This is the last of my favorite things. (At least of the Christmas variety, I love making lists, so I will definitely be doing more in the future). Now we’re talking Christmas movies. Truth be told, if you thought I liked books at Christmastime; prepare to be blown away. I’m a cinephile, but only when it comes to holiday-themed movies.
When I used to live with my parents and, you know, had cable, I would just turn on the Hallmark channel and watch whatever horrible, recycled, holiday drama was showing. It did not matter what the plot was, as long as it was a sappy Christmas movie. I’ve seen tons. There is just something about them.
As time passes, I’ve developed favorites, because that’s how I roll. And there are certain movies I watch year after year because it just doesn’t seem like the holidays without them. Don’t get me wrong I still watch my sappy Hallmark and ABC family movies (last year I bought multipacks 6 movies in 1 and 4 movies in 1 at $4 each – that is 10 movies for $8, what a bargain!)
Without further ado, here are my favorite Christmas movies.
1. White Christmas. Since I was a girl. Which may seem odd, but I simply love this movie. I know all the songs and the dialogue and it doesn’t matter. It makes me happy to be able to sing Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters…. My favorite scene, boy there are a lot, but probably when Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) explains to Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) that he is always shoving girls at him because he wants him to get married have 9 kids. “And if you only spend 5 minutes a day with each one, that is 45 minutes, I could go get a massage!”
2. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I actually referenced this one on the holiday songs list. This movie was a tv special in 1964. It has shown annually since then, still to this day. I bought it on DVD a few years ago and a good thing. Kids who visit me have shown a tendency to want to see this, no matter the time of year. I love it when Rudolph, wearing a fake nose that makes him sound like he has a cold, says “She thinks I’m cute, she thinks I’m cuuuute!” and flies for the first time.
3. The Family Stone. I saw this in the theater with my mom, Elena, and I think my sister. I thought it was okay. Then the next year I rented it, I don’t know why, and pretty much loved it. Then the next it was on tv. After that, I bought it and I watch it every Christmas. Often more than once. It’s crazy and unrealistic, but so heartwarming and it feels like a real family. My favorite part is when Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker), who is meeting the family for the first time, leaves the room, Ben (Luke Wilson) says, “Don’t dilly-dally pretty lady, we’re all going to be down here talking about you.”
4. Love Actually. Possibly the greatest romantic comedy every made, IMO. And the fact that it is set at Christmastime just gives me an excuse to watch it every year. Not only to I love the stories (almost all, the Colin story of going to Wisconsin and getting laid is less than impressive) but the way they all come together in the end, interconnected It’s just beautiful. My favorite scene? Hard one. Toss up between Hugh Grant dancing after telling off Billy Bob Thornton and Colin Firth proposing in seriously bad Portuguese.
5. The Santa Clause. I love this movie. I even like the cheesy sequels. It is such a cute story and the kid who plays the son is beyond adorable. The transformation scenes where Tim Allen is turning into Santa Claus are so funny. My favorite scene is where he goes to his son’s soccer game and the kids just know he’s Santa and suddenly, there’s a line of kids wanting to sit on his lap.
6. Bridget Jones’ Diary. Not actually a Christmas movie, but it starts and ends at Christmastime, one year apart. I’ve seen it, and the sequel (which is awful, but I watch it anyway) dozens of times. I watch it year round, but I especially love it at Christmas. My favorite scene is when Mark (Colin Firth) tells Bridget (Renee Zellweger) “I don’t think you’re an idiot at all. I mean, there are elements of the ridiculous about you. Your mother’s pretty interesting. And you really are an appallingly bad public speaker. And, um, you tend to let whatever’s in your head come out of your mouth without much consideration of the consequences… But the thing is, um, what I’m trying to say, very inarticulately, is that, um, in fact, perhaps despite appearances, I like you, very much. Just as you are.”
7. The Polar Express. My mom bought this for me a couple Christmases ago, because I had never seen it. Then she promptly absconded it for the children. And they love it so much, it’s hard to complain. But it is just a beautiful story that makes me feel Christmassy. Honestly, the only scene I don’t like is the Hot Chocolate scene. Otherwise, can they all be tied for my favorite?
And, while I hate stopping a list at non-listy numbers (7? Instead of 5? Or 10?) I’m going to, because that is all I have for true annual favorites. However, there are several others that I thoroughly enjoy. I don’t watch them regularly, but if I stumble across them this time of year, you better believe I’ll be watching them.
Honorable mentions, in no particular order.
Elf – Ah, Buddy. You are so dratted charming. Even when you eat spaghetti with maple syrup and candy, I can’t get enough. I actually own this, too, but it is another my mother has claimed for the kiddos.
Four Christmases – A newer one. Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn are so funny in this, the Taboo scene cracks me up.
Family Man – This would honestly probably be on the list above, if I owned it on DVD.
Serendipity – My mother’s favorite romantic comedy, it is a cute, if unbelievable story. And who doesn’t like John Cusack?
Home Alone – Who doesn’t like this goofy movie? I bought it for Simon for this Christmas.
Miracle on 34th Street – which I actually used to own, on VHS, and did make the regular rotation, but somewhere along the way, it got bounced, either version is fine, but I’m partial to the newer, with Dylan McDermott, mostly because Mara Wilson is the cutest thing in the world.
It’s a Wonderful Life – the ultimate Christmas classic, some would say. I like it, but it is not my favorite.
A Christmas Carol – Almost any version will do. I like the Jim Carrey version from a few years ago, but I could have done without the 3D.
And lastly, here are a few films that many would be surprised are not on my Christmas movie list.
A Christmas Story. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Scrooged. Die Hard. (Seriously? I looked at a couple lists to make sure I wasn’t missing any, Die Hard was on tons of them. Yes, ok, it takes place in December, but what on earth is Christmassy about that movie? Men. )
There you have it folks. The music, books, and movies that make my holiday season complete. Hopefully you found something new to enjoy. If anyone out there wanted to shoot some of their favorites into the comments, I love hearing other people’s lists!
Happy holiday season!