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15 great holiday movies

"A Christmas Story" and "It's a Wonderful Life" may be classics, but don't underestimate the power of "Home Alone" or "Elf" to get you in the holiday spirit. (Adam Sandler's "Eight Crazy Nights" will do the trick, too.)

No matter how you celebrate the season, surely one of these 15 favorite holiday movies will be just the right fit.

'A Christmas Carol'

Many actors, including Albert Finney, Reginald Owen and
Photo Credit: Renown Pictures

Many actors, including Albert Finney, Reginald Owen and George C. Scott, have played Ebenezer Scrooge, but Alastair Sim's portrayal in the 1951 version of "A Christmas Carol" is considered the definitive one.

'A Christmas Story'

Will Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) be gifted the
Photo Credit: MGM

Will Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) be gifted the coveted "official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time" he wants so desperately or will the phrase "you'll shoot your eye out" haunt him all Christmas long?

'Christmas in Connecticut'

In the 1945 screwball comedy
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

In the 1945 screwball comedy "Christmas in Connecticut," Barbara Stanwyck stars as a magazine writer passing herself off as a 1940s version of Martha Stewart, even though she doesn't know how to cook. She finds herself in hot water when her editor invites a soldier (Dennis Morgan) to her home for the holidays.

'Home Alone'

Macaulay Culkin was home for the holidays --
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

Macaulay Culkin was home for the holidays -- after his family left for Paris without him -- in the 1990 smash "Home Alone."

'Holiday Inn'

Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds introduced the Oscar-winning
Photo Credit: Paramount

Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds introduced the Oscar-winning song "White Christmas" in the 1942 musical "Holiday Inn."

'The Santa Clause'

Eric Lloyd gets taken for a ride by
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Company / Attila Dory

Eric Lloyd gets taken for a ride by Santa (Tim Allen) in "The Santa Clause" (1994). The film's success spawned two sequels.

'It's a Wonderful Life'

James Stewart and Donna Reed star in Frank
Photo Credit: NBC

James Stewart and Donna Reed star in Frank Capra's heartwarming holiday classic "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946).

'Eight Crazy Nights'

Not all holiday movies are about Christmas. In
Photo Credit: Columbia

Not all holiday movies are about Christmas. In the 2002 animated movie "Eight Crazy Nights," Adam Sandler voices the character of Davey Stone, a social loser who is forced by the courts to spend Hanukkah performing community service as the assistant referee for the youth basketball league.

'White Christmas'

Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen
Photo Credit: Paramount

Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen sang plenty of merry Irving Berlin music in the 1954 classic "White Christmas."

'How the Grinch Stole Christmas'

He's a mean one: Jim Carrey said
Photo Credit: Universal / STF

He's a mean one: Jim Carrey said "bah humbug" to Christmas and everyone in Whoville in the 2000 live-action version of Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

'Miracle on 34th Street'

Edmund Gwenn won an Oscar for his performance
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

Edmund Gwenn won an Oscar for his performance as Kris Kringle in the 1947 classic "Miracle on 34th Street," which also featured a young Natalie Wood.

'The Nightmare Before Christmas'

Jack Skellington, the ruler of Halloweentown, discovers that
Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Jack Skellington, the ruler of Halloweentown, discovers that the love of a rag doll named Sally is more important than anything in Tim Burton's stop-motion animated cult film, "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993).

'Bad Santa'

Nothing was sacred for Billy Bob Thornton when
Photo Credit: Columbia

Nothing was sacred for Billy Bob Thornton when he played the title role in "Bad Santa" (2003).

'The Polar Express'

A boy who doubts the existence of Santa
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

A boy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus boards a magical train that's headed to the North Pole (and Santa) on Christmas Eve in the 2004 fantasy "The Polar Express," adapted from the book of the same name. Tom Hanks plays six roles in the movie, including Santa, the young boy and a train conductor.

'Elf'

Will Ferrell was the biggest of Santa's little
Photo Credit: New Line Cinema / Alan Markfield

Will Ferrell was the biggest of Santa's little helpers in the 2003 comedy "Elf."

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