Top 10 Christmas Movie Villains, Ranked

In the animated television special Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966), The Grinch (voiced by Boris Karloff), a green figure with yellow eyes and a santa suit and hat, leans in with a hand to his ear against a solid blue background

The holidays are a time for giving, selflessness, and goodwill for everyone. Well. . . almost everyone. Through all of the merriment and Christmas cheer, there is always a group of Humbuggers and buzzkills that try to drag down the spirit of the season. That is why we dusted off some of these holiday classics and plucked our top 10 best Christmas movie villains of all time! 


10. Scut Farkas
A Christmas Story (1983)

A Christmas Story-Zack Ward
Scut Farkas (Zack Ward) in A Christmas Story (1983)

Along with his squirrely, little lackey Grover Dill, Scut Farkus terrorizes young Ralphie and his group of friends in A Christmas Story. With his signature coonskin cap, sadistic laugh, and yellow eyes, Farkus played the perfect childhood villain in this Christmas classic—and not to forget the satisfaction of seeing Ralphie finally give the schoolyard bully a taste of his own medicine. 


9. Stripe
Gremlins (1984)

Stripe in Gremlins (1984)

When Billy received the adorable Mogwai, Gizmo, from his father for Christmas, he was given three rules: Don’t feed him after midnight, don’t get him wet, and keep him away from bright light. Needless to say, Billy breaks all of these rules, resulting in the manifestation of Stripe: an evil incarnation of Gizmo who wreaks havoc on the surrounding town on the night of Christmas Eve. After having created an army of Gremlins, Stripe’s antics are hilarious and disturbing to watch all at the same time.

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8. Oogie Boogie 
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The Nightmare Before Christmas-Oogie Boogie
Oogie Boogie (voiced by Ken Page) in The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

In arguably the most unsettling “Christmas” movie to date, this burlap sack of horror puts the nightmare in Tim Burton’s 1993 The Nightmare Before Christmas. With the help of his (equally terrifying) sidekicks, Oogie kidnaps Santa Claus (a.k.a. Sandy Claws) and holds him in his underground lair while Jack Skellington brings chaos to Christmas. Jack eventually saves Santa and defeats Oogie by unraveling his cloth, revealing nothing but a writhing pile of worms.


7. Harry and Marv
Home Alone (1990)

Home Alone-Culkin, Stern, and Pesci
(left to right) Kevin (Macaulay Culkin), Marv (Daniel Stern), and Harry (Joe Pesci) in Home Alone (1990)

Though some may argue that the real villains here are the parents of Kevin McCallister who completely abandoned their youngest child before leaving the country, Harry and Marv (a.k.a. The Wet Bandits) make out to be some of the funniest holiday villains on-screen. These two dimwitted criminals, who are repeatedly outsmarted by an 8 year old, are burned, shot, tarred and feathered, and all but killed by this adolescent boy as they try (and fail) to rob his parent’s house.


6. Burgermeister Meisterburger
Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (1970)

Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town-Burgermeister Meisterburger
Burgermeister Meisterburger (voiced by Paul Frees) in Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (1970)

All Kris Kringle wanted to do was deliver toys to the children of Sombertown. But when the Burgermeister decides to outlaw toys, he puts a bounty on Father Christmas’s head. However, Kris is able to evade the Burgermeister and goes on to start his life as Santa Claus. Some may argue that the Burgermeister may be responsible for Christmas as we know it because if not for him, Santa may have never been pushed to his full potential! 


5. Hans Gruber
Die Hard (1988)

Die Hard-Alan Rickman
Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) in Die Hard (1988)

In the ultimate Christmas-time action movie, we received one of the greatest all-time villains in Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber. In one of his more memorable roles, the late actor played a German master-terrorist who takes a Los Angeles holiday office party hostage in an effort to heist $600 million. In this unusual spin on a holiday movie, Hans Gruber serves as a whole new type of Ebenezer Scrooge. 


4. The Bumble
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer-The Bumble
The Bumble in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

In another timeless holiday classic, we were introduced to The Abominable Snow Monster (or The Bumble, as Yukon Cornelius calls him) in this 1964 animated movie. As the driving antagonist to Rudolph and his misfit pals, the looming giant attempts to thwart them at every turn. But after having all of his teeth pulled out by Hermey, the wannabe dentist elf, The Bumble turns to good, helping the elves place their stars atop their Christmas trees—a truly heartwarming and bizarre twist ending. 


3. Ebenezer Scrooge
A Christmas Carol (1938)

A Christmas Carol-Ebenezer Scrooge
Jacob Marley (Leo G. Carroll) and Ebenezer Scrooge (Reginald Owen) in A Christmas Carol (1938)

As the original Christmas-hater, Scrooge may be the perfect holiday villain; even his name has become synonymous with “total buzzkill,” and his favorite catch phrase, “Bah! Humbug!” has become notorious throughout history! Through a tormenting journey of self-discovery, Scrooge is eventually led to see the error of his ways and learns to celebrate Christmas and the families that rely on him. 


2. The Grinch
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)

The Grinch
The Grinch (voiced by Boris Karloff) in How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)

This fuzzy, green recluse who scowls down on the town of Whoville has joined the ranks amongst the greatest Christmas-hating cranks. Making his on-screen debut in the 1966 holiday special, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! the titular antihero suffers from a chronic case of small heart and conspires to steal all the presents from the citizens of Whoville. When the Grinch wakes to find the happy Whos celebrating anyway, the Grinch has a Christmas revelation, and his shriveled heart miraculously grows three sizes. 


1. Mr. Potter
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

It's a Wonderful Life-Lionel Barrymore
Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

At the top of our list, we have Henry F. Potter, who is not only one of the greatest Christmas villains of all time but is listed #6 on the American Film Institute’s 50 Greatest Villains in American movie history! The main antagonist of the 1946 Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life, Potter is the rich, cantankerous old miser of Bedford Falls who is hellbent to make George Bailey’s (and everyone else’s) Christmas miserable. Potter goes down as a great movie villain for many reasons, but the biggest being that there is never any redemption for his character, living on in infamy as the quintessential Christmas scoundrel.


Continue to check back to the Regal Reel for more holiday-themed lists coming every week in the month of December!