Tis the season to watch lots of holly, jolly movies. I decided to put together the definitive holiday film collection for your enjoyment. These are the the musts; the ones that will make this holiday season full of love and joy and light.
Grab your hot cocoa and get ready for the best season ever.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
This classic, directed by Brian Henson, is a must for your holiday viewing. Not only will the story leave you feeling inspired to live a full life of generosity, but you’ll also find yourself wishing Michael Caine was your Uncle Scrooge too. I mean come on. The guy is a genius.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Another classic (there’s a lot of those on this list), It’s a Wonderful Life will leave you feeling wonderfully joyous. At least that’s how I always feel after watching this one and with actors like James Stewart, it’s not hard to see why. Directed by the great Frank Capra, this is definitely worth watching this Christmas.
White Christmas (1954)
Snow… Snow… Snow… Snow…! If you find yourself enjoying a warm Christmas season, (roasting some prawns on the barbie) then this one definitely needs to make it on your holiday viewing list. Crank on the AC and sing along with the velvety voices of Bing Crosby and George Clooney’s aunt, Rosemary Clooney.
A Christmas Story (1983)
No Christmas is complete without threats of shooting your eye out, yelling “Fudge” at some point, and, of course, we can’t forget getting our tongues stuck to the flag pole. There’s something about this classic that makes you feel at home, no matter where you find yourself. Enjoy this classic, directed by Bob Clark.
The Nativity Story (2006)
Watch this retelling of the story of the birth of Jesus. I know there’s probably loads of different versions out there, you may even go to church on Christmas Eve to a watch a kids’ production of how there’s no room in the inn, but this one’s definitely worth the watch, at least once. Even if you’re not into that Jesus guy, it’s still an epic story of family overcoming pretty drastic odds and stars The Force Awakens’ Oscar Isaacs.
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (2000)
Oh Mr. Grinch, how we love thee. Let me count the ways… No Christmas Day is complete without this retelling of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Jim Carrey leads a stunning cast and come on, Cindy Lou Who’s song “Where are you Christmas”?! So precious. Watch this movie and I’m sure even if you’re feeling like the Grinch of your family, your heart will grow three times after watching this.
SANTA! This hilarious tale of an elf… erm… man is definitely worth the watch this holiday season. Full of joy and the importance of family and belief, this one’s sure to lift your spirits. It’ll also get you into a singing mood as you listen to Zooey Deschanel and Will Ferrell sing, Baby it’s Cold Outside.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
It’s embarrassing to admit this, but National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation was the first movie I cried during. In my defense, I was probably only two or three and didn’t understand that *spoiler* the cat did not really get electrocuted. It was a lesson I’ll never forget! As a result, this quirky and ridiculous family will always have a special place in my heart. Enjoy the many life lessons this film has to offer, like not plugging all your stuff into one stripboard.
The Santa Clause (1994)
Has anyone else ever wanted to try Judy the Elf’s hot cocoa? It’s been a life goal of mine for years now. I think Max Brenner ( a dessert shop known for it’s chocolate that is here in Brisbane) has come the closest. They still need to serve it in this mug, though. The Santa Clause is definitely a must watch during the Christmas season, especially, if you’re feeling like your family is a bit all over the place. It doesn’t hurt that it’s about a jolly man who brings us presents too.
Babes in Toyland (1986)
I don’t know how many would call this a Christmas classic, especially when competing with the 1934 Laurel and Hardy version or the 1961 version with Annette Funicello, but this “made for TV”, Drew Barrymore version stole my heart as a kid. I liked the misunderstood characters and their crazy imaginative adventure. If you’re a film snob, at least watch one of the other versions of this tale. It will wake your imagination and carry you on a holiday adventure.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
An obvious classic. Make sure you watch the Natalie Wood and Maureen O’Hara version of this great Christmas story. The acting is far superior to other remakes. Natalie Wood knocks it out of the park and you’re sure to shed a tear and cheer for Kris Kringle. Also, I think there’s something about watching this story in black and white that makes you homesick for the old days when life seemed simpler.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
A Charlie Brown Christmas is sure to fill your heart with hope and remind you that you don’t need a big fancy tree (In fact, I think I prefer the Charlie Brown christmas tree to the real thing). Curl up with your favourite blanket and watch this classic.
The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
There’s nothing like an adventure and good, old-fashioned battle to get you ready for the holiday season. Especially when *spoiler* Father Christmas gifts you with a shiny new sword, or bow and arrow, or bottle of elixir. Battle your way out of never-ending winter, and into the joyful celebration of Christmas with this classic tale.
Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)
Seriously though, you’ve got to love the sweaters Mark Darcy wears in this film. While it’s not a classic holiday story, it’s still definitely worth the watch to get you ready for all the bad Christmas sweaters you’re bound to see. Not to mention, you might get some great ideas for those holiday treats: “mini” everything!
The Holiday (2006)
OK, so there’s no big reason for this one, I just like it a lot and because I like it a lot, it’s become a tradition to watch every year around Christmas and New Year. My housemates and I will crank on the AC, put on our PJ’s and eat bowls of popcorn and M&M’s, while we laugh and cheer for the characters.
Love Actually (2003)
Looking for a bit of love this holiday season? This film does a great job showing us all kinds of love, from a boy’s first crush, to a crusty old celebrity realizing there’s something more than booze and drugs. This film will open your eyes to seeing how full your life is of all types of loves.
Lethal Weapon (1987)
I spend every Christmas with Rigs and Murtaugh. Together we fight off bad guys and save the day from scrooge’s like Mr. Joshua. We eat dog biscuits and contemplate jumping off buildings to get crazy guys off the ledge and ultimately wonder if we’re getting too old. This is a beautiful trope of the magic of Shane Black’s, the writer, to set your story during Christmas. Oh such a classic holiday film. Enjoy.
Home Alone (1990)
If this is not already an obvious choice to watch this Christmas, then you’ve been living under a rock for the last 26 years. To this day, my mom has yet to fully see this movie. She always ends up getting the giggles and missing huge chunks and then the next year she’ll get the giggles at a part she missed and miss another chunk. Enjoy and watch out for spiders.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
I’ve officially chosen Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but really any and all of the Harry Potter films would be worth watching over Christmas. They’ll ensure you have a “Happy Christmas” full of invisibility cloaks and Weasley hand knit sweaters. If you do decide to watch one or two of the Harry Potter films this Christmas, I highly recommend the ones with Richard Harris as Dumbledore (Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets). He’s a far superior Dumbledore in so many ways.
Die Hard (1988)
Die Hard has always been a part of my Christmas tradition. As the great meme states, “It’s not Christmas until I see Hans Grubber fall off Nakatomi Plaza.” While this may be a bit of a traumatic statement, it is, never-the-less, true. I just watched this last night and now I can’t stop listening to Christmas music. Another great reason to watch this one, is the creative retelling of The Night Before Christmas as told by bad guy Theo, played by Clarence Gilyard Jr.
Obviously, there are so many other great holiday films out there, but this is the definitive list. Watch these and you’re sure to feel a bit more of the holiday spirit filling you up.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night of movie viewing. Drink some eggnog, eat some turkey and enjoy!