In the run-up to Christmas we're looking at the best seasonal movies decade by decade.

Some of these Christmas movies you'll know well while others you may not have seen or heard of. In either case, we'll be giving you tons of suggestions for what to watch over the coming weeks.

The 2000s were quite a tongue-in-cheek decade with Christmas adult comedies and horror films coming out. We've opted for the family friendly offerings instead though.

 

'Elf'

'Elf' has grown more and more popular in the years since its release in 2003. In many homes, it is rewatched every Christmas season. It stars Will Ferrell as Buddy, who upon discovering he is actually a human living among elves, goes in search of his biological father (James Caan) in New York. Ferrell is exquisite as the lead and he is backed by a great cast which aside from Caan, also includes Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen and Bob Newhart. Keep an eye out for 'Game of Thrones' star  Peter Dinklage as a renowned children's author who Buddy manages to peeve off.

 

'Love Actually'

We know some people are going to hate the inclusion of 'Love Actually' on our list. However, cheesy, predictable and unrealistic as it is, the rom com is among many people's favourite Christmas movies. It boasts a star-filled cast between Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson among others. Because it follows the love lives of various individuals, you find yourself won over by a different story thread with each revisit. If you want to brush up some trivia, check out these 11 Things You Didn't Know About 'Love Actually'.

 

'The Santa Clause 2'

This is probably going to be the only sequel on our list ('Die Hard 2' only just missed the cut before). Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) continues his run as Santa Claus, which he has successfully done for ten years now. He then learns that the only way he can remain as Saint Nick is to find a bride willing to become Mrs Claus. While the movie received mixed reviews at the time of release, the purity of its message about the value of the Christmas season is uplifting and in keeping with the tone of the original. Watch out for a standout comedic set piece featuring Molly Shannon.

 

'How the Grinch Stole Christmas'

The first full-length adaptation of Dr Seuss' classic tale was a major star vehicle for Jim Carrey. He was at his career peak, having done 'the Truman Show' and 'Liar Liar' in recent years. However it has emerged since that the actor was a nightmare to work with on set, being foul-humoured after spending hours in make-up to get the Grinch's look. It is one of many Christmas movies that found more favour with audiences than critics - in the box office, it grossed $345 million worldwide, making it the second highest-grossing holiday film of all-time after 'Home Alone'.

 

'The Polar Express'

'The Polar Express' was made for a record-breaking sum for an animated feature at the time ($165 million). It used live action motion capture animation in a way unlike anything that had come before. Directed by the legend that is Robert Zemeckis (the writer-director of the 'Back to the Future' series), it sees him reunite with regular Tom Hanks, who he helmed in 'Forrest Gump' and 'Cast Away'. The magical story follows a boy who on Christmas Eve, gets the chance to ride the Polar Express. The train takes him all the way to the North Pole to visit Santa Claus.

 

Honourable mentions: 'Bad Santa', 'The Holiday', 'Fred Claus'

 

See also our Top 5 Christmas movies picks from: