These 70 Christmas Movies Will Get You Into the Holiday Spirit ASAP
17th October 2022

I know we’re all supposed to say spending time with loved ones (and opening top-notch Christmas presents, obv) is the most important part of Christmas. But that probably became A Thing before we had a bajillion amazing holiday movies to choose from, to be honest. Even if you’re spending the day off with friends or fam, there are still a glorious ~24 days~ (or more, if you start at Thanksgiving!) to keep yourself in the holiday spirit. If Christmas and holiday movies are your thing—congrats, you have taste and everyone knows it—then you are absolutely wealthy with options to watch.

Despite the ongoing debate about whether certain iconic movies are, in fact, Christmas movies (yes, Die Hard is on here, and I will not be taking questions), there’s also a bunch of films on here that give the full snow-and-tinsel experience. There are some fam-friendly movies if you’re watching together as you drift into a food coma, and then there are picks for watching with friends or after work with a warm beverage. Honestly, IMO, there’s no better way to spend a day than bingeing a bunch of Hallmark Christmas movies while you nom on cute lil cookies and eggnog (either with a partner to snuggle or solo—you do you, bb).

So, to help you live out all your Christmas fantasies, we’ve made a list of old faves and new classics to watch, re-watch, and re-re-watch as much as you like. Here’s our list of 70 of the best movies to watch when you’re trying to get into the holiday spirit.

1. Elf

Will Ferrell is hilarious as Buddy, a human raised by elves at the North Pole. He travels to New York in search of his true identify and discovers that life outside Santa’s Workshop is mean and scary but maybe totally worth it.

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2. The Knight Before Christmas

Fun fact, this is one of two Vanessa Hudgens holiday romance movies on this list! And although she doesn’t play a princess in this one, she gets romanced by a cute medieval English knight (Josh Whitehouse) who somehow finds himself in present-day America. Vanessa’s character, a science teacher, is disillusioned by love but starts to change her mind when she finds herself smitten with this stranger who magically appears.

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3. Frosty the Snowman

With a corncob pipe and a button nose, Frosty is hard not to fall in love with. This 1969 animated film about magic that brings a snowman to life is a classic for a reason. Also…the soundtrack still slaps.

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4. Planes, Trains and Automobiles

This one’s from John Hughes, the genius behind Home Alone, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and all your fave ’80s flicks…so you know it’s an absolute gem. Planes, Trains and Automobiles features John Candy and Steve Martin as rivals who are stuck navigating the mess that is holiday travel together on their way home for Christmas. (And without cell phones. Can you even?!)

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5. Die Hard

Yeah, it’s an action movie, but as contrarians like to point out: It’s also a Christmas movie. It begins on December 24 at a holiday party gone wrong. There’s snow. The soundtrack includes “Winter Wonderland.” Go with it.

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6. A Christmas Story

If you don’t hear someone say, “You’ll shoot your eye out,” did Christmas even happen?

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7. 8-Bit Christmas

This is for all the nostalgia-lovers out there: an adult dad (Neil Patrick Harris) recounts to his daughter the saga of desperately wanting a Nintendo for Christmas in the 1980s. Sound familiar? (It’s basically Christmas Story but in the 80s!) But it’s also really cute.

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8. Little Women

This is a lot of things—specifically, a really good remake of the book, a way to fall in love with Timothée Chalamet and Florence Pugh—but it also happens to feature multiple idyllic Christmas celebrations. Sooooold!

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9. Carol

Fun fact, this is considered one of the greatest films of the 21st century—but also, it’s about two women who fall in love over the Christmas season. Oh yea, and it’s the 1950s, so things are complicated.

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10. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

I’m almost positive this is a new one for ya, but it turns out a neo-noir black comedy taking place over Christmas, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer, and written by Shane Black (Iron Man 3) is the Mad Libs-worthy movie you didn’t know you needed.

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11. White Christmas

If you ever thought, Hey, I love that “White Christmas” song! well, this movie is a must-see. The film featured a new version of the Bing Crosby cover that’s also (kind of spoiler alert but not really) really integral to the plot of the film. If you like sweet and silly, put it on immediately.

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12. The Muppet Christmas Carol

I mean. If you grew up with this movie, you know why so many people love it. If you didn’t, then please, I beg you, watch immediately. Michael Caine is giving 1000 percent, which honestly takes it from adorable to holy sh*t this movie is awesome.

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13. The Snowman (1982)

This short film is the perfect simple story about a boy and his snowman. Pro: You can watch the whole thing for free. Con: It will make you cry so hard.

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14. The Night Before

This is not a perfect movie, but the fun stuff will make you LOL hard enough to forget that. Three buddies come together to celebrate a wild, party-hard Christmas together—for the last time since they started doing it a decade ago.

