The most popular Christmas movie from the year you were born
The most popular Christmas movie from the year you were born
Christmas movies are in a league of their own; there are so many of them, it can be hard to keep them all straight. The film industry has used Christmas and the holiday season as a backdrop for many stories. Christmas movies have been made since almost the beginning of film, and they cross multiple genres - including dark comedies, family dramas, rom-coms, and even horror. No matter the person's taste, a Christmas movie is out there for them.
There's been a holiday film released for every year a baby is born, of course. Some years there wasn't much competition, but for years when Christmas was a more popular theme, box office data was used to determine popularity. Here are the most popular Christmas movies from the year you were born.
1950 - 'The Great Rupert'
This 1950s movie, also known as "A Christmas Wish," focuses on Louie Amendola, who is a jobless vaudeville performer and has a wife and kids. They're homeless as Christmas rolls around so they go to stay with a friend, Frank Dingle. Frank is hiding money in his ceiling, which Louie and his family find when it's uncovered by a squirrel. Tensions rise because of the discovery in the film.
1951 - 'A Christmas Carol (Scrooge)'
The first of many Charles Dickens classics to appear on this list, the 1951 version of "A Christmas Carol" was the go-to iteration for a while. It focuses on Ebenezer Scrooge, his greedy, money-making ways, and his "Bah! Humbug!" attitude when it comes to Christmas. The Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future come to scare him and knock some compassion and care back into his heart. The film was originally released in the UK under the title "Scrooge" but was released as "A Christmas Carol" for American audiences. The New York Times called the film in its original review "a trenchant and inspiring Christmas show."
1952 - 'Pluto's Christmas Tree'
In this Disney animated tale, Mickey Mouse embarks on a trip to find the perfect Christmas Tree with Pluto. While looking for one to chop down, Pluto chases around some famous chipmunks by the names of Chip and Dale. Little do Mickey and Pluto know, but the chipmunks run into the tree they choose to chop down. One can imagine the trouble Pluto's about to get into at home. It may be a stretch to call this a movie, with only a seven-minute runtime, but it's a true holiday classic and has appeared in many of Disney's holiday compilations.
1953 - 'A String of Blue Beads'
A more somber Christmas television movie, "A String of Blue Beads" follows a young man whose life is going pretty well. He's wanting for nothing and he has a good outlook until his fiancée dies in a fire on Christmas Eve. As one can imagine, his life plummets and he's in a deep funk for years afterward. But a girl helps him relearn what the season is really about. This 30-minute story was originally supposed to be a pilot in a series, but the series was never produced.
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1954 - 'White Christmas'
Arguably one of the most iconic Christmas classics, "White Christmas" stars Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace and Danny Kaye as Phil Davis, two army veterans and successful performers. They follow the sister act of Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen) to put on a Christmas show in Vermont and run into their old army general. They decide to give back to him by throwing a fundraising show at his failing hotel. The movie raked in $30 million at the box office.
1956 - 'The Stingiest Man in Town'
"A Christmas Carol" has already made its first appearance on the list, but if you wished it were a little more musical, this 1950s flick is for you. "The Stingiest Man in Town" is all a musical. Ebenezer Scrooge is belting his heart out about his love for money and the Ghosts are singing their tunes, too. This was actually an episode of "The Alcoa Hour" on NBC.
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1955 - 'We're No Angels'
Starring Humphrey Bogart, this is the story of three convicted felons escaping a prison on Devil's Island. They stumble upon a hotel to stay at, run by good-natured people whom the convicts plan to con and steal from. However, Christmas dinner with that family really turns their minds around once they realize the type of people they'd be hurting.
1957 - 'All Mine to Give'
"All Mine to Give" is set in the 1850s and highlights a family of eight: a mom, dad and six kids. They move to America from Scotland to start a new life and are doing pretty well until tragedy strikes. After both parent's untimely death, Christmas is the last day the whole family is together when the oldest brother is faced with the impossible task of finding new families for all of his orphaned siblings. The film is based on the true story.
