Top 10 Favorite Classic Christmas Movies

I’m an old soul.  Any night of the week, you can catch me watching TCM.  It’s what I love.  Come Christmastime, of course I love movies like Home Alone and Elf.  But what I really love is the classic Christmas movies.

I compiled a list of my top 10 favorite classic Christmas movies plus a short blurb about each one and why I love them.  The best part about these old classic films is that they’re all family friendly, but will be enjoyed by all ages.

Top 10 Classic Christmas Movie list angela lanter hello gorgeous old hollywood holiday

My Top 10 Favorite Classic Christmas Movies:

  1. It’s a Wonderful Life.  Probably the most classic Christmas film of all.  I’m not sure how, but I saw this movie for the first time in my life just two Christmases ago.  It’s #1 on my list for a reason…  It truly gives you all the Christmas feels.  Jimmy Stewart plays “George Bailey,” a thirty-something husband and father who experiences a bad turn of events when his guardian angel intervenes.
  2. Meet John Doe.  Another great film directed by Frank Capra (he also directed #1).  Barbara Stanwyck is easily Matt’s favorite actress from the Golden Age and in this classic movie, you can easily see why.  This movie has a political storyline, so considering the climate of our current condition in our country, this movies feels very appropriate.  It’s not your typical happy holiday film, but touches the heart and makes you think.
  3. Christmas in Connecticut.  Tis another great classic starring Barbara Stanwyck.  Miss Stanwyck plays “Elizabeth Lane,” a well known Martha Stewart-esque writer who is an expert on homemaking.  There’s only one catch: Elizabeth Lane isn’t a homemaker.  In fact, she’s single with no children and doesn’t cook.  The best part of this little fib?  Her boss has no clue.  So when Elizabeth’s boss invites himself to spend Christmas with her husband and baby in Connecticut, things start to get a little crazy.  This movie is lighthearted, delightful and a must watch every year!
  4. Heidi.  I grew up on Shirley Temple movies.  Heidi was my first experience with the most famous little curly top of all.  I’ve always associated this film with Christmas, yet I’ve never seen it on any of the classic Christmas movie lists or on tv during Christmastime, which is a shame in my opinion.  It’s just a feel good movie that the whole family can enjoy.
  5. The Bishop’s Wife.  I never saw this classic until last year.  I’m guessing that’s because I grew up with the Whitney Houston remake, “The Preacher’s Wife.”  I have a special love for Cary Grant and he’s so young and so suave as the angel, “Dudley” in the this film.  You find yourself rooting for the impossible love connection.  Another lighthearted classic that shouldn’t be missed.
  6. Little Women.  This classic was based on an autobiographical book written by Louisa May Alcott.  It’s such a wonderful story that the book has been turned into a movie three different times.  I recently read an article that there are plans in work to create this movie for a fourth time in 2017.  The first movie was in 1933, starring Katherine Hepburn.  The second was in 1949, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Janet Leigh and June Allyson.  The third remake was in 1994 and I have seen this version too many times to count.  The 1994 remake stars Susan Sarandon, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Wynona Ryder and Christian Bale.  Not necessarily your happy-go-lucky Christmas tale, but fabulous none the less.
  7. Meet Me in St. Louis.  Any chance to watch Miss Judy Garland, I’m in.  This movie just makes me happy.  It’s another autobiographical account, but sweeter.  When Judy Garland sings, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” it’s almost impossible to keep a dry eye.
  8. It Happened on 5th Avenue.  This one I’ve only seen once, but I remember really enjoying it.  I especially love the leopard coat (you’ll know it when you see it) #girltalk.  In a nutshell, a hobo moves into a mansion on 5th Avenue and craziness ensues.  It’s cute, it’s funny and I think you’ll enjoy it.
  9. White Christmas.  This one almost didn’t make my  top 10, only because I’ve seen it too many times.  But then I remember how much I love Bing and the “Count Your Blessings” song, so it had to make the list.  White Christmas is available to stream on Netflix this year!
  10. The Shop Around the Corner.  This movie was originally made starring Jimmy Stewart in 1940 but was remade just 9 short years later starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson.  The remake was titled “In the Good Old Summertime.”  I prefer the Jimmy Stewart version, but I so love the Garland/Johnson combo in the remake.

