The best Christmas movies are ones that leave lasting memories on audiences and make them want to rewatch their favorites over and over. For some, it may be standout characters or scenes that stick with fans the most, but others have specific decorations that linger in viewers’ minds long after watching the movie.
These decorations are instantly recognizable either due to their wholesome meanings or their presence in some of their films’ most iconic scenes. From extravagant displays to small handheld favors, these items have become almost synonymous with the films themselves, and they hold cherished places in fans’ hearts during the holidays.
10 The Santa Clause: The Snow Globe
Every kid who watched The Santa Clause wanted a magical snow globe like Charlie’s. Given to him by Bernard, the snow globe shows Santa flying across the sky, and Charlie can summon his dad from anywhere in the world whenever he shakes it.
The snow globe at first seems like just a cool souvenir from the North Pole, but bringing it back at the end of the film makes it much more meaningful (both to the characters and to the audience), and it sticks with viewers long after the movie ends.
9 Home Alone 2: Two Turtle Doves
A touching symbol that sticks with fans of the Home Alone franchise is the two turtle doves ornament from the second film. Mr. Duncan gives them to Kevin after the young boy makes a generous donation at the toy store, and he explains that they represent lifelong friendship.
The turtle doves are reintroduced later when Kevin gives one to the pigeon woman, stating that they’ll be friends forever. It’s a very heartwarming moment to end the movie, and it represents such a loving theme of Christmas that viewers remember them fondly, (even though the turtle doves weren’t given much screentime).
8 How The Grinch Stole Christmas: Martha May’s Christmas Lights Cannon
In a town so dedicated to Christmas as Whoville, it may seem difficult for one specific decoration to stand out. However, Martha May’s unique way of putting up Christmas lights makes quite an impression that sticks with viewers long after the scene passes.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is full of funny moments and quotes, but it’s the scene of Martha unveiling her lights cannon and ridiculously hanging them alongside her house that stands out early on in the film. It also makes the process of decorating seem so fun and effortless that the audience wants their own gadget to help light up their house.
7 Christmas With The Kranks: Frosty
When the Kranks decide to go on vacation instead of celebrating Christmas one year, they never imagine that their neighbors would throw such a fit, especially over the lack of their Frosty the snowman decoration.
The scene in which their neighbors’ band together to demand they put up Frosty is exaggerated and funny, and their repeated chant of “Free Frosty” is one of the standout moments in this film.
6 The Polar Express: The Sleigh Bell
One of the best scenes in The Polar Express is when the main character finally cements his belief in Santa, allowing him to hear the sound of the sleigh bell. It’s a moment that the entire movie builds up to, and it doesn’t disappoint as he joyfully listens to the bell and declares, “I believe.”
The bell becomes a symbol of belief for the film as viewers see how much it means to the main character. The final shot of the film focuses on the bell as the narrator explains the power of believing, beautifully summing up the main theme of the movie and leaving viewers with the poignant image of the silver sleigh bell.
5 Home Alone: The Ornament Trap
The Christmas decorations in this film are definitely not used in the traditional sense. As one of many of Kevin’s devious (and slightly horrific) traps in Home Alone, he lays down glass ornaments in front of the window for one of the Wet Bandits to step on when trying to sneak in.
The audience immediately knows what will happen when he sets them up, and when Marv steps through the window, they can almost feel the pain he experiences. While it may be tamer compared to some of the other traps in the franchise, it’s definitely a memorable use of ornaments that stands out amongst other holiday movies.
4 A Charlie Brown Christmas: Charlie Brown’s Tree
Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree is one of the most memorable Christmas trees in any movie not for style or flair, but for its childlike charm. Although the other characters in the movie may not have been a fan of it at first, the tiny tree captured the hearts of audiences.
This tree has become instantly recognizable by different generations, and many fans have even decorated their homes with their own version of Charlie Brown’s tree. The tree also becomes a symbol of the touching message posed in the movie about what Christmas is really about: not the fancy decorations, but who you spend it with.
3 Elf: The Redecorated Department Store
In one of Will Ferrell’s most notable roles, Buddy decides to spice up the department store’s Christmas decorations the night before Santa arrives. In a fun montage, viewers watch as he uses materials from the store to transform it into the “North Pole” that he sees fit for Santa.
Between all the paper snowflakes, the Lego model of New York, and the Lite Brite “Welcome” sign, Buddy’s makeshift display catches the eye of everyone who walks in the next morning and makes viewers wish they had the same creativity when decorating for Christmas.
2 National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: The Lit-Up House
Everyone has that neighbor that goes overboard with their Christmas lights, and in this case, it’s Clark Griswold. In one of the funniest scenes in a National Lampoon movie, Clark builds the grandeur of his light-covered house only for nothing to happen at first when he plugs them in.
When the lights finally do come on, the audience is just as excited as Clark is to see them. The overly extravagant display perfectly fits the character viewers know and love, and it’s a staple of holiday decorating that they can relate to.
1 A Christmas Story: The Leg Lamp
Who knew a gaudy lamp would be so loved? When Ralphie’s father wins a “major award” in A Christmas Story, the family doesn’t know what to expect, and his mother certainly isn’t ready for what they get.
From the moment the leg lamp is placed in the window of the Parkers’ house, it solidifies its status as an iconic symbol for the movie. While not technically a holiday decoration, it somehow fits in amongst the Christmas lights on the house, and it instantly becomes the standout decor on the street.
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