FilmOttawa Life Magazine's top Christmas movie picks

Ottawa Life Magazine's top Christmas movie picks

Ottawa Life Magazine's top Christmas movie picks

With out-of-town family coming, food to prepare, gifts to purchase, special concerts and parties to attend, we run ourselves ragged in the lead up to the holidays. There is no better way to decompress than to stir up a batch of hot-rum-infused eggnog and head to the family room to take in an afternoon or an evening (. . . even a day) of Christmas-themed movies.

So, here is our list of the top Christmas movies of all time. If you don’t agree let us know! A few of them will to get you in the spirit of the holiday, others will make you feel good, while one in particular will give you a scare but most of all they will give you a break from the craziness that can be Christmas. So,  get your jingle on  and get watching.

Home Alone and Home Alone 2 1990 and 1992

Directed by: Chris Columbus  Produced by: John Hughes

Running time: 1 hour 43 minutes

They must go together. Macaulay Culkin’s ‘Kevin McAllister’ is nothing short of genius. This is a must watch during the holidays.


Love Actually 2003

Directed by: Richard Curtis  Produced by: Duncan Kenworthy, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Liza Chasin

Running time: 2 hours 25 minutes

Corny, crazy, creepy and stalking-rather than stocking, is all part of this kind of wonderful and weirdly satisfying movie with its ensemble cast of multiple actors you’ll instantly recognize including Hugh Grant, Emma Thomsen and Liam Neeson . . . and Rick from the Walking Dead! So many wonderful story lines in this film — one of the best romantic comedies ever. Boris Johnson even parodied a scene for his recent re-election campaign.


Trading Places 1983

Directed by: John Landis  Produced by: Aaron Russo

Running time: 116 minutes

Eddie Murphy’s second movie saw him team with Dan Aykroyd in a very funny film that still holds up. It might ruin fish and buffets for you!


The Best Man Holiday 2013

Directed by: Malcom D. Lee   Produced by: ‎Malcolm D. Lee, ‎Sean Daniel

Running time: 1 hour 56 minutes

If a movie is successful it will get a sequel and if it wants to capitalize on sequel money ‘Holiday’ to the title. It was great seeing the entire cast reunite 15 years later for a sequel that lived up to the original.


Bad Santa 2003

Directed by: Terry Zwigoff   Produced by: ‎John Cameron; Sarah Aubrey;

Running time: 1 hour 38 minutes

Not for the kids . . . Billy Bob Thornton’s disgruntled, thieving, Santa is one of his best role. We’ve never looked at a department store Santa the same!


Serendipity 2001

Directed by: Peter Chelsom  Produced by: Simon Fields, Peter Abrams, Robert L. Levy

Running time: 1 hour 33 minutes

Another phenomenal romantic comedy with a holiday backdrop. Kate Beckinsale said in an interview of all her roles people ask her about, it’s this one. It’s a favourite!


A Charlie Brown Christmas 1965

Directed by: Bill Melendez   Produced by: Lee Mendelson

Running time: 30 minutes

Do I really need to explain this animated classic?


Die Hard 1988

Directed by: John McTiernan  Produced by: the Gordon Company and Silver Pictures

Running time: 2 hours 12 minutes

There is no debate, this is a Christmas movie. Bruce Willis came out and said it isn’t but with all due respect, can we trust the guy who blew it with Demi Moore!

Exhibit A. Theatres play it every Christmas
Exhibit B. It takes place during Christmas
Exhibit C. The main character’s wife is named Holly.
Exhibit D. Is it really Christmas time if Hans Gruber isn’t falling out of Nakatomi Plaza!


Gremlins 1984

Directed by: Joe Dante Produced by: Michael Finnell

Running time: 1 hour 47 minutes

An adorable little Chinese creature spawns a whole lot of naughtiness!


National Lampoon Christmas Vacation 1989

Directed by: Jeremiah S. Chechik  Produced by: John Hughes, Tom Jacobson

Running time: 1 hour 37 minutes

A classic holiday film. The misadventures of the Griswold family will help get any Scrooge in the mood for Christmas..


It’s A Wonderful Life 1946

Directed and produced by: Frank Capra

Running time: 2 hour 15 minutes

Jimmy Stewart stars as a down-on-his-luck family man planning to end it all. Guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye!


Elf 1983

Directed by: Jon Favreau  Produced by: Shauna Robertson, Todd Komarnicki, Jon Berg

Running time: 1 hour 37 minutes

A quirky Christmas classic starring Will Ferrell as Buddy the elf  — Appeals to the kid in everyone!


Prancer 1989

Directed by: John D. Hancock  Produced by: Raffaella De Laurentiis

Running time: 1 hour 43 minutes

A young girl helps rescue and rehabilitate an injured reindeer in this feel-good film that helps spread the joy and magic of Christmas.


How the Grinch Stole Christmas 2000

Directed by: Ron Howard   Produced by: Brian Grazer‎; ‎Ron Howard

Running time: 1 hour 50 minutes

It is hard to choose between the cartoon (1966) and feature film versions of this Dr. Seus classic but Jim Carrey’s portrayal of the revenge-seeking, Christmas-wrecking fiend takes the cake, not to mention an Academy Award for Best Hairstyling!

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