It's a Wonderful Life
A classic among classics, a black-and-white movie It's a Wonderful Life was shot in 1946 but is still relevant nowadays. The plot follows George Bailey who considers ending it all on Christmas Eve. George, however, ends up saving his guardian angel, who shows George what life in his town would've been if not for his presence. While the movie didn't have immediate success when it came out in the 1940s, throughout years it became the iconic pick-me-up movie of the holiday season.
When to watch: when you lose faith in yourself and need some reassurance
A Christmas Carol
Also known as Scrooge, this 1951 movie is an adaptation of Charles Dickens' timeless Christmas Carol. The plot of the movie is familiar from literature classes: Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserable misanthrope, is visited by his long-dead business partner Jacob Marley, who warns Scrooge to change his life attitude for better or else he will be damned to walk the Earth for eternity. The three spirits of Christmas, Scrooge's transformation and a happy ending for the Tiny Tim never fail to brighten the foulest Christmas mood.
When to watch: when you find yourself muttering "Bah! Humbug!" as Christmas is approaching
The Shop Around the Corner
The Shop Around the Corner is often called "You've Got Mail" of the 1940s - except instead of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, the movie stars James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, both Academy Award nominees. The story takes place in a pre-WWII Budapest and follows a trope as old as time - enemies to lovers. The main characters work together at a gift shop and seemingly despise each other: every move of one is a mistake to the other. The only lovely distraction from everyday life they both have are anonymous pen-pals, who got them both swooning. Little do they know they were writing each other the whole time.
When to watch: when you are sick of stories about star-crossed lovers
Home Alone & Home Alone 2
The favorite Christmas movie of the 1990s, Home Alone seems to be on the TV whenever you turn in on. The franchise created by the iconic 80s filmmaker John Hughes actually has five parts, but the original Home Alone & its sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York are often considered the best ones. Both movies show the adventures of Kevin McCallister, who is always accidentally left behind by his family. While kids mostly cheer for Kevin, adults like the hilarious pair of burglars, Harry and Marv, who try and fail to rob McCallister's home.
When to watch: when you need a good laugh
In case the jolly old Christmas movies don't seem too entertaining, another 90s classic, Die Hard, might be a nice option to watch this holiday season. The street-smart New York cop John McClane is one of the most famous roles by Bruce Willis and it still delivers with his no-nonsense attitude and dry humor. Die Hard appears on numerous best Christmas movies lists from Forbes and Entertainment Weekly to Rotten Tomatoes - and Destinations agrees as well.
When to watch: when you want some action
While war movies aren't usually considered as ones carrying the Christmas spirit, Joyeux Noël is a definitive exception. The three-language drama is based on the events of Christmas 1914, widely called the Christmas Truce. Joyeux Noël shows a triumph of humanity, when French, German, and Scottish soldiers ceased fire on the Western Front and abandoned the trenches in the week before Christmas. Eventually, the men exchanged chocolate, drinks and greeted each other with the upcoming holiday.
When to watch: when you want to restore faith in humanity
A lesser-known gem starring Jared Padalecki features the story of the real-life American painter Thomas Kinkade, famous for his fairytale-ish, pastorale artworks. The biopic channels the family kindness and Christmas vibe, as the young Thomas helps his mother to pay for her small house in a tiny Californian town. The movie also features award-winning actor Peter O'Toole, who plays an aging mentor of Kinkade, and delivers the famous one-liner "Paint the light, Thomas! Paint the light!."
When to watch: when you curl up under a fuzzy blanket with hot cocoa
One of the classic early 00s rom-coms, The Holiday shows the life of two lonely women on the opposite sides of the Atlantic. Iris, played by Kate Winslet, is a wedding columnist and pines for ex. Amanda, played by Cameron Diaz, is a successful business owner in the movie industry - and is cheated on by her boyfriend. The two women seem to have nothing in common, but when they organize a home change for Christmas, both find love in an expected place.
When to watch: when you need a good ol' rom-com
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
The sequel to Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them came out this winter, prompting many Harry Potter fans to rewatch all movies about the magical universe created by J.K. Rowling. The first part of the Harry Potter franchise directed by Chris Columbus is beloved by many not only for its adorable characters and festive spirit but also the music score by John Williams. Hedwig's Theme, for example, is one of the most popular contemporary Christmas tunes.
When to watch: when you need a bit of magic
The newest holiday movie of 2018 comes out right after Christmas on December 27. The Grinch is familiar to many from the 2000 movie where the grumpy creature is played by Jim Carrey. This year, the animated cartoon stars Benedict Cumberbatch. The plot, however, stays the same - tired of the noise that happens during Christmas season, The Grinch decides to establish peace by stealing Christmas and enjoy the silence forever.
When to watch: when you crave a new take on the classic
Cover photo: depositphotos.com.