You won't believe these 10 highest-grossing Christmas movies

Some of these entries are unbelievable.

Let's start off with a warning: You may think you have an idea of the highest-grossing Christmas movies of all time, but dear reader, we are here to tell you there is no way you'd guess these ones.

"Sure," you think to yourself, "The Nightmare Before Christmas, or The Santa Clause, or heck, maybe even Die Hard have to be in the top five, right?"  Oh, you beautiful, naive fool. Those movies aren't even in the top 10!

Have a look for yourself as we share the 10 highest-grossing Christmas movies of all time, according to Wikipedia. Beware, they are... unlikely. 

1. The Grinch (2018)

 

Weird, right? No, this isn't the Jim Carrey one. You'll see that one a bit further down the list. This one, the highest-grossing Christmas movie of all time, is an animated offering from Illumination studios. This time around, the green grouch is portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch.

2. Home Alone (1990)

 

Ah, that's more like it. This Christmas Classic, starring Macaulay Culkin, grossed $476,684,675, making it the second-highest-grossing Christmas-themed movie of all time. The only movie that scored bigger at the box office in 1990 was Ghost!

3. Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007)

 

The third-highest-grossing Christmas movie of all time, and we bet you didn't even know it was a Christmas movie. Of course, fans will remember the old "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)," the bona fide novelty holiday classic from 1958. The 2007 version gets a rock update with lead vocals from Jason Lee. Sure!

4. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

 

Phew, back on track. This one isn't quite as well-remembered as the first one, but it does have its charms. Mostly, it's great for having Brenda Fricker in it. She's the scary bird lady who turns out to be an actually nice bird lady. Tim Curry's there. Rob Schnieder, too. Christmas... am I right, people?

5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

 

Now we're cooking with gas. Jim Carrey is at his career best (which is always the case, because the guy commits), and look who it is behind the camera! Why it's Opie himself, Ron Howard, all grown up and directing a movie! This movie is a true labor of love from everyone involved, and you can still visit the set in Universal Studios Hollywood!

6. A Christmas Carol (2009)

 

Ba-humbug! We bet you didn't expect Jim Carrey to star in two of the top ten Christmas movies. Disney loves this Dickens story. They let Mickey have an adaptation. Then they let the Muppets have an adaptation. So why not also give Robert Zemeckis an adaptation while we're at it? 

7. The Polar Express (2004)

 

Hey, two Robert Zemeckis movies in a row! This is the one where Tom Hanks plays, like, half a dozen equally dead-eyed characters. When people bring up the "uncanny valley," this is absolutely what they're referring to. Look at those kids' EYES!

8. Love Actually (2003)

 

Aw, cute. This one is written and directed by rom-com mastermind Richard Curtis. Love Actually is a classic example of a movie resonating much more with audiences than critics. However, getting to see Alan Rickman do anything at all is well worth the price of admission. 

9. Elf (2003)

 

Elf, to many, is the perfect Christmas movie. It's got laughs. It's got heart. It's got James Caan. It's got a cameo from the guy who played Ralphie in A Christmas Story! The movie is so special, in fact, that Will Ferrell reportedly turned down a sequel, losing out on millions, just to uphold the integrity of the original. 

10. The Holiday (2006)

 

See #8. Rinse. Repeat. We do, however, reserve the right to proclaim Nancy Myers as one of the greatest rom-com auteurs of all time. We'd just rather watch Father of the Bride. Or even It's Complicated, really. The Holiday just feels like Home and Garden Magazine come to life.

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36 Comments

WyattJames 7 months ago
The Home Alones were cute but I have no interest in the rest, especially Elf.
Lillyrose 7 months ago
I've never seen most of the movies on this list (except 7, 8, and 9.) "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is definitely my favorite Christmas movie! Then "Elf," which is absolutely hilarious! Then "Miracle on 34th Street," which is adorable! I like the 1994 version the best. I also like the "Sound of Music," which is considered a Christmas movie, but it is not really very Christmassy.
TheKodakKid 7 months ago
I’m wondering how some of the older Christmas movies would stack up with the ones on this list, if they were adjusted for inflation? If you’re just comparing what a movie’s box office sales were in the 1950s verses a movie’s box office sales were in the 2000s, you’re comparing apples to oranges.

