The Best Holiday Entertainment Ever
’Tis the season to hunker down with Christmas and Hanukkah classics. We’ve made our list and checked it twice — now it’s up to you to vote for your absolute holiday favorite at the end of this gallery.
15. "The Chipmunk Song," The Chipmunks (1958)
Amid the deluge of similar-sounding yuletide music, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore’s vinyl debut distinguished itself by winning three Grammys and hitting No. 1 on Billboard.
14. A Christmas Memory, by Truman Capote (1956)
Capote’s short story about a 7-year-old boy and his friendship with his elderly female cousin will fill every chamber of your heart.
13. The O.C.’s “The Best Chrismukkah Ever” (2003)
In the show’s first season, Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) merged his parents’ two faiths to create “the greatest super-holiday known to mankind,” celebrated with “eight days of presents, followed by one day of many presents.”
12. The Best Man Holiday (2013)
The sequel to the 1999 comedy about a tight-knit group of friends (including Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, and Nia Long) delivers a surprising emotional punch that will make you wanna call your loved ones.
11. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)
This TV special is both a welcome reminder that it’s okay to feel cranky and a touching, nonpreachy tribute to what Christmas is really about. (Hint: not just roast beast.)
10. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Nothing inspires more heartfelt nostalgia than the opening trills of the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s “Christmas Time Is Here.” Charlie and the gang’s search for the meaning of Christmas adds to the old-school delight.
9. Elf (2003)
Will Ferrell sleighs as Santa’s six-foot-tall helper Buddy, who heads from the North Pole to Manhattan to unite with his naughty-listed dad (James Caan) in Christmas’ most quotable movie.
8. “The Hanukkah Song,” by Adam Sandler (1994)
Originally performed on SNL’s “Weekend Update,” this holiday song that Jews and non-Jews alike never knew we needed comes complete with shout-outs to David Lee Roth, the Fonz, and Goldie Hawn, among others.
7, Die Hard (1988)
It’s a traditional Hollywood recipe for a holiday tale: an estranged family reunited, carols, a grinchy villain, even climactic “snow.” The bullets and explosions are merely ornaments.
6. "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," by Darlene Love (1963)
Yes, the season is about joy and togetherness, but some of the best holiday songs are blue — like this enduring soul-pop plea.
5. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
Beyond providing a creation myth for America’s favorite caribou, this special introduced an unforgettable coterie of stop-motion characters like Hermey the elf dentist, Yukon Cornelius, and Burl Ives’ Sam the Snowman.
4. "Feliz Navidad," by José Feliciano (1970)
Everything is better with a sprinkle of sazón, including Christmas. Bilingual, bicultural, and awfully catchy, this Caribbean-flavored carol deserves a slot on any holiday playlist.
3. A Christmas Story (1983)
Sure, it’s an obvious choice, but little Ralphie’s yuletide tribulations are as rewatchable as fudge. Except I didn’t say fudge...
2. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
It really says something that a movie that hinges on one man’s suicidal despair has become a Christmas tradition. Frank Capra directs a flawless Jimmy Stewart in this expertly executed masterpiece.
1. Love Actually (2003)
What other movie so perfectly encapsulates the warm-and-fuzzy-and-frazzled nature of the holidays? Emma Thompson at her most heartbreaking, Hugh Grant at his most charming, the best airport scenes since Casablanca, and a fantastically uplifting finale featuring the other best part about the holidays — Mariah Carey’s magnum opus “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”