Top 15 Ultimate Christmas Movies: Which is No. 1?

New Times

Thanksgiving is over, and you know what that means. It’s time to start binge-watching as many holiday movies as you can! Are you as excited as I am?

screen cap of national lampoon's christmas vacation movie featuring chevy chase in a santa hat
New Times

But with so many options out there, how do you decide which movies to watch this holiday season? Which ones are the best? Which movies will fill you with the perfect amount of holiday cheer?

Well, as it turns out, someone out there decided to figure out a way to rank the Christmas classics in a calculated, objective way.

Ranking the Christmas Classics

While searching for the “Ultimate Christmas Movie” ranking, Music Magpie looked at four key elements: movies have to contain Christmas references, they had to perform well at the box office, they have to be a hit with both critics and audiences, and they have to create a buzz every year.

Once they used these key elements to narrow down the vast amount of Christmas movies down to a top 20, they then judged these movies based on 20 different criteria to determine which Christmas movie would come out on top.

The 20 Criteria Used to Rank the Movies

In case you were wondering, here is a list of all 20 different criteria that were used to determine the ultimate Christmas movie:

  • Worldwide box office gross
  • Rotten Tomatoes, critics’ response
  • Rotten Tomatoes, audience response
  • Google searches
  • Twitter mentions
  • Shots of Christmas presents
  • Shots of Christmas outfits
  •  Shots of reindeer
  • Shots of festive activities
  • Shots of Christmas food
  • Shots of snow
  • Shots of carol singers
  • Shots of Santa
  • Shots of presents being wrapped
  • Shots of Christmas shopping
  • Number of Christmas songs
  • Number of elves
  • Number of Christmas trees
  • Mentions of the word “Christmas”
  • Shots of Christmas stockings

This definitive leaderboard, which was compiled in agonizing detail, determines that Home Alone is the Ultimate Christmas Movie of all time. It’s followed by Elf and Love Actually. Surprisingly, The Nightmare Before Christmas didn’t break into the top 5!

So, break out the popcorn, bottled water, and some Red Vines, because it’s time to get snuggled up on the couch for a holiday movie marathon.

Here’s your top 15 must-watch ultimate Christmas movies this season!

Home Alone (1990)

home alone

Elf (2003)


Love Actually (2003)

love actually

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

how the grinch stole christmas

The Santa Clause (1994)

the santa clause

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

the nightmare before christmas

Arthur Christmas (2011)

arthur christmas

Gremlins (1984)


The Polar Express (2004)

the polar express

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

national lampoon's christmas vacation

Die Hard (1988)

die hard

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

home alone 2: lost in new york

Scrooged (1988)


Jingle All the Way (1996)

jingle all the way

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

the muppet christmas carol