Each and every year, the studios come across with a plethora of festive movies that hope (but fail) to earn their spot in the Christmas movie hall of fame. But when it comes down to it, there's really only a select few that warrant multiple viewings as soon as December's upon us. Yep, you've probably seen them a hundred times too, but if you've been lacking in Christmas spirit, below we offer the perfect antidotes.
Without a doubt, Elf is up there with the best of them (hence its position in our number one spot!) in that it's a winner with kids and grown-ups alike. If ever there was a role created for Will Ferrell, this is it. A human baby winds up in Santa's sack, which takes him back to the North Pole. Not quite sure what to do, an elf who'd always wanted a son decides to take him in and raise him as his own. Eventually though, lacking the skill and precision of his fellow elves, and standing a good few feet taller, Buddy realises there's something quite different about him: he's not an elf at all. Off he sets on a journey like no other to discover his real dad, played by the brilliant James Caan. Along the way he meets Jovie, played by Zooey Deschanel, at which point all kinds of magic and hilarity ensues. Pure brilliance.
2. The Grinch
Perhaps one of Jim Carrey's most memorable roles, Dr Zeuss's The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is a duvet-day must in December. You probably already know the story. Cast aside for his unorthodox hairy greenness, The Grinch loathes anything and everything to do with Christmas. At some point in the movie, however, you find yourself siding with the central character. After all, he makes a good point; have we lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas in our obsession with presents? Like Elf, the Grinch will fill you with fuzzy festive feelings as you laugh your way through an hour and a half.
3. Home Alone
When it comes to a movie that's perhaps most synonymous with this time of year, it's gotta be Home Alone. Home Alone 1 AND 2 are in fact both equally as enjoyable. Here we follow a young, super cute, pre-drugs Macaulay Culkin as he grapples with two seasoned thieves who, unfortunately for them, can't quite outsmart him. There's nothing about this movie that we don't love: the music, the unforgettable one-liners ('Keep the change, ya filthy animal') and the story's timeless comedy make it a festive must for the entire family each and every year.
4. Love, Actually
Love, Actually gets a lot of stick but here at IMAGE HQ, we've no qualms in including it on our list of movies to get us in the Christmassy mood. As one of the best ever ensemble flicks (they can be so bad, have you seen Valentine's Day?), here we're treated to a whole host of familiar faces as their respective stories intertwine. Covering every angle on the full spectrum of emotions, from Emma Thompson's heartbreaking story to the heartwarming tale of Liam Neeson's son finding love (not to mention that scene in which Andrew Lincoln declares his love for Keira Knightley's character), Richard Curtis hits the nail on the head with Love, Actually. It's just not Christmas 'til you've sat down to watch Hugh Grant shake that thang like nobody's watching.
5. The Santa Clause
Now 20 years old, The Santa Clause sees the original Santa Claus fall off the roof of Tim Allen's house which, as the clause states. means that Tim Allen himself must put on the suit and resume the work of delivering toys the world over. At first, he's not all that keen and he can't quite believe what's happening, but with the encouragement of his son Charlie (the cutest little boy in movie history) he soon gets in the swing of things. What makes this movie extra special, however, is the way in which the North pole, the elves and santa's workshop have been imagined. Get set to feel like an 8 year old all over again.
6. It's a Wonderful Life
WARNING: If you haven't yet seen It's a Wonderful Life, please don't expect a movie as cheery as any of the others on this list. It's pretty depressing stuff but, as the story builds, and your tears begin to flow, you'll soon be reminded of what's really important at Christmas. So much so, you'll probably find yourself donating all your gifts for a good cause. Without wanting to reveal the magic of this story,?an angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.
7. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Our favourite American family - The Griswolds - attempt plan the perfect Christmas trip to remember, which of course we always do, given what an absolute disaster it turns out to be. This movie was the third in the Griswold series, chronicling how Clark and his family would deal with the annoyance of the in-laws. Always a winner.
8. Miracle on 34th Street
A movie for which Richard Attenborough will always be remembered, Miracle on 34th Street is is as sugar coated as a Christmas movie comes. Mara Wilson (where is she now?) stars as a cute (if somewhat irritating) little girl who discovers, when she meets a very special person (shhh, it's Santa), that dreams really do come true. Sure, this is so sweet it'll almost turn your stomach, but what's Christmas without a little overdosing on sugar?
Any of your favourites not included? Share yours below!