1958 - 'Bell, Book, and Candle'
Mixing witches and Christmas is a bit odd, but "Bell, Book, and Candle," which came out on Dec. 25, does it. Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak) is a glamorous witch in New York City who decides to put a love spell on a charming fella in the publishing business played by James Stewart. The gentleman also happens to be the fiance of a woman whom Gillian despises. Her plan goes off the rails when she starts to fall in love with him too and faces the prospect of losing her powers if she succumbs to her feelings. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe under the category of Best Motion Picture-Comedy.
1959 - 'Santa Claus'
Known as "Santa Claus" or "Santa Claus vs. the Devil," this movie is anything but run-of-the-mill. It's a Mexican Christmas movie that portrays Santa in outer space fighting demons who want to influence all the Earth's kids to be bad. It's wacky, but perfect if you're looking for something out of the ordinary to watch.
1960 - 'The Apartment'
This film is a little more on the scandalous side. C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) is an insurance worker who lets other men use his apartment for rendezvous with their mistresses. He lets his boss use it for one of his affairs in exchange for a better position within the company, but is distraught to see his boss courting a woman he likes from work. What's the best way to address drama at work in front of everyone? In a break from proper holiday party etiquette, but a grand cinematic gesture, at the office Christmas party, of course. "The Apartment" won Best Picture at the 1961 Academy Awards and is preserved by the National Film Registry in 1994.
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1961 - 'Babes in Toyland'
"Babes in Toyland" was originally an opera and then a Laurel and Hardy film, but this 1961 version is a Christmas musical featuring Tom Piper who gets kidnapped by the evil Barnaby just as he is about to marry Mary Quite Contrary. Barnaby hopes that with Tom now out of the picture, he can swoop in and marry her instead. Tom bounces back and tries to save Mary from this evil-doer.
1962 - 'Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol'
Audiences just love Dickens. This is a different take on "A Christmas Carol" and is a bit meta. Mr. Magoo stars as Ebenezer Scrooge in a musical version of the Christmas classic on Broadway but causes problems with his bad eyesight. They perform the whole story, with Magoo's personality mixed in there as well.
1963 - 'The Sword in the Stone'
An underrated Disney classic, this movie is about the origin of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Young Arthur, who is known as Wart, doesn't come from royalty but is instead an orphan. He meets Merlin, who foresees great things for him and because of that, Wart heads off to London to see someone about a sword in a stone. The movie isn't a film with a classic Christmas theme but rather was released on Christmas Day in the United States.
1964 - 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'
This is the point of the list when a lot of the movies become much more familiar to a modern-day audience. With Burl Ives' Sam the Snowman narrating, Rudolph's story is immortalized in the classic Christmas carol and this Rankin/Bass Production is the most well-known visual version. Rudolph is constantly made fun of by his peers because of his shining red nose. He's left out of activities and is an outcast to his fellow reindeer. That is until Santa needs a guiding light for his Christmas Eve toy deliveries. It was a made-for-television stop motion special that to this day airs annually.
1965 - 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'
There aren't many songs as instantly recognizable as the film's "Christmas Time Is Here," and not many Christmas movies as well-known as this one, which is based on the comic strip "Peanuts." Because Charlie is always so down, Lucy suggests that he direct the school Christmas play. However, things don't go as planned, including the reaction to Charlie's sparse Christmas tree. It was also originally produced as an animated television special.
1966 - 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas'
The story was originally published in 1957 but didn't make its way to screen for almost 10 years. The very first cartoon adaptation of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is iconically narrated, created a popular song "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," and is very entertaining. The grouchy Grinch and his dog, Max, are up in his secluded mountain cave and he hates Christmas. He hates it so much, along with all the people in Whoville, that he decides to steal their presents, trees, and decorations. But he has a change of heart thanks to one of the smallest Whos.
