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12 Movies to Watch on Each of the 12 Days of Christmas (And Why)
Christmas movies are great to watch during the festive season, and there are so many options from which to choose. So how do you decide which ones to put on your television?
Do you watch a sentimental classic, a comedy, or something darker?
Well, we’re here to help you out with our list of a dozen seasonal movies to watch on each of the 12 Days of Christmas. Give your Christmastime viewing a little bit of structure for a change.
1. December 25th: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, directed by Frank Capra)
It’s A Wonderful Life is a fantasy drama based on the short story The Greatest Gift, which Philip Van Doren self-published in 1943 – a short story that was, itself, based on Charles Dickens’ 1943 classic A Christmas Carol. In the film, a man’s suicidal thoughts on Christmas Eve bring about the intervention of his guardian angel.
Best Christmas Movie Ever Made
Simply put, It’s A Wonderful Life is the best Christmas movie ever made, so you should watch it on Christmas Day. It’s a glorious and thought-provoking movie teeming with sentimentality, emotion, and epic performances. Most importantly, it feels so wonderfully Christmassy.
2. December 26th: Jingle All the Way (1996, directed by Brian Levant)
Jingle All the Way is a family comedy about two rival fathers – mattress salesman Howard and postal worker Myron – who desperately try to purchase an in-demand toy for their respective sons on Christmas Eve.
Relax Watching a Movie Where Other People Frantically Shop
December 26th – also known as Boxing Day or Saint Stephen’s Day in different parts of the world – has become a day of frantic sale shopping. What better way to avoid the rush than by relaxing to watch a movie where other people frantically shop? Jingle All the Way is mindless slapstick at its silliest, and that’s what you need after the madness of Christmas Day.
3. December 27th: Elf (2003, directed by Jon Favreau)
Elf is a comedy movie about a human orphan who inadvertently ended up at the North Pole as a baby. He was named Buddy, raised by elves, and accepted into the elf community. In the movie, he heads to New York City to find his birth father – a grumpy children’s book publisher.
A Merry and Downright Hilarious Film
By December 27th, you’ll feel the post-Christmas blues, and there’s no better pick-me-up movie than Elf. It’s a merry, incredibly festive feeling and downright hilarious film. Will Ferrell is a joy to watch in this, and you’ll soon be feeling Christmassy again when you watch it.
4. December 28th: Home Alone (1990, directed by Chris Columbus)
Home Alone is a comedy movie and the first installment in the Home Alone franchise. It’s about a young boy who must defend his huge Chicago home from burglars when his family head to Paris for their Christmas vacation and accidentally leave him behind.
A Hoot of a Movie
Three days after Christmas, having spent so much time with people, you may want some alone time. There’s no better way to mirror that theme than watching Home Alone. It’s another hoot of a movie that will act as a great pick-me-up after Christmas, and Macaulay Culkin shines against the bungling burglars played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. You’ll be laughing your stockings off and feeling all warm inside at the same time.
5. December 29th: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989, directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik)
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a comedy movie and the third installment in National Lampoon’s Vacation film series. It’s about the Griswold family as they reluctantly spend their Christmas vacation at their home with their hapless relatives and the ensuing mayhem.
Hilarious and Full of Festive Cheer
You’ll be right in the middle of your Christmas vacation at this point, so you should spend it with the Griswolds on theirs. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is hilarious and full of festive cheer – and you’ll be able to relate to the struggles of having the family over.
6. December 30th: The Holiday (2006, directed by Nancy Meyers)
The Holiday is a rom-com about two lovelorn women – one from England, the other from America – who arrange to swap homes to escape heartbreak during the holiday season. In both cases, they find love with men from across the Atlantic.
Touching and Funny Movie
Again, you’ll be smack-bang in the middle of your own Christmas holiday on the 30th, so it’s an ideal time to join some movie characters (played by a great ensemble cast) on theirs. The Holiday is a beautifully shot, touching, sentimental, and funny movie, and it’ll give you everything you need at the peak of your Christmas break.
