Since Christmas movies have been playing all week, I thought it was time to update and post my annual Top 10 Must-See Christmas Movie List. Here’s last year’s list. And here’s my 2011 list:

10. The Family Man (2000) – A modern version of the best Christmas movie ever (see my #1) starring Nicolas Cage, before he got in IRS trouble and started making lousy movies. Bonus: Don Cheadle is the best angel since Clarence. 

9. Joyeux Noel (2006) – Last Christmas our oldest son introduced us to this Oscar-nominated true story of German, French & Scottish troops in WWI who called a ceasefire on Christmas Eve. Peace on Earth, at least for a night. 

8. Bells of St Mary’s (1945) – Bing Crosby as a priest. Ingrid Bergman as a nun. The movie is a bit slow at times, but the 5 minute 1st grade Christmas pageant is worth watching over and over. 

7. Elf (2003) – Opening scene with Sr Elf, Bob Newhart, reading the intro story about different types of elves is worth the price of the DVD.

6. Christmas in Connecticut (1945) – Black and white classic that never gets old.

5. The Nativity Story (2006) – What The Passion of the Christ is to Holy Week, this movie is to Christmas.

4. Christmas Vacation (1989) – It doesn’t really feel like Christmas until Cousin Eddie shows up.

3. Die Hard (1988) – Some doubt this is a Christmas movie, but the whole thing took place during an office Christmas party. Bonus: Hans Gruber is the best movie bad guy ever.

2. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) – Wish they still made them like this. Bonus: one of my all-time fav soundtracks, real Jazz on a Christmas album.

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – THE Christmas classic of all Christmas classics.

PS: Every year after I post my updated list, I get comments asking why A Christmas Story is not on my list. Here’s the simple answer: because it’s my list and I hate that movie.