1967 - 'Fitzwilly'
Dick Van Dyke was at the peak of his fame coming off his successful sitcom "The Dick Van Dyke Show" as well as high-profile roles in "Bye Bye Birdie" and "Mary Poppins," when he played Fitzwilly, a hardworking butler. His character works for a woman whose father passed away and left her with very little. In order to keep the house running, Fitzwilly has to cheat and steal, but his life gets a bit more complicated when a new secretary catches on to his ploys. She might even put a damper on Fitzwilly's heist of a big department store around Christmas.
1968 - 'The Little Drummer Boy'
Another Rankin/Bass movie on this list - and far from the last - "The Little Drummer Boy" was based on the song of the same name. It also featured that tune as well as "Do You Hear What I Hear?" which are both very popular today. The movie tells the story of Aaron, an orphan who hates everyone and everything except his drum and his animal friends. He's experienced great tragedy and is forced to join a traveling caravan of performers. He escapes and heads off to find the Magi, who are going to Jesus' birth in Bethlehem.
1969 - 'Frosty the Snowman'
Everyone knows the song "Frosty the Snowman," and this animated television short does a perfect job illustrating all aspects of it. Frosty's endearing, "Happy Birthday" is also a delight that adds to the whimsy of the talking snowman. A magical hat is what brings the usually inanimate creature to life, and he dances around town with some school kids, singing as they go. However, their fun is stopped momentarily by the sour magician to whom the hat originally belonged.
1970 - 'Scrooge'
Yet another "A Christmas Carol" rendition, this version tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge in a musical manner. Albert Finney won a 1971 Golden Globe for his portrayal of Scrooge.
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1971 - 'The Homecoming: A Christmas Story'
"The Homecoming: A Christmas Story" was a television movie set in the 1930s featuring the popular Walton family. The father of the house is away on business in the city and is having a rough time trying to get back home to his beloved family because of a massive snowstorm. Now, with his dad missing, JohnBoy has to step up since he's the oldest. JohnBoy is tasked with cutting down the family's tree, but ends up setting out to find his father.
1972 - 'The House Without a Christmas Tree'
A CBS film, "The House Without a Christmas Tree" is about Addie, a little girl from Nebraska whose mother died when she was a baby. Set in 1946, Addie desperately wants a Christmas tree for her house, but her father hasn't allowed one since his wife's death. Addie wins her class' Christmas tree in a raffle and brings it home, of course infuriating her father. Luckily, she has a friend who gladly takes the tree, teaching her father a true lesson about Christmas.
1973 - 'Miracle on 34th Street'
A remake of the classic 1947 film, this made-for-television reboot followed the famous holiday formula. A department store Santa trying to convince a little girl who doesn't believe in his existence ends up on trial to prove his own identity.
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1974 - 'The Year Without a Santa Claus'
Everyone gets tired of their job at some point, no matter how fun or fulfilling it is. This happens to Santa Claus in yet another Rankin/Bass production, when he wakes up with a cold and is advised to change up his routine. He figures he'll skip Christmas, which alarms Mrs. Claus and the elves. Elves Jingle and Jangle are tasked with changing his mind, but they find little success. The two elves try to find proof that Christmas cheer and spirit still exist, but they get shot down thanks to the warring Miser Brothers. It was originally broadcast on ABC.
1975 - 'The First Christmas'
For many years in the '70s, Rankin/Bass movies were synonymous with Christmas. "The First Christmas" is about a young shepherd, Lucas, who is blinded by lightning. Nuns at a nearby convent take him in and Sister Catherine learns he's never seen a snowfall before. She describes it to him, so he can visualize it. Lucas gets cast as an angel in the convent's Nativity play and snow plays an even more special and miraculous role for Lucas. The show is narrated by Angela Lansbury.
