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What's the must-watch Christmas movie in your home?

Set fire to some chestnuts and prepare for a big man in red to stage a home invasion, because it is absolutely Christmas time. It might be the season of giving, but it's also the season of staying indoors, not changing out of your pajamas for three days and watching an endless stream of Christmas movies. We asked team GamesRadar which films are non-negotiable at this time of year, the ones they have to watch once the presents have been opened and the Christmas pudding has been gobbled, and we got some surprising answers.

Happy holidays! 

Looking for the best Christmas movies ever? Check out our ultimate countdown of the festive films you should watch during the holidays. 

 The Muppet Christmas Carol 

I have a bit of a problem in my house for Christmas, as my dad is a 'no TV' kind of person for the holidays. We’re more the 'easy listening carols and awkward conversation' kind of family, which is probably why the Bucks Fizz comes out while we’re mostly still in PJs. But, more or less for that reason, The Muppet Christmas Carol is my go-to movie. I once wasn’t allowed to watch it one Christmas because of the TV rule, as a grown-ass man. And I ended up in a sulk on the sofa watching all my friends tweeting GIFs and lines from it while it was on. Everyone I knew basically watched it together via the good side of social media, and I missed out. To reiterate: grown-ass man, sulking on the sofa because he can’t watch the Muppets. I was lucky at least to catch a repeat a few days later, alone at home, and I basically protest-watched the whole thing hugging all the chocolate and booze I’d brought back from my parents'. It’s basically not Christmas until Michael Caine has chewed the scenery as Scrooge and 'sung' Thankful Heart. Leon Hurley

The Snowman

I'm not usually the sentimental type when it comes to Christmas, but whenever The Snowman comes on the TV when it's cold outside, the fairy lights are gently pulsing on our Christmas tree, and I have a small canine to pet, my heart swells. That movie was colorful (and simple) enough to bewitch me when I was younger, and now, whether it's the pitchfork of nostalgia that's stabbing me in the gut or the simple fact that I can't hear "We're walking in the air" without wanting to tune in with a disastrous falsetto, The Snowman is my family's go-to Christmas movie. It's the kind of thing where, as there's no talking, you can just have it on in the background while its heart-warming soundtrack plays throughout the house, and it always seems to come on TV just when my whole family have eaten themselves into a food coma. And somehow I always get choked up at the end, despite knowing exactly what's coming. Bah, humbug. Zoe Delahunty-Light

The Holiday

I don't care what anyone says. The Holiday is a great Christmas movie - so great, in fact, that my mum and I watch it every year without fail. And what's not to love? Jude Law playing a recent divorcee with adorable children; Jack Black playing a musician who's so suave and yet still so Jack Black but somehow manages to be attractive; and Kate Winslet as an Englishwoman looking for an escape from a disastrous relationship who switches houses with the equally trapped and disastrous Cameron Diaz. It's funny, lighthearted, occasionally very soppy - and if you can't be a sop at Christmas, when can you? - and introduces the entire concept of a meet-cute. If you're not all trying to be Mr. Napkinhead 'round the dinner table this Christmas, you're doing it wrong. Sam Loveridge

A Charlie Brown Christmas

I'm torn between National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation ("Oh, the silent majesty of a winter's morn... the clean, cool chill of the holiday air... an asshole in his bathrobe, emptying a chemical toilet into my sewer…”) and A Charlie Brown Christmas. SWEETHOTMINCEPIES, who am I kidding? It's Charlie Brown. Good old Chuck. Good old browbeaten, optimistic, Chuck. When the title music kicks in and Charlie Brown’s pals are all skating on the lake… godammit, I’m choking up just thinking about it. It might be my age, but there’s something about Charlie Brown that captures the bittersweet contradictions of youth: the cruelty and kindness, the joy and sadness, the sense of being trapped in a moment, yet wondering why time goes so fast. That imperfect, fraternal warmth - that you never appreciate until you’re older, and those ties have faded away - of friends that suck, but also kinda rule. At the end of the movie, Charlie Brown plants a sad Christmas tree, which buckles under the weight of one bauble. He slumps away defeated… when Linus appears to wrap his blanket around it. The tree stands tall, and all his friends decorate it. "I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all really. Maybe it just needs a little love," Linus concludes. Dammit. Now I'm sad. Dan Dawkins

