Friends, the most wonderful time of the year is upon us – Christmas. Now, I’m well aware that I’ve awarded that title to Thanksgiving and Halloween in past articles, but past Melody was wrong. She knew not what she was saying. Christmas is the One True Holiday (or OTH – not to be confused with One Tree Hill) to rule them all. Lights, hot chocolate, an overabundance of food, gifts galore, general merriment. What’s not to love? If you’re lucky enough (or unlucky, depending on your outlook), you may even experience a snowy white Christmas. Or, if you’re in Los Angeles like me, you can wander off to The Grove for a taste of the true fake stuff.
Now, I’ve conjured a list of 8 beloved Christmas movies to get you in the holiday spirit. Peruse said list below at your own convenience. Watch these flicks and feel your heart grow three sizes. Dream of that white Christmas. Find the true meaning of the holiday season. Alternately, you can also use these movies as an excuse to binge on all the Christmas cookies. This is a safe and judgement-free space, friends.
1. Love Actually (2003)
Listen, I have a confession to make: I’m not a “chick flick” fan by any means. However, my sappy side manifests itself annually whenever I watch Love Actually. This film is the exception to my rule. Perhaps it’s the massive, generally likable cast or the London setting. Or deep, deep down I’m really a passionate romantic that emerges whenever Andrew Lincoln tells Keira Knightley she’s perfect with giant cue cards. Regardless, this adorably festive romantic comedy has something for everyone. There’s plenty of comedy, drama, romance and enough Christmas decorations to deck all the halls. ‘Tis the season to fall in love.
2. Elf (2003)
2003 really was the year for Christmas movies. Elf quickly skyrocketed as one of my favorite holiday classics after I saw it in theaters. Still, to this day, I make it an annual viewing necessity. If you love whimsy, there’s whimsy aplenty. Normally I’m not a Will Ferrell fan. However, his portrayal of the lovable Buddy was not only genuine but flat out delightful. Also, there’s nothing better than New York City at Christmas time. Zooey Deschanel is Zooey Deschanel before she was Zooey Deschanel, and Peter Dinklage knocks the snot out of Ferrell’s Buddy. If you love smiling and it is indeed your favorite, then you’ll love the grin-inducing Elf.
3. The Santa Clause (1994)
Who doesn’t love The Santa Clause? This ’90s Christmas classic is a household staple in my family. I recall being jealous of young Charlie, since I longed for my own father to be Old Saint Nick. Seriously, I would’ve received the best presents. Anyway, The Santa Clause is peppered with so much holiday cheer you’ll have said holiday cheer pouring out your ears. Tim Allen is the perfect representation of a quintessential ’90s Midwestern dad. There’s comedy, drama, good ol’ family values and reindeer! So grab a cup of hot cocoa and prepare to be whisked away to The North Pole.
4. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Melody, you mentioned The Nightmare Before Christmas in your Halloween movies list.” Well, you’re probably not thinking that exact sentence. This Tim Burton flick literally has the word “Christmas” in the title. Therefore, it’s a multipurpose film – you can view it during Halloween or Christmas. Really, any time from October to December should suffice. The Nightmare Before Christmas not only boasts stunningly detailed claymation, but also a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack courtesy of Danny Elfman. This film was my anthem during my pseudo Goth/Emo phase, and still is one of my holiday favorites.
5. Home Alone (1990)
Lovably precocious Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is left behind by his family during their Christmas vacation. Never has the urge to phone Child Protective Services been greater. However, what follows is a series of festively raucous escapades that only a ’90s movie can produce. Young Kevin must fend off a pair of burglars from breaking into his home. Now, either said burglars are not the sharpest tools in the shed, or Kevin is an absolute mastermind. Seriously, I wish I had his abilities when I was that age. Home Alone is the definitive family Christmas movie. “Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals.”
6. White Christmas (1954)
White Christmas is a film I associate with my grandmother – we’d watch it year after year as our annual tradition. I’ve always been mesmerized by The Golden Age of Hollywood, and White Christmas is that age personified. Everything from the opulent costumes to the intricate dance numbers ticks off all the right holiday boxes for me. Plus, you can’t go wrong with Bing Crosby or Danny Kaye. The songs are toe-tapping and reminiscent of a time gone by. White Christmas is like chicken soup for the soul. In addition, the snowy scenery is a visual feast for the eyes. “Just like the ones I used to know…”
7. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Nothing beats a Griswold family Christmas. Chevy Chase stars in one of his best roles (although I’m extremely partial to his role in Community) as the unlucky Clark Griswold, whose family vacation takes a disastrous turn. Christmas Vacation is chock full of that quintessentially ’80s humor, all thanks to the late great John Hughes. Watching this film is a gratifying reminder that your family Christmas is most likely heaps better than the fictional Griswolds. My personal highlight is Chase’s grand monologue regarding his boss Frank Shirley. His comedic timing is pitch perfect. Christmas Vacation is just plain fun.
8. Jingle All the Way (1996)
What’s better than a film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad? Nothing, I tell you. Jingle All the Way is simply pure, unadulterated fun. This was one of my most cherished Christmas films as a kid. There’s slapstick humor aplenty, which is an ingredient for success in a children’s movie. Not to mention the late, great and inimitable Phil Hartman made an excellent villain. In addition, Jingle All the Way could pose as a PSA for Black Friday shopping. Seriously, it’s as if people lose their humanity when it comes to snatching up holiday deals. Here’s hoping Turbo Man will swoop in and save the day.
Well, there you have it, folks. My hope is that these staple Christmas movies fill your very soul with cheer. May you joyfully deck the halls and gleefully jingle all the bells. We could all use a heaping dose of happiness right now, and perhaps some holiday escapism will do the trick. What are your favorite holiday films? Be sure to sound off in the comments.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!