1976 - 'Rudolph's Shiny New Year'
Yet again, a claymation classic from the folks who brought you the original "Rudolph" movie, "Rudolph's Shiny New Year" is actually a sequel to that one. It starts right after all the reindeer and Santa come back from delivering presents. Santa receives a note from Father Time asking for help in finding Baby New Year, because if they can't, time will stop forever on Dec. 31. Santa, of course, sends Rudolph, and he has to travel to some weird lands to find the baby.
Another Rankin/Bass movie, Nestor originally aired on ABC, and stars a donkey that will win a special place in your heart. The film takes place in biblical times, so the snow and winter usually associated with Christmas isn't here, but that's because it's right before the first ever Christmas. Nestor is made fun of constantly, just like Rudolph was. For Nestor, it's because of his really long ears. But the joke's on them because he ends up having a special role with Mary and Joseph before Jesus' birth.
Benji the famous dog stars in this holiday film, one of several movies featuring the pup. Benji and his humans are on a promotional tour at a stop in Switzerland around Christmastime. "Kris Kringle" is a little lost when it comes to the meaning of the holiday, and it's up to Benji to teach him. The Benji franchise was popular in the '70s and '80s and an unlikely box-office hit. Creator Joe Camp released the original "Benji" himself because so many Hollywood studios turned him down.
1979 - 'Jack Frost'
Another Rankin/Bass Production - the last on this list - "Jack Frost" tells the story of how the cold comes to town every winter. Jack is a magical winter sprite who is in charge of bringing about frost and cold temperatures. But he wants to give that all up when he meets the gorgeous and kind Elisa. Father Winter grants his request to make him human, but because of an evildoer named Kubla Kraus, his humanity and his future with Elisa is threatened. The special premiered on NBC.
1980 - 'Christmas Evil'
This movie is not for families or children and is a morbid murder flick set around Christmas. A toymaker at a department store, who generally loves the holidays, suffers a mental breakdown that causes him to become murderous. He becomes a serial killer, which explains its R-rated status. There wasn't much else released in 1980 in terms of holiday films, but this movie is regarded as one of the best attempts at a Christmas/horror crossover and is a cult favorite. Filmmaker John Waters has even cited "Christmas Evil" as his favorite Christmas movie.
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1981 - 'A Chipmunk Christmas'
This is where the legendary Christmas song,"The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" came from, so for that alone it's worth a rewatch. Alvin and The Chipmunks were an '80s staple, and this holiday-themed film added even more pipsqueaked songs to their growing repertoire. For once, Alvin is selfless and gives his harmonica to a poor boy right before the holiday. It's a sweet story that shows audiences what Christmas is really about.
1982 - 'The Snowman'
This little half-hour animated movie is based on the book of the same name by Raymond Briggs. It's similar to "Frosty," in that a snowman comes to life. But this time the Snowman takes the little boy off to the North Pole to see Santa. Just like with the book, there is no dialogue, just a narrator.
1983 - 'A Christmas Story'
"You'll shoot your eye out" might be one of the most memorable lines in "A Christmas Story" or any Christmas movie on this list for that matter. There are so many quotable moments and memorable scenes. Nothing holds a light to the leg lamp or the tongue on the pole. It's a humorous retelling of Ralphie's Christmas goal to get a Red Ryder BB gun. The film made over $20 million domestically and became a pop culture juggernaut with everything from shirts, to mugs to leg lamps referencing the movie still actively sold around the holiday.
1984 - 'Gremlins'
The movie "Gremlins" is one of the most well-known '80s films and features furry little balls of cuteness that turn evil really fast. When a father wants to really wow his son for Christmas, he finds these "mogwai" toys he thinks would be perfect. However, the stipulations involve not exposing them to bright light, water, and absolutely no food after midnight. What does the kid do? All three. These things go off and wreak havoc on Christmas Eve. The film made $153 million domestically.
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1985 - 'Rocky IV'
Famed fighter Rocky Balboa challenges Drago, a Soviet Union fighter, to a boxing match on Christmas Day, cementing it into the pantheon of Christmas films. The sports drama was released on Nov. 27 and earned over $300 million at box offices worldwide.