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15. Single All the Way

You’ve heard the setup: Guy convinces BFF to be his fake boyfriend over the Christmas holiday. Feelings develop. Complications ensue! And, since it’s a rom-com, everything turns out GD adorably.

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16. Batman Returns

Since this is Christmas/winter through the eyes of Tim Burton…it’s a weird, dark, moody look at the holiday season. But it’s also probably one of the best Batman films (don’t fight me), and Christmas and horror go surprisingly well together.

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17. Better Watch Out

Speaking of! This is Horror with a capital H, but since it stars a bunch of tweens, it’s both adorable and totally terrifying?? You’ll be shocked by how good this is if your interests include both scary gore-fest and also Christmas.

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18. Mean Girls

All right, this is a stretch, but there is an iconic Santa dance so we’re counting it. May your day be merry and fetch.

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19. Klaus

This animated Netflix original looks at Santa Claus before he was the jolly man in the red suit. It all begins with a town called Smeerensburg—a sinister place with a generations-old feud between two families. A new postman named Jesper gets deployed there and meets a lonely toymaker named Klaus. Together, they find a way to bring joy to the kids in the town and generate newfound holiday spirit.

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20. Noelle

Anna Kendrick plays Noelle, Santa’s daughter who’s the embodiment of Christmas spirit. But it’s her brother, Nick (Bill Hader), who’s taking over the family business. When the pressure becomes too much for him, Noelle advises that he take a bit of a break. Then he gets cold feet and never comes back….

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21. Holiday in the Wild

This movie isn’t your typical holiday movie, mainly because it’s set in Zambia as opposed to your usual wintery wonderland. It’s an absolutely touching story about family, finding love, and finding yourself, but it also draws largely from Kristin Davis’s own passion for animals, especially elephants.

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22. Last Christmas

Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding make an incredibly charming pair in this Christmas rom-com. Kate (Emilia) works as an elf in a year-round Christmas store, where she meets charming Tom (Henry). And although they don’t get along at first, chance encounters keep bringing them together, and Kate’s life seems to take a turn for the better.

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23. Holiday Rush

A popular radio DJ suddenly gets fired from his job. Now he and his four spoiled kids need to move in with his aunt. With Christmas just around the corner, he’s got a plan to get back on the airwaves and provide for his family, but in the meantime, the entire fam has a few lessons to learn.

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24. The Princess Switch

Think The Parent Trap but with a Christmas twist. A Chicago baker (Vanessa Hudgens) goes on a trip to Belgradia (an imaginary European town) and discovers that the Prince of Belgradia’s fiancée (also Vanessa Hudgens) looks exactly like her. They switch places for two days and lots of love and Christmas cheer ensues. It’s super cute.

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25. Office Christmas Party

A CEO (Jennifer Aniston) announces that she’s going to shut down her brother’s (TJ Miller) branch, so he and his coworker (Jason Bateman) throw the biggest Christmas party of the year to try to save it. It’s wild and hilarious, but there are still a few moments that will sucker punch you right in the feels.

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26. The Santa Clause

We were all obsessed with this movie as kids…but when you think about it, The Santa Clause is actually dark as hell. Tim Allen plays a divorced dad who accidentally kills Santa Claus and has to take over the role of Santa next Christmas. Excuse me? Who approved this? Whatever, it’s still a fun movie.

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27. Just Friends

By now, it’s no secret that Ryan Reynolds is funny—see Deadpool or his IG for proof—but this rom-com, in which he stars as a formerly overweight teen who inadvertently returns to his hometown for the holidays, was early proof that he’s comedy gold. Anna Faris as a no-talent pop star is equally brilliant.

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28. Love Actually

“To me, you are perfect,” is not the way everyone would describe this ensemble romance, but fans consider it peak holiday for its humor, warmth, and optimism.

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29. Gremlins

A young man receives a cute, furry creature called a mogwai (oof, parts of this movie have not aged well!) but fails to follow one of the three rules of raising it: He feeds the mystery pet after midnight. This leads to the rapid spawning of evil, destructive gremlins. You will *not* finish the movie hoping to find that present under the tree.

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30. The Preacher’s Wife

Penny Marshall directed this charming remake of the 1947 film The Bishop’s Wife, starring Courtney B. Vance as the preacher, Whitney Houston (who also sings on the soundtrack) as his wife, and Denzel Washington as an angel brought to Earth to help the family.

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31. The Family Stone

This may not be the tightest screenplay of all time, but it stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel McAdams, and Diane Keaton—and they’re only half of the stellar cast. Watch with red wine and you won’t even notice its flaws.

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32. Home Alone

The magic of this movie is remembering a time when you were so young and wide-eyed that you really, truly believed if 8-year-old Kevin McCallister could pull off all those stunts, maybe you could too!

