Inside: You might say I’m a Christmas movie enthusiast. Every year the same–old favorites, new selections, classics. A steady diet of yuletide viewing. Here are my top ten picks. See if they make your own list.
I love a good Christmas movie! Often I’ll put a DVD on while I’m baking cookies or wrapping presents. Or writing posts. (I’m watching number eight as I type.)
Before we get to the list, a word about what you won’t find here. I’m not including television shows or cartoons, so no Rudolph or Grinch or Charlie Brown. (Not to worry, Charlie B. will make an appearance in these posts in a couple of days.) While I’m fond of these shows and catch them every year, I’m keeping this strictly to movies.
Also, most of these can be found in one of those large bins in stores like Walmart or other holiday displays, but for the rarer movies I’ll provide a link for more information. Here’s my list, starting with number ten and counting down to my all-time favorite.
10) Jingle All the Way. What parent hasn’t been on a frantic search to find the hot toy of the season? A flick with Arnold and Sinbad makes for great comedic chemistry and pretty much any line Arnold delivers is funny with that accent. It’s a cute story and good to have playing in the background while finishing up some last-minute Christmas task.
9) Elf. While I’m not a huge Will Ferrell fan, he does an amazing job of playing the wide-eyed, idealistic elf named Buddy, and it’s a fun story to watch–I’m picturing Buddy sitting on Papa Elf’s (Bob Newhart’s) lap. Always a treat to see Bob Newhart with his dry humor.
8) Home Alone. What happens when an eight-year-old boy is inadvertently left home alone during Christmas vacation and has to defend his house from a couple of burglars? I’m guessing most of you know, as this is a modern classic. Still, it’s fun to revisit. And even the small role John Candy has in the movie makes it all the better.
7) A Christmas Story. Poor Ralphie! All he wants is a genuine Red Ryder 200-shot Carbine Action Air Rifle, and it seems like none of the grownups around him think he should have it. If you’re like me you immediately recite the line–“You’ll shoot your eye out!” There is a lot to love about this movie. I like being transported back to 1940s Indiana, and the narrator enhances the telling of the story. Definitely worth viewing annually.
6) Christmas with the Kranks. We watched this when it first came out, and I liked it then, but when I watched it last year, I saw it in a new light. The difference? The first time our daughter was in high school. Last year’s viewing had me laughing at age-related things and the empty nester dilemma. Think I’m going to hunt it down on Prime or Netflix for another look.
5) Joyeux Noel. Turning to serious movies, my next choice is about the Christmas Eve truce during World War I. It’s quite moving–powerful, really. If you were following the comments from 12 Posts, Day 1, Cheryl Carter (aka Calen) had a link to a commercial that captures the event in a nutshell. Grab a hankie first. You’ll need it. And keep a box of tissues beside you when watching this film.
4) The Christmas Wish. I caught this for the first time last year, and it’s one of those movies that has stayed with me. It’s a mystery set during the Christmas season. A young business man (Neil Patrick Harris) comes home to settle his recently deceased grandfather’s business affairs and discovers some disturbing entries from his grandfather’s personal papers. Signs seem to point to his grandfather secretly taking up with another woman all the while playing the devoted husband. The young man had been raised by his grandparents because his mother and father had been killed in a car accident when he was small, which makes it all the more disturbing as he tries to keep the information from his grandmother, played by Debbie Reynolds. Quietly powerful.
3) The Nativity Story. Every year at our Christmas Eve gathering one of my family members (usually Emily) reads the Christmas story from the Bible, a tradition important to us. I like to watch this movie because it brings home the reason for the season in the same way. I highly recommend making the Christmas story a central part of your celebration, and this movie is a great place to start.
2) A Christmas Carol. What’s not to love? Scary ghost stories, a tale of redemption, Christmas in old London town. This story is endearing and has been adapted so many, many times I can’t begin to name them all. How many sitcoms have done some riff on this story over the years? Of the film versions, I am fond of all of them, including the Alastair Sim black-and-white version, but if I have to choose my favorite, it would be George C. Scott in the title role. I do manage to catch this every year in one form or another. I might give Patrick Stewart’s Scrooge another look this year. Incidentally, if you have time to sneak off to the movies, give the new movie The Man Who Invented Christmas a try. I absolutely loved it!
1) It’s a Wonderful Life. This movie doubles as both my top Christmas movie as well as my number one deserted island pick. You know the question–“If you were stuck on a deserted island and could have only one movie, what would it be?” So much to love about it–for one, Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. Another, a great plot. It’s the quintessential “everyman” story, and a slice of Americana all rolled up together. It’s full of symbolism and makes you feel good. What else can I say?
So there you have it. My list. I’ll be watching some of these this week while I finish wrapping presents and make my spiced nuts. A perfect way to mark the season as we continue our countdown to Christmas!
What are some of your favorite Christmas movies? Tell us about it in the comments.