1986 - 'Nutcracker'
This is the classic story of Clara and the Nutcracker, retold in this 1986 version by the Pacific Northwest Ballet. It's Christmas Eve and Clara is enjoying a wonderful time with her family at their party. She receives a nutcracker from her godfather, Herr Drosselmeier, and she's instantly in love with it. She visits it that night under the Christmas tree and finds out that he's not only alive, but he fights rat soldiers too. They travel through different lands and meet the Sugar Plum Fairy.
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1987 - 'Lethal Weapon'
The buddy cop action movie starring Danny Glover and Mel Gibson was set at Christmastime. During the release of Mel Gibson's 2017 Christmas comedy "Daddy's home," Gibson joked with reporters that every director at the time of "Lethal Weapon" wanted to set movies at Christmas, and considering "Rocky IV" and "Die Hard" also have Christmas as a background, it seems like a valid claim. "Lethal Weapon" was released in March and grossed over $120 million worldwide.
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1988 - 'Scrooged'
"Die Hard" is absolutely a Christmas movie and it did come out in 1988, but so did this Bill Murray Christmas classic which has to edge out the Bruce Willis-led action film because it is not only set at Christmas, but uses Christmas as a theme. Another take on Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," "Scrooged" takes place in present day (well, the '80s) and has Murray in the role of Frank Cross, this story's Ebenezer Scrooge. He's a powerful TV exec whose working attitude and cold manner has isolated him from friends, family and the love of his life, Claire (Karen Allen). "Scrooged" made over $60 million domestically at the box office ("Die Hard" raked in over $83 million domestically, but over $141 million worldwide).
1989 - 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation'
Written by John Hughes, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" is probably the best definition of a modern Christmas classic. It's the third movie in the National Lampoon "Vacation" franchise of movies, and brings audiences back to the whereabouts (and shenanigans) of the Griswolds. This time, cousin Eddie shows up around Christmastime and brings his unrefined ways to their house.
1990 - 'Home Alone'
"Home Alone" is one of those movies that one can watch any day of the year. It's a classic and the antics of Kevin McCallister are so entertaining. In a big family with obnoxious cousins, Kevin gets fed up with it all and goes to sleep in the family's attic. This is the night before they all leave for a Christmas vacation, so when they wake up late, they forget Kevin in their haste. This leads to Kevin dancing in his underwear, ordering pizza and fending off thieves while being home alone for the holidays. The movie, starring Macaulay Culkin, was a massive success, earning over $476 million at box offices worldwide and cementing its place in pop culture and family holiday traditions. It was the third-highest grossing film of the year behind "Ghost" and "Pretty Woman."
1991 - 'All I Want for Christmas'
Similar to "The Parent Trap," "All I Want for Christmas" features two siblings who want their parents to get back together. They devise a devious plan to lock away their mom's fiance and create romance for their parents. They actually get him sent away to New Jersey, oddly enough, and trick their mom into thinking he left her. The film grossed just over $14 million domestically.
1992 - 'Home Alone 2: Lost in New York'
With the success of "Home Alone," of course there was going to be a sequel, and it just so happened to be very good sequel. Kevin McCallister is back at it again, except he's not in his suburban home this time. He's lost in the Big Apple after boarding the wrong plane, separating him from his family, which was headed to Florida. He romps through Central Park, gets a room in the Plaza Hotel and has a run-in with the thieves from the original film, Harry and Marv. Kevin is a very capable kid, coming up with perfect plans and fending for himself with criminals on his trail. The film made over $365 million worldwide.
1993 - 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'
Technically, "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is a Halloween movie, but it features Santa and Christmas, so it can go here too. The stop-motion animation is dark and gritty and the songs are positively catchy and well-written. Jack Skellington feels like there's a hole in his life, even though he's the Pumpkin King. When he falls into a Christmas tree, he becomes obsessed with the jolly holiday. Jack wants to recreate everything and take over Christmas, except he doesn't really run it by Santa Claus first.