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33. The Holiday

Iris (Kate Winslet), who lives in London, and Amanda (Cameron Diaz), who lives in L.A., swap homes for the holidays and find love on the other side of the Atlantic.

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34. The Polar Express

Based on the children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express is a coming-of-age story that unfolds on a train ride to the North Pole. Maybe focus less on the “wow, the CGI looks creepy” aspect of it all and just focus on the magic, kay?

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35. About a Boy

Hugh Grant plays a spoiled man-child living off the royalties of his father’s hit Christmas song. When he meets the titular boy while attending a support group for single parents—a ruse Grant uses to pick up women—he finally starts to grow up.

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36. A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas

If Die Hard can make this list, so can a stoner comedy. The movie follows the title characters on their journey to get a new Christmas tree. Trees, get it?

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37. The Best Man Holiday

College friends reunite for the holidays, resurfacing all the joy, love—and drama—of the past.

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38. Serendipity

This holiday movie is full cheese, but you can’t deny the magic between Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack. Black cashmere gloves forever!

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39. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

New York City, back at it again with the holiday charm. In the sequel to Home Alone, young Kevin finds himself living the life at the Plaza Hotel during the city’s busiest and most beautiful time—that is, until the Wet Bandits catch up, forcing Kev to set up all his excellent traps at a relative’s empty townhouse.

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40. A Christmas Carol (original title: Scrooge)

The 1951 Alastair Sim picture takes the figgy pudding as the best film version of the Dickens classic. Scary enough to qualify as a legit ghost story but also sappy enough to remind you it’s a Christmas tale of redemption. Bonus points for the use of sad music to pull tears out of your eyes.

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41. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

There have been a lot of remakes, but the original’s still (IMO) the best, simplest, and sweetest. Watch this before you watch any of the others.

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42. A Christmas Prince

This Netflix darling from 2017 checks all the holiday movie boxes: a handsome prince (Ben Lamb); a meet-cute that could definitely, maybe happen IRL between an aspiring young journalist (Rose McIver) and said prince; and all the charms of (fictional) Aldovia in the winter.

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43. Frozen

It’s time to stop denying how many words you know to the Frozen soundtrack. Go ahead, sing your heart out. Again.

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44. While You Were Sleeping

After a transit token worker Lucy (Sandra Bullock) saves a handsome man named Peter (Peter Gallagher) from the tracks on Christmas Day, he falls into a coma. In an innocent mix-up, his family confuses Lucy for his fiancée and she ends up spending a chunk of the holidays with the group, which includes Peter’s equally handsome brother Jack (Bill Pullman).

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45. It’s a Wonderful Life

There’s no better tradition than spending just over two hours with George Bailey, arguably one of Jimmy Stewart’s best roles.

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46. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Go ahead, try to watch the Pumpkin King’s valiant efforts in trying to recreate the spirit of Christmas Town in Halloween Town and not feel things.

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47. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

The third installment in the National Lampoon Vacation series, this film finds the Griswolds trying their best to get into the Christmas spirit. But this is National Lampoon, so there are some (entertaining) bumps along the way.

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48. Jingle All the Way

This ’90s comedy stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad as frazzled fathers on a quest to get the year’s hottest holiday toy for their respective kids. Wacky situations, slapstick comedy, and cringey displays of consumerism ensue. It’s not a good movie, but you won’t hate watching it.

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49. The Christmas Chronicles

Real-life Greatest Couple of All Time Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn as one of fiction’s Greatest Couples of All Time, Santa and Mrs. Claus? Netflix’s The Christmas Chronicles makes that exact Christmas wish come true.

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50. Scrooged

This modern retelling of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol is hilarious and pitch perfect. In it, Bill Murray plays Frank Cross (aka the story’s Scrooge) as a high-powered and highly heartless TV exec who learns the meaning of Christmas (and living a meaningful life in general) when he’s visited by three ghosts.

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51. The Grinch

The Grinch is a classic Christmas character, so it’s no surprise he keeps popping back up in pop culture through seemingly endless retellings and reboots of the story from the Dr. Seuss children’s book. (This one is better than the Jim Carrey version.)

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52. A Bad Moms Christmas

The cast of Bad Moms is a Christmas gift on its own, and getting these hilarious women back together for a holiday installment of the saga? Even better. Plus, the Bad Moms Christmas tale introduces the Bad Moms’ moms, played by legends Cheryl Hines, Christine Baranski, and Susan Sarandon.

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53. Bad Santa

Sometimes you’re in the mood for a dark comedy, even during the merriest and brightest of seasons—and that’s where Bad Santa comes in. In the movie, Billy Bob Thornton plays a con artist who is gearing up for his annual Christmas con but struggling as he deals with his growing depression and alcoholism. Don’t worry: It’s funnier than that description makes it sound.

