50 Unmissable Christmas Movies

46. Klaus (2019)

The lazy son of a postmaster is sent to an isolated Norwegian island in the grip of a violent clan feud to establish a functioning postal service and one day by chance discovers a white-bearded, reclusive toymaker in the woods.

Borrowing from Northern European folklore but feeling like a “Discworld” novel in its knowing tone and exaggerated archetypal characters, this also has a gorgeous painterly style that makes it look like no other animation released last decade. All this combined with delicate vocal work from Jason Schwartzman, Rashida Jones and JK Simmons bringing to life a unexpectedly emotionally mature script makes Klaus simply a gift. SSP

Recommended for you: 5 Reasons Klaus Is an Amazing Christmas Film

47. Last Christmas (2019)

Last Christmas Review

Though Love Actually may have used up the rest of our Christmas cheer, making it the last remnant of what Christmas used to be, Last Christmas comes pretty damn close to reigniting that spark. All it needed was a little bit of camp and the perfect amount of cheesy fun.

Though the twist at the end is painfully obvious thanks to the film’s incredibly literal take on George Michael’s “Last Christmas”, we simply don’t care. The film is full of such joy and silly, campy, cheesy, good fun that we can’t help but get swept up in it. MC

48. Little Women (2019)

Little Women Review

Greta Gerwig graduated from mumblecore cinema to full Hollywood filmmaking icon (via Lady Bird) with her 2019 take on Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women”. In doing so, the would-be Barbie director solidified herself as one of the generation’s leading filmmakers, writing and directing one of the great Christmas films of the contemporary era and restoring that special sense of sincerity that so many modern Christmas movies tend to avoid.

Starring multiple time Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan at the head of a cast arguably even more star-studded than the 1994 version – including Florence Pugh, Timothée Chalamet, Emma Watson, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Chris Cooper and Meryl Streep – this most recent take on the story embraced feminist themes to offer a film very relevant to our current moment whilst being timeless in its presentation of Christmas movie themes like togetherness, family, charity and love. JD

Recommended for you: Little Women Is the Ultimate Christmas Film, Actually

49. Happiest Season (2020)

Happiest Season Review

Happiest Season might not be the first Christmas movie to focus on a queer relationship but it is easily the best. The film follows couple Abby and Harper, in the form of Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis, as they must hide their relationship from Harper’s conservative family while visiting for the holidays.

It’s hardly an original premise and the film doesn’t exactly do anything new with the genre, but that is never what the movie is attempting to do. Instead, the film performs the simple task of telling an LGBTQ+ story in a predominantly straight type of picture. Most importantly, Happiest Season’s attempt to perform such a task is a major success, crafting the most hilarious and heartwarming Christmas movie in years. MC

50. Violent Night (2022)

Violent Night Review

A stellar cast including Christmas Vacation alum Beverly D’Angelo, Ice Age favourite John Leguizamo, and star David Harbour (‘Stranger Things’) make for interesting points of contact in this humorous action thriller about a vengeful Santa out to teach lessons and take names.

While barely enough time has passed since this film’s release to decipher whether it will have any staying power and become a modern Christmas staple, the early signs suggest that it is a film that will be a comfortable rewatch for the kinds of parties that start with music and end with everyone sat on the couch. This is a funny and gory time for those less acclimatised to the kinds of love-first Christmas movies most present in this list. JW

Recommended for you: More Christmas Movie Articles

Thank you for joining us this festive season! Make sure to add the films selected as a part of this list to your watchlists, and enjoy some great cinema this Christmas.

Feel we’ve missed one out? Let us (and others) know about it in the comments, and be sure to follow @thefilmagazine on Facebook and X (Twitter) for more insightful movie lists.

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