These are my ten favorite Christmas movies. I’ll explain why and point to the Christian message in each. Christmas is a great time for movies. Some of the best will make their premier every year at Christmas, while the classics are played over and over again. God’s love shines at Christmas, and his message can be found encoded in some of the best stories ever told.
Here are my Top Ten Favorite Christmas Movies:
Watch them with your kids or grandkids and then talk about the message buried in the story!
10. Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Aside from the high sentimental value, this lovable reindeer teaches us some important life lessons: loyal friends are to be treasured, everyone has value, and giving to others is the highest ideal in life. There’s even a self-sacrificial character (Yukon Cornelius) who is willing to die for his friends.
Hey, what do you say we both be independent together, huh?”
9. White Christmas
More nostalgia. But, this one is worth it just to hear Bing Crosby sing the title song. Aside from nostalgia and a lot of great music, we learn that friends and loyalty are more important than fame and fortune.
8. Edward Scissorhands
One of Johnny Depp’s best performances. A story about isolation and self-discovery, it is a beautiful commentary on the power of love and acceptance to conquer judgment and condemnation.
Never let anyone tell you, you’re handicapped. You’re … special.”
7. The Polar Express
The day we are born may be the closest we ever get to God. The rest of life is a mad grab to not lose that feeling. But, the wonder of God and life don’t have to fade for those who keep believing.
Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”
6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Ron Howard is a masterful storyteller, and Jim Carey brought the character to life the way no one else could. The lessons Dr. Seuss left us with this classic are ubiquitous with Christmas: Everyone has value and love conquers all.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!”
5. A Charlie Brown Christmas
What can I say? It’s the search for the true meaning of Christmas. And Linus nails it at the end. There are few places anymore where you can get the pure, unfiltered message of Christmas. That’s why I keep going back.
I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.”
4. Miracle on 34th Street
I know … it’s about Santa Claus. But, it’s about so much more. It’s about the spirit of the original St. Nicolaus — a Christian missionary. It’s about believing in the true spirit of Christmas over and against the commercialism we have made it. In the end, it’s about love and faith.
3. A Christmas Story
It may be the perfect movie. The acting is superb. The dialog is true. The story doesn’t hit a single false note. And it’s hilarious. Above all, it teaches us that the shiny toys we long to have are no substitute for family and the memories we create. Fah-rah-rah.
2. A Christmas Carol (1951)
Alistair Sim is still the best as Charles Dicken’s Scrooge. The theme is timeless: People are more important than anything in this world. But, the journey Dickens takes us on to get there is such a joy.
For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.”
1. It’s a Wonderful Life
My favorite movie of all time. Jimmy Stewart is perfect in the role of George Bailey. I’ve watched it a hundred times and still tear up when George’s little brother, Harry, raises his glass to toast his brother: “To my big brother George, the richest man in town!” The investment you make in people lives on, far beyond your own life.
So … those are my favorites. What would you add? What would you take out? Share your favorites in the comment section below!