As we head into the last weekend before Christmas, many of us are enjoying time off from work and school. We’ll spend the coming week baking cookies and watching Christmas movies, as we savor the time we have with our families. After all, nothing gets us in the holiday spirit more than a good Christmas movie. Here’s a list of ten of our favorites!
- Miracle on 34th Street (1994): This is my all-time favorite Christmas movie! It’s become a tradition in our house to watch it every Christmas Eve. While the original is good, the 1994 version is even better. How cute is Mara Wilson (aka Matilda) as little Susan, struggling to believe in Santa Claus! In fact, I love all of the actors and actresses in this film, from Dylan McDermott and Richard Attenborough to Elizabeth Perkins and Jane Leeves. What starts out as a sweet story about Santa, turns into a lesson in having faith in something greater than yourself. By the end of the movie, you’ll be convinced that Santa Claus does exist!
- Elf (2003): I don’t know anyone who isn’t a fan of this movie. Will Ferrell is hilarious as a real-life elf trying to adapt to life as a human, while reconnecting with his birth-father. Talk about drama. No matter how many times I’ve seen it, I still laugh every time. Even though it’s a fairly recent movie, it’s become a holiday classic. Plus, it has an amazing soundtrack that is one of my favorite things to listen to at Christmas.
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”
- Home Alone (1990): I’ve always loved this movie but only started watching it every year when I found out that it was my husband’s favorite. Since he’s not usually big on Christmas, I jumped on the chance to share this with him. I love the loud, imperfect family that is the McCallisters. This movie is full of funny moments and important lessons, ranging from being thankful for the family you have, no matter how crazy they are, to setting aside your differences and practicing forgiveness, especially at Christmas. Not to mention, John Williams (the guy behind the music of Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and the Harry Potter films, just to name a few) does the score for the movie. You can’t lose.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000): Okay, okay. I’ll admit, the original cartoon is a classic and it cannot be replaced. That being said, bringing this movie to life with Jim Carrey as the Grinch was genius! Ron Howard did an excellent job directing—the acting is terrific and the sets and costumes are gorgeous. This movie is fun for the whole family—all ages, while staying true to Dr. Seuss’ masterpiece.
“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
- The Holiday (2006): I know this isn’t your typical Christmas movie but the story does take place at Christmas time. It also happens to be one of my absolute favorite movies in general, so it made the list. It’s a double love-story that also touches on standing up for yourself and going after the life you want to live, whether or not you have a significant other by your side. And, that goes for the men, as well as the women! If you haven’t seen this movie, I highly encourage you do. It’s a bit of a chick-flick but not an obnoxious one. Proof: my husband actually didn’t mind watching it with me. 🙂
- The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974): For those of you who haven’t seen this one, let me break it down for you. Santa wakes up one morning with a cold, so he goes back to bed. Then there are rumblings about how no one has any Christmas spirit any more, so Mrs. Claus sends two elves, Jingle and Jangle, to find some. Long story short, they go see the brothers Cold Miser and Heat Miser to work out some weather compromises while Santa teaches a boy named Ignatius Thistlewhite that it’s okay to still believe in Santa Claus. All the kids around the world decide that Santa deserves a holiday, so they send him gifts to the tune of “A Blue Christmas.” It’s a good example of giving back during the Christmas season, and it’s got some great tunes to sing along with!
- Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970): This one is actually educational. It tells the original store of Kris Kringle and how he became Santa Claus. In Sombertown, Burgermeister Meisterburger has banned all toys. Kris and Jessica, the school teacher, both think this is horrible, so they hatch a plan. One night, Kris and his trusty penguin Topper sneak down the chimneys of all the house and hide toys in the kids socks as they’re drying by the fireplaces. Kris eventually gets thrown in jail, escapes with the help of Winter Warlock’s magic feed corn (it makes reindeer fly), and marries Jessica. I really enjoy this one because it tells how Santa actually came to be, which is a magical story in itself.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964): I’m pretty sure we’ve all seen this one! It’s the story of a little outcast reindeer with a shiny red nose. He meets up with Hermie the elf, who wants to be a dentist! Together they meet Yukon Cornelius, who is hunting for silver or gold (he’s not always sure, exactly), and they all go to the Island of Misfit Toys. They promise the toys that they’ll tell Santa about them, but, upon returning to Christmastown, Rudolph discovers his family have been kidnapped by the Abominable Snowman. Together, they hatch a plan to save his family, but, when the Bumble goes tumbling over the side of the cliff, Yukon falls after him. When the rest of the group returns to town, the blizzard has gotten so bad, Santa is worried he won’t be able to fly through it. Until he spots Rudolph’s nose-so-bright. Yukon returns with the now-helpful Bumble, Rudolph leads the way, they pick up the misfit toys, and Christmas is saved.
- A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965): Being the lovable blockhead that he is, you can’t help but love Charlie Brown. And, for me, it’s not Christmas until I’ve watched this. From the classic “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” to Linus’ speech about the true meaning of Christmas (Luke 2), this has got it all. Lucy doles out advice, Snoopy decorates his doghouse for a contest, and everybody sings and dances. You’ll also remember that the opening song “Christmas Time is Here” made its way onto our Christmas Music Memories playlist, so this is an obvious must for your holiday viewing!
- It’s a Wonderful Life (1946): This is the story of George Bailey, the man who ultimately gives up everything in his life, and for what? We first meet George as a boy, but then we jump forward about 10 years or so. He’s off to college, but ends up passing it off to his brother because his father has died. He takes over his father’s business, marries the girl of his dreams, makes it through the Great Depression, and has four kids. But eventually, due to a mistake made by his absent-minded Uncle Billy, he contemplates suicide. Just as he’s about to jump off the bridge into the icy water, another man falls in, causing George to jump in and rescue him. We find out that the other man is Clarence, his guardian angel, who wants to earn his wings. Clarence helps George learn that “no man is a failure who has friends.” It’s a tear-jerker every year and a tradition in my household.
What are some of your favorite Christmas movies?