16/12/2009 16:37 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Top Five Family Christmas Films

Let's face it, when it's pouring outside or blowing a gale there's nothing nicer than watching a family film or two. And with Christmas fast approaching we deserve some downtime.

There are some brilliant films about this expensive, hectic, special time of year. Of course, you could watch any of them whenever you want, but somehow it's not quite the same in the middle of summer.

So pack away your shopping and finish writing those cards, as your sofa and television are calling you – not to mention your family. Take your pick from our favourites.

Elf: My children absolutely love this 2003 seasonal tale about a human who thinks he's an elf. Elf, played by Will Ferrell, has a few Christmassy adventures tracking down his father but they end on a happy note. Phew. There's a lot of humour and a wonderful festive soundtrack.

Father Christmas: This cartoon by Raymond Briggs started life as a graphic book in 1973. I'm so glad it didn't end there. We adore this film. It is, perhaps, not the normal Santa we would expect: this is a rather grumpy old man living alone with cat and dog and his two reindeer.

It shows all the work he has to do and what Father Christmas does on the other 364 days. There's no sentimentality, elves or even Mrs Christmas, but there is the wonderful, if slightly sour old man. And don't forget, there's a lovely scene with a recognisable snowman or two...

It's A Wonderful Life: A bit predictable I know, but no Christmas would be complete without this timeless film starring James Stewart. Even though the story is well known, it still gives you warm and fuzzy feelings... Well, it does me.

A Christmas Carol: There are loads of versions of this, the latest starring Jim Carrey is currently showing at cinemas. There's also the Muppets' hilarious version, but the classic starring Alastair Sim is my favourite.

Miracle on 34th Street: This is a tad sentimental for me but the children love it. We have the version starring Richard Attenborough as a perfect Santa who restores a little girl's faith in Christmas.

All lists are, of course, personal. These are are my favourites, along with Charlie Brown's Christmas, Love Actually, and Santa Claus The Movie, that are an important part of our festivities.

What's on your list?