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1994 - 'The Santa Clause'
Probably one of the most memorable films on this list, "The Santa Clause" is a concept that involves Scott Calvin, played by Tim Allen, a toy company businessman who's pretty suave and good at his job. His son Charlie spends Christmas with him, and they stumble upon the real Santa Claus delivering presents, watching as he falls from a roof and disappears. It's now Scott's responsibility to not only deliver presents that Christmas, but also transform into Santa for next Christmas. It grossed $189 million worldwide.
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1995 - 'Home for the Holidays'
This is more of a Thanksgiving movie since the main character Claudia (Holly Hunter) goes home for Turkey Day, but the overall holiday theme works for it to be on this list. It was directed by Jodie Foster and follows Claudia, a woman who's miserable in her life. She just got fired from her job, her daughter is spending Thanksgiving with her boyfriend, and her family is eccentric, to say the least. Her family is played by Robert Downey Jr., Cynthia Stevenson and Dylan McDermott. The film received some glowing reviews from critics and still has positive scores on modern movie sites like Rotten Tomatoes.
1996 - 'Jingle All the Way'
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger before he became a California senator, this film is about a workaholic dad named Howard whose son Jamie is neglected because of his dad's work. For Christmas, Jamie only wants a Turbo Man action figure, which also just so happens to be the hardest thing to buy that year. So Howard goes on a wild goose chase throughout the city tracking down the last Turbo Man the day before Christmas. He also has stiff competition from Myron the mailman, played by Sinbad. The movie made more than $129 million worldwide and remains relatable more than 20 years later. The Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston classic "The Preacher's Wife" also debuted in 1996.
1997 - 'Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas'
Don't let the direct-to-video aspect of this film fool you; it's worth your time. This is a sequel to the Disney classic "Beauty and The Beast," however it doesn't take place after the movie but during the winter portion of the first movie. It involves an evil organ voiced by Tim Curry and Christmas decorations that come alive. Another new character is Angelique, the angel decoration for the top of the tree. It adds the magic from the first movie with Christmas warmth, which struck a note with audiences. The movie sold 7.6 million VHS copies in 1997.
1998 - 'I'll Be Home for Christmas'
This movie's title plays on a classic Christmas carol, and something people jokingly say around the holidays all the time. Starring popular '90s heartthrob and "Home Improvement" star Jonathan Taylor Thomas, this is the ultimate, yet unfortunate, holiday travel movie. He's a college student who finds himself stranded in a California desert in a Santa suit, beard and all. He has to make it home in three days to meet up with his girlfriend in New York, played by "7th Heaven" star Jessica Biel, who may or may not be drifting away from him. Oh yeah, he also wants a Porsche his dad promised him.
1999 - 'Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas'
Three stories are rolled into one movie with Disney's direct-to-video offering "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas." A "Groundhog Day"-like scenario befalls Donald Duck and Daisy when Huey, Dewey and Louie wish for Christmas everyday. (Spoiler: It's not all the joy they thought it would be.) Then Goofy teaches Max some important lessons about Christmas. Lastly, Mickey and Minnie have a touching story based on "The Gift of the Magi" about selfless gift-giving. The movie got a sequel in 2004 called "Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas."
2000 - 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas'
Based on the legendary characters of Dr. Seuss, this well-known story is told with a few modern twists. Jim Carrey plays the Grinch in this live-action film in such a quote-worthy, yet off-the-wall way. The movie, directed by Ron Howard, sticks to the original story of a Grinch taking the material part of Christmas away from the town of Whoville, only to learn that's not what the holiday is about. The movie is the second-highest grossing holiday film of all time at the box office with worldwide earnings of more than $345 million.
