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Our Favorite Christmas Movies
You'll NEVER BELIEVE No. 4!
'Tis the season for the things that make us all warm and fuzzy inside: wrapping presents, sipping egg nog, forgetting to buy wrapping paper and running to Target on December 23rd...
What follows is a list of our favorite holiday movies from the whole Feature Presentation crew. You know these movies, you probably love them too, so nothing here will be too much of a surprise. Think of it as another Getting To Know Us piece.
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It's a Wonderful Life (1946): A few years ago, for Christmas, I bought everyone in my extended family tickets to go see It's a Wonderful Life on the big screen. We all sat together - my mom, my grandma, my aunts, everyone. We laughed, we cried - literally. It was beautiful. And one of my new favorite Christmas memories with my family.
tie! How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000): I love these for totally different reasons. The original Chuck Jones special is a picture-perfect adaptation of the book - Dr. Seuss himself thought so. Boris freakin' Karloff as The Grinch! And I've made my love for the Jim Carrey performance and Ron Howard world more than clear on a recent Y2Kidz.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989): I love Chevy Chase and you can't stop me. Cousin Eddie's line "You know that metal plate in my head? I had to have it replaced, cause every time Catherine revved up the microwave I'd piss my pants and forget who I was for a half hour or so," is one of the funniest things I've ever heard and one of my favorite movie quotes period.
Die Hard (1988): 'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except... the four assholes coming in the rear in standard two-by-two cover formation.
Bad Santa (2003): Despite what you may think based on my top three on this list, I don't just love happy-go-lucky Christmas flicks, I love the genre movies too. Christmas horror, action, Christmas-adjacent, that stuff is my jam. Bad Santa is the best of both worlds. It is the naughtiest studio Christmas movie I know, while also making you feel warm and fuzzy from time to time.
The Holiday (2006): This is easily my favorite Christmas movie of all time. Year after year, it never gets old. Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black make up an ensemble of my dreams. I want to marry Mr. Napkin-head and mother his adorable children. I want to have a self-care day with the girls. I love everything about this movie, and it never fails to put me in the Christmas spirit! I know it's not perfect, but it's perfect to me. Also, a special shoutout to the various TikTok creators who engaged in a real-life holiday swap last year. I loved how this movie was able to come to life at a time I needed it most. Creator Alexa Losey swapped L.A. to Paris, and it was all I could watch all holiday season!
tie! How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000): Which one do I prefer? The world may never know... Except I'll tell you it's not the most recent iteration because I haven't seen it (why bother?). I love this story. A good 'ole Scrooge tale. Both versions are held fondly in my heart and are a must-see each Christmas.
The Polar Express (2004): I know this is an unpopular opinion. In fact, when I rewatch the movie, I even question it myself... There are a billion things to dislike about it, but that's no fun! I love the hot chocolate sequence, I love the North Pole, I love the campy Tom Hanks performances, and I love how meme-able it is. I just love it, ok!
Four Christmases (2008): I'm declaring this a favorite upon this year's rewatch. It's Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon for crying out loud! Listen to more of our thoughts on this week's episode of The Vince Vaughn-a-thon.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965): Best. Christmas. Soundtrack. Ever.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000): This is the ultimate nostalgic Christmas movie for me. It doesn’t feel like Christmas until I watch this every year. I can’t really explain why. As a child, I found Whoville so magical with all the uniquely detailed trinkets. It’s so hilarious and even funnier as an adult with the subtle more mature jokes, as well as the added layer of the themes of consumerism and capitalism that as a kid you wouldn’t think twice about. Jim Carrey’s physicality works so perfectly for this character and world. You can’t deny, especially because of all that makeup, that he gives one of his most committed performances.
Love Actually (2003): Ok, I know this one has been getting more and more hate and that some of the storylines are very problematic. (We can just cut the Keira Knightley storyline and the one of that guy who visits America just to get laid.) That all being said, this film always brings my family together every year to quote along. It's heartfelt and heartbreaking and the soundtrack is just so good. I die laughing every time Hugh Grant has his dance sequence, weep when Emma Thompson is alone in her room listening to the Joni Mitchell album, and swoon when Colin Firth learns the language of the woman he loves so he can propose. By the end, I relearn that “love actually is all around us.”
Home Alone franchise (1990-2021?): I am putting the whole franchise on this list because the first 3 of these movies are very nostalgic for me. (Even though the third film is not Christmas centered and is set in January and we can forget the made-for-TV ones.) I can’t not mention the incredible cast; Joe Pesci, Catherine O’Hara, and not one but TWO Culkin brothers. I also love that the main kids are smart and not powerless. Watching these movies is how I learned, at a very young age, that my sweet, docile mother finds people getting hurt to be comedic gold. She would cackle and cry laughing every time one of the burglars slipped, caught on fire, or even smacked in the head with heavy paint cans…twice. And my nephew was already mimicking the iconic scream face when he was only a year old. If that doesn’t “scream” legendary iconic film moment then I don’t know what does.
Eloise at Christmastime (2003): Growing up, I wanted to be Eloise. I wanted to have free, all access to anywhere in The Plaza and have it be my playground. And of course, I wanted to have Julie Andrews be my nanny and best friend. I loved the antics and atmosphere of New York City during the holidays - this movie has to be one of the many reasons I love New York and have loved it ever since I can remember. I would watch this movie year-round and had the book.
The Santa Clause trilogy (1994-2006): Yes, once again, I selected another series of films and again I really do love each one of them, even though the second one has a robotic, waxy Tim Allen Santa and the third film is just all over the place because Martin Short is like that. They still hold a place in my festive heart. I adore these films! These movies encapsulate the magic of Santa Claus for children while also making him a normal Scrooge-esque guy. The concept is just so fun and simple- “What if your dad became Santa?” and then the second film added the angsty and relatable layer of “What if your dad was the famous and ever-loving Santa Claus you only see once a year? Oh, and he’s also dating your principal.” The dynamic of the elves and the personality of the reindeer is so clever and creative. And watching Santa Claus try to date is something I never would’ve thought to be entertaining, but totally is.
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