7. December 31st: When Harry Met Sally… (1989, directed by Rob Reiner)
When Harry Met Sally… is a romantic comedy-drama about the two eponymous characters. It follows the pair from the moment they meet in Chicago through twelve years of chance encounters in New York City, culminating in a kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
The Most Fantastic Rom-Com Ever Made
New Year’s Eve is a romantic day, so you should watch arguably the most fantastic rom-com ever made. You’ll laugh and have your heart touched equally, a sign of a great film. When Harry Met Sally… ends with Auld Lang Syne playing, so if you time it right, it could be playing as the clock strikes midnight.
8. January 1st: Rocky (1976, directed by John G. Avildsen)
Rocky is a sports drama movie and the first installment in the iconic Rocky franchise. In the film, an uneducated, small-time Philadelphia club fighter and debt collector gets an unlikely shot at boxing’s world heavyweight championship held by superstar Apollo Creed.
Epic Underdog Story
You’re probably asking, “why Rocky?” Well, Rocky’s bout with Creed takes place on New Year’s Eve – and what better way to get pumped up for the new year ahead than with this epic underdog story with an awesome motivational montage? Rocky is an excellent movie with a superb performance from Sylvester Stallone in the eponymous role.
9. January 2nd: Scrooge (1970, directed by Ronald Neame)
Scrooge is a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens‘ 1843 novella A Christmas Carol. It’s about a miserly man who gets visited by a succession of ghosts on Christmas Eve. The ghosts help him see the error of his ways, and he embraces the spirit of Christmas.
Live-Action Adaptation of A Christmas Carol
You’ll probably have started to get sick of Christmas now, so Scrooge is the perfect movie for you. Not only will you be able to relate to the eponymous character, but the happy ending will see you embracing the festive spirit once more. It’s one of the best live-action adaptations of A Christmas Carol, and Albert Finney is fantastic in the lead role.
10. January 3rd: Black Christmas (1974, directed by Bob Clark)
Black Christmas is a slasher movie set during the Christmas season, and it’s about a group of sorority sisters who receive threatening phone calls before being stalked and murdered by a psychopathic killer.
The Best Christmas Horror Movie
You’ll need a gear change during this 12-day movie marathon – you might feel murderous towards the festive madness at this point – and Black Christmas is a great way to make that happen. It’s one of the best Christmas horror movies ever made, and many people see it as highly influential in the slasher genre, and it’ll undoubtedly add some spice to your seasonal viewing.
11. January 4th: Die Hard (1988, directed by John McTiernan)
Die Hard is an action movie based on the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp. It follows John McClane, a New York City police officer. He finds himself embroiled in a terrorist takeover of a Los Angeles skyscraper while visiting his estranged wife to reconcile for the holidays.
Should Be Watched All Year Round
Its title is an excellent metaphor for the persistence of the Christmas season. We start seeing Christmas merchandise as soon as Halloween ends, and by January 11th, it seems to have been around forever. Die Hard is one of the best action movies ever made and should be watched all year round.
12. January 5th: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000, directed by Ron Howard)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a fantasy comedy about Dr. Seuss’ most iconic creation. It’s based on his 1957 children’s book of the same name and stars Jim Carrey as the green, vengeful Grinch who wants to ruin Christmas for all Whoville’s citizens.
Silliness and Laughs
What better way to end the festive season than having the Grinch steal it from you? How the Grinch Stole Christmas brings Christmastime to a close on a high, as Jim Carrey provides all the silliness and laughs you need. He’s brilliant in this movie, and the whole thing ensures a festive feel for the final day of Twelvetide.
More From Wealth of Geeks
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Kev is a UK-based sport and entertainment writer – a job he’s been doing full-time since 2013. He’s produced content for a wide variety of websites and publications all over the world. He’s a huge movie fan with a particular love for horror, superhero movies and 80s movies. For his sins, Kev is a fan of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.