Mandatory Staff Picks: Christmas Movies That’ll Make Any Scrooge Weep
There’s not much that’ll make a Scrooge cry. A plummeting stock market, perhaps. And Christmas movies. Definitely Christmas movies. Holiday-themed films have the unique ability to soften even the hardest hearts and send the tears streaming down the stoniest of expressions. If you need a little cinematic therapy this Yuletide season, these 10 flicks will make you feel all the feels and give you the emotional release you need. Cue them up and gather your tissues near. Don’t worry; we won’t tell anyone.
Cover Photo: Paramount Pictures
Mandatory Merry Marathon: 25 Holiday Movies For the 25 Days Before Christmas
'It's a Wonderful Life'
Who among us hasn’t felt suicidal at some point during the holidays? We kid…kind of. But not really. It’s a tough time of year to be a human. That’s why the character of George Bailey (James Stewart) resonates with us so much. The down-on-his-luck dad is thinking of ending it all when a visit from a guardian angel shows him what the world would have been like had he never been born. If that plot synopsis alone doesn’t make you tear up, you're dead inside already.
'Frosty the Snowman'
After a snowman magically comes to life, a group of schoolchildren fight to get him to the North Pole before he melts! Don’t die, Frosty! We love you! Can nothing good last? *sobs*
'The Family Man'
In this underrated holiday film, Nicolas Cage plays a selfish, single investment broker who wakes up on Christmas Day in another version of his life. Now, instead of being a filthy rich playboy, he’s married, the father of two children, and selling tires in New Jersey. At first shell-shocked by this role reversal, he soon comes to love family life and tries to bargain his way into staying there. What makes this movie a tear-jerker is the way it’ll have you wondering how your life would’ve turned out if you had just tried a little harder to make that one relationship work…
To tell you too much of the plot of this film would give it all away. It’s inspired by the George Michael song of the same name and let’s just say the screenwriter took the first line literally. That puts Christmas elf Kate (Emilia Clarke) in the perfect position to meet gregarious Tom (Henry Golding), and the two soon discover that beyond sparks, they share an intimate connection…of the heart. When the twist is finally revealed, you absolutely will weep.
A father killed in a car accident on Christmas Day returns as a snowman a year later so he can spend some quality time with his son. Cue the waterworks!
'The Muppet Christmas Carol'
The Christmas Carol in all its iterations is designed to provoke tears (hello, Tiny Tim!), but when the Muppets bring the story to life, it’s intensely emotional, perhaps because it takes us right back to childhood. All that nostalgia makes us choke up.
'The Best Man Holiday'
A group of college friends reunites for Christmas, which results in much comedic drama but also one hell of a sad bombshell in the form of cancer. Just try to keep your eyes dry. We dare you.
Several intertwined love stories unravel as Christmas approaches in London. While that doesn’t sound sad on the surface, think about the nature of love: it hurts, it cheats, it fails, it doesn't reciprocate. No wonder, then, that this holiday-themed romance has turned many a grown man into puddles. If a widower played by real-life widower Liam Neeson can weep over a box of cereal in this film, you’re totally allowed to bawl while watching it.
'The Family Stone'
Imagine taking your girlfriend home to meet the family over Christmas and finding out that your mom has cancer and will be dead one Christmas hence. Happy holidays!
The death of an ad exec's daughter devastates him, but it's also a doorway into appreciating how beautiful life can be in this holiday-themed Will Smith drama.