Honorable Mentions:

I’ll Be Seeing You:  This is not a popular film, which is surprising with an all-star cast including: Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotton and Shirley Temple.  Mawmaw often said this was her favorite movie, which is also surprising because it’s not your typical feel good Christmas film.  It’s based on a soldier dealing with PTSD after WWII and a female inmate.  It’s one of the last movies Shirley Temple did in her acting career.  The story is interesting, heartfelt and the acting is top-notch.  Matt & I both really enjoyed this movie.

Holiday Affair:  Janet Leigh (Jamie Leigh Curtis’s mother) and Robert Mitchum star in this holiday love story from 1949.  The storyline is just sweet.  It’s a fun Christmas watch.

Miracle on 34th Street:  This one has never been one of my favorites, and here’s why: I couldn’t stand the remake.  The original starring Natalie Wood is leaps and bounds better than the 1994 reboot.  I have a hard time watching the original film and not seeing the 1994 version due to the amount of times I’ve seen the newer movie, as a kid.

Remember the Night:  Another Barbara Stanwyck holiday piece that’s great.  She can honestly do no wrong in the Lanter house.  A Christmas love story with a courthouse twist that everyone should see.

Now that you know my favorites, leave a comment below with your Christmas movie favorites, new and old!

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  1. December 5, 2016 / 7:07 PM

    I’ve been wanting some classic movies to watch that I’ve never seen and I have not seen a few of these. My favorite classic Christmas movie is definitely White Christmas. I could watch it over and over. I even did a White Christmas inspired craft this year for my mantle decor!

    My favorite non-classic but classic for my family is Surviving Christmas. It’s not a well known movie but in my family we love it and crack up every time we watch it!


    • January 5, 2017 / 3:40 PM

      I bet your White Christmas DIY is adorable, Emily! I’ve never heard of Surviving Christmas!

  2. Katrina Groves
    December 5, 2016 / 7:29 PM

    I love classic movies too and while I have some of these on DVD I haven’t taken the time to watch a few of them. Thanks for the recommendations. I loved Shop Around the Corner when I saw it, Jimmy Stewart was such a great actor. If you all are Barbara Stanwyck fans have you seen Ball of Fire? It stars Gary Cooper as well and is one of my favorites.
    My Christmas must watch classic movies are It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas. I can probably recite all of White Christmas at this point in life. Lol
    Non classic Christmas favorite for me is The Muppet Christmas Carol. I know it’s a kids movie but I love it; so many wonderful memories of watching it with my pastor’s kids while babysitting when they were little.

    • January 5, 2017 / 3:46 PM

      I have to look up Ball of Fire! Barbara Stanwyck was such an incredible actress. I’d love to see all of her movies eventually! I love Muppet Christmas Carol too!!

  3. Leighann Rondilone
    December 5, 2016 / 7:59 PM

    I’ve gotta go with white Christmas and its a wonderful life. I would also add to that a Christmas Story!!

  4. Laura A.
    December 5, 2016 / 8:13 PM

    I haven’t seen It Happened on 5th Ave. or I’ll be seeing You but have been meaning to. Love all of the other movies!!! Have you seen Bachelor Mother (1939)? It’s really more of a New Years film but it’s really good. I love Charles Coburn.

    Also, a not-your-typical Christmas movie but We’re No Angels (1955) starring Bogart is a funny Christmas film.

    As you can tell I love classic films. I have a whole blog devoted to them!!

    P.S. Tell Matt I watched Men of Courage last night. He was great!!! I also read the book it was based on and just started “Ordeal By Sea” which actually mentions his grandfather. What a powerful story!!

