Ho, ho, how to get into that Christmas spirit? If mistletoe, Christmas carols, and eggnog don’t do the trick, cozying up on a couch and watching a favorite Christmas movie will definitely bring on that Christmas cheer. Tis the season to watch movies! Here is a list of the top ten must-see Christmas movies.
10. Meet Me in St. Louis – 1944
Coming in at number ten is Meet Me in St. Louis. A warm-hearted musical adapted from a series of short stories that follows a well-off American middle class family at the turn of the century. It’s 1903; a year before the first world’s fair and the Smith family is blissfully living life in St. Louis. The film begins with each character singing their rendition of “Meet Me in St. Louis.” Instantly the audience is captivated by this world and knows exactly who each character is as the tone is established. With lavish musical numbers including Judy Garland’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” in which this film made famous, the Smith family take viewers on an in depth journey of everyday life, holidays, special occasions and traditions. They even illustrate the process of making ketchup! On Halloween night, the patriarch announces that he took a job in New York and is moving the entire family there the day after Christmas. The devastated family accepts his decision and in true early 20th century complies with no fuss. The film embodies the true nature of family and the challenges every family meets. With wonderful story, characters, theme, and vivid imagery it’s a prefect film to curl up next to the fire and watch with loved ones.
9. Love Actually – 2003
“Love Actually is all around.” Love Actually hits theaters during the holiday season in 2003 and took audiences by storm. A British-themed Christmas romantic comedy that follows the lives of eight different characters illustrating various versions of love. From romance to heartbreak, death, new beginnings and tragic endings, marriage complications, to sibling dependence and even an old rock star’s rejuvenated career, every and all angles of love are captured. It’s three weeks before Christmas and the spirit is in the air. This is a perfect feel-good film to bring Christmas cheer to any bah humbugger!
8. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – 1966
In 1966, Dr. Seuss’ rhythm versed children’s book was transformed into a short TV movie for the Christmas season. The book’s exceptional reputation lured audiences in without dismay. The grouchy Grinch plots to steal Christmas from those overzealous Who’s of Who-ville who won’t stop singing. He follows through and succeeds only to realize that presents and materials are not what Christmas is about. At that moment his heart grows and he joins the Who’s to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. An instant hit, the film continues to capture Dr. Seuss’ imagination for generations past, present, and future to enjoy. In 2000, a live-action version was made and did justice, but nothing is as good as the original!
7. Elf – 2003
2003 was a great year for holiday flicks. If Love Actually wasn’t enough, Will Ferrell put on a brilliant performance as a human Elf in this Christmas themed situational comedy, Elf. Buddy the Elf loves candy, candy canes, candy corn, Christmas, Santa, and smiling—it’s his favorite! However, Buddy is a special kind of Elf. Standing tall at 6’3, Buddy knew something was different, that he was different. While visiting the orphanage, baby Buddy crawled into Santa’s bag and became the first human to not only see North Pole, but also be raised there. It was time Buddy went back to the human world in search of his father, a well-known Grinch-type publisher in New York City. In proper Will Ferrell form, the film showcases a plethora of situational and slapstick comedy keeping audiences uncontrollably laughing while touching their core. A Christmas must, this film is sweet as syrup!
6. Scrooged – 1988
Scrooged is a twisted take on Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas Carol. Bill Murray is the ultimate scrooge. High-powered, ball busting Television Executive Frank Cross loves money, power, and a good suit and despises all that is Christmas. On Christmas Eve, the spirit of his dead boss explains that he will be visited by three ghosts, past, present and future. In classic Dickens’ form the film follows the true nature of a Christmas Carol, but the characters he encounters and the comedy ensued make this a ten top Christmas classic. Bill Murray can do no harm!
5. Nightmare Before Christmas – 1993
Nightmare Before Christmas is sheer brilliance. The first stop motion musical that covers two holidays, both Halloween and Christmas, make this the holiday movie of the century. The combination of Tim Burton’s visionary genius and Danny Elfman’s composing radiance created a euphoric world of imagery and imagination. The story is a modernized Grinch with a haunting twist. This instant classic entertains audiences of all ages and deserves the fifth slot on this countdown.
4. The Santa Claus – 1994
Tim Allen’s portrayal of The Santa Clause is a perfect combination of hilarity, heart, and a pinch of magic. The concept of becoming Santa by putting on his coat is fresh and original, not to mention the execution throughout the film is flawless. A hilarious tale of a toy maker becoming the biggest toy maker in the world while gaining perspective on life, fatherhood, and an immense amount of weight make this film one to watch again and again with the entire family!
3. Miracle on 34th Street – 1947
What happens when a department store Santa claims he is the real Santa? You make a movie called Miracle on 34th Street. An instantaneous Christmas classic this tale begins with the annual Macy’s Thanksgivings Day parade missing a Santa. A mysterious white bearded man saves the day and with a performance like his is hired as this season’s Santa Claus. All the children adore him and sales couldn’t been better, but one little girl, Susan, questions Christmas all together. Kris Kringle makes it his mission to change Susan’s mind. Along this quest, stipulation presents itself and a misleading media frenzy lands Mr. Kringle in jail with a pending court date to prove if he is in fact the real Santa. How does one prove whether Santa is real or not? Miracle on 34th Street won three academy awards for best writing in both original story and screenplay as well as best supporting actor. With a remake in 1994, it continues to be one of the best Christmas tales ever told.
2. Home Alone – 1990
Creative, original, and beyond hilarious, Home Alone is a cult classic and family favorite. With an all- star cast including Joe Pesci, Catherine O’Hara, Daniel Stern, John Heard, and Macaulay Culkin—who’s career practically skyrocketed after this film’s release, and story by John Hughes, it had all the right ingredients for success. The success that followed was beyond expectation. The film is about an eleven year old boy who is accidently left home while his family embarks on their Christmas vacation. What started out as the perfect holiday soon turns for the worst when two burglars terrorize their abandoned neighborhood. “This is my house, I have to defend it.” Culkin prepares for the robbery and brings on a house of horrors that Pesci and Stern completely underestimated. In the end, the bad guys are caught, the family reunites and it’s a white Christmas after all! The sequel is even funnier!
1. White Christmas – 1954
Finally, the number one Christmas movie is White Christmas. Loosely based off of the 1942 hit Holiday Inn, two army buddies set out into the world after WWII is over. In search of work they decide on Vermont where their former commanding General has an inn there. While traveling they stumble upon two sisters they soon fancy and the foursome head to Vermont for a “White Christmas.” During the train ride they cannot contain their excitement for winter and begin singing, “Snow.” Ironically enough, upon arrival not a drop of snow is in sight and to top it all off the Inn is struggling and on the verge on closing. It is up to them to fill this Inn, manifest winter, and bring on the Christmas they desire by showcasing flamboyant musical numbers that’ll have the whole family caroling through the house. By far the best Christmas movie with an outstanding cast and story making this without a doubt the number one Christmas movie of all time!