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Festive Christmas displays decorate the Great Hall at Hogwarts in this image from Warner Bros.
The “Harry Potter” films feature snow-covered surroundings and Christmas at the castle. (Image: Warner Bros.)

Family and friends celebrate the holidays together each year, watching Christmas movies over festive dinners or while decking the halls. There are plenty of classic holiday movies that everyone can agree on, but there are some movies that spark debate year after year. We’ve decided to settle the score, so next time someone disagrees, pull out this article and explain why these films are clearly Christmas movies.

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‘Frozen’ (2013)

An animated girl is playing with magical snowy powers in this image from Walt Disney Animation Studios.
“Frozen” features themes of family and being together, both of which are values of Christmas. (Image: Walt Disney Animation Studios)

In the beloved Disney movie “Frozen,” Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel) has magical powers, which she accidentally uses to turn her home into an icy kingdom. When she banishes herself into exile for the mistake, it’s up to her sister Anna (Kristen Bell), quirky mountain man Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his trusty reindeer, and Olaf (Josh Gad), a snowman come to life, to bring Elsa home.

The movie isn’t technically set during Christmastime, but holiday themes such as the magic of snow and the power of family are prominent. Do we need to mention again that Kristoff has a reindeer?

“Frozen” and “Frozen II” are available on Disney Plus.

‘The Holiday’ (2006)

A woman almost fits in a small bathtub in this image from Columbia Pictures.
Family is what you make it. (Image: Columbia Pictures)

Another girls’-night classic, “The Holiday” is about two women experiencing relationship woes and switching homes (and countries!) for a getaway. The film’s title may reference their vacations, but it can also be attributed to the time of year. They travel to new towns to stay in a stranger's home during — you guessed it — the holiday season. The movie showcases a holiday party and grocery shopping in a decked-out market, but it’s about creating your own family. What’s more Christmasy than finding happiness and family?

“The Holiday” is available to stream on Sling TV Premium.

‘Love Actually’ (2003)

A man in a white button-up shirt dances after hours with the housekeeper looking on in this image from Universal Pictures.
“Love Actually” depicts how Christmas can look different to everyone. (Image: Universal Pictures)

“Love Actually” is set during the Christmas season, but it can be argued that it’s just a rom-com. It was, after all, marketed as “the ultimate romantic comedy.” The film follows eight couples whose lives are loosely intertwined. The movie is centered around love stories, but it’s certainly wrapped up with Christmas bows, including a children’s Christmas pageant, gift shopping, and a holiday office party.

For your adult viewing party, “Love Actually” is streaming on Netflix.

‘Catch Me If You Can’ (2002)

Two men, one in a suit and one in a pilot’s uniform, butt heads at an airport in this image from DreamWorks Pictures.
Anything set during the holiday season makes it a Christmas movie. (Image: DreamWorks Pictures)

“Catch Me If You Can” should be on your watch list, even if it’s only because of the amazing cast. Skilled forger and con man Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) passes himself off as a doctor, lawyer, and finally a pilot. FBI agent Carl (Tom Hanks) becomes obsessed with tracking Frank down. You may be thinking, how is this a Christmas movie? It’s set during Christmastime, and we believe any movie set during the holiday season is a Christmas movie!

“Catch Me If You Can” is available on Paramount Plus and Netflix.

‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ (2001)

Two boys play wizard chess in the Great Hall as their friend watches in this image from Warner Bros.
One only has to look as far as Mrs. Weasley’s acceptance of Harry into her family to find the Christmas spirit. (Image: Warner Bros)

Not only is “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” a Christmas movie, but so is the entire franchise. On the surface, the series is about magic and coming of age, but it has deeper themes of friendship, family, and coming together. Plus, thoughts of the Wizarding World conjure images of the Hogwarts castle draped in snow and the giant tree in the Great Hall.

The entire Harry Potter series is streaming on Max and Peacock.

‘Sleepless in Seattle’ (1993)

A woman and her father make a toast at the Christmas table in this image from TriStar Pictures.
Sleepless in Seattle is a holiday classic due to its storyline of love and happiness. (Image: TriStar Pictures)

Widow Sam (Tom Hanks) relocates to Seattle with his son Jonah (Ross Malinger) to escape his grief. Eighteen months later, on Christmas Eve, Sam goes on a radio show and tells the story of his late wife Maggie, effectively making every woman listening fall in love with him, including Baltimore reporter Annie (Meg Ryan). This movie is not only about falling in love, but also about finding happiness again. What better time of year is there to watch this classic than Christmastime?

Watch “Sleepless in Seattle,” available on Philo.

‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (1993)

A claymation skeleton sings to a snowflake in this image from Tim Burton Productions.
What’s more Christmassy than the Pumpkin King learning to love Christmas for what it is? (Image: Tim Burton Productions)

This next film on our list is one of the most controversial Christmas movie debates. Tim Burton’s stop-motion movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas” can work for both Halloween and Christmas. Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon) is the Pumpkin King from Halloweentown. He becomes tired of his everyday life, doing the same things and scaring the same people of the “real world.” He discovers Christmastown, and a plot forms in his mind to kidnap Santa Claus and rule in his place. However, his plot doesn’t work out as planned. Like so many others, Jack falls in love with Christmas.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is currently available to watch on Disney Plus.

‘Die Hard’ (1988)

A dead henchman bears a warning on his sweatshirt in this image from 20th Century Fox.
“Die Hard” is the definition of a Christmas movie. After all, John McClane is just trying to reunite with his family. (Image: 20th Century Fox)

“Die Hard” is one of the most controversial Christmas movies. With Christmas music and decorations a constant throughout the film, we firmly believe this is a holiday movie. Set during a holiday office party, John McClane (Bruce Willis) is in town to visit his estranged wife, Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), but the office is taken hostage. To ensure his wife’s safety, NYPD officer John takes matters into his own hands. What sparks more holiday magic than reuniting with family?

“Die Hard” is on Sling TV Premium — for a double feature, “Die Hard 2” is on Hulu.

‘Lethal Weapon’ (1987)

A man aims a gun as Christmas lights hang in the background in this image from Warner Bros.
“Lethal Weapon” is the ultimate Christmas movie. (Image: Warner Bros.)

If you consider “Die Hard” a Christmas movie, then you’ll have no problem seeing my logic here, especially since “Lethal Weapon” is even more Christmassy. Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) is a cop with suicidal tendencies, but he always gets the job done. When he’s paired with Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover), an older cop who’s thinking about retiring, the two must work out their differences in order to stop a drug smuggling gang. There’s no arguing that this is a Christmas movie — not when one of the fight scenes takes place in a tree lot!

In all honesty, though, Murtaugh’s family accepts Riggs as an honorary member, and that’s what makes this a Christmas movie.

Watch “Lethal Weapon” on Philo.

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