It’s that time of year again. Snow is falling, bright lights decorate houses on every street, the Salvation Army bell ringers are outside every grocery store you can see, and TBS is having a 24-hour A Christmas Story marathon. Yes, it’s the holiday season. While you and your family are gathered by the fireplace sipping eggnog, sitting at the table playing a game of cards, or whatever your holiday traditions may be, chances are you do so with a Christmas movie playing. Everyone has something different they like about the holiday season and there are plenty of movies to reflect that. Here are my five favorite Christmas movies.
Honorable Mentions) Die Hard & Lethal Weapon
I have included Die Hard and Lethal Weapon on this list because they aren’t what could be considered “traditional” Christmas movies. They take place during Christmas (the lowest requirement for a Christmas film) but that’s about the only relation to Christmas they have. However, they are both great movies. And on top of that, they both produced catch phrases that would last throughout both franchises. They may not be the most traditional of Christmas films, but they are Christmas films nonetheless.
Will Ferrell’s humor is hit or miss with audiences (based on people I’ve talked to at least). But in Elf, he hits the mark. Even those who I know aren’t Ferrell fans enjoy this movie. The innocent and good natured Buddy the Elf resonates with everyone. It’s always entertaining to see someone like Buddy who comes from a small town experience New York City for the first time. There’s something about that fish-out-of-water element in the Big Apple that is so humorous.
4) The Polar Express
When I was but a wee lad, I enjoyed the book The Polar Express. Then it was brought onto the big screen, and the sense of wonderment only grew. It can be difficult to adapt a children’s book into a movie, but The Polar Express shows how to do it correctly, and with style. The animation uses contrasts efficiently and before Frozen, this was the pinnacle of snow animation, creating a gorgeously unique style that still looks amazing ten years later.
3) Christmas Vacation
Oh Christmas Vacation, how I love you. I believe this was the first movie from National Lampoon’s Vacation series that I saw, and it is probably the best of the series. Clark Griswald is once again played by the amazing Chevy Chase, whose comedic timing is spot-on in this film. Even the supporting cast each get their moments. But what I would have to say is my favorite part about Christmas Vacation is how it takes traditional holiday events that we loath (or like), such as in-laws staying for a few days or decorating the house with lights, and takes them to the extreme. Sometimes real-life events make for the most touching.
This is the Christmas movies of all Christmas movies, or at least TBS thinks so since they play it for 24-hours. But I would have to agree. Every kid can relate to Ralphie, the young version played by Peter Billingsley, looking for that on awesome gift under the tree on Christmas morning. The narration from an older Ralphie, voiced by Jean Shepard, is the perfect compliment to what is going on in the story. Ralphie’s parents and friends, Ralphie’s daydreams, everything is skewed to fit a child’s perspective and it creates one of the best Christmas films out there.
The Santa Clause was THE Christmas movie of my childhood. This is the film I do not go without watching every year. This was one of Tim Allen’s first movies since he started on Home Improvement and he carried much of Tim Taylor into this movie. I think what appeals to me most is that Scott Calvin, Allen’s character, didn’t want to be Santa Claus, he was selfish and didn’t want the responsibility. There is a big difference in his attitude between his first and second outings as Santa. And I couldn’t forget all the cool elf gadgets. Tinsel, jet packs, the sleigh’s CD dispenser. Everything is just cool. The cute little touches, like the Rose Sucha Clatter ladder company, just add to the experience.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!