror by Chris
  • Sitcoms by Rob

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Animated Classics by Caitlin Teibloom
Scrooge McDuck earns his name in this Disney take on the Dickens classic. The Ghost of Christmas Past is played by Jiminy Cricket, Goofy is Jacob Marley, and Mickey is (of course) Bob Cratchit. It’s a fun interpretation, the music is sweet — it’s a classic. 
We open on video from Disney World, with soft, fuzzy pastel 80s toys and decorations to admire. Then we get a compilation of gorgeously animated shorts, all featuring wintery scenes and characters new and old. The first vignette is about a young couple who fights while ice skating, and whose moral is that animals are just too good for us. The next features Mickey cutting down the tree Chip ‘n’ Dale live in to decorate for the holidays, causing Pluto to try and chomp the friends right out of their home. There’s also clips from all sorts of Disney classics that they shoehorn into the holidays. I think the best is probably Donald Duck working at a gift-wrapping shop — think Lucille Ball with the chocolates but it’s gifts and an angry duck. Track this one down.
Burl Ives narrates this classic via spoken word and song, and it is such a sweet little film. The stop motion effects of this movie and its siblings are just spectacular, and lovable characters like Clarice and Herbey (“I don’t mind, if you don’t mind my being…a dentist,”) Yukon Cornelius (“Wahoo!!”) and King Moonracer (for goodness’ sake he’s a flying lion named KING MOONRACER) make it unmissable each year. The songs are good enough to be enjoyed on their own, and ultimately everyone in this film is appreciated for their uniqueness.
There’s nothing like the Boris Karloff, Seuss-inspired original to put you in the holiday spirit. This film is all about belief and redemption — themes that feel particularly important to mull over towards the end of the calendar year. Plus, you get to hear Thurl Ravenscroft’s deep, bellowing voice sing, “nauseous super naus” among other deliciously grimy lyrics. There’s rhyming, there’s scheming, there’s an adorable, blinky-eyed dog, and roast beast for all by the end. The message mixes beautifully with iconic animation to make this an all-time classic.
Vince Guaraldi wrote the soundtrack to the holidays for this charming animated TV special, and there is nothing more cozy or serene than his twinkling pianos and drum brushes during the winter time. Then you have some of the best child voice actors in animated TV history — these kids sounded like real kids, sweet without being syrupy, genuine and funny. There are so many moments that come to mind when recalling this beautiful movie. Of course there’s everyone’s favorite dance scene, where twins do the pony from across the room while Shermy does the Frankenstein, for some reason. There’s Linus’ line about turning his blanket into a sport coat. There’s the great debate between Lucy and Schroeder as to whether Beethoven was “so great” or not. There’s that leap Charlie Brown does right at the end when he realizes everyone’s decorated his tiny tree. This movie is the equivalent of fleece pajamas, cozy house shoes and a warm cup of cocoa, and even though major networks break it up each year with massive amounts of commercials, its message remains that there is so much more to the season than things.
Hilfe, es weihnachtet sehr, USA 1989 aka.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik, Actors/Stars: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Juliette Lewis
Comedies by Brian Hettmansperger
For people that like Christmas movies but don’t want to start binging them November 1. Here’s a bridge between two worlds. And Jack Skellington’s crusade to bring Christmas to Halloweentown does lend itself to plenty of fish-out-of-water hijinks. 
Available to stream for free for Hulu customers.
A Christmas Story is a charming yarn about a 1940s Midwestern boy and his quest to get an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200 Shot Model Air Rifle from Santa Claus. Not seen it? TBS plays this movie on a 24-hour loop on Christmas every fudgin’ year since 1997. 
3. Home Alone (1990)
John Hughes’ foray into the Christmas genre ended up being both a departure from his agnst-tinged teen films of the 1980s and the highest grossing film of his career. The film also manages to be a bottom-tier John Hughes movie yet a top-tier Christmas classic. Cheers to you, ya filthy animal. 
2. Elf (2003)
Will Ferrell plays eternally cheerful Buddy; an orphaned boy raised by Santa’s elves in the North Pole. A great Christmas movie that is both hilarious and doesn’t meander too far from the spirit of the holiday. Definitely the first film on this list I will be watching with my newborn son as soon as he shows any interest in movies. Or elves.
Question: Where does one find a movie you can enjoy at your family’s Christmas celebration and then again at your in-laws’ later that same evening?
Answer: Bend over and I’ll show ya!
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Not Really Christmas by Monte Monreal

