Top 10 Musical Moments in Christmas Movies

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Top 10 Musical Moments in Christmas Movies

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Catherine Neal
Sing along with these musical moments from Christmas movies. For this list, we'll be looking at memorable musical interludes from our favourite Christmas classics whether funny, nostalgic or just plain heart-warming. Our countdown includes "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "Elf," "The Polar Express," and more!
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Top 10 Musical Moments in Christmas Movies


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Musical Moments in Christmas Movies.

For this list, we’ll be looking at memorable musical interludes from our favourite Christmas classics whether funny, nostalgic or just plain heart-warming. We won’t be including Christmas songs from non-Christmas movies, like Jingle Bell Rock from “Mean Girls”.

Is your favourite on this list? Let us know in the comments.

#10: “Jump (For My Love)”
“Love, Actually” (2003)


Richard Curtis’s Christmas film is all about the iconic moments, from the devastating scene where Emma Thompson discovers her husband’s infidelity, to Andrew Lincoln’s romantic (if slightly creepy) declaration of love. We might not remember any of the characters’ names, but we remember how they made us feel. There isn’t a shortage of musical moments either. We get “All I Want For Christmas is You” for the big finale. There’s also Bill Nighy’s irreverent “Christmas is All Around” and even a bit of carol singing. But the first scene that springs to mind is surely Hugh Grant’s Prime Minister, dancing through the halls of Downing Street to “Jump (For My Love).” You can’t un-see it.

#9: “Hot Chocolate”
“The Polar Express” (2004)


Based on a picture book by Chris Van Allsburg this early 2000’s fantasy film is notable for its use of motion capture animation. While that aspect of the film may not have held up perfectly, this still gives us a festive sugar rush that feels evergreen. This sequence features the most well-choreographed beverage service we’ve ever seen, courtesy of the Polar Express staff. With its jazzy rhythms and infectious refrain, “Hot Chocolate” is definitely an earworm. Reminiscent of old Hollywood movie dance sequences, the dancing waiters appear from nowhere and are gone just as fast, leaving us a little disoriented and craving a hot chocolate of our own.

#8: “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1966)


First appearing in the classic picture book by Dr. Seuss, the green meanie with the heart two sizes too small has earned his place in the canon of classic Christmas fare. Jim Carrey made the role his own back in 2000 and Benedict Cumberbatch voiced the most recent incarnation in 2018. But the 1966 cartoon is probably the most beloved version. It is also notable for the original song “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch.” With memorable lyrics written by Dr. Seuss himself, such as “You’re a bad banana with a greasy black peel” it’s a lot of fun, if a surprising addition to the Christmas song tradition.

#7: “What’s This?”
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)


We could debate endlessly over whether this stop-motion Tim Burton animation is a Christmas movie or better watched at Halloween, but when Jack Skellington, the mayor of Halloween Town, gets his first glimpse of Christmas, you can’t help but feel festive. Disney originally felt, perhaps understandably, that this dark fantasy plot involving singing skeletons and a Santa-napping masterminded by the Boogie Man would be too scary for kids. However, the warmth in the bones of this story won audiences over. The film became a critical and commercial success. After all, there are plenty of heart-warming moments to counteract the darkness and Jack’s joyful “What’s This?” is definitely one of them.

#6: “A Holly Jolly Christmas”
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1964)


Originally written by Johnny Marks in 1962, this song became a breakout hit when Burl Ives sang it in the Christmas television special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” This catchy jingle has since been covered multiple times by artists such as Michael Bublé and Dolly Parton and has featured on many a Christmas compilation album. The film itself, a stop-motion animation about Rudolph and his friends, remains a nostalgic holiday favourite. It has also become a staple of the season. Since its original release in 1964, it has been broadcast every year across the US and can now boast of being the longest ever, continuously running, Christmas special.

#5: “It Feels Like Christmas”
“The Muppet Christmas Carol” (1992)


Based on the classic Charles Dickens novella - and sticking surprisingly close to the original - “The Muppets’ Christmas Carol” brings good tidings and cheer from start to finish. Michael Caine gives the performance of his career as Scrooge, while Kermit and co. bring all the humor and heart we expect to their various roles. The music by Miles Goodman and Paul Williams gives us no end of great numbers to pick from, but “It Feels Like Christmas,” really up the ante with its festive spirit. Sung by Christmas Present at the film’s mid-point, the song speaks to the compassion at the core of the season. It would warm the heart of even the Scroogiest of Scrooges.

#4: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”
“Elf” (2003)


This festive duet first appeared in the 1949 movie “Neptune’s Daughter” and - despite some controversial lyrics - it remains a holiday favourite. One of the most memorable renditions is featured in “Elf.” Zooey Deschanel’s seasonal store assistant is singing in the shower after work, when co-worker Buddy - a real-life North Pole elf - overhears and chimes in with the other half of the duet. It works because Will Ferrell’s Buddy is so adorably clueless, but also, they actually harmonise great together. The film’s finale - where Santa’s sleigh is re-powered by a stirring chorus of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is great too, but it’s that earlier scene that first springs to mind as a prime musical moment.

#3: “White Christmas”
“White Christmas” (1954)


Written by Irving Berlin for the movie “Holiday Inn”and sung by Bing Crosby, “White Christmas” won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1943. It became an established favourite throughout the war years, with its wistful lyrics that celebrate comforting memories of home. Crosby reprised the song in the 1954 musical, also named “White Christmas” which became the highest grossing film of the year and is now celebrated as a holiday classic. Aside from the title track it features excellent Irving Berlin songs throughout, including the light-hearted quartet “Snow.” White Christmas, the story about two veterans turned performers putting on a show for their old General, is perfect festive viewing, and the song is a holiday essential.

#2: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
“Meet Me In St Louis” (1944)


“Meet Me in St Louis” actually follows a whole year in the life of the Smith family. However, it is widely considered to be a Christmas film, if only for that one iconic scene, where Judy Garland sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” At the end of the movie, Margaret O’Brien’s character, Tootie, is upset at the thought of having to leave her beautiful home. Big sister Esther sings this melancholy Christmas favourite to comfort her. It’s a very simple scene, but the performances - both Judy Garland’s vocals and the little girl’s heart-broken expression - make it unforgettable.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Last Christmas,” “Last Christmas” (2019)
Emilia Clarke Shows Off Her Musical Chops In This British Christmas Rom-Com.

“Put a Little Love in Your Heart,” “Scrooged” (1988)
A Rousing Chorus for Bill Murray’s Scrooge as He Has His Heart Melted.

“Santa Claus is Back in Town,” “The Christmas Chronicles” (2018)
Kurt Russell Is A New Contender For Best Santa Ever, In This Modern Classic.

“Walking in the Air,” “The Snowman” (1982)
The Quintessential Scene From The Beloved Eighties Animation.

“Do They Know It's Christmas?,” “Daddy’s Home 2” (2017)
The Iconic “LiveAid” Hit as Sung by an Unlikely Foursome

v#1: “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” / “Auld Lang Syne”
“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946)
You can call it sentimental, but Frank Capra’s holiday classic stands the test of time and is so much more than its oft-parodied final act. In a kind of reverse “Christmas Carol,” James Stewart is George Bailey, a good man at the end of his tether, when the angel shows him what the world would be like had he never been born. After spending his life putting other people first, George’s friends and neighbours finally come through, showing us that “no man is a failure who has friends.” When they burst into a chorus of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” followed by “Auld Lang Syne,” it’s hard not to get swept up in all that Christmas spirit.
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I agreed with this festivity but wonderful list.