The 12 best holiday movies that everyone should see

Like horror movies in October, December is the only time you absolutely must watch your favourite holiday classics — no exceptions.

Some of these movies, like the holidays themselves, are very warm. Others are darker than you might expect.

We’ve come up with a list of what to watch while you are spending the holidays with your family, from the classics to a few choice curveballs.

These are the 12 best holiday movies to catch up on or enjoy all over again:

1946's 'It's a Wonderful Life' is one of the most famous holiday movies -- and one of the best. Jimmy Stewart plays the good-hearted George Bailey, who is shown what life would be like if he never existed. Stewart's everyman performance still strikes a nerve to this day in a country where doing the right thing can often times be the hardest.

RKO/YouTube

There's a reason TBS plays 1983's 'A Christmas Story' for 24 hours straight on Christmas. It is as quotable as it is re-watchable. Just don't shoot your eye out.

MGM via YouTube

It's a bit ironic that few things will put you in the Christmas spirit more than a comedy about stealing and white-collar crime, but 1983's 'Trading Places' is the perfect comedy for the grinch in all of us.

Paramount via YouTube

Bill Murray is his vintage wickedly sarcastic self in 'Scrooged,' a 1980s retelling of 'A Christmas Carol' with Murray playing a TV executive who's haunted by three spirits on Christmas Eve. In the cult hit, Murray isn't just funny but also shows the dramatic acting chops he would perfect later on in his career.

Paramount Pictures

If you want to look cool in front of all your friends, tell them your favourite Christmas movie of all time is the 1988 action classic 'Die Hard.' Yes, it is set during Christmas.

20th Century Fox

The classic 'Christmas Vacation' from the National Lampoon canon has Clark Griswold trying to give his family the greatest Christmas ever. Of course, it all leads to disastrous results. If you aren't already quoting its lines around the family table, you will be.

Warner Bros via YouTube

Yes, there would be no 'Home Alone' if the characters just had cell phones. Everybody knows that. But that doesn't stop anyone from loving this Christmas classic.

Movieclips/YouTube

This more modern Christmas classic has something that everyone can enjoy, which is why it's the perfect family holiday movie. If not for Ron Burgundy, Buddy the Elf of 2003's 'Elf' would probably be Will Ferrell's most memorable role.

New Line Cinema via YouTube

'Love Actually' boasts an all-star cast that includes Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, and Hugh Grant. We follow eight couples one month before Christmas. Be sure to grab the tissues for this one.

Universal via YouTube

In 'Bad Santa,' Billy Bob Thornton plays an alcoholic conman who poses as a mall Santa every year to make out with all the money, jewels, and clothes he can get his hands on. But things change this year as he befriends a troubled kid. If you want to be anti-holiday (while also still being pretty holiday) this year, there's no better movie to watch.

Dimension Films via YouTube

Based on the classic children's book, 'The Polar Express' has CGI wizard Robert Zemeckis bringing to life a boy's magical ride to the North Pole. Tom Hanks is along for the ride as the voice of the numerous characters. If you're a fan of the book, the visuals in the movie go beyond anything you imagined.

Warner Bros.

Yes, Seth Rogen's raunchy ensemble comedy 'The Night Before' was just released this year, but it already feels like something that people will watch for years to come. It's a hilarious, dark, and surprisingly sweet Christmas movie for people who just can't connect to the Christmas Spirit.

Columbia Pictures

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