The 16 Best Holiday Movie Quotes — Ever

My name is Laurie, and I am a habitual movie quoter.

This personal film consumption habit means that my holiday season isn’t really here until Christmas movie quotes make their way back into rotation in my daily conversations. I’m lucky enough that I have a few well-placed friends and family and lots of other buddies online who like to engage in this kind of behavior too. The good news about this is that if I suddenly launch into one of my favorite lines from a movie like Elf or How the Grinch Stole Christmas, I have plenty of company. This way, if I channel Buddy the Elf and quote: “If you can sing alone, you can sing in front of other people. There’s no difference,” there’s usually someone around to fill Jovie’s role and answer with, “Actually, there’s a BIG difference.”

And isn’t that what we’re looking for, really? Someone to finish our sentences or provide the next one, as the case may be. Sometimes this just happens to be film dialogue.

Trading movie quotes can do more than just inspire us and keep us closer to films we love. It’s also a great bonding exercise. The adults in my family collectively love to watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Discussions of driving out into the woods to find the perfect Christmas tree and putting it up in a too-small living room naturally evolve into my dad and my uncles calling each other “Clark” — as in Griswold — and in endless quotes from the film referring to Chevy Chase’s character’s elaborate light displays and distant relatives in the RV in the front yard.

On my own, I watch The Holiday and Love Actually every year, always more than once, and the same is true for Scrooged, now that you mention it. I know much of the dialogue from these films by heart, and I know I’ve found a friend when they know it, too, and can play along.

December holidays are so much about ritual and connection in various traditions, and the films and shows we watch are part of that landscape for many of us. From classics like Miracle on 34th Street to less traditional films like Die Hard, where the season is merely the backdrop, the words our favorite characters speak can remain important long after the show is over.

Here’s a look at 16 of the best holiday movie quotes — ever: 

  • 16 Best Holiday Movie Quotes — Ever 1 of 17
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  • Home Alone 2 of 17
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    "This is Christmas, the season of perpetual hope. And I don't care if I have to get out on your runway and hitchhike. If it costs me everything I own, if I have to sell my soul to the devil himself, I am going to get home to my son." — Kate McCallister

     

    This family fought — a lot — but it's possible no mom has fought harder to get back to a child she accidentally left behind than Kate on her trip back home to Kevin. 

     

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 3 of 17
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    "Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here." — Clark Griswold

     

    Clark's meltdown over the implosion of his over-the-top home holiday extravaganza really got things going in this cinematic ode to Christmas excess — and, ultimately, family love. 

     

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • Scrooged 4 of 17
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    "It's Christmas Eve! It's... it's the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we... we... we smile a little easier, we... w-w-we... we... we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be!" — Frank Cross

     

    It may have taken a Ghost of Christmas Present hitting him with a toaster to wake Frank up from years of bitterness, but it worked.

     

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas 5 of 17
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    "And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more." — Narrator Boris Karloff

     

    The Grinch's Christmas Day awakening in Whoville the day after he tried to rob them of their presents is one of the best pre-epiphany epiphanies of all time. 

     

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • Miracle on 34th Street 6 of 17
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    "Oh, Christmas isn't just a day, it's a frame of mind... and that's what's been changing. That's why I'm glad I'm here, maybe I can do something about it." — Kris Kringle

     

    Who better to bring hope for a miracle to children than a department store Santa who may indeed be the real thing? 

     

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • A Christmas Carol 7 of 17
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    "BAH! Humbug!" — Ebenezer Scrooge

     

    Is there a better known anti-holiday line than this one? It took a few ghosts to turn Scrooge's words around. 

     

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • A Christmas Story 8 of 17
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    "No! No! I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!" — Ralphie

    "You'll shoot your eye out, kid." — Santa

     

    This quote wins for sheer repetition. I lose track every year of how many times I hear people say it. It must be the annual A Christmas Story marathon's on TV. 

     

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • Elf 9 of 17
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    "I love smiling! Smiling's my favorite!" — Buddy the Elf

     

    Elf is full of quotable lines, but this one — like smiling — is my favorite. If you don't smile at Buddy, I don't know what to tell you, and neither does he. 

     

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • Die Hard 10 of 17
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    "But, all things being equal, I'd rather be in Philadelphia." — John McClane

     

    John's Christmas trip to California turned out to be a little dangerous, so it makes sense that he'd rather have been Christmas-ing on the East Coast. 

     

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • Love Actually 11 of 17
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    "Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around." — Narrator

     

    The Heathrow scenes open and close Love Actually, and this idea — that love, actually, is all around — ties together the many threads of challenging, sad, hopeless, and happy relationships in the film. 

     

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas 12 of 17
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    "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." — Linus

     

    Linus tends to deflate Charlie Brown's hysterics at important moments, and this is the best of any Peanuts show or strip, in my opinion. It also always makes me cry, and I don't even mind. 

     

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • Polar Express 13 of 17
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    "Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see." — The Conductor

     

    The spirit of Santa Claus is a powerful part of Christmas for many, especially millions of children. When Billy doubted, a dream journey helped him find faith in something magical. 

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • The Holiday 14 of 17
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    "Iris, in the movies, we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason, you're behaving like the best friend." — Arthur

    "You're supposed to be the leading lady in your own life, for God's sake!" — Iris

     

    Iris's ability to step up as the star of her show led to a dream Christmas and New Year's with her brand new leading man. 

     

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • Jingle All the Way 15 of 17
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    "We're not just doing this for us. We're doing it for the kids. For every kid who ever sat on Santa's lap. For every little girl who left cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas night. For every little boy who opens a package Christmas morning and finds clothes instead of toys. It breaks my heart." — Mall Santa

     

    Santa always knows best. 

     

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • The Santa Clause 16 of 17
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    "The Santa Clause: In putting on the suit and entering the sleigh, the wearer waives any and all right to any previous identity, real or implied, and fully accepts the duties and responsibilities of Santa Claus, in perpetuity to which some time the wearer becomes unable to do so, by either accident or design." — Bernard the Elf

     

    Assuming Santa's identity is an honor and a privilege — and apparently a tough gig that's hard to quit.  

     

    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • It’s a Wonderful Life 17 of 17
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    "Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!" — George Bailey

     

    The final scene of It's a Wonderful Life never fails to leave me weeping, but George's snowy run through the streets of Bedford Falls after he wakes back up to his life is a masterpiece. His acknowledgement of all of the landmarks is pure joy. 

     

    Image credit: Wikipedia

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