The Santa Clause 

The Santa Clause is the must-watch Christmas movie of the year in my home. By which I mean, I must watch it... every single Christmas... or I get very, very crabby with everyone around me. Trust me, it’s not pretty. In fact, I usually insist on watching the entire trilogy. Yes, that’s right, there are three Santa Clause films, and if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, you’re doing Christmas wrong. Fact. The 1994 classic is the perfect festive film! Starring Tim Allen as Scott Calvin, a high-flying businessman but sub-par father, he and his young son Charlie (played by Eric Lloyd) are in for what looks like a fairly disappointing Christmas until he accidentally kills Santa and invokes… The Santa Clause. What’s that, I hear you ask? Well, in short, it’s a specific clause in the Santa contract which states that whoever kills Santa then takes his place. Cue Scott Calvin gaining a ton of weight and suddenly developing a taste for warm milk. He literally becomes Santa, which is why this film is such a joy to watch. Who didn’t want to be - or at least know - Santa when they were a kid? Don’t deny it! Watch this movie and you’ll be immediately transported back to a time of wide-eyed optimism and hope when you really, truly would have loved for your Dad to become Santa. And all he’d need to do is push the real Santa off a roof… sigh. Lauren O’Callaghan  

Mad Max: Fury Road 

I'm not one for rewatching movies on a yearly schedule, and neither is my family (though 1966's How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is the Christmas movie closest to our hearts). So instead, let me tell you the tale of a recent Christmas break when I convinced my family to gather 'round the telly for a screening of George Miller's pulse-pounding desert odyssey Mad Max: Fury Road. Some of us had seen it, but many hadn't, and I was sure that its breakneck speed, thrilling stunts, wild aesthetic, and strong female characters would be a hit with everyone. What I had forgotten about were some particularly harrowing scenes, like when (minor spoilers) a dead baby is cut out from the stomach of one of Immortan Joe's captive wives. Overall, I think most of my family appreciated this godlike action movie, even if some found it a bit too intense - but I'm certain we'll be sticking to tamer fare for future family gatherings. Lucas Sullivan

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 

Where I come from, it's not really Christmas until we've watched the Griswold family go from nearly dying between the axles of a massive lumber-hauling truck to celebrating on their front lawn with a gung-ho SWAT team. I've seen National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation at least two dozen times, and now more than ever it gives me immense pride to know my family made an annual tradition of viewing perhaps the only true holiday classic to feature a prominent F-bomb. Granted, my parents would fast forward through the "hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tapdanced with Danny f@#$ing Kaye" line when I was especially young, but the point stands. You know, I never thought about it until now, but Christmas Vacation came out the same year I was born - 1989 - and I think we've both aged pretty gracefully since then. Hallelujah, holy shit. Connor Sheridan


"You sit on a throne of lies." That's all I have to say to anyone who doesn't pick Elf as one of their top Christmas movies. It's genuinely funny, it's sweet without ever getting sickly, and James Caan from The Godfather puts his acting chops to good use while he chitchats with Santa Claus. Will Ferrell makes Buddy more than just a visual joke or a funny freak: he's a Maple Syrup shower of kindness in a grumpy - but never scary - New York. I watch it every year, every year I cry at the singing scene, and I will keep watching it until I the apocalypse has wiped every present and tree off the face of this godforsaken earth... even if I have to train a troupe of cockroaches to act it out. Rachel Weber

Did we miss a classic? Will no one show some love for Scrooged or Home Alone or even Eyes Wide Shut? Let us know on Twitter.

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