I don't watch all of these every year, but when I think of Christmas movies, these are usually the ones I mean. Once I put them all in a list, I realize that there aren't really that many--and when I hear other people talk about Christmas movies, I realize that they include a lot of others that I've never really seen much of. But here's the type of movie that usually surrounds my December.
1) Mickey's Christmas Carol - Growing up, we didn't have too many movies, but this was one of them. I suppose it was my first introduction to A Christmas Carol. It was slightly creepy to me because it does have a bit of a dark, shadowy tone to it (even to the Christmas carols, I thought), but I also liked it. And who better to share the idea of the Christmas spirit than Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and the rest? This is probably my favorite version, though Patrick Stewart's is good, too; I never watched the Muppet version until a couple years ago, so I don't have that connection with it that other people have (though I did like it).
2) How the Grinch Stole Christmas - I'm referring to the Jim Carrey version. We did have the animated one (not the more popular version that has the song in it--the other one), but kind of stopped watching it after the live action movie came out. It's the right kind of movie for winter: it's funny and lighthearted but also makes you think that it had a nice message in the end.
3) The Nativity Story - I still get a kick out of the fact that Catherine Hardwicke directed both this movie and Twilight, though there is in fact a lot of common ground. And that's I think what I liked about this movie: it approached Mary as a person more than most movies of this story tend to do. Keeping it simple and maintaining focus on the right things helped, too. Overall I find it nicely done.
4) Home Alone (1 & 2) - Given what I said before about not owning a lot of movies, we would sometimes watch this one at other times of the year than Christmas: it almost felt only like half a Christmas movie, even though it's filled with Christmas scenery. I would only occasionally catch a little of the second movie if it was playing on TV; the last couple of years, though, I've tried to watch both of them because they're both good. The second one is mainly just a repeat of the first one, but in this case that's perfectly okay.
5) The Santa Claus - You guessed it; this was another of the few movies we owned (I mean, we owned more than a few, just not a huge amount). It's been good to return to this one over the years: jokes that I didn't understand when I was seven I suddenly understand years later. Another movie that combines goofy comedy with some fantasy and something of a nice message. And it's easier to watch over and over than The Grinch, I think: something about the way the plot just rolls out has that cult classic feel.
6) Fitzwilly - This isn't really a Christmas movie, but I realized that it almost can be since it takes place during Christmastime. It's from the sixties, starring Dick Van Dyke and Barbara Feldon and a lot of other great cast members from the era. I first saw it a few years ago and somehow it wormed its way into being one of my favorite movies. It also has a little of a cult classic feel to it. It's kind of quotable, if only I had anyone to quote it to who's also seen the movie ("The one with the pink eyelids." I love that line.) It's about servants who work for a previously wealthy woman who doesn't know that she's now in debt; they have an elaborate business of stealing to maintain her lavish lifestyle and are doing quite well at it until she decides to hire her own secretary (Barbara Feldon), whom the butler (Dick Van Dyke) tried to scare away but ends up falling in love with instead. It's just a fun movie that gets better once you've seen it a couple times.
7) Doctor Who Christmas Episodes - These aren't movies; they're TV episodes--but given that most of the Christmas episodes are at least an hour, you can watch them like short movies. I tried that out last year and I'm starting it again this year. I just watched "Voyage of the Damned" today, which is pretty good. "A Christmas Carol" is also actually quite touching, with a good cast.
I have this feeling like I've forgotten something but I can't think of what. Anyway, I suppose seven is a good enough number to leave on. Happy movie-watching.