Must-Watch Movies for the Holidays

University of Idaho / Idaho ArgonautDecember 16, 2022

What’s better than staying in on a cold Winter night and watching the classics?  Here are some of the most popular holiday movies and hopefully some new ones too.

The Nightmare Before Christmas  

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a stop-motion film with off-putting characters and a lovable crew to voice them. Tim Burton combines fright and holiday spirit all into one in this film and whether it is a Christmas or Halloween movie eludes most. Whatever the case, this bizarrely enjoyable holiday fusion is a staple of the season.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles 

One of the few Thanksgiving-centered movies, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” includes an ensemble cast of exceptional comedians who deliver a hilarious performance in this light-hearted, goofy classic. Steve Martin and John Candy play complete opposites who are tasked with navigating back home for Thanksgiving dinner—forming an unexpected friendship along the way. 


For many, it is a holiday tradition to watch “Elf” over and over as the holiday season passes by. Will Ferrell gives his all as a human raised as a Christmas elf getting into all kinds of trouble in the big city, in one of funniest Christmas movies to date. National Lampoon’s

Christmas Vacation 

Chevy Chase may not be the most likeable fellow, but his role in this National Lampoon film is one of his top performances. The story is a tragedy of an American family trying to get through the holidays—and unsuccessfully so.

Die Hard 

This famous action-packed film stars Bruce Willis saving hostages at a Christmas party from an imminent threat brought on by a group of German criminals. With enough one-liners to make even Arnold Schwarzenegger jealous, this film is always a joy to watch. 



A Christmas Story (1983) 

This heartwarming movie follows a little boy, Ralphie, who desperately wants the newest BB gun for Christmas. The story relays the innocence of childhood and fleeting joys of youth, while incorporating a humorous tone all the while.

The Polar Express 

Every student most likely remembers those wonderful elementary days where the teacher would roll out the box TV and put on this gem, “The Polar Express.” Somber and funny at all the right moments, this movie a certified holiday classic. 

Home Alone 

In Macaulay Culkin’s call to fame, “Home Alone” relays the adventures of a young boy who was forgotten at home after his parents left for a Christmas vacation. The story needs no explanation though, as I would hope it is not a first watch for anyone this holiday season.  

Scrooged (1988) 

This twist on the classic Charles Dicken’s story follows a rich TV executive, Bill Murray, through an existential realization as he is visited by a series of ghosts. “Scrooged” is both funny and wonderful.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) 

Jim Carry’s performance as the infamous Grinch shines through in this classic holiday tale. The Dr. Suess story is one that we are all familiar with and this iteration is one best. Christmas lovers could re-watch this movie over and over as the story is one that truly never gets old.



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