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Christmas can be a time to celebrate with loved ones, but it can also be difficult if our relationships with those we love are strained or if we’ve lost someone. The pressure of being with others, buying the perfect gifts, decorating, and traveling can put a big financial, emotional, and time strain on people. Thankfully, there are some parts of the holiday season that can help us get into the Christmas spirit without taking much effort. We are talking about one of our favorite film genres — Christmas movies. Yup, it’s a genre that makes us happier and one that we admittedly enjoy 12 months out of the year.
Christmas movies can deliver warm fuzzies without having to leave the house. They can remind us of good times during our childhood, make us feel less alone during the holidays, and can simply be a fun source of entertainment. When spending the holidays with family, Christmas movies can be a great way to spend time together and don’t require expensive presents or trekking outdoors in cold weather.
From raunchy to family-friendly, dramatic movies to feel-good comedies, Amazon Prime has no shortage of new and classic Christmas movies. Best of all, every film on our list pairs beautifully with eggnog and cookies.
1. A Christmas Story (1983)
It’s been almost 40 years since the classic holiday film A Christmas Story was released and it still holds up just as well as a leg lamp. Peter Billingsley as Ralphie was every kid frustrated with not being an adult, while his parents were just trying to make it through the holidays with everyone in one piece. The struggle was and is real. The iconic Christmas movie continues to resonate with viewers who love seeing a little kid dressed up as a deranged Easter bunny. Plus, the film still acts as an important warning to all cold-weather dwellers — keep your tongue in your mouth until spring.
2. Elf (2003)
Most actors wouldn’t be able to pull off playing an adult man who thinks he’s an elf without it being annoying but Will Ferrell is able to brilliantly walk the line between sincere and hilarious in his portrayal of Buddy the Elf. After accidentally crawling into Santa’s bag as a baby (baby gates are important, parents), Buddy is raised at the North Pole as an elf. Alas, his height makes him unsuitable for a four-foot world and he sets off for New York to find his father and manages to find some love along the way. Plus, he’s reunited with Santa … kinda. He knows him! As far as the best Christmas movies on Amazon Prime go, this Elf is certainly one of the best.
3. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
Our number one piece of advice when watching It’s A Wonderful Life for the first time is to view the movie from start to finish … or else it’s really, really depressing. Jimmy Stewart is perfect as George Bailey, a small-town man who gets to see the impact his life has had on his family and friends thanks to his guardian angel. If not for the sweet message and brilliant acting, you should at least get around to finally watching It’s A Wonderful Life to understand the many references made to the famous film in pop culture.
4. Love Actually (2003)
Before Andrew Lincoln was killing zombies in Atlanta, he was swallowing some unrequited love for his best friend’s wife in Love Actually. This beloved British Christmas movie on Amazon Prime boasts an impressive cast that also includes Colin Firth as a jilted husband who finds a partner in his housekeeper, Bill Nighy as an aging rockstar who gets a second shot at fame, Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman as a married couple who hit a rocky patch, Liam Neeson as a grieving single father, Laura Linney as the sole American in the mix and Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister who finds love in the office, but in a non-impeachment way. And those are only some of the big-named stars in the film, which manages to still deliver several sweet storylines without getting lost on its way to Boxing Day.
5. Home Alone (1990)
BEST ACTION FILM
We’re not here to debate whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not. It’s a competition with no winners or losers. One thing we do know is that Home Alone is definitely a Christmas movie and definitely has several action sequences and stunts that would permanently maim or kill a person several, several times over. So, it’s a Christmas action film. Macaulay Culkin became a worldwide phenomenon thanks to his role as Kevin McAllister, the kid who got left behind at Christmas, ordered a cheese pizza for himself, befriended a bereaved neighbor, and successfully defended his house from the Wet Bandits. It looks like watching violent movies and TV shows as a kid can actually help you defeat filthy bastards.
6. The Polar Express (2004)
BEST KIDS FILM
Author Chris Van Allsburg’s beautiful 1985 children’s book The Polar Express comes to life in Robert Zemeckis’ 2004 film by the same name. The first all-digital-capture film tells the story of a young boy who is woken on Christmas eve by the Polar Express, a train that takes children to the North Pole to visit Santa. Tom Hanks took on five roles for the film, including the train conductor and jolly old Saint Nick. The digital capture can feel a bit clunky at times, but the story about the power of belief is one that will resonate with children. Just fix that hole in your pocket.
7. This Christmas (2007)
BEST FAMILY DRAMA
Would it really be Christmas without some family holiday drama? Well, technically yes, but for those who spend the holidays ho-ho-holed up with their loved ones, they know what it’s like to start considering the chimney as a legitimate escape route before the tree has finished being trimmed. This Christmas features an impressive cast of Loretta Devine, Idris Elba, Delroy Lindo Sharon Leal, Mekhi Phifer, and Regina King, who play a family with just as many secrets as ornaments on the tree. What better time to be honest with your family than when everyone is stuck together in one house with lots of alcohol, turkey, and sugar? This is why it’s always safer to text important news.
8. A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)
BEST RAUNCHY FILM
Sure, Christmas is the season of giving, reaching out to loved ones, doing acts of charity, and being grateful for what you have. If you’re a parent, it’s also really, really stressful. A Bad Moms Christmas may focus on the pressure moms are under to make Christmas look like a Hallmark movie, but we know there are lots of dads who also feel the strain. Unwind for two hours with a raunchy holiday film that puts the … butt … back in Christ-mas. There’s some nudity. Happy holidays!
9. The Family Stone (2005)
If you make it to the end of The Family Stone without crying, well, you deserve an extra treat in your stocking this year. The brilliant Christmas movie on Amazon Prime takes one very close family and explores the cracks and creaks that make groups of people connected, as well as those that separate them. The holiday film boasts an all-star cast of Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel McAdams, Dermot Mulroney, Claire Danes, Craig T. Nelson, and Luke Wilson. Each character will equal parts frustrate you and make you fall in love with them. Just like a real family!
10. Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Let’s be clear — any and all Dr. Seuss’s books are beyond outrageous. So, it only makes sense to give the stories an outrageous adaptation. Case in point, Ron Howard’s Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Maybe there is another actor on the planet who could do a better job than Jim Carrey of pulling off the Grinch, but we honestly don’t know who that would be. The world of the Whos comes to life in this 2000 Christmas movie on Amazon Prime, which contains the sweet message that giving is better than receiving, along with a lot of shocking scenes. Again, Dr. Seuss was outrageous.