2001 - 'Call Me Claus'
In this TV movie, Whoopi Goldberg plays Lucy Cullins, a woman who lost the spirit of Christmas as a child. She asked Santa to bring her father back from the Vietnam War and instead he died. As an adult, she's a TV producer for a shopping channel and has to hire someone for their Christmas segments as Santa Claus. The actual Santa shows up, and she hires him without actually thinking he's the real deal before he drops a bomb on her. He needs a successor in order to keep the North Pole from melting, and Lucy is the person he's chosen for the job.
2002 - 'Santa Clause 2'
Tim Allen and the rest of the original cast returned for this sequel to "The Santa Clause." This time, Scott is full-St. Nick, belly, beard and all. But he's bound to lose it all if he doesn't find a wife soon, part of the "Mrs. Clause," so he tries to hit it off with Carol Newman, his son's principal. The movie is one of the top 10 highest-grossing holiday films of all time thanks to its gross of more than $172 million at the worldwide box office.
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2003 - 'Elf'
Starring Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf, this comedy follows Buddy on his journey to figure out who he is and find his real father. Growing up in the North Pole as one of the elves was tough for Buddy, who didn't actually figure out he was a human until he was a grown man. His childlike demeanor and sugar cravings make him stick out, but even the streets of New York City can't dull his holiday cheer. While the popular film "Love Actually" also debuted this year, "Elf" has become a holiday season phenomenon, spawning Buddy the Elf merchandise, a children's book, a stop-motion animated television special and even a Broadway musical.
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2004 - 'The Polar Express'
Christmas train rides are a charming holiday tradition people experience to this day and many are themed after this movie. "The Polar Express" expands on the children's book of the same name from 1985. Tom Hanks plays many key voice roles using motion-capture technology, so the CGI characters look very lifelike and similar to the actors that play them. There are a lot of original songs and entertaining dance numbers as well. The film made more than $313 million at the box office worldwide, was nominated for three Oscars and has become a modern Christmas classic.
2005 - 'The Family Stone'
This is where the list deviates into more adult-oriented Christmas movies, with far fewer animated films making the top each year. "The Family Stone" shows the worst that can happen with a dysfunctional family during the holidays. Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) wants to bring his girlfriend Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) home for Christmas, but their relationship becomes strained due to her conservative, uptight demeanor opposed to the Stone family's rambunctious nature. She invites her sister Julie (Claire Danes) to help ease the tension and things get even more out of hand. The film was a bit polarizing to fans and critics but made more than $92 million at the box office and has many devoted fans.
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2006 - 'The Holiday'
Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet play women who are bogged down by life and exchange houses for the holidays to recharge. So they swap between Los Angeles and England and fall for men in each other's separate lives played by Jude Law and Jack Black. The movie, which was directed by Nancy Meyers, has gone on to become one of the highest-grossing romantic comedies of all time.
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2007 - 'Holiday in Handcuffs'
An ABC Family original TV movie, "Holiday in Handcuffs" stars beloved TV actress Melissa Joan Hart as Trudie, a diner waitress who is dreading the holidays because she's single. David (Mario Lopez) is an unlucky customer who she kidnaps and forces into playing her boyfriend. Unable to escape, David goes along with it, waiting for the police to arrive, but feelings actually start to develop between them. The movie, which still airs on ABC Family, became the channel's most-watched telecast of all time with 6.73 million viewers.
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2008 - 'Four Christmases'
In "Four Christmases," Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn, two of the highest-grossing movie stars of the previous year, play an unhappy married couple who find themselves in some of the worst holiday guest situations imaginable. Already miserable with each other, their tropical Christmas vacation is ruined and they find themselves forced into visiting four different parts of their families. There's embarrassment, shenanigans and baby fever, but the holidays just might help their marriage after all. It was the top grossing movie of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend that year, beating out "Twilight" and James Bond.