    • January 5, 2017 / 3:47 PM

      I haven’t seen Bachelor Mother! I thought I DVR’ed it this year, but somehow missed it. 🙁

      I love me some Bogie!! Love that you loved USS Indy!

  5. December 6, 2016 / 4:35 AM

    Good movies !

    I like to watch Harry Potter movies on christmas 🙂

    • January 5, 2017 / 3:48 PM

      We love Potter between Halloween and Christmas too!

  6. Anonymous
    December 6, 2016 / 8:33 AM

    Thanks for the recommendations! I’ve celebrated Christmas in CT for the last four years, but I’ve actually never seen the movie. That will change this year!

    IG: alexandra.brant

    • January 5, 2017 / 3:48 PM

      Oh I hope you had a chance to see it, Alexandra!!

  7. December 6, 2016 / 10:33 AM

    I’ve never watched It’s a Wonderful Life. However, I do thoroughly enjoy Home Alone. I could watch it every day!

    • January 5, 2017 / 3:49 PM

      I hope you got to experience It’s a Wonderful Life this season! It’s so fabulous!

  8. Jennifer
    December 6, 2016 / 11:12 AM

    I love so many of the films you mentioned. My favourite is White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life. I love a good musical and who can resist Bing Crosby crooning to the famous song? It’s a Wonderful Life anyway makes me cry because the story is so touching and the fact that he can be shown that his life matters is so special and important. I love In the Good Old Summertime and Meet Me in St. Louis as well. Isn’t Barbara Stanwyck amazing? I think my favorite of her Christmas movies is Remember the Night.

    My favorite non-classoc Christmas movies to watch are Home Alone 1 and 2 and The Santa Clause.

    • January 5, 2017 / 3:49 PM

      Bing is the king of Christmas carols in our house! I loved Remember the Night!

  9. Erin
    December 6, 2016 / 7:09 PM

    Love White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life. Watching diff hallmark Christmas movies too. Home Alone 2 is on tv right now. I just finished new ep of Fixer Upper. Just love that show!

  10. Mary
    December 7, 2016 / 9:50 AM

    I am the same way. I love watching TCM and enjoy older movies. My favorite Christmas movies, are “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “Shop Around the Corner”, and “Remember the Night”. I will be watching the few I haven’t seen off your list this Christmas-to help me get in the holiday spirit even more. 🙂 Another thing I like to do during Christmas is watch Hallmark channel. They show a lot of Christmas movies and I basically will just play anything Christmas when I have the TV on during the month of December! Merry Chrismtmas to you guys!

    • January 5, 2017 / 3:50 PM

      I love the Hallmark Channel during Christmas too, Mary!

  11. Anonymous
    December 7, 2016 / 6:26 PM

    Having said you drink coffee every morning, how do you keep your teeth so white? I whiten my teeth at home with a kit yet still have a problem with stains lol

    • January 5, 2017 / 3:51 PM

      I use a whitening toothpaste every day and activated charcoal when my teeth need a boost!

  12. Elizabeth
    December 7, 2016 / 10:17 PM

    Hey my comment is WAY late but did you know that “You’ve Got Mail” is a remake of the original “Shop Around the Corner”? I love old films, the way they speak, dress, and the fact they’re MOSTLY family friendly. Thanks for the recommendations 😉

    • January 5, 2017 / 3:51 PM

      I did know that and I love it! I watched Sleepless in Seattle this Christmas, such a great film!

  13. Tara
    December 19, 2016 / 10:07 AM

    I am also a TCM nut. I have not seen a few of these films. But judging from the fact that I love the rest of the films listed, I am going to trust your taste and try my best to watch them all!

  14. Jen
    December 24, 2016 / 7:11 AM

    New to your blog and I have to say I love it! You’re a doll and you and Matt seem so sweet together! Because of this post I turned TCM on today and about half of these movies are coming up today and Tomorrow so I’m recording them all! I doubt I’ll get to watch them all before Christmas but I’ll try!

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