It’s the most wonderful time of the year – the time when we get to watch ALL of the best Christmas movies. The only problem? Deciding which ones to sit down with. There are so many good holiday flicks out there, so to help you narrow your list down, we’ve pulled together some of our very favorites. When we decided to do this post, I told Kyle and Meridith that there was no way I could pick just ONE favorite holiday movie. I mean, who can, honestly? I’m wagering no one. I did, however, force myself to limit my selection to three favorites. It was super hard, y’all! Someone fetch me some eggnog!
Numero Uno for me is and will always be A Christmas Story. I remember the first time I watched it in 1985 when I was in fourth grade. It was a cold Christmas, and although I don’t remember what I asked Santa for that year, I will never forget watching it for the first time. I sat next to my deaf grandmother, and her full body belly laughs when Randy shows mom how piggies eat were contagious. Being deaf, grandma couldn’t understand what was being said (we didn’t have a closed caption machine, it was an actual machine you hooked up to the TV back then), but boy she thought that kid sticking his face in mashed potatoes was the funniest thing ever. My grandma had the best laugh, and I think it was because she was deaf. When you can’t hear yourself to be self-conscious, you let it rip full gusto! It was infectious. This movie is such a staple in my family that we have a tradition of watching it while we decorate our tree. I even have my very own leg lamp.
Number two for me is an old movie, Heidi staring Shirley Temple. It’s colorized so it has a special charm about it that can’t be duplicated. It started my forever unfulfilled wish to travel solely by horse drawn sleigh throughout December. My mother loves this movie and we watched it often growing up. Most folks won’t think of it as a Christmas movie, but Christmas is sprinkled throughout the film with the film’s climax taking place on Christmas Eve. The story is a bit rough, involving kidnapping and child abuse, but it’s a Shirley Temple movie, so you know things aren’t THAT bad and there’s of course a happy ending. It’s hard to find, but look, someone uploaded the entire movie here on Youtube. Yay!
Lastly is my very favorite version of the Dicken’s Classic, Scrooge. Why is this one my favorite? I’m a bit of a sucker for Golden Age musicals, and although this was made in 1970, it has great songs, lush costumes and sets, and superb acting from Albert Finney as Ebenezer. It’s a wonderful traditional telling of the classic holiday story. It also has one of my favorite songs in musicals ever, one that reminds me of the humor of Gaston andLes Poisson, called Thank You Very Much. It’s a sad day when all of London comes out to say “thanks for dying, jerk!” Ebenezer deserves it, though. It’s also a hard one to find. Youtube to the rescue again!
You guys, any movie that has a NARWAL in it gets an automatic A+ from me.
Elf is one of those current classic movies that just makes me laugh and laugh. My entire immediate family can apply so many great quotes from this movie to every moment in our lives. “YOU DID IT! CONGRATULATIONS! World’s best cup of coffee!” for example, is great any time of year, not just during the holidays.
Plus, blonde Zoey Deschanel singing “It’s Cold Outside” gets me every time.
The Polar Express
I love this one because my kids loved this one when they were younger. We used to watch it over, and over, and over.
Sure, the book is better because the book is always better, but I love the songs in the animated movie like Hot Chocolate and When Christmas Comes to Town. Honestly, it just reminds me of when my boys were little. They’re not super little anymore but they still enjoy watching this one with me, so I can pretend.
I’m sure someone else is going to mention this one but I can’t not say it. Because, to me, it is perfect.
Okay, since I’m the one putting this post together, I had to put myself last, because I didn’t want to repeat a movie that was already mentioned! Meridith and Jenn both talked about a few of my faves, but because I have a lot of favorite Christmas movies, I have plenty more to choose from.
This movie typifies early 90’s everything. From the John Williams soundtrack to John Candy to Macaulay Caulkin, Home Alone is a classic. Far better than its sequels, the first story of “Kevin mouths off, gets sent to the attic and accidentally gets left behind” is implausible in all the best ways. The highly adept 8-year-old buying fabric softener and milk is questionable at best, but the running away from the scary neighbor and accidentally stealing a toothbrush in the process is totally believable. The Wet Bandits are delightfully dimwitted and the booby-trapped house is every kid’s dream. It almost goes without saying that Home Alone was second on my list of Christmas movies watched this year.
The Santa Clause
Another 90’s Christmas classic that far exceeded its sequels (seriously, don’t bother watching them). I will never not love the premise of the clause that ropes Tim Allen’s Scott Calvin into becoming St. Nick after the latter falls off a roof and disappears. Allen – at the peak of his ‘Home Improvement’ fame – is fantastically funny. But what I really love about this movie is the emphasis it places on the idea that “seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing” – even grown-ups, for whom Santa is just an idea, can believe in the spirit of the season. The juxtaposition of real life with magic is well thought out and this particular imagining of the North Pole may be my favorite of all time. Two thumbs all the way up.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Twenty-five years ago, the best version of the Dickens classic was brought to life by some of the greatest actors of all time and Michael Caine. Complete with singing and dancing rats, Gonzo as Charles Dickens and Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit. It’s hard not to like the Muppets – except for that abomination of a song (if you know the one to which I am referring, points to you). I think I watched this movie on repeat for most of my childhood Christmases, a tradition that continues to this day. I haven’t yet watched this year, but because I’m 99% sure that Clay hasn’t seen it, I’ll be remedying that soon. After all, there’s only a few more sleeps til Christmas!
“Why is the carpet all wet, Todd?”
“I don’t KNOW, Margo.”
“Merry Christmas. Shitter’s full.”
“HALLELUJAH, HOLY SHIT.”
That’s all I have to say about this one. Thank you, National Lampoon, for gifting us the Griswolds.
What are your favorite Christmas movies? Do you have any family traditions that involve watching the 24-hour ‘A Christmas Story’ marathon?