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2009 - 'A Christmas Carol'
This isn't the first, or last, time "A Christmas Carol" will be on this list because of its status as a Christmas classic. This version is unique because of it's realistic CGI and gritty storytelling. Robert Zemeckis directed this film and used the motion capture technique again to get that lifelike quality to the animated characters that you can see in "The Polar Express." Jim Carrey stars as Scrooge as well as the three Ghosts of Christmas. Famed film critic Roger Ebert gave the movie a perfect score of 4 stars, and it grossed more than $325 million around the world.
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2010 - 'November Christmas'
This Hallmark movie stars Sam Elliot, John Corbett and Sarah Paulson. It's about a little girl who has terminal cancer and likely won't make it to another Christmas or Halloween. Her family comes up with an idea to celebrate the holidays early, and soon the whole town gets behind it. With decorations and cheer throughout the town for this girl's special holiday, it makes her November Christmas quite special. It's safe to say, tissues are needed to view this one. The well-received film has aired for years afterward, even during the Hallmark Movie Channel's "Christmas in July" programming.
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2011 - 'Arthur Christmas'
Starring James McAvoy as the voice of Arthur, this animated movie shows another side of Santa's Christmas process. It explains how he can deliver everyone's toys in one night, and Santa's younger son, Arthur, is desperately trying to complete a mission before Dec. 25 ends. The family is a bit dysfunctional, but Christmas isn't the same without them. The movie grossed more than $147 million at the box office.
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2012 - 'It's Christmas, Carol'
This Hallmark Channel Christmas movie found a special place in many people's hearts because it stars Carrie Fisher, an icon known for playing Princess Leia in "Star Wars." Years before her passing in 2016, she played Eve in this modern retelling of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." It follows Carol (Emmanuelle Vaugier), an ill-tempered CEO of Eve's former publishing company. Eve, who is dead, comes back as all three ghosts and turns Carol's mean demeanor around for the holidays. Nearly 4 million viewers turned into this holiday classic with a twist.
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2013 - 'The Best Man Holiday'
In 1999's sleeper hit "The Best Man," Harper's (Taye Diggs) novel is published just as he's reuniting with college friends and family for his best friend's (Morris Chestnut) wedding. This is a problem because his book draws from his personal life. In its long-awaited sequel, "The Best Man Holiday," all the friends are back for Christmas, but drama starts to unfold. Again. The movie also stars Nia Long, Harold Perrineau and Terrence Howard and made more than $50 million at the box office.
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2014 - 'Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever'
Lifetime brilliantly cast deadpan "Parks and Recreation" actress Aubrey Plaza as the voice behind Grumpy Cat in this family Christmas TV movie. It takes the viral meme of Grumpy Cat, who has almost 3 million Instagram followers and even more fans in real life, and puts her in a mall pet shop. She's passed over for adoption day after day, hence her "grumpy" demeanor in the movie. The plot also involves heroic kidnap-thwarting and Christmas cheer, much to Grumpy Cat's dismay. Almost 2 million viewers tuned in to the movie's premiere that year.
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2015 - 'Krampus'
This movie revolves around the European legend of Krampus, a scary goat-like man that is often used to scare children into behaving this time of year. This horror film takes the concept and spins it into a horrifying Christmas movie. A son in a troubled family has no holiday spirit, which awakens an angry Krampus. The monster then terrorizes the boy and his family and they have to fight to stay alive. This non-traditional Christmas movie grossed more than $50 million worldwide, far surpassing its $15 million budget.
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2016 - 'Office Christmas Party'
Another adult-holiday movie tops the list for 2016. It has a long list of well-known actors, including Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Kate McKinnon and Randall Park. Carol Vanstone (Aniston) is a CEO that threatens to shut down the part of the company her slacker brother Clay (T.J. Miller) works in. He comes up with a plan to throw a massive Christmas party to impress clients and keep his job. It turns into a night of debauchery worthy of the naughty list. The movie grossed more than $110 million worldwide. If you've already seen all these movies, it might be a sign you love Christmas a little too much, but there are definitely other ways to know if you are obsessed with Christmas.
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