The Clarion’s Top Ten Christmas Movies


By Graham Jones and James Roach

10. “In Bruges” J: 8/10 H: 2/10 – “In Bruges” is what I like to call a pseudo Christmas movie. Like, it’s witty, fun and has genuine emotion but Christmas is only mentioned about thrice. “In Bruges” ain’t going to get you into the Christmas spirit but you’ll get a great movie in return.

9.“Elf” J: 5/10 H: 9/10 – While the overall quality of “Elf” is debatable, it makes sense that it’s a Christmas classic. Just in the 1h 37m runtime, it covers the importance of the holidays while delivering a plethora of funny jokes. “Elf” is a tad bit dated, but that doesn’t keep it from being a pretty good winter movie.

8. “Die Hard”   G: 8/10  H: 4/10- “Die Hard” is a classic action film that takes place on Christmas Eve. Because of this, the film carries a nice Christmas feeling that adds a fun touch to the already adrenaline filled joyride. Despite the blood-soaked Christmas sweaters and Santa hats, the movie still doesn’t quite contain the essence of the holidays.  

7. “Gremlins”  G: 7/10  H: 6/10 –  “Gremlins” is the essential Christmas horror film. It’s not only just a horror movie that takes place during Christmas, but a horror movie that mixes  holiday traditions with disturbing images to create a tidy gingerbread cookie of a film for an older audience.  

6. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” J: N/A H: 7/10 – Now it’s questionable if this even counts as a Christmas film, but at the very least it’s a quality movie. Also, there’s no better movie to watch when you’re transitioning from Halloween to Christmas because it has a little bit of both. If you’re looking for a movie to get you in the holiday spirit, this might just do it.

5. “The Polar Express” J: 6/10 H: 9/10 – “The Polar Express” is the perfect movie to watch during a snowy afternoon with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. The film never presents anything too loud or challenging which makes for a relaxing experience. While “The Polar Express” has a mixed reception, it maintains the morals of the book while being a fantastic Christmas movie.

4. “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” G: 6/10 H: 9/10 –  This Rankin/Bass special seems to be on TV 24/7 around this time of year, and for good reason. The song with the quirky (although a bit creepy) animation is iconic and a symbol of the holiday. Each and every character has its own Christmas ornament because of the staple this short has become in Christmas. No matter what, you can be sure you’ll see something from time-honored classic this Christmas.  

3. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” G: 8/10 H: 10/10 – Christmas is about love and giving, so what better way to convey that then to have a protagonist whose heart is two times too small. The wickedly charming lead of the story allows the viewer to re-learn the true morals of Christmas while enjoying the creative colors of the 1960s Seuss animation. A fantastic Christmas special. 

2. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” James: 9/10 H: 9/10 – For a kids short, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” can sure be depressing. Our lead is constantly bullied until the end of the short which can lead to bittersweet experience. Nonetheless, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” delivers with its heartwarming conclusion and its Christmas Spirit.

1. “A Christmas Story” Graham: 8/10 Holiday Spirit Rating: 10/10 – “A Christmas Story” could be a questionable choice for the number one. It doesn’t have flying reindeers or jolly elves or even a magic Santa, but instead a true depiction of Christmas. What makes this film the best is how it represents the ups and downs of the experience that each and every family, including your own, goes through during the December month. Whether it’s awkward family dinners or joyful snowball fights, “A Christmas Story” goes through it all and provides the ultimate Christmas feeling!

G: Graham Rating

J: James Rating

H: Holiday Spirit rating