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1 Love Ac­tu­ally So there’s a guy who’s com­pletely in love with his best friend’s wife, a woman who re­alises her hus­band is treat­ing an­other woman much bet­ter than her and an­other woman who chooses her chron­i­cally ill brother over the man of her dreams. It sounds pretty de­press­ing for a Christ­mas flick but it’s hard to tri­umph with­out tragedy.

There’s also the Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter who falls in love with his maid, who is – let’s face it – pretty darn rough but for the same rea­son adorable. There’s a sweet lit­tle boy who learns the drums just to catch the at­ten­tion of his class­mate crush and the Bri­tish lad who trav­els all the way to the US be­cause he’s a “sex god”, just on the wrong con­ti­nent. There’s a pro­posal from an adorably awk­ward Colin Firth and a rocker who learns there’s more to life than sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. It’s all mas­ter­fully tied to­gether – where will ev­ery­one be on Christ­mas Day? Favourite quote: Now which doll shall we give Daisy’s lit­tle friend Emily? The one that looks like a trans­ves­tite or the one that looks like a dom­i­na­trix?

2 Elf Watch­ing Elf may be the most ef­fec­tive way to fig­ure out if your in­ner child is alive and well. Will Fer­rel plays Buddy, a fully grown man who was raised among elves. When his size keeps caus­ing trou­ble at the North Pole he is in­formed, to his ut­ter be­wil­der­ment, that he’s not ac­tu­ally an elf. Crest­fallen he heads to – you guessed it – New York City to find his fa­ther. His com­plete naivety makes ev­ery­thing he does hi­lar­i­ous, whether it’s be­ing hit by a car or get­ting stuck in a re­volv­ing door. He starts work­ing as an elf at a depart­ment store when his idol, Santa, drops by. Favourite quote: (whis­per­ing to the depart­ment store Santa) You sit on a throne of lies!

3 How the Grinch Stole Christ­mas On the com­plete other end of the spec­trum, The Grinch is a Dr Seuss clas­sic that was most pop­u­larly adapted into a film star­ring Jim Carey as the ti­tle char­ac­ter in 2000. In the fan­tasy land of Whoville ev­ery­one loves Christ­mas ex­cept The Grinch, a twisted green char­ac­ter who’s a per­fect com­bi­na­tion of crazy and down­right hi­lar­i­ous. He sets out to de­stroy Christ­mas in the most out­landish ways pos­si­ble. Jim Car­rey’s over­act­ing makes this film a clas­sic. I think one of the fun­ni­est things about the Grinch, though, is that as we get older we start to re­late to him more and more – you’re ei­ther the Grinch or a Who when you grow up. Favourite quote: Grinch: Help me, I’m feel­ing!

4 Home Alone When Kevin McCal­lis­ter is for­got­ten at home while his fam­ily go on their Christ­mas hol­i­day, life’s pretty awe­some. He eats un­lim­ited ice cream, jumps on the bed with shoes on, runs through the house like a ma­niac – but most im­por­tantly he clev­erly out­wits two schem­ing crooks with an un­be­liev­able tol­er­ance to pain. Kevin roasts them, tars them, feath­ers them, plants a hot iron on their faces and knocks them out with a swing­ing paint tin – all with a smile on his face. Favourite quote: Damn. How can you give Kris Kringle a park­ing ticket on Christ­mas Eve? What’s next, ra­bies shots for the Easter bunny?

5 It’s a Won­der­ful Life A Christ­mas-crammed clas­sic with an­gels and mir­a­cles and wishes that come true. A busi­ness­man who is just about done fight­ing be­comes sui­ci­dal, but he’s picked by an angel who shows him what life would be like with­out him. It’s an im­por­tant mes­sage, es­pe­cially around Christ­mas, that no mat­ter how de­feated you feel, there are al­ways peo­ple who love and ap­pre­ci­ate you. Favourite quote: Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an aw­ful hole, doesn’t he?

6 Na­tional Lam­poon’s Christ­mas Va­ca­tion The one Christ­mas movie that’s de­signed to be out­landish and far­fetched just hap­pens to be the most re­lat­able. The Griswalds, fa­mous for their va­ca­tion lam­poon­ery, de­cide to stay home and have the rel­lies over to their home this year; the red­necks, the deaf and flat­u­lent aunt, the dis­ap­prov­ing in-laws – gangs all there! Favourite quote: I don’t know what to say, ex­cept it’s Christ­mas and we’re all in mis­ery.

7 Mir­a­cle on 34th Street Lit­tle Su­san meets a depart­ment store Santa who she swears is the real thing. The film has been done at least three times, most re­cently in 1994, but the mes­sage re­mains the same – it’s OK to have a lit­tle faith, a lit­tle hope and to keep the Christ­mas spirit alive. Favourite quote: If you can’t be­lieve, if you can’t ac­cept any­thing on faith, then you’re doomed for a life dom­i­nated by doubt.

8 Jingle all the Way One of Arnie’s bril­liant for­ays into com­edy, you know, where he was in that awk­ward too-old-for-ac­tion and tooy­oung-for-gov­ern­ment stage? Well in this one he’s a dead­beat dad who prom­ises his son a toy for Christ­mas but come Christ­mas Eve he’s failed mis­er­ably and they’re all sold out. To which eight-year-old boys around the coun­try are scream­ing “Who cares about the toy, dude, your dad is Big Arnie!”. Well that’s the gist of the whole movie, but it’s brain­less Christ­mas ac­tion and Arnie does heaps of his awe­some wide-eyed fa­cial ex­pres­sions, so it’s great. Favourite quote: How about these stupid let­ters from kids to Santa at the North Pole: “Dear Santa, Can you send me a bike and a slinky?” No! Your fa­ther’s been laid off!

9 Grem­lins Af­ter re­ceiv­ing a mys­te­ri­ous crea­ture from his dad for Christ­mas, Billy has three rules for main­te­nance: Don’t get it wet, don’t ex­pose it to sun­light, don’t feed it af­ter mid­night. He vi­o­lates the rules and hor­ror (or is it hi­lar­ity?) en­sues as they mul­ti­ply and be­come more psy­chotic and de­struc­tive along the way. Favourite quote: (One grem­lin watches an­other grem­lin stran­gle Billy’s mum with Christ­mas tree lights) Oh neat!

10 Jack Frost How cute! A fam­ily movie about a snow­man? It might look like it un­til you re­alise that the snow­man is re­ally a fa­ther who is killed in a car crash and only gets the op­por­tu­nity to bond with his son while in the form of a snow­man. Also, win­ter’s go­ing to end at some point ... Favourite quote: A snow dad is bet­ter then no dad.

Keep an eye on the guide for your favourites, or check out Fox­tel’s pop-up Christ­mas chan­nel, play­ing a dif­fer­ent Christ­mas movie each night un­til De­cem­ber 25.

Bill Nighy in a scene from fes­tive rom com Love Ac­tu­ally

Tay­lor Mom­sen and Jim Car­rey in How The Grinch Stole Christ­mas

It's A Won­der­ful Life

Ma­caulay Culkin in Home Alone

Na­tional Lam­poon's Christ­mas Va­ca­tion

Mir­a­cle on 34th Street

Jingle All The Way

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