Around our house, we take Christmas very seriously. As soon as we blow out the candle on our Jack-o-lantern, we start cataloging our decorations and planning when we can crack out the movies in preparation of the big day. With a little girl, it seems that we’re a little more excited about everything than we used to be.

We’ve taken the liberty of providing you our list of movies we never miss and neither should you or your family.

A Christmas Story
The quest to get that one big present we’ve been dreaming of. A Christmas Story is about a boy named Ralphie Parker growing up in the 40s who wants for nothing more than “an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time” for Christmas. During his time in the movie, Ralphie is constantly being presented with obstacles from people telling him “You’ll shoot your eye out”, to trying to behave so the big guy Santa won’t put him on the naughty list.

Perhaps one of the most beloved Christmas movies ever made, A Christmas Story is story we can all relate. If you haven’t seen this beautiful little movie, you’re missing out on a timeless Christmas tradition.

Families will love this as it invokes feelings of nostalgia in adults and excitement in kids.

Die Hard
Many people hate that I consider these Christmas movies but lets be honest – they really are even if they’re not happy go lucky stories. Who says that you can’t have action swearing and gun shots in a Christmas movie? The classic series about Bruce Willis’ character John McClane who just seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time during the holiday season. There’s just something about missing the month of December without seeing a dead German guy in the elevator wearing a Santa hat with the note “Now I have a Gun. Ho! Ho! Ho!” on him that would really suck. Let also not forget “Yippe Kay Ya Mother-Fucker”. It’s almost synonymous with Christmas.

Put the kids to bed, grab a beer, some pizza and relax after the long day of shopping mall madness

Shrek The Halls
Ok – So it’s not technically a movie,but it was done during the filming of one of the movies and features all the original voices. It’s only about 22 minutes long but it’s hilarious. It takes the lovable characters from the Shrek series and puts them into a Christmas special that has Shrek, who previously knew nothing of Christmas, trying to put together a nice old fashioned Christmas for Fiona and the kids. If you love Shrek you’ll love this hilarious special.

Pop some corn, the whole family will enjoy this.

Scrooged is a modern day (modern day in the 80s)retelling of the immortal Christmas classic “Scrooge” starring Bill Murray as Francis Xavier Cross a heartless and conceited president of a Television network who gets a visit from 3 Ghosts we all know and love from Dickens’ original story. This is obviously not a “Family Friendly” due to some of the subject matter (my personal favorite little piece is a sign that says “Cross – A thing they nail people to) but it is without a doubt a classic Christmas movie  and Bill Murry is spot on in his portrayal of the cantankerous Frank Cross as he takes his journey through the past, present and future.

Put the kids outside for some fresh air and to enjoy the snow, they probably shouldn’t watch this.

The Santa Claus
Post Home Improvement, Tim Allen took on the role of everyone’s favorite jolly of fellow in “The Santa Claus”. As a toy company exec. Tim Allen’s character Scott Calvin takes over the role of Santa Claus after an unfortunate accident that takes place on Christmas eve. This is a great family movie for people of all ages with it’s own unique take on the magic that is the big man in the red coat. The original movie spawned 2 further sequels all of which are entertaining but not nearly as special as the original.

Enjoy this one with the kids, the original is a magical experience with small kids.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Everyone knows the story of Rudolph and how he was treated poorly by everyone and how despite that he  saved Christmas. The Rudolph movie I’m speaking of is the original claymation special from the 60s. It tells the whole story about Rudolph from the song and even adds some extra components to the story complete with an extraordinary soundtrack from Burl Ives. Most people I know grew up watching this every year as part of their Christmas tradition and I can’t wait to make this a part of my daughters ritual because a year without this movie, just doesn’t feel like Christmas at all (trust me – it happened to me once and Christmas just wasn’t the same).

Crank up the volume and get ready to sing along with Burl and the family as he tells the classic story of the outcast reindeer.

Bad(er) Santa
One of the zaniest Christmas movies ever made, Bad Santa takes good taste and tosses it out the window. Billy Bob Thorton plays Willie, a drunken low life degenerate professional thief who dresses as Santa Claus to rob shopping malls on Christmas eve with his midget partner who dresses as an Elf. Things take a different turn for Willie one year when a young boy befriends him and Willie begins wrestling with feelings of friendship he’s never experienced. It may not be the most savory of movies for many people but the story is undeniably touching.

Full of swearing and drunken shenanigans, the kids should be locked away when this is on.

The Polar Express
Before 3D was the buzz word that it is today, The Polar Express hit theaters November 2004 in IMAX 3D. It tells the story of a little boy who begins to doubt Santa one Christmas before a magical train to the North Pole pulls up to his front door to take him on a journey to the North Pole. I picked this bad boy up in 3D (not the awesome stereoscopic 3D but the Red and Blue one) and the wife and I love it. The movie is all CGI and used some of the best 3D and animation that money could buy 6 years ago.

Full of all the thrills and excitement of Christmas, the family is sure to enjoy this one.

Home Alone 1
A young Kevin McCallister (Macauley Culkin) is inadvertently left behind by his family at Christmas and he’s the only one to stand between 2 bumbling idiot robbers (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) and his house being robbed. I saw Home Alone in theaters when it came out and it was just as funny then as it is now. More specifically towards the last 30-45 minutes. Pesci and Stern are brilliant and invoke the holy spirit of Wile E. Coyote in the cartoonish portrayal of the robbers who consistently have their robbery attempts foiled by a resourceful 8yr old.

Great fun for the family.

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

In all likelihood this doesn’t need any introduction but here goes. Chevy CHase reprises his role of Clark W. Griswold Jr. in this classic tale about one man’s quest to provide the perfect old fashioned family Christmas to everyone he loves including his in-laws.  As is customary for Clark Griswold, the king of family vacations, Nothing seems to go right but give the man credit for his unwavering effort.

Some minor language may keep some smaller children away but in the end this is just a great time all around for the entire family.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The classic tale from Dr.Seuss tells the story of a furry angry green guy who decides that he’s sick of Christmas and decides to steal it away from everyone in Whoville. The animated classic was a mainstay at our house growing up that was later remade in a live action feature film in 2000. Nothing quite beats the original but I really enjoyed the live action telling of the story.

Watch the animated film and the live action flick with the entire family.

It’s a Wonderful Life
Of course I couldn’t forget this incredible movie but for me it’s almost harder to call it a Christmas movie especially since most doesn;t even take place during the Chirstmas season. The story of an all around good guy who just can’t seem to make things go right decides that he should take his own life on Christmas Eve is saved by a spirit who’s working to get his wings. After he’s saved, George Baily gets a glimpse of how everyone’s life would be if he were never born. Jimmy Stewart is a legend and in my opinion this is the crown jewel in his career.

This is a great family movie but I doubt that the younger generation will care too much to watch this, however it is a classic movie.

Honorable Mentions: if you just want to watch something that may be a little less ordinary or a complete deviation from the previous list, the follow will give you a few extra ideas to look for on your Netflix.

  • Reindeer Games
  • Frosty the Snowman
  • Elf
  • The Muppets Christmas Carol
  • A Christmas Carol (Any of the iterations out there though I am looking forward to checking out last years animated retelling)
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas Special
  • Christmas with the Kranks
  • Surviving Christmas
  • Little Drummer Boy
  • 8 Crazy Nights (For the Jewish readers out there)
  • Fred Claus
  • Anything From South Park