#5 Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Winona Ryder emerging as tha gawd of not-Christmas-Christmas-movies, most of the rising action in Edward Scissorhands crescendos around holiday decorations. All I want for Christmas is a whimsical ice sculpture as carved by my artificial human boyfriend whose incapacity for sustained intimacy is overtly signaled by the nine inch blades dangling from his wrists. 

#4 My Night at Maud’s (1969)

A chatty, philosophical French New Wave film, this Christmas adjacent story is wrapped around everyone’s favorite holiday concept, Pascal’s wager. Flush with affairs, marxists, postgrads, atheists, and snow dusted black and white photography, the film’s final moment is a gentle reminder that every relationship contains a grim, mutually acknowledged truth that will never be discussed. 

#3 Brazil (1985)

Nineteen Eighty-Four as made for the year 1984 (er 1985), Brazil’s Christmas backdrop may be the most overlooked, yet fiercely satirical element of Terry Gilliam’s permanently urgent masterpiece. With holiday reverie used as a thin membrane shielding the privileged from the chaos engulfing the rest of society, Christmas in dystopia works as a potent emblem of the notion that the only escape is escapism.

#2 Little Women (1994)

Where it has become a usual suspect on ‘movies to watch at Christmas’ lists, most of the story does not occur at Christmas, though it does feature multiple Christmas scenes. Anyway, Friedrich Bhaer can take his literature with a capital “L” and stand in the rain, Laurie is completely deranged, and NO BETH DON’T TOUCH THAT BABY! The timeless American tale of incredible women who suffer men that do not even remotely deserve them, Jo’s line, “I should have been a great many things,” wrecks me every time. 

Rent on YouTube for $1.99

#1 Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

As a 17 year old nascent cinephile and Kubrick devotee, I did not like this movie upon release. Revisiting it at 34, so many discombobulating couple fights and weird nights later, it’s practically a documentary. Eyes Wide Shut is the Christmas romcom Love Actually wishes it was.

Honorable mentions: The Apartment and Phantom Thread, but to me, those are really New Year’s Eve movies…

Rent on iTunes for $0.99 

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Under-Appreciated by Caitlin Teibloom
 
