2020 Christmas Movie Ranking
That's right, we're doing something a bit different today. This past Christmas I challenged myself to watch as many Christmas films as I could in December. It certainly wasn't easy, what with it being a very busy month, but I had a blast doing it. I watched a proper mix of some of my favourites, and some I had never seen before, which was a lot of fun. I'm hoping next December I can try and focus on films I didn't manage to see this year.
So today I thought I'd rank all of the Christmas films I watched this year as a way to commemorate everything I watched, but also to give you some advice on which ones to watch, and which ones to avoid. This list includes every film I watched this December, so if you're wondering where one film is, it's because I haven't watched it! If you think there's a film I should definitely see next Christmas, let me know!
20. The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
Let's start with the worst so we end on a high note, shall we? I watched The Christmas Chronicles for the first time this year and I couldn't believe this film ever got made. It came out in 2018, which wasn't very long ago, but even then the jokes and references to technology are so dated. It's trying to appeal to teenagers, but was clearly written by people who don't understand what teenagers are really like. Overall I found the acting to be poor, the premise lacklustre, and the execution poor. I rarely give a film such a bad review but I had a hard time sitting through this one!
Plot synopsis: Two brothers accidentally stumble across Santa and have to help him find his way back to his sleigh so he can deliver presents to every child across the world.
19. A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby (2019)
The third in the Christmas Prince franchise, this is definitely the poorest of the bunch. As you'll see from my rankings further on, I'm not a huge fan of this series in general, but this one has the number one film crime (in my opinion) of being really boring. Not only does nothing happen in this film...like, at all, but it adds in a ridiculous supernatural plotline about a curse. The entire cast is phoning it in, and you can tell everyone is giving like 10% effort. I'll forgive a bad film if everyone at least seems like they're having fun!
Plot synopsis: Now married, our main characters navigate expecting a baby while preventing a centuries-old curse with a neighbouring country.
18. A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding (2018)
Honestly, the second Christmas Prince movie is just as bad as the third one. The only thing that makes this rank higher is that it doesn't have the weird supernatural stuff in it. Also, it seems like the cast are having a bit more fun with it and are actually enjoying themselves. Not much else to say for this one apart from that!
Plot synopsis: Our main characters navigate planning a wedding while running a European country.
17. The Knight Before Christmas (2019)
The first (but not the last) Vanessa Hudgens film on this list, The Knight Before Christmas is definitely the weakest. It definitely has some fun moments, and I love that it doesn't take itself too seriously. I also love a film with a ridiculous plot point, and I think a time travelling knight certainly fits the bill there. That being said, again, it's actually quite boring even with the crazy plot. I think they could have gone a bit wilder with it and been a bit more bold, so it's quite far down my list because of that.
Plot synopsis: A young woman falls in love with a medieval knight who travels back in time to teach her the true meaning of Christmas.
16. A Christmas Prince (2017)
Out of the three films in the series, the first is definitely the best. It has the most charm and it definitely has the best plot. That being said, it's still not a good film by any means, hence why it's so low on my last. I remember when it came out and there was a lot of talk about all of the weird mistakes and odd choices in the film. Now, I love a bad film, a la The Room. However this one isn't bad enough to be enjoyable...if that makes sense?
Plot synopsis: A reporter poses as the royal family's new tutor to gain the secrets around the new heir to the throne.
15. The Princess Switch: Switched Again (2020)
This is a bad film. I know I'm being super negative at the moment, but that's because we're still on the low rankings of our list. I was actually surprised that this was so bad, as I did actually enjoy the film film of this series. That being said, it seemed like they didn't really know what to do with the plot here, but knew they wanted to make another one, so the plot is kind of all over the place. The reason that it's higher than the other 5 films I've already discussed is that it's still a lot of fun to watch and you will get some good laughs from it...although you're definitely laughing at it rather than with it, but maybe that's the point!
Plot synopsis: Our doppelgangers reunite again and discover that there is a third twin who has ill intentions towards the throne.
14. Home Alone (1990)
Surprised to see this film so low on my list? I think the reason is that it doesn't have the same nostalgia factor for me as it does for other people. This was actually my first time properly watching Home Alone, and I did really enjoy it. I can see why people like it so much. It's funny, it's heart warming, it's super Christmassy, and it has some fantastic performances, especially from Catherine O'Hara (although did you expect anything less)? Overall, I really enjoyed this film, but it didn't leave a lasting impression on me.
Plot synopsis: A young boy is accidentally left on his own for the holidays by his family, leaving him to fend off pesky home invaders.
13. Deck The Halls (2006)
If you saw my list of the best Christmas movies, you'll know that Deck the Halls made my list. So you might be surprised to see it so low down my list now. I re-watched it this year, and I have to say, all of a sudden I didn't enjoy it anymore. While it is a super fun concept and it overall is a good film, it hasn't aged very well, leaving it to be quite a cringe worthy experience to watch. I don't know, something about this year changed my mind on it!
Plot synopsis: Two neighbours compete to be the first to have their house lit up with enough Christmas lights to be seen from space.
12. Love Actually (2003)
I know, I know, it's a classic. And to be fair, there are quite a few plot points in Love Actually that I enjoy. If the film was nothing but those specific plot points, I would rank this film much higher. Unfortunately there are other plot points that drag the film down for me, and I don't enjoy sitting through them. I really like how all the plots connect together in the end, I find that really clever. But overall I don't find myself reaching for this film when I'm looking for something festive to watch.
