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40 All-Time Favorite Holiday Movies

Are you ready for the holidays? We are!

We asked our Women of Midlife bloggers what their favorite holiday movies are. It’s no surprise that they had lots of opinions! The top vote getter by far was Love Actually, with A Christmas Story a close second. Following close behind are the two classics White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life. Did your favorite holiday movie make the list? Let us know in the comments.


best christmas movies

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A Charlie Brown Christmas

“Christmas just isn’t Christmas without it!” Kelly Rodriguez

A Christmas Carol There are several, but we prefer the George C. Scott version. 

A Christmas Story
“Remember at the beginning of the movie, Ralphie was looking in the department store window at Higbee’s dreaming about his Red Ryder BB gun? I remember that department store as a young child as my Great-Great Grandfather Higbee started the store.” – Holly Higbee-Jansen,

Bad Santa

The Bishop’s Wife  If you like this movie with Cary Grant and Loretta Young, try the updates version with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston, The Preacher’s Wife

Christmas in Connecticut with Barbara Stanwyck is one of Anne’s favorites. A snappy script from Preston Sturges makes up for how dated the plot is.

“There’s nothing like sharing a holiday movie with your child as you laugh and comment along at all the same jokes and bits of a movie. He’s 24 now but when we watch Elf my son’s still my little boy.” – Kim Dalferes

Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas

The Gathering, a television movie from the 70s with Ed Asner and Maureen Stapleton.

The Holiday

Holiday Inn 

Home Alone

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!” – Dr. Seuss Judy Griffin

It’s a Wonderful Life
“….because I love the power that I wield when my kids groan, roll their eyes, and say “Not again, Mom!”- Kristin Nador

“Jimmy Stewart’s acting…Capra’s directing…and the theme, appreciate what you have, make it a classic.” – Janice Wald

Jingle All the Way

Little Women
“I love when they decide to take their Christmas breakfast to the Hummels. I love when Marmi lights their candles one by one and sends them upstairs singing carols. I love when Mr. Lawrence gives Beth the piano. Completes Christmas.” Tammy Soong

Love Actually
“Phenomenal cast, a short-story-like format and the chance to imagine spending the rest of your life listening to Hugh Grant’s accent.” Lisa Heffernan

Meet Me In St. Louis

Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol

Miracle on 34th Street (original)
“Yes, there IS a Santa!” – Lynne Cobb

The Muppet Christmas Carol

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation


The Nightmare Before Christmas

One Magic Christmas
“…it is a great reminder of what matters most during the holidays — and every day.” Caryn Payzant

One Special Night

Planes,Trains and Automobiles

The Polar Express
“Because: ‘The thing about trains… it doesn’t matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.’ ” Joy Page Manuel

Remember the Night

The Santa Clause 1, 2 and 3



Shrek the Halls

Surviving Christmas
“You think you can never go home? Think again.” Linda Wolff

The Thin Man

Three Days
“… sappy and Christmas miracle-ish and all that.” Janine Talbot

White Christmas
“Too many memories, too many traditions…I get misty thinking about it.” Susan Williams

Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus (animated)

And one more from the top vote getter!

Sharon Greenthal

Sharon's blog, Empty House Full Mind, focuses on observations of the world from the midlife empty nest. Sharon is the Young Adults Expert on Sharon writes for the Huffington Post and Purple Clover. Sharon is the mother of two grown children - a daughter, 26 and a son, 24. She lives in Long Beach, CA with her husband and their perfect dog, Lambeau. Instagram: sharongreenthal

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Judy Freedman

Monday 1st of December 2014

You picked my favorite 'Love Actually.' Can't wait to watch it with my kids when they visit for the holiday.

Tricia Meyer

Monday 1st of December 2014

My top 2 are Christmas Vacation and Elf. I can barely even make it to Thanksgiving before I watch them. And I laugh at the exact same jokes every single year. I think my family likes watching them just because they think I am crazy for always making the same comments over and over and over! Our family lists and votes on all of the Christmas movies, cartoons, tv specials, etc. each year and that is the order that we try to watch them all in. We're about 12 in so far!

Anne Parris

Monday 1st of December 2014

Those are two of my favorites! I saw Christmas Vacation in the theater and laughed my fool head of during the dinner scene with the dog, the turkey, the cat and especially the squirrel.

We just watched Elf again tonight. I think that's currently our most quoted.

Elaine Plummer

Monday 1st of December 2014

Thanks with a smile on my face!

Tam Warner Minton

Monday 1st of December 2014

No one but me suggested "The Ref"? Man, you all are missing a great and funny Christmas movie! Go get right now!

Anne Parris

Monday 1st of December 2014

I've never seen it. I'll have to check it out!

Beth Havey

Monday 1st of December 2014

Great post, Sharon and a helpful list. When I order some films for Christmas I'll be checking it twice and of course including my top favorite IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE--it echoes what the true meaning of Christmas is and truly life itself.

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