It’s not so much that this movie is underrated, but in the context of Christmas, I would like to make the argument that it is. There are those people in this world who enjoy “Love, Actually,” and then there are those who enjoy actual rom-coms that are well-written and good. Seriously, though, what makes “You’ve Got Mail” a great Christmas movie is that some of the pivotal points of the film take place around the holiday season. We pick up in the lives of Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox right around Fall in New York City, and their stories take them to a holiday-themed publishing party and through Thanksgiving turkeys and carols with family and friends. “Right now, I’m going to put up more twinkle lights” is the right answer for all of your holiday woes, particularly if your business is failing, so this makes my under-appreciated Christmas movie list.
4. The Snowman (1982) 
Sometimes, you have to get a little sad during the holidays. Melancholy is a part of the season — it’s cold outside, the landscape is a bit stark, and memories of loved ones lost can really feel like they fill the air. “The Snowman” respects this delicate balance of holiday emotions. Plus, once you see the scene where the little boy is flying in the air with his snowman friend as a child sings operatically, you will never forget it.
3. The Snow Queen (1957) 
I had to search the internet for a solid 30 minutes to find the CORRECT version of “The Snow Queen.” This one is gorgeously animated — tell me you can watch Gerda spending time at the witch’s house and not want to join her in eating those amazing looking fresh cherries — and is completely, 100% narrated by Sigourney Weaver. SIGOURNEY WEAVER! I just bought the last copy on Amazon so good luck finding a way to watch this one, friends.
If someone you knew was lacking holiday spirit because of mounting stressors mostly involving money, what might be the best way you could imagine reminding them of the true spirit of the season? Kill all their family? PERFECT! That’s the angel Gideon’s plan in this made-for-TV Disney movie that stars Mary Steenburgen, Harry Dean Stanton and a 5-year-old Elisabeth Harnois. I know it sounds dark — and, quite frankly, at times it is VERY dark — but this classic needs to be a cult favorite. The child actors are exceptional, the depiction of Santa’s workshop is the best, full stop, of any in the history of Christmas films, and Santa himself is made out to be somewhat German and very slow to respond because of all that’s on his mind (namely, the actions, good and bad, of every child ever forever). This movie has subtlety that makes it beautiful and funny and uplifting all at the same time — strap in for a wild ride, you will not regret it.
It’s almost impossible not to cry while watching “Christmas Eve on Sesame Street”. This beautiful, nostalgic film flew largely under the radar from what I can gather, but it was a yearly staple at my household growing up — to the point where the VHS tape got a bit shaky in places. All of the early Sesame Street characters you love (Big Bird, Snuffleupagus, Oscar, Bert and Ernie, Grover, Cookie Monster and Kermit), plus the human “characters” who kids from the late 80s and early 90s will think of as extended family (Mr. Hooper, Gordon, Linda, Susan, Maria and Bob, to name a few) sing gorgeous songs that should be Christmas staples. Listen to “I Believe in Miracles” just once and see if you don’t feel your spirit a-glow. There’s a Gift of the Magi plot, there’s a scary moment where Big Bird seems he might freeze, there’s Cookie Monster’s inability to use any writing utensils without eating them…it’s all in there. Plus, you’ll never listen to “Feliz Navidad” the same way again. Cuddle up with your family and feel good with this one.
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Chick Flicks by Andrea Alumbaugh

 #5 Borrowed Hearts (1997) 

If this movie exploded, you could make 100 other holiday flicks from the ashes. Precocious child! Decorating montage! Ice skating! Possibly magical secondary character! Hallmark wishes it could step to this made-for-TV-movie trope fest.

Watch it free on Amazon Prime, Tubi TV, or YouTube.

 #4 This Christmas (2007) 

You’ll feel right at home with the Whitfields (problematic Chris Brown notwithstanding). This family shares lots of laughs, lots of love, and just enough drama to keep things interesting.

Streaming free on DirectTV, or for a couple bucks on other streaming sites.

#3 The Family Stone (2005) 

I never thought a movie starring Craig T. Nelson would become an essential part of my holidays, but here we are. Pass the strata, stock up on tissues, and settle in for some stone-cold sass courtesy of the Stone ladies.   

Rent it on your favorite streaming site.

#2 The Best Man Holiday (2013) 

Is there anything better than crying so much the twinkle lights on your Christmas tree go blurry? This tearjerker will lift you up with Christmas cheer while simultaneously crushing you. Enjoy!

Stream free on FX with cable login 

#1 The Holiday (2006) 

Cozy, chic dram-rom-com eye candy like only Nancy Meyers can make. “Meet cute” personified, The Holiday will have you believing your next great love is just a vacation away. Plus, the Hans Zimmer score is ev.ry.thing.

Watch free with Playstation Vue or for a few dollars on other streaming sites.