Plot synopsis: Follow the interconnected stories of different couples going through the trials and tribulations of the Christmas period.
11. The Princess Switch (2018)
This film is actually pretty fun. It's completely stupid, but I did enjoy it. I liked the energy in this film; everyone seemed to be having fun with it. I like the plot, which is basically a modernised version of The Princess and the Pauper. I could definitely see myself reaching for this film next year if I want something mindless and cosy to watch.
Plot synopsis: Two women, one royal, realise how similar they look and decide to switch places for a day to see how the other half live.
10. The Holidate (2020)
This film is a strange one. I actually really enjoyed about half the film, which was a sincere, but super light hearted comedy about the holidays throughout the year. If it had stuck to this tone, I would rank this film much higher. However it seemed that they really wanted it to be geared exclusively for adults for some reason, rather than something everyone could enjoy, so there are so many random, out of nowhere rude moments and jokes. Now I don't mind risqué comedy, but it was so out of place and so meaningless to the film that it kind of took me out of it a bit. Overall I do recommend, but it's not a perfect film by any means.
Plot synopsis: Our two main characters decide to be each other's platonic dates for each holiday throughout the year.
9. Last Christmas (2019)
I'd heard pretty bad things about Last Christmas when it first came out, so I never got around to seeing it. This year, I thought I'd give it a go, and maybe that's why I'm ranking it so high. Basically, it wasn't as bad as people made it out to be. Overall I actually thought it was quite heart warming, even though I did find the main character very, very annoying. The twist at the end is not very cleverly done...I definitely think they could have done more with that if that's where they wanted to go with it, but overall I was pleasantly surprised by this film.
Plot synopsis: Set to the music of George Michael, a young woman, disenfranchised by Christmas, meets a mysterious stranger who melts her heart to the festive period.
8. Krampus (2015)
I was pleasantly surprised by Krampus, as I really wasn't expecting much. That being said, it was pretty much made for me; I love Christmas films and I love horror movies! I thought it was a super clever idea to do a festive film with horror elements. Plus I thought the cast was beyond fantastic. The only reason that it isn't higher is I felt they could have done more with it...they really could have amped up the horror elements to make it super spooky! That being said, if you enjoy a scary film, definitely give this one a go!
Plot synopsis: A family celebrating Christmas together are haunted by the mystery of Krampus.
7. The Holiday (2006)
Although it's a classic, this was my first time ever watching The Holiday, and I really enjoyed it. I liked both of the different plot points, and I thought each one was done really well. I also liked the chemistry between all of the actors. It's a super cosy, feel good film that I could definitely picture myself watching next year covered in blankets, which is honestly all I want from a Christmas film. I also thought the plot was pretty unique, so bonus points for that!
Plot synopsis: Two women swap lives for the holiday and find love along the way.
6. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
This one does have a nostalgia factor for me, having watched it over and over again as a child. It's heart warming, it's surprisingly scary (especially rewatching as an adult), it's funny, and the music is fantastic. All the performances are spot on, and it's nice to see a classic story adapted in a way that is accessible for everyone while still respecting Charles Dickens' work.
Plot synopsis: The Muppets represent Charles Dickens' classic Victorian work about a man who hates Christmas who learns the error of his ways.
5. Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger (2012)
I'm not sure how well known these films are outside of the UK, but if you've never watched the Nativity series I highly recommend it. They're designed for children, so it's all quite juvenile. That being said, it's still very enjoyable to watch as an adult. The acting is great, even from the young children, and the songs are fantastic. It's super fun, super light hearted, and never fails to put you in a good mood.
Plot synopsis: A new school teacher finds himself on an adventure through the Welsh countryside to get his class to a Christmas singing competition.
4. Nativity (2009)
I honestly don't have much to say that I didn't say for Nativity 2. I do put this one slightly higher as it is the first film, and has a slightly stronger plot throughout. But again, the films are great, the plot is great, and the acting is great; highly recommend!
Plot synopsis: A new school teacher finds himself in a lie that Hollywood representatives are coming to view his school's Nativity, leading to a show stopping performance.
3. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)
Out of all the films on this list, this is probably the most technically perfect film. Everything about it is so well done. The performances are phenomenal, it's incredibly funny, and it's also super heart warming. As you can probably tell by now, I love films that have an original plot, and this one certainly does. The only reason it's not higher is because it's technically a Thanksgiving film, rather than a Christmas one!
Plot synopsis: Two men who couldn't be more different find themselves in each other's company as they travel home for the holidays.
2. Christmas With The Kranks (2004)
Another classic, this was my first time ever seeing this film and I really enjoyed it. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I found the plot a really unique idea. The performances were really enjoyable, and I thought it had a really heart warming message about community at the centre of it. This will definitely become a holiday staple for me.
Plot synopsis: With their child gone, a couple decide to skip Christmas for the year. When their daughter decides to return, they have to scramble to put together a last minute Christmas.
1. Elf (2003)
I mean, it's such a classic. I know it's a lot of people's favourite Christmas film, mine included. While it has it's flaws, I don't care because it's so much fun. You can tell everyone really enjoyed making it, and I love all of the performances. It's so light hearted, heart warming, and enjoyable. It's the one film I always watch each year no matter what!
Plot synopsis: A North Pole elf travels to the real world of New York to find his biological dad.
And that's it for all the Christmas films I watched this year! I'd love to know what you think about my rankings, and how you would have ranked these films. Let me know in the comments below, or on social media:
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Until next time,