Very few things pair well together like a cool winter’s night, a cup of hot cocoa, and a vintage Hollywood Christmas movie.
Though there are plenty of new Christmas movies to check out every year, there are some classics that you can’t help but rewatch every single year.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
This classic was originally marketed as a romantic film and is now a must-watch on everyone’s Christmas movie watch-list. Starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey and Donna Reed as Mary Hatch, It’s a Wonderful Life tells the story of a man who wishes he had never been born. After several unlucky setbacks in a row, Bailey contemplates suicide on Christmas Eve, only to find his guardian angel, Clarence (Henry Travers), show him how his loved ones would lead very different lives if his wish came true.
White Christmas (1954)
This classic Christmas musical is one that never gets old. Starring Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace and Danny Kaye as Phil Davis, both men make it big in show business after entertaining their division during World War II.
They receive a letter from their old sergeant to see if they will watch his two sisters perform at a nightclub, and both men are stunned by Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy (Vera-Ellen). Phil quickly notices that Bob is interested in Betty and encourages them to talk, resulting in a connection between Phil and Judy while Bob and Betty don’t connect. After learning that their old General from World War II is struggling to keep his inn open in Vermont, both pairs team up to put on a Christmas music show to help save the inn.
The movie features famous songs like “White Christmas,” “Sisters,” and “Count Your Blessings.”
Meet Me in St Louis (1944)
One of my all-time favorites, very few movies make me want to laugh, cry, and sing all at the same time. The second musical on this list and starring the incomparable Judy Garland, the story takes place at the turn of the 20th century in St. Louis, as the city awaits the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
The Smiths are the typical American family with one son and four daughters. While Lon (Henry H. Daniels, Jr.) is off at college, the boy-crazy Rose (Lucille Bremer), Esther (Judy Garland), the mischievous Agnes (Joan Carroll), and Tootie (Margaret O’Brien) are at home with their parents in St. Louis. All is well for the family until their father (Leon Ames) accepts a job in New York City, forcing his family to leave their beloved St. Louis behind on Christmas.
The movie features famous Judy Garland songs like “The Trolley Song,” “The Boy Next Door,” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”
A Christmas Carol (1938)
Though I adore Alastair Sim in the 1951 Scrooge, my favorite adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic is the 1938 version starring Reginald Owen. A Christmas Carol tells the timeless story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a 19th-century businessman in London who is consumed by selfishness and greed.
After refusing to attend a Christmas gathering, he’s visited on Christmas Eve by the ghost of his old friend and business partner Jacob Marley (Leo G. Carroll) to tell him to expect a visit from three more ghosts that night. The Ghost of Christmas Past shows Scrooge how he became so greedy, the Ghost of Christmas Present shows him how his greed has affected others, and the Ghost of Christmas Future shows him what will happen if he refuses to change his ways.
Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
This classic follows Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck), a food writer famous for writing about her picture-perfect life with her husband and child in Connecticut. In reality, Elizabeth is single, and her column is based on a character she created. When her publisher (who is unaware of Elizabeth’s charade) asks her to host dinner for a war hero named Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan), things get a little hectic as Elizabeth tries to play up her fictitious image to avoid scandal and losing her job. The hijinks that result are sure to make your entire family laugh and warm up any Christmas movie marathon.
From funny to dramatic, these five vintage Hollywood Christmas movies are classics for a reason. Whether you’re in the mood to laugh, cry, sing, or all of the above, you’ll find a perfect classic movie for you on this list.
Want to see more Christmas movies? Here’s what you can stream right now.