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54. To Grandmother’s House We Go

This made-for-TV classic from the Olsen twins’ heyday focuses on a pair of young twins (obviously) who run away from home to travel to their grandma’s house in an attempt to give their overworked, stressed-out single mom a vacation when they overhear her having a mini breakdown ahead of the holidays.

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55. You’ve Got Mail

For two enemies to meet under the anonymity of the internet and fall in love online, it pretty much has to be a Christmas miracle, right? That’s the premise of the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan rom-com classic You’ve Got Mail—which includes some equally classic Christmas in New York moments.

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56. The Shop Around the Corner

If you love You’ve Got Mail, then you need to take the time to watch the movie it’s based on, The Shop Around the Corner, starring Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart as the star-crossed enemies turned lovers. In the pre-internet version of the story, the leads fall for each other via personal ads in the paper, culminating in a romantic Christmas Eve reveal.

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57. 12 Dates of Christmas

Yes, this is another movie that feels like a younger sibling to Groundhog Day. 12 Dates of Christmas, starring Amy Smart and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, is the Christmas take on the concept. In the movie, a woman named Kate, who is woefully hung up on her ex, finds herself reliving the same Christmas Eve blind date over and over until she gets out of her own way and opens herself up to love and life.

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58. I’ll Be Home for Christmas

Jonathan Taylor Thomas stars in this Christmas comedy as Jake, a selfish kid who plans to blow off his family’s Christmas celebration in favor of spending a week on the beach with his girlfriend—until his dad bribes him with a vintage 1957 Porsche. The rules are simple: Be home in time for dinner at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and the car is his. But when Jake is robbed and left penniless in the desert by the bullies at his boarding school on the other side of the country, making that deadline becomes exceedingly difficult.

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59. Happiest Season

Abby (Kristen Stewart) and her girlfriend, Harper (Mackenzie Davis), have been together for a year and their relationship is getting serious. Now, they’re spending the holidays together and Abby is going to meet Harper’s family for the very first time. This would be a huge step for them as a couple—except Harper hasn’t come out to her parents.

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60. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

Toy maker Jeronicus Jangle (Justin Cornwell, Forest Whitaker) was once full of magic, joy, and whimsy until his apprentice (Keegan-Michael Key) stole his most prized creation. But hope enters his life once more with the arrival of his granddaughter Journey (Madalen Mills).

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61. Krampus

Who said Christmas and horror movies had to be mutually exclusive? In this movie, a demonic presence called Krampus begins to prey on a family and they must band together to defeat the monster.

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62. Miracle on 34th Street

An old man named Kris Kringle fills in as Santa in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and people love him, but things change when he begins telling customers that he is the real Santa Claus, causing them to question his sanity.

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63. Barbie in the Nutcracker

This classic Christmastime tale gets a Barbie makeover. And honestly, this animated film has become a classic in and of itself. Clara wakes up one night and finds that her nutcracker doll has come to life. She becomes caught up in a battle with the Mouse King, is shrunk, and now has to find the sugarplum princess to undo the spell and save them all.

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64. A Charlie Brown Christmas

Charlie Brown becomes the director of their school’s Christmas pageant at Lucy’s suggestion. He takes the job but finds that it’s much more of a struggle than he thought. All the while, he’s trying to figure out what the true meaning of Christmas is.

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65. Get Santa

In this movie, Santa Claus crashes his sleigh, and the local police are out to get him. He has to ask for the help of a father and son to help save Christmas by gathering his reindeer to help him return home.

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66. Holidate

Sloane (Emma Roberts) and Jackson (Luke Bracey) are fed up with being single during the holidays, so they use each other as platonic plus-ones, or “holidates.” This little scheme of theirs seems like the perfect plan, until actual feelings get in the way.

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67. Let It Snow

A snowstorm hits a small town on Christmas Eve, bringing a group of high school seniors together. They soon find their friendships and love lives entangled because of complications involving a stranded pop star, a stolen keg, a dance squad, a mysterious woman covered in tinfoil, and a big party.

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68. The Holiday Calendar

Abby (Kat Graham) is a struggling photographer who is talented but down on her luck. One day, she inherits an antique advent calendar that seems to have the power to predict the future. And it seems to be telling her that love might be in the air this holiday season….

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69. To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You

There’s snow and a party involved, so it must be a holiday movie! In this second installment in the TATBILB series, Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and Peter (Noah Centineo) are no longer denying their relationship and are a full-fledged couple. But they quickly realize that comes with its own challenges too.

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70. Happy Christmas

Anna Kendrick likes starring in Christmas movies, y’all! Here she’s the messy one, moving in with her brother’s family, drinking too much, and generally just trying to pull her life together. It’s all about the dysfunction (relatable!!), but it’s actually v sweet too.

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