Best Christmas movies to watch this festive season

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

And, aside from an excuse to stuff yourself stupid with fruit mince tarts and contemplating what to wear to your work Christmas party, that means soon the television networks will show a selection of festive favourites.

Here is a roll call of some very different festive films to watch on television or rent out this year. Some of which are for adults only:

Is it really Christmas without Macaulay Culkin?
Is it really Christmas without Macaulay Culkin? 

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946)

Plot: Family man George Bailey is decides to end his own life but the intervention of his guardian angel Clarence arrives to help.

Watch this: If you'd feel like a good cry.

WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954)

Plot: Starring Bing Crosby, this romantic comedy follows former army friends Bob Wallace and Phil Davis as they become a musical song and dance act. They are introduced to a pair of sisters, Betty and Judy, who also sing and dance together. The characters travel to perform a Christmas show and run into former commander, General Waverly.

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Watch this: For Bing Crosby's performance of White Christmas.

DIE HARD (1988)

Plot: This action movie stars Bruce Willis as officer John McClane who tries to save his wife after she is taken hostage during a Christmas party.

Watch this: If sissy Christmas movies aren't your thing. You're tough, right?

NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION (1989)

Plot: Clark Griswold is determined the family will have the best Christmas ever. But things don't go to plan when he loses his job and relatives show up on his doorstep.

Watch this: If you still find Chevy Chase funny.

HOME ALONE (1990)

Plot: An eight-year-old boy is accidentally left behind while his family flies to France for Christmas and must defend his home against burglars.

Watch this: If you want your kids to have nightmares about robbers breaking into the house or you can stomach Macaulay Culkin.

THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL (1992)

Plot: An adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Gonzo the Great narrates the story as Charles Dickens while Michael Caine plays Ebenezer Scrooge.

Watch this: All your favourite muppets make an appearance: Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear to name a few.

ELF (2003)

Plot: A regular man who was raised as an elf by Santa Claus heads to New York in search of his biological family.

Watch this: If you're a Will Ferrell fan or if you're after a Christmas movie that will appeal equally to adults and children.

SHOWING: December 19, GO!

MIRACLE ON 34th STREET (the remake, 1994)

Plot: Six-year-old Susan has doubts about Santa Claus. Things change when she meets a department store Santa who believes he's the real thing.

Watch this: It's a lovely children's film but there are a few things for adults too: West Wing fans will spot Allison Janney as a disgruntled shopper and Dylan Dermott is Bryan Bedford.

JINGLE ALL THE WAY (1996)

Plot: A father decides to dream the impossible; to get a Turbo Man action figure for his son just before Christmas.

Watch this: If you think the Christmas shopping frenzy is ridiculous.

BRIDGET JONES' DIARY (2001)

Plot: Single woman Bridget Jones keeps a diary during a year where she strives for self improvement based on Helen Fielding's book.

Watch this: If you want to remind yourself what Renee Zellweger used to look like. Also the Colin Firth versus Hugh Grant fight scene, cheesy Christmas knits and to prep before the third Bridget Jones movie comes out - the screenplay is reportedly being reworked by Emma Thompson.

LOVE ACTUALLY (2003)

Plot: Colin Firth. Oh sorry, it's about a group of friends who each have their own love dilemmas to sort out leading up to Christmas.

Watch this: Because of Colin Firth, obviously. Also Hugh Grant as prime minister is completely unbelievable but funny - particularly his Jump For My Love dance scene - and look out for Rowan Atkinson as an obsessive gift wrapper at a jewellery counter in a department store.

THE POLAR EXPRESS (2004)

Plot: A young boy jumps onto the Polar Express on Christmas eve as it heads to the North Pole in this computer animation.

Watch this: If you are keen for a Tom Hanks fix this is the film to watch because he plays five characters. It was filmed using motion- capture technology whereby actual actors play out their roles on an empty soundstage and then they are merged into a computer-generated world. The final result is interesting, if a little strange.

Showing: December 20, GO!

CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT

Plot: Okay, this isn't a Christmas movie. A mix of classic carols and new fangled ditties sung by pop stars who want to boost their publicity.

Watch this: If you whack a glass of eggnogg in one hand and follow the snarky carols commentary on Twitter with you mobile phone in the other, and you will surely be filled with Christmas giggles. Also, it's one of the rare times of the year when the kids might get to see Humphrey B. Bear since he was dumped.

Showing: December 24, Nine.

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