The Best Christmas Movie, EVER

The best Christmas movie of all time is … a hotly debated topic and an issue that has likely driven more than a few family holidays to ruin as people fight over what should be on TV.

There are dozens of Christmas movies from which to choose thanks to Hollywood shills who would rather make a terrible movie to cash in on the holidays than leave well enough alone, but there are only a handful that are so loved they can ignite interfamily squabbling.

Although we think there are more than five “good ones,” we have attempted to list the Top 5 Christmas Movies of All Time (in chronological order) as well as a fun trivia fact about each one. If yours is not on the list, please write in and let us know.

  • 1.       “It’s a Wonderful Life”    

This 1946 classic will be on every Christmas movie list until the end of time. Frank Capra’s story of a man who wishes he had gotten more out of life only to be shown how wonderful his life really is has become a holiday tradition for millions.

It’s a film filled with hope, love and Jimmy Stewart’s unmistakable stammering as he woos Donna Reed, does good deeds and fails to realize how awesome he is … until an angel sets him straight. What more does a Christmas movie need?

FUN FACT: This film cost $3.7 million to make in 1946, which was considered very expensive for the time.

  • 2.      “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

The year was 1965 and even back then Charlie Brown was fed up with consumerism, although the initial airing was in fact sponsored by Coca-Cola. You just can’t win, Charlie Brown, and we’re always surprised you keep trying to punt that metaphorical football.

Charlie Brown’s fight is a noble one, however, and the message that giving of oneself is far more important than giving gifts still rings true. Watching the Peanuts characters struggle with the meaning of Christmas is a life lesson that never gets old in the learning, and serves as a refreshing reminder in these times of commercialization.

FUN FACT: Real children were used as voice actors for the film, which was unheard of for animated productions in the 1960s.

  • 3.      “A Christmas Story”

There are a thousand reasons why a handful of TV channels play this 1983 Christmas comedy classic for 24 hours straight during the holidays, only one of which is the nostalgia we all feel over wanting that one special gift, even if we’re destined to shoot an eye out with it.

Ralphie, the main character in the film, is a typical 9-year-old growing up in 1940s America with a brother and parents who love him, even though they are woefully clueless about the importance of being a gun-slinging hero – if only he had a Red Ryder BB Gun.

FUN FACT: This film was inducted into the Library or Congress National Film Registry in 2012 for being “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant.”

  • 4.      “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

John Hughes, famed writer of 80s chestnuts “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Breakfast Club,” had already contributed to the National Lampoon’s legacy with the first “Vacation” in 1983, but came back in 1989 to pen this contemporary Christmas classic featuring the hapless Griswold family.

The movie is a comic tragedy from start to finish as Clark Griswold attempts to create the perfect Christmas for his woebegone clan, only to be met with failure at every turn. His lights won’t twinkle, there’s an evil squirrel in his Christmas tree and his family refuses to acknowledge his painstaking efforts to deliver the American Dream.

FUN FACT: The Assistant Director of this film was Frank Capra III, the grandson of “It’s a Wonderful Life” director Frank Capra.

  • 5.          “Home Alone”

John Hughes followed up “Christmas Vacation” by producing and writing this memorable kid flick in 1990. The story is of a boy who is accidentally left home alone by his parents over Christmas and is set upon by two bungling burglars who soon grow to wish they’d picked a different house to rob.

The simple plot and slapstick humor make the film very accessible to kids and adults, which led to commercial success and its eventual listing in the “Guinness Book of Records” as the highest-grossing live-action comedy of all time.

FUN FACT: This film is considered a traditional Christmas movie in Poland and was watched by a record-breaking 5 million people – 13% of the entire population – in 2011.

Honorable mentions include “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947), “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1966), “Gremlins” (1984), “Die Hard” (1988), “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993) and “The Family Stone” (2005).

What’s your favorite Christmas movie? ATGStores.com welcomes you to take our poll or write in your favorite!  

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