Granted, we all have our favorites. However, there are at least five holiday season movies that most of us can agree upon as being classic to the point of eternal re-watchability (this is a made-up word). Whether you’ve got it on in the background while you set up Christmas lights, or whether you’re sitting on your couch glued to the screen and munching on peppermint bark, these movies are the best for replaying during the holidays.
#1 – A Christmas Story (1983)
This one needs very little explanation. If you’re not already aware, this is the movie that popularized the iconic scene of a child having their tongue stuck on a frozen pole. And, if you’ve ever been confused by seeing a lamp in the shape of a woman’s leg with risqué stockings, you can thank A Christmas Story for that one too. A Christmas Story is an American Christmas comedy revolving around the nine-year-old protagonist Ralphie Parker. The movie is narrated through Ralphie’s perspective, although with an adult man’s voice. Directed by Bob Clark, A Christmas Story has dozens of laughs in store as you smile and cringe along with the Parker family’s often awkward and painful holiday season.
#2 – Home Alone (1990) & Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
Instead of filling two slots with the Home Alones that have Macaulay Culkin in them, we’ll go ahead and let them only take up one space (sorry Home Alone 3, it just wasn’t the same without him). If you’re a young child, these may be fodder for nightmares about break-ins. Simultaneously, however, they’re heroic tales of one sassy young man who chooses to fight back against evil rather than just succumbing to it. In Home Alone Macaulay plays Kevin, a young boy who is accidentally left behind while his family flies to Paris. Meanwhile, a pair of knuckleheaded thieves prepare to break into his house, and Kevin uses his quick wits to turn his house into a series of traps and tricks in order to catch the thieves in the act. The plot is similar enough in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York to not need rehashing, and the charm is the same.
#3 – Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Ah, The Grinch. A classic Christmas tale invented by the infallible and ineffable Dr. Seuss. What happens when you combine the comic genius and idiocy of Jim Carrey with the beloved work of Dr. Seuss? You get Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, a splendid adventure featuring the very talented young Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who and Jim Carrey as the hilariously grumpy Grinch. Jim Carrey may not be your cup of tea, but there’s no denying his excellent performance as the Grinch in this Christmas classic.
#4 – Elf (2003)
Similarly, the oftentimes lewd and stupidly funny comedian Will Ferrell takes a jab at the Christmas genre and wins with Elf. The newest of our movie countdown list, Elf took its place on holiday screens in the early 2000s and has stayed there ever since. Will Ferrell plays Buddy, a human who was adopted by one of Santa’s elves when he was an infant. When Buddy finds out his true parentage he sets out on a quest to meet and reconnect with his biological father, a cold and successful businessman in New York City. Will Ferrell may be a little over the top for your personal tastes, but Elf‘s director Jon Favreau does an excellent job of meshing the absurd with the sentimental in this Chistmas favorite.
#5 – Those Random Christmas Stop-Motion Films
Don’t be fooled. That wasn’t actually a movie title. In all seriousness, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone whose childhood wasn’t brimming over with memories of those half-hated, half-loved stop-motion films rolling during Christmastime. The primary movies were the following:
- Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (1970)
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
- The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)
Did we ever, as children, really understand what was going on these movies? Probably not. But we definitely remember the clay stop-motion style and maybe even some of the more critical plot points. These movies are full of nostalgia for most and rightfully claim, as a set, a place on this countdown.
Time to Turn the TV On
If you don’t own any of these movies, don’t worry. They’re all prepped to play on popular TV channels, and may in fact be now all playing simultaneously. The good news is, these movies are Christmastime films that have reached a point of never getting too old. Keep them set aside for brightening your holidays and you’ll find, over the years, that they’re infinitely re-watchable.