Of course, while it’s now pretty much a beloved classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life” did not do that well in its initial box office release. Also, while it did have a limited release in December of 1946, the movie didn’t go into wide release until January 1947. The appeal of a Christmas movie was pretty much over by then.
TheKodakKid TheKodakKid 7 months ago
Note that of their top 10 list, except for the two “Home Alone” movies, the oldest is from 2003. Even then, the “Home Alone” movies are from the 1990s. For some of us, that doesn’t seem like it was that long ago.
Runeshaper 7 months ago
My top from this list:

The Grinch (2018)

Home Alone (1990)

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

A Christmas Carol (2009)

The Polar Express (2004)

Love Christmas movies! (-:
Bapa1 7 months ago
Weird thing, that Grinch movie at #1, I've never heard of it. I am so out of it.
Pastorgman 7 months ago
To quote Ebenezer Scrooge, “Bah Humbug!”
MrsPhilHarris 8 months ago
Not many on this list are favs of mine. In fact some I haven’t seen. I like the cartoon Grinch from the 60s, A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim, Christmas In Connecticut, The Bishops Wife, A Christmas Story, It’s A Wonderful Life and other classics.
KJExpress MrsPhilHarris 7 months ago
I really must see Christmas in Connecticut one of these days. I don't know how I've missed it. 🤔
MrsPhilHarris KJExpress 7 months ago
It’s one of my favourites but it has to be the one with Barbara Stanwyck not the one with Dyan Cannon.
KJExpress MrsPhilHarris 7 months ago
I didn't realize there was a newer version. I would definitely want to see the one with Barbara Stanwyck.
MrsPhilHarris KJExpress 7 months ago
It is far superior. The one with Dylan Cannon also has Arnold Schwarzenegger. 🤭
bmoore4026 8 months ago
The Polar Express or as it should have been called, "Christmas in the Uncanny Valley". The Christmas Carol is the sequel - "Christmas in the Uncanny Valley 2: Now with Jim Carrey."
chris70 8 months ago
Can't believe national lampoons christmas vacation didn't make the list. Hilarious movie
Coldnorth chris70 8 months ago
I Agree very funny movie
Runeshaper chris70 7 months ago
Good point!
StrayCat 8 months ago
Forgetting how much money these films made, mostly because of the year's they were made. Christmas movies - Miracle on 34th street, The Bishops Wife, A Christmas Carol(1951), and finally, The Santa Clause.
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Rob 7 months ago
Or Lethal Weapon!
KawiVulc 8 months ago
Didn't even know #1 existed, never heard of #8 or 10... #10, though... Jude law was pretty good in Cold Mountain but going by the rest of the cast they could tie me to a chair in front of it and I'll talk, I'll talk, wadda ya wanna know??
Snickers 8 months ago
I'm not a kid but I loved The Grinch. The scenes with Fred the reindeer are the best.
Runeshaper Snickers 7 months ago
True! LOL
LoveMETV22 8 months ago
Not thinking from what each movie may have grossed at the Box-Office but from a classic or traditional sense. More a fan of:
It's a Wonderful Life (1946), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), White Christmas (1954) and
A Christmas Story (1983).

There are a few good movies in the article's list: The Home Alone movies and The Polar Express are both worthy watches (jmo). No shortage of movies on the whole it seems.
Moody 8 months ago
I've only seen the original Grinch tv special but none of the movies. I can't stand Jim Carrey so I'll never see that movie! My favorite version of A Christmas Carol is with George C. Scott. Absolutely the best imo. I've tried to watch Elf a couple of times but can't seem to make through to the end. lol! My wife loves it though.
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Moody Snickers 7 months ago
Oh, ok I guess I got my movies mixed up. Thanks for clearing that up. Maybe I'll check it out then.
WyattJames Moody 7 months ago
I agree, I can’t stand Jim Carey or Will Ferrell
StrayCat Snickers 7 months ago
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (1966). A cute little half hour animation narrated by Boris Karloff remains my favorite Grinch. If you're surprised about the quality, fluidity, and detail of the animation, something not usually inherent in a half hour TV cartoon, it's because it was done by Chuck Jones.
Snickers StrayCat 7 months ago
Yep, same gentleman who did most of the looney toon shorts
Bapa1 8 months ago
There have been so many Christmas Carol movies, it's hard to keep track. The Jim Carrey one was good.
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