On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me.... 12 of my favorite holiday movies (and specials)!!!
"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear." How did any of us enjoy the holidays before Buddy the Elf came into our lives??? The way that Buddy sees the world beyond life in the North Pole makes me feel like a kid again, mainly because of the innocent wonder of discovering new things and ideals. Not only is this movie highly entertaining for young adults, but it is also a great family film (especially since they stand by the fact that Santa is real and they "squash" the rumor that the parents put the presents under the tree). If I'm not feeling the Christmas spirit, I just pop this into the DVD player and wait for the movie to fill me with happiness for the season!!!
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
When you see "National Lampoon" and "vacation" together in a movie title, expect to see some Griswold's. Unlike the other three Vacation movies, we see how Clark and the family interact while staying at home for the holidays. Whether it's setting up way too many lights outdoors, realizing that the extended family wrapped their cat in a present, or watching as Clark zips faster than the speed of sound when sledding, you WILL crack up (and for me, I still do after watching this movie dozens of times).
A Charlie Brown Christmas
As someone who grew up with Snoopy as her favorite cartoon character, this movie was a MUST watch several times each holiday season. I remember when I was about six or seven and wishing I had the same tree that Charlie Brown had... I saw it's potential to be beautiful. I always loved how everyone danced when practicing for the Christmas program (and what's better is seeing the Hey Ya! Charlie Brown video on YouTube). I loved how Linus quoted scripture from the Bible to help Charlie Brown realize the true spirit of the holiday season... sometimes we just need the reminder of what Christmas is really about.
As a seven year old sitting in the movie theaters, I thought this movie was epic!!! To be left at home by accident and having free reign on whatever food I wanted to eat and to watch movies I wasn't allowed to watch.. that was ideal. I wished I was as smart as Kevin when it came to setting up booby traps against Marv and Harry. My favorite trap was when Marv was stepping on the ornaments when getting in through the window. I felt his pain. John Hughes did a great job portraying the fears and excitement of a child, from the creepy type neighbor to the furnace in the basement. This is one of the funniest family movies I've ever seen.
Oh, and I had a crush on Macaulay Culkin.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Okay, so I couldn't resist having the sequel on here!! For a movie that takes place somewhere completely different than the first one, John Hughes was able to keep the charm we all fell in love with (and believe me, I've seen sequels that were a hot mess... like Sex and the City 2). I absolutely loved seeing New York City at Christmastime; that city is idealistic to have a true holiday themed vacation. The pranks were so much better than the first movie (come on, they had to be!) and a lot more brutal. It's a wonder that Marv and Harry were able to walk (or speak) after several of those! I felt this one was a lot more heartfelt than the first, especially about Mr. Duncan's plan to donate to the Children's Hospital. It touched on one of the best things about the holidays, people helping others that cannot celebrate due to poverty or illness.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Ah, a classic holiday special brought to us by Dr. Seuss! I used to watch this several times each year. However, the copy that I watched at my Grandparents got cut off when the Grinch was stuck up the hill with the sled. It wasn't until I was a preteen that I finally got to watch the ending (even though I knew the ending... I mean, it was a book first!). Of course Hollywood had to remake this into a full length feature film when I was in high school. It's a good film on its own, but I will always love the cartoon special more :-)
If you put Billy Bob Thornton in a Christmas movie, expect it to be dirty... just saying. His character Willie and his partner Marcus have had a great method for conning department stores around the holidays. But this particular year, unforeseen obstacles get in the way, which include a young boy, overintoxication, and a security guard who catches onto their scheme. It was amusing to me to see that Sue was raised Jewish and had always wanted to fulfill her fantasy of having sex with Santa, then getting her wish. Those moments made the movie. This was also the last movie that John Ritter ever made, which made his scenes feel a little bittersweet. Who says all Christmas movies have to be bright and cheerful???
South Park Season One, Episode 10: Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo
I've been a fan of South Park since its debut in 1997. When the first Christmas special aired that same year, I was entertained... and kind of disturbed. I enjoyed the parody of A Charlie Brown Christmas and how the town attempted to make the holiday season non-offensive (even though that ended up in a total disaster). But the most disturbing thing of all??? That a piece of crap (literally) helped everyone get into the holiday spirit. Oh, and you have to admit, when Mr. Hankey says "Howdy Ho!!!" it puts a smile on your face. :-)
"Hankey, the Christmas poo. I love him and he loves you...."
A Christmas Story
Look! It's a Christmas cult film... so much that TBS plays it for 24 hours straight!!! I'll never have to own it since I can get my fill of the movie each year. Everyone can relate to Ralphie. We all have that dream gift that we want SO BAD! We all have that crazy relative that gives you some strange clothes (although mine were never Pink Bunny suit embarrassing... just underwear, lol). Someone we know has had been "triple dog dared" into doing something. This movie, in all its eccentricities and misadventures, is universal to everyone (and why it will remain as a classic during the holiday season).
The Polar Express
My generation grew up with this book. I remember having it read to my classmates and I in elementary school. Now that I have a kid of my own, I get to watch him experience this classic tale as a movie. This is one of the few instances where the film has exact same charm, innocence, and wonder as the book. The movie not only keeps the attention of children, but it is entertaining enough for the adults to enjoy (and if anyone else is like me, it brings back a sense of nostalgia).
The Nightmare Before Christmas (presented with the Fall Out Boy version of "What's This)
Wow... it seems like I was just talking about this movie on my Halloween list. Oh, wait, I did!!! To see Jack Skellington discover the world of Christmas and then to figure it out through scientific experimentation was fun to watch! Although things didn't turn out as planned for Jack (or Santa, for that matter), it was one of those movies where you realize that you appreciate the world that you live in, even if you have moments of monotony. Oh, and that it's good to explore beyond your own place in the world, because you never know what you will find (in that fun, exciting way)!
Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
This is one of those specials that I can actually remember watching when I was 3 or 4 years old. Cookie Monster's attempt to contact Santa always made me laugh. Bert and Ernie exchanging their favorite possessions for gifts made me a little sad, but I also noticed how good of friends they were to each other (Hey, this was before I was old enough to hear of the gay lover jokes, so get your mind out of the gutter!). I also had hopes that Big Bird would see Santa, even though he fell asleep. The suspense of seeing Santa myself got to me as a kid, I always wanted to see more than just his shadow. I found a DVD copy of this special when working at Cargo Largo and wanted to share this with my son. He loves it as much as I did!!
Happy Holidays everyone!!!