In our household, the Christmas season is enjoyed in many ways, not the least of which is watching favorite Christmas movies. These movies are off limits the rest of the year so they don’t lose their Christmas appeal. After Thanksgiving rolls by, we start pulling out the Christmas movies and watch one every other day or so. It’s a wonderful way to spend time together a family during the Christmas holiday season. Here’s a few from our collection I think you’ll enjoy.
Released in 1954, White Christmas chronicles the lives of Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, two song-and-dance men who met in the army. The pair meets a sister act who also sing and dance and through a series of mishaps, end up following them to a quaint Vermont ski resort just before Christmas. Upon arriving they discover their former General is the proprietor. With an all-star cast (Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen) and a host of memorable songs, this film has me singing along year after year.
It’s A Wonderful Life
movie released in 1946 lets viewers peek at the life of George Bailey, a man on the brink of disaster. As George struggles to resolve his problem, Clarence the angel arrives to help. By showing George what the world be like without him, George comes to understand that in spite of his troubles, it’s really a wonderful life. For a full review of this film, click here.
In 2003, Will Ferrell introduced us to Buddy the Elf, an over-sized, elf from the North Pole in search of his father, Walter Hobbs. Hobbs has no idea that Buddy exists and can’t quite wrap his mind around the idea that he has an elf for a son. Buddy transforms the lives of those around him with his giving heart and innocence. In spite of its bizarre story line, Elf captures the imagination and pulls you in.
In 1951, Alastair Sim gives what is to me the classic performance as Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ classic tale, A Christmas Carol. Other versions exist but this is my favorite as Sim gives the craggiest, coarsest performance of Ebenezer and pulls off the most remarkable transformation of spirit at the end.
The Santa Clause
Tim Allen became Santa Clause in 1994 and has become annual viewing in our household ever since. As a divorced dad, Scott Calvin is trying to maintain a bond with his son who is visiting on Christmas Eve and reads him the Night before Christmas. A noise on the roof draws Calvin outside where he discovers a Santa on his roof. Santa falls and Calvin finds a card in his pocket telling him to put the suit on and take over. On a lark he does and becomes magically transformed into Santa himself. He has one year to put his life in order before taking over the role full time. His odd demeanor and rapidly changing appearance confuse his coworkers and his ex-wife and her new husband adding more chaos for him to cope with. This is a great vehicle Tim Allen’s style of humor.
The Bishop’s Wife
In 1947, Cary Grant took on the role of guardian angel, Dudley, for Bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven). The Bishop has plans for a new cathedral and loses sight of everything else, including his wife and family. Dudley spends all his time tending to the things the Bishop isn’t and slowly rouses the interest of the Bishop who begins to think Dudley means to replace him at work and at home.
Macaulay Culkin created his most famous character to date, Kevin McAllister in 1990. Eight-year-old Kevin awakens to discover his family has left on a Christmas holiday in Paris and left him behind. Burglars have been scouting the area, planning to make a fortune ripping off the homes of the suburban families in the McAllisters’ neighborhood. Kevin learns of the plan and decides to fight back by booby-trapping his home and defending it from the would-be burglars. The slapstick that ensues is sheer comedic genius that never ages. This is a favorite Christmas comedy for our family.
Miracle on 34th Street
1947 brought the tale of an old man whose last minute replacement of the drunken Santa who was to ride in the Macy’s parade causes quite the stir. He takes the job of department store Santa but insists he’s the real thing. This lands him in Bellevue undergoing psychiatric treatment. A smart young lawyer takes the case to defend him and sets out to prove he really is Santa. Whether or not you believe in Santa, this movie will have you believing in no time. It’s one of my all-time favorites.
Christmas with the Kranks
Tim Allen is back with this 2004 film, this time with Jamie Lee Curtis. The Kranks only daughter decides to go away for the holidays and after some thought, the Kranks decide to chuck the whole Christmas experience and put all the money they would’ve spent into a vacation. When she calls on Christmas Eve to say she’s had a change of heart, they have 12 hours to recreate their annual Christmas party complete with a special ham dinner and over-the-top Christmas decorations. With no hams left in town and no Christmas tree to put up, the Kranks go into panic mode. This is a heartwarming tale with a moving ending that reminds me what Christmas should really be about.
A Christmas Story
The 1983 classic that chronicles Ralphie’s pursuit of the much-wanted Red Ryder BB gun has become a favorite for many. Ralphie spends every waking moment planning how to convince his mother that he should have one in spite of her insistence that he’ll shoot his eye out. From dealing with bullies to pink bunny suits and tongues frozen to telephone poles, Ralphie’s story is one many of us can relate to.
There are so many more Christmas movies that could be added to this list but then it couldn’t be called a “top ten” list. The nice thing about these Christmas movie choices is they are all great for family viewing. Spend some time this Christmas season with your family and enjoy some movies, both new and classic.