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“Best” Lifetime “Movies” by Emily Teachout
 
 
Kristin Chenoweth, Anna Chlumsky, and that guy who played Greyson on Cougartown… what more do you need to know?! Well, you might want to know that a sexy firefighter calendar is involved, and the entire story is based on one of the most used-ass tropes in all holiday movies: busy big city business person realizing what they were missing all along was life in a tiny boring town in the middle of nowhere. I guess the true meaning of Christmas is living in a red state?
4. My Christmas Inn (2018)

Fans of Sister-Sister will be happy to know Tia Mowry is BACK, baby (actually – literally baby – she was preg while filming this movie) and guess what… she’s inherited an inn! Yes, another cheesy Christmas storyline standard: busy big city business person inherits a hotel/resort/inn in a small town (in this case, it’s in Alaska) and has to save it. Starting to notice a pattern here? This one is a newer Lifetime movie and has a higher production value than some of the older ones on this list… but at the end of the day it’s still a Lifetime movie. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
3. Dear Santa (2011)
Yet another holiday movie trope! Big city rich party girl learns… say it with me… THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS. This time there’s my least favorite Christmas cliche, a precocious little kid, thrown in the mix. In this case the rich party girl “Crystal” intercepts a little girl’s letter to Santa wishing for a new mommy, and for reasons beyond my logic or understanding of life, Crystal decides SHE must be that mommy! This “film” has the added benefit(?) of being directed by my boo Brandon Walsh (Jason Priestley) and also features a hilariously offensive stereotype of the gay best friend. 
2. Naughty & Nice (2014)
 
This one takes the cliche and (barely) turns it upside down! This time it’s a busy MAN from mean big city LA who is sent to a tiny mountain town and meets the wholesome girl there! That wholesome girl is my favorite person Haylie Duff and she’s a “Delilah“-esque radio host named Sandra Love who has to partner with the LA shock jock Pepper Sterling (you can’t make these names up. I mean you can and MarVista Entertainment literally did) as his punishment. Will sparks fly?! We all know the answer to that question! Bonus, check out Garry “Jerry”/”Larry”/”Terry” from Parks & Rec as an angry radio exec!
 
Sorry NOT sorry, but this one also features my bb Haylie! Now she’s a busy big city event planner (named…wait for it… Eve) who has a hella shitty boyfriend played by STEPHEN COLETTI OF THE HILLS. I couldn’t ask for anything more! But wait, I can, and I did, and Santa granted my wish, so CHRIS CARMACK FROM THE OC IS HER OTHER LOVE INTEREST. Could you even imagine a made-for-tv holiday movie packed with MORE C-list cred?! Actually, Stephen should be honored to be called C-list. And the answer is, Lifetime DID imagine more C-listers; it’s also very important for me to tell you that Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young of American Idol “fame” are in this movie PLAYING THEMSELVES. Anyway, this is a Sliding Doors type situation where Eve has to pick between her cool career or shitty life with shitty boyfriend Stephen Colletti. We get to see both options. Merry Christmas to me indeed.
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Dark/Stoner Comedies by Alec Toombs
#5. Scrooged (1988) 
It’s good, dark fun up until its overly treacly ending, but who doesn’t want more Bill Murray in their Christmas? 
 
Streaming for free on the Starz app. 
More Christmas comedies should feature coked-up 2-year-olds, Machete (Danny Trejo) and WaffleBots. This is especially dope in its immersive 3D presentation. 
#3. The Night Before (2015)  
It’s hard not to love a movie where Joseph Gordon-Levitt sports a Wu-Tang ugly Christmas sweater. Even better are Gordon-Levitt and his co-stars Seth Rogen and Anthony Mackie pulling a Big by playing Yeezy’s “Runaway” on the giant piano at FAO Schwarz. 
#2. The Ref  (1994)
The whole flick kinda takes on a creepy overtone in wake of Kevin Spacey’s recent controversy. Mileage will also vary depending upon your tolerance of Denis Leary. Despite all of this, it’s hard to deny just how well-crafted this holiday takeoff on The Ransom of Red Chief is via Richard LaGravenese and Marie Weiss’ sharp screenplay and the late, great Ted Demme’s solid direction. 
#1. Bad Santa (2003) 
I did a phoner with Billy Bob Thornton for my college newspaper when this flick dropped. He talked less about the movie and more about the fact that he lived in Slash’s old house and was sitting on a couch that Slash had left behind that had been scratched to shit by Slash’s pet Iguana. Regardless, this is the 800-pound gorilla of darkly comedic Christmas flicks. Billy Bob is a revelation here and is strongly supported by late greats Bernie Mac and John Ritter. Not only is Bad Santa hilarious … it’s surprisingly heartfelt. Skip the sequel – stick with the OG. 
Streaming for free on Netflix. 
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Horror by Chris Wisner

#5 Better Watch Out (2016)

What starts off as a run of the mill home invasion flick quickly escalates into something far more sinister and clever. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it does breathe some new life into the holiday horror genre. 

