The holiday season is not complete without a few essential elements. Trees are important, obviously, along with some mistletoe and plenty of eggnog. You also need a healthy supply of Christmas-themed movies which, thanks to cable and streaming, are being churned out at a faster rate than ever before.

The most popular Christmas movies are forged through years and even decades of annual viewings, and some families have their own quirky traditions attached to holiday viewings. (In my family, the tradition is I buy my father-in-law a raunchy comedy, and then we watch it together on Christmas Day before dinner while everyone else groans disapprovingly.) If you measure popularity by box office numbers, a different picture emerges — mostly of films made in the last 30 years, mainly of comedies aimed at young audiences.

According to that measure — the top worldwide grosses all-time — here are the most popular Christmas movies ever made. Some of the titles on this list ... will probably surprise you. (At least they surprised us.)

The Most Popular Christmas Movies of All-Time

The 12 Darkest Christmas Movies Of All Time

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