Best Christmas movies: 6 picks for everyone

We’ve rounded up our favourite Christmas films, perfect for watching while snuggled up on a cold winter night

Family enjoying a cosy night in with a movie
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

We think what everyone needs this week is a good home cinema session, watching the best Christmas movies. There really is nothing like cosying up on the sofa, surrounded by treats and a mug of hot chocolate (or something stronger) to watch a festive film with the family. 

So, we have picked out a few of our favourites and we highly recommend sticking them on rotation to bring a bit of Christmas spirit home. Here are some that families of every age will enjoy, from sweet animations to seasonal rom-coms. 

If you are wondering where to watch them, many are on Netflix, Prime and Disney+ – a streaming device is a good shout so you can access them.

1. Elf (2003)

Film cover for Elf

(Image credit: Amazon Getty)

Best for: kids (but one adults can laugh along to)

With so many children’s Christmas films finding new ways to approach the theme, it’s hard to pick just one – but Elf is a classic. Buddy the Elf sets off to New York to find his real family and has trouble navigating the hostile world outside Santa’s North Pole. If you need a reminder of how exciting Christmas can be, look no further than Buddy’s commitment to the festive cause. Full of humour and Christmas cheer, even the adults will enjoy this.

2. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Film cover for It's A Wonderful Life

(Image credit: Amazon Getty)

Best for: those who love a classic

When a deeply distressed businessman finds no reason to carry on, a guardian angel shows him what life would be like without him. Compulsory viewing for many families at Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life is a heart-warming portrayal of the impact one person can have on their family, their community and the world. Ranked number 11 on the American Film Institute’s greatest American films of all times, it’s perfect for fans of the black-and-white film classics.

3. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

Film cover for Miracle of 34th Street

(Image credit: Amazon Getty)

Best for: magic and nostalgia

The 1994 remake of Miracle on 34th Street is as heart-warming as the original. When Kris Kringle takes over as the Cole’s Department Store’s Santa Claus, he must convince six-year-old Susan Walker – and a courtroom – that he’s the real deal. Full of childlike wonder and Christmas magic, it’s a must-watch this festive season.

4. The Snowman (1982)

Film cover for the snowman

(Image credit: Amazon Getty)

Best for: animation

Author Raymond Briggs’ children’s story is brought to life in the short film The Snowman. On Christmas Eve, a young boy builds a snowman who comes to life and whisks him away to the North Pole to meet Father Christmas. Featuring scores by Howard Blake and the classic song Walking in the Air, The Snowman is a visual treat for fans of animation that evokes the true magic of Christmas.

5. Home Alone (1990)

Film cover for Home Alone

(Image credit: Amazon Getty)

Best for: family fun

Eight-year-old Kevin McCallister is accidentally left behind when his family goes away for the Christmas vacation and has to defend the house from particularly clumsy burglars. Featuring slapstick comedy, dangerous hijinks and plenty of booby traps, Home Alone has been a festive staple since its release in the early 1990s. You can now even stay in the Home Alone house on Airbnb.

6. Love Actually (2003)

Love Actually

(Image credit: Amazon)

Best for: romantics

A fab cast including Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson and Hugh Grant (playing an affable prime minister) take part in this Christmas rom-com. The lives of eight couples – all linked in some way – are followed from the end of November through to Christmas day. There is heartbreak, laughter, drama and a bit of love, actually.

More great Christmas finds:

Ellen Finch
Deputy editor

Joining as features editor in 2017, Ellen now looks after the day-to-day running of Real Homes magazine as deputy editor. She also commissions and writes many of the real case studies you'll see on the site, and loves speaking to people about their homes and get the details on the hacks they've tried and loved. She's currently gearing up to buy a home of her own in 2023 – hopefully with a garden to plant veg and wildflowers – and has a special interest in sustainable living, clever book storage, and cats.