Available to stream on Amazon Prime/Vudu/Google Play for $2.99

#4 The Children (2008)

What better way to celebrate the holidays than an infectious outbreak that primarily affects children? Dark and disturbing, it plays like a less apocalyptic “28 Days Later.” By the end you’ll probably add “Not having kids” to your New Years resolutions list. 

Available to stream on Amazon Prime for $3.99. 

#3 Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

The trashy Xmas slasher that everyone should see at least once. Food poisoning via spoiled eggnog however is more enjoyable than its subsequent sequels. 

Available to stream on YouTube for $1.99 

#2 Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

Santa Claus may not be real, but this Finnish flick will have you believing he’s really terrifying. Equal parts horror, action, and comedy, it’s a shame more people haven’t enjoyed this rare holiday treat. 

Available to stream for free with an Amazon Prime Video membership. 

#1 Black Christmas (1974)

40+ years and it’s still one of the best slashers out there. Legitimately creepy and full of atmospheric dread. You’ll never believe the director is the same one who directed, “A Christmas Story.” Can we get at least one channel to show “Black Christmas” on repeat for an entire day?

Available to stream on YouTube and Vudu for $2.99. 

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Action by Alec Toombs
 
#5. Die Hard 2 (1990) 
 
I have an admission to make – I’m a Renny Harlin apologist. While Die Hard 2 isn’t a pimple on Die Hard’s ass, it’s a pretty solid sequel and the only other franchise entry that takes place at Christmastime. It’s got William Sadler doing naked karate in a hotel room, Dennis Franz at his smarmiest and a kill so good it wholesale got stolen for 2005’s entertaining-enough Assault on Precinct 13 remake. 
 
Streaming for free on the MAX GO (Cinemax) app. 
 
 
Yet another Renny joint – this one penned by Christmas action maestro Shane Black, for which he was paid a then-record-setting $4 million. For all intents and purposes, I might as well dub this list, “The Die Hard/Renny Harlin/Shane Black Memorial List.” This was the “hotly” anticipated follow-up to then-couple Harlin and Geena Davis’ mega-bomb, Cutthroat Island. Davis’ character swings about on a Christmas light rope whilst unloading a submachine gun. Samuel L. Jackson gives one of his funniest performances in a career littered with funny performances. 
 
Available for streaming on Vudu for $3.99.
 
#3. Lethal Weapon (1987) 
 
Black’s breakthrough script. Bullets pierce eggnog containers, Holiday dinners are consumed awkwardly and two crazy men, i.e. Mel Gibson and Gary Busey, duke it out beneath Christmas lights and water showering down from a broken fire hydrant. 
 
#2. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) 
 
Black’s directorial debut. The inciting incident (one of many in this knotty noir-ish tale) is Robert Downey, Jr.’s character burgling a toy to give to his nephew as a Christmas gift. Downey, Jr. wouldn’t have gotten Iron Man without his work here. Val Kilmer gives his best performance this side of The Doors and Tombstone. The two men have unquestionably strong chemistry that makes the material sing. Their characters attend a wild Christmas party that’s supposedly inspired by shindigs Black throws in real life. 
 
Streaming for free on the HBO Now app. Available for $3.99 on YouTube, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play and Vudu.
 
