‘Tis the season, folks! Not feeling it? It can be hard when it’s seventy-five degrees outside and the country’s in a recession. But, the holidays are here anyway, might as well get on board. What better to get you in the mood than some good holiday movies?
I need to come clean right away and admit that I haven’t seen Fred Claus, nor do I intend to. But, since I think I’ve sat through every other holiday movie out there, I feel comfortable counting down the Top 10 Best Holiday Movies. Gather round the television, pour some eggnog and watch one of these to jump start your holiday spirit. If these films don’t work, I recommend dressing your husband up like an elf. Cheers.
10. Scrooged (1988)
I don’t know about you, but when I think Christmas, I think Bill Murray! While I am completely and utterly sick of A Christmas Carol and all it’s many forms, I can still sit through this version, not because it’s a “good movie” but because I, um, like it. So there. It’s the classic Dickens tale but modernized, well 80′s-ized, and it has some very funny and also very dark moments. A witty retelling of a story that sorely needed a facelift.
9. Holiday Inn (1942)
No, not the Chingy song! Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire shine in this ultimate classic holiday film. Watch it to see musical numbers such as “White Christmas” (Yes, it was introduced here before it was in that other movie.) and “Happy Holidays.”
8. The Santa Clause (1994)
It took me fourteen years to see this movie. I couldn’t get past the idea of Tim Allen in a fat suit. But, I’m glad I finally watched it because it’s delightful. Scott Calvin “inherits” the job of Santa when the former job holder falls off his roof. The film might be on the ridiculous side but it’s got a lot of heart and is actually quite funny in parts. This would be a perfect choice if you’re watching with kids. The whole ‘children are wiser than adults’ angle will appeal to them.
7. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Tim Burton and Henry Selick created an instant classic for two holidays at once with this film, no easy feat. Although most people consider this a Halloween film, I think at it’s heart it is a Christmas story. When Jack Skellington discovers Christmastown for the first time, it’s as if the viewer is rediscovering Christmas all over again. Yes, it’s not your classic Christmas film but therein lies it’s appeal. Simply magical. Just what you need to get your holiday spirit back! Amazing music and lyrics by Danny Elfman, (also the singing voice of Jack).
6. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
This flick doesn’t get the props it deserves. With a little help from Chevy Chase and Randy Quaid, this hilarious film successfully captures both the warm fuzzy glow and the nausea-inducing dread that can accompany family time. It is, in my opinion, the funniest of the ‘Vacation‘ films and has so many laugh-out-loud scenes in it, it is impossible to choose a favorite. One to watch every year.
5. Elf (2003)
This film is the perfect combination of Will Ferrell comedy and holiday cheese. Ferrell’s Buddy the Elf is an especially endearing hero, one you will root for no matter how silly the set up. A good bet if you have a house full of hard-to-please relatives. Will Ferrell in yellow tights? Who can say no to that? Utterly charming, which is probably why it’s the #1 rented holiday film on Netflix.
4. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Both of my parents count this as their favorite Christmas film and I have to admit I adore it as well. Sentimental and sweet, this movie will make you believe in Santa Claus! There have been a few remakes but the original is where it’s at with fantastic performances by Maureen O’Hara and a young Natalie Wood. Fight the power, Kris Kringle!
3. Love Actually (2003)
Yes, it’s overblown and perhaps a bit trite but I actually love Love Actually. While the rest of the year we may scoff at romance and happy endings, around the holidays a little hope is in order and this film delivers in abundance. Even if you hate one of the story lines, you’ll be charmed by the other ten. An astounding ensemble cast and a fast pace ensure you’ll be smitten.
2. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
Frank Capra‘s holiday classic is one film pretty much everyone can agree on. A viewing of this delightful movie is as Christmas-y as candy canes and mistletoe. Jimmy Stewart‘s portrayal of the flawed but lovable George Baily is one the greater performances of all time. The gosh-darn heart-warming message doesn’t hurt either.
1. A Christmas Story (1983)
Go ahead and ask your friends and family what their favorite holiday movie is. Nine times out of ten you’ll get this film as your answer. And, in my opinion, the one dude that answers “White Christmas” is probably just trying to sound cool. Nostalgic and funny, this film illustrates what it’s like to be a kid at Christmas-time, not just in the 40′s but in any decade. Fan-freaking-tastic holiday fun.
*Honorable Mention: The TV Specials that are not technically movies (with an average running time 25 minutes) but warm our hearts nonetheless. Shout out to How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Is your favorite missing? Leave a comment and tell us what film makes you filled with holiday cheer!