#1. Die Hard (1988)  
 
Top 10 Things I Adore About Die Hard (in no particular order):
10.) The fake security guard terrorist who looks exactly like Huey Lewis.
9.) Al Leong, an actor who played bad guys’ lackeys in 50% of action movies from the late ’80s/early ’90s, eating a Nestle Crunch bar.
8.) Run-D.M.C.’s “Christmas in Hollis”
7.) (tie) “No fucking shit, lady! Does it sound like I’m ordering a pizza?”/Argyle (De’voreaux White) busting out laughing when John McClane (Bruce Willis) tells Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson (the late, great Paul Gleason) that he just got butt fucked on national television. Pretty much just McClane’s general sense of smartassery.
6.) (tie) “Now I Have a Machine Gun Ho-Ho-Ho”/The big bloody squibs they use on dudes’ legs – especially the one cat McClane shoots through the table.
5.) “Clay, Bill Clay.” Alan Rickman is aces in this scene and the movie as a whole. R.I.P.
4.) “Hans, bubby, I’m your white knight,” and Ellis’ overall sense of sleaziness throughout the flick. Hart Bochner absolutely kills it!
3.) Fists with your toes.
2.) The renouncement of ’80s materialism and embrace of family embodied by the removal of Holly’s Rolex as well as Bonnie Bedelia’s grit in the role.
1.) The bromance between McClane and Al Powell (Reginal VelJohnson).
Streaming for free on the MAX GO (Cinemax) app. 

 

Sitcom Episodes by Rob Heidrick

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5. Happy Endings, “No-Ho-Ho”| Season 3, Episode 7 | Hulu

When Jane is outed as a Christmas baby, the gang decides to postpone their holiday festivities for the day and celebrate Jane-mas instead: Max becomes eggnogstic, Alex staves off a gift-unwrapping fetish, and Brad fights the urge to pop and lock with Hip-Hop Santa. If you’re among the too-many people who haven’t jumped on the Happy Endingsbandwagon, “No-Ho-Ho” is an excellent introduction.

  4. 30 Rock, “Ludachristmas”| Season 2, Episode 9 | Hulu

When the relentlessly supportive Lemon family visits Liz for the holidays, Jack’s mom makes it her mission to expose their underlying dysfunctionality. Meanwhile, Tracy’s court-ordered sobriety and Kenneth’s commitment to teaching the TGS gang the true meaning of Christmas threaten to derail the annual Ludachristmas rager. It may not be a Lemon party without old Dick, but Elaine Stritch steals the show yet again as Colleen Donaghy.

 3. The Office, “Christmas Party”| Season 2, Episode 10 | Netflix

“Yankee Swap is like Machiavelli meets … Christmas.” Flush with Christmas bonus cash, Michael is determined to throw the greatest office holiday party of all time. From Yankee Swap to Jim and Pam’s teapot flirtations, “Christmas Party” does what The Office did best in its early-series prime: shine in the small moments. 

2. New Girl, “Santa”| Season 2, Episode 11 | Netflix

The roommates go holiday party-hopping, and hilarity ensues: Jess tries and fails to dodge an ex, Nick struggles to keep up with his new thrill-seeking girlfriend (Olivia Munn), and Cece and Schmidt try to reconnect as friends. But at the end of the day, “Santa” is Winston’s episode, and a good Winston episode equals a great New Girl episode. From cranberry fight-related mishaps to ill-conceived stripteases, it’s also a master class in physical comedy.

1. Community, “Regional Holiday Music”| Season 3, Episode 10 | Hulu

Part Glee, partInvasion of the Body Snatchers, “Regional Holiday Music” is the most enjoyable and most underrated Christmas episode of the modern sitcom era. When Greendale’s glee club suffers a collective nervous breakdown, the study group is enlisted — well, musically brainwashed — by glee club director “Mr. Rad” (Taran Killam) to fill in for the holiday concert. Troy and Abed’s Childish Gambino-esque rap duet is the best of several hilariously catchy musical numbers that will have you laughing all the way to Regionals.

Rob Heidrick’s Top-5 Christmas Movies

5. Elf (2003)

4. Home Alone (1990)

3, Scrooged(1988)

2. It’s a Wonderful Life(1946)

1. The Muppet Christmas Carol(1992)

* Favorite Christmas TV Special— A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!(2008)

Emily Teachout’s Top-5 Christmas Movies

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5. Office Christmas Party (2016)

This movie is hella dumb, so dumb that I owned an “Office Christmas Party” logo-ed trucker hat. And you know what? I LOVE dumb things.

4. A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)

I don’t even care, this is a REALLY GOOD MOVIE and the mere mention of “Ty Swindell” makes me ugly cry-laugh. Plus: Christine Baranski!

3. Last Holiday (2007)

I have gotten in real fights over this, Last Holiday is truly a Christmas movie because it has hella snow and festive decorations featured throughout and Queen Latifah looking FLAWLESS in a red gown and it has the word “Holiday” in the title. 

2. Home Alone (1990)

This movie is Christmas perfection in every way and bb Macaulay Culkin with his plain cheese pizza is an angel on earth. Buzz’s girlfriend, woof.

1. “The Best Chrismukkah Ever” season 1 episode 13 of The OC (2003)

Some may say that an episode of The OC doesn’t count as a Christmas movie, especially the best Christmas movie of all time, but those people are wrong. This movie has everything: Christmas, Hanukkah, Chrismukkah, Marissa Cooper shoplifting and then getting drunk and angry, Julie Cooper being evil while looking hot, and the emergence of Oliver Trask, aka the catalyst of the greatest/worst plotline in The OC history. Why celebrate Christmas when you can celebrate Chrismukkah?!

Andrea Alumbaugh’s Top-5 Christmas Movies

5. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

Judy Garland belting “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” totally makes up for the fact that most of this movie has nothing to do with Christmas.

4. A Christmas Story (1983)

They mention my hometown, Terre Haute, Indiana, twice in this movie.

3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

From the Mavis Staples title song to Aunt Bethany’s “Star Spangled Banner,” I just can’t get enough of the Griswolds’ hap-hap-happy holidays.

2. Home Alone (1990)

Soon as I saw cardboard-cutout Michael Jordan rounding the living room on that toy train, I knew that I’d love Kevin McCallister forever.

1. Baby Cakes (1989)

Call it a guilty pleasure, but I am 100 percent here for Ricki Lake living every fat girl’s Christmas romance fantasy. 

Brian Hettmansperger’s Top-5 Christmas Movies

5. Elf

4. Die Hard

3. Gremlins

2. Bad Santa

1. Christmas Vacation

Alec Toombs’ Top-5 Christmas Movies

#5. Die Hard

#4. Die Hard

#3. Die Hard

#2. Die Hard

#1. Die Hard (1988)  

I know Bruce Willis insists that Die Hard isn’t a Christmas movie. Flat out, he’s wrong. Besides, what does Bruno know? He’s been sleepwalking through flicks the past five years. Do some more shit like Moonrise Kingdom and Looper and get back to us! His work as John McClane in this first installment is right up there with his performances in the two aforementioned films, Pulp Fiction and The Sixth Sense. It’s career-topping/career-making shit! I’d argue this is the best Alan Rickman’s ever been onscreen and that’s a high fucking bar! 

Director John McTiernan was untouchable at this point in time having made Predator before Die Hard and The Hunt for Red October afterward. He out lens flares J.J. Abrams in the process. Die Hard is an insanely inspirational piece of work – without it there’d be no The Rock (Die Hard in a prison), Speed (Die Hard on a bus), Under Siege (Die Hard on a boat), Cliffhanger (another Renny joint!!! – Die Hard on a mountain) or Toy Soldiers (Die Hard in a prep school). Hell, without Die Hard there’d be no Home Alone (AKA Die Hard, Jr.). Die Hard is a perfect movie – masterfully made, suspenseful as shit, sporting equal parts humor and heart. That it’s also a Christmas movie is simply the star atop the tree … or Nakatomi Tower if you will.

Caitlin Teibloom’s Top-5 Christmas Movies

5. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

4. One Magic Christmas (1985)

3. Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (1978)

2. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Zack Teibloom’s Top-5 Christmas Movies

5. Elf (2003)

4. Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (1988)

3. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

2. Home Alone (1990)

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

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