It’s Friday. The Friday of my last bad week. I’m still processing this and still in awe of the fact that my LAST chemo was last week, so I don’t have a post for that yet. But what I do have is a post about the best Christmas movies. Why? Because I. Love. CHRISTMAS.
This isn’t a standard ranking, because I can’t pick just ONE best Christmas movie, so I have categories of best based on my super-biased pointed of view.
So here we go.
Best Christmas movie I’ve claimed to have seen but haven’t actually seen
It’s a Wonderful Life: So yeah. I haven’t actually seen this all the way through. I pretty much know the plot. Guy gets to a low point, considers suicide and then figures out family is more important or something like that? I feel like you’re judging me, and you’re right to do so. Maybe I’ll watch it today. I mean, let’s be honest, I’ve got some time on my hands.
Best Christmas movie to give you the feels
The Family Stone: I just watched this last night and it continues to be a movie where I go from laughing to crying to laughing quicker than any other movie I know. And even though I cry half the time, I still love watching this every time. It’s about a family that comes together at Christmas, they’re kind of judgey of the new girl, some weird things happen with her sister, hijinx ensue, oh and the mom is dying of breast cancer. GAHHHH!!!! That’s probably a terrible description, but it still continues to be one of my favorite Christmas movies…maybe even one of my favorite movies of all time (but just so we’re clear, Christmas movies and favorite movies go hand and hand so that’s not really a shocker for me).
Best Christmas movie from the Eighties
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: I just had the pleasure of watching this last night. It is absolutely delightful. This is one of those movies that every family that has even a touch of crazy in them can relate to. And the older you get, the more you appreciate the plight of a man just trying to have the best Christmas gathering he can muster for his slightly off extended family. Does it all go wrong? Of course. But then he finds redemption in the end. And it also makes you remember the good ol’ 80s when large bonus checks were possible (well…once he got over the jelly of the month club thing). My generation will likely never know bonus checks that big.
Best Christmas movie from the Nineties
Home Alone: Oh Kevin McCallister. You rascally scamp. This movie was the movie to see when I was young. Bonus that the main character was roughly my age in the movie. I have vivid memories of my brother and I repeating lines in the back of the van on our way home from somewhere.
“I’m gonna give you to the count of the 10, to get your ugly, yella, no-good keister off my property…1… 2… 10!”
And then we’d pretend shoot each other. It was a simpler time, back then.
But in case you’ve been living under a rock, and don’t know what it’s about – it’s about a seven-year-old boy that gets left home alone when his parents fly to France without him and he has to defend the home from burglers. As a kid, I related to this movie. As a parent, I am sort of sickened by the thought of this movie…but I go back to my childhood memories in order to still love the crap out of this movie.
Best Christmas movie from the early 2000’s
Elf: If I were to make a top ten list of Christmas movies…but I’m not…but if I were to do that, this might be #1. The minute this movie came out, I was obsessed! Obsessed. I would watch it at least 15 times each Christmas season. I would say the obsession has gone down slightly, but not much. This is the epitome of a feel-good Christmas movie that is fun for the whole family. It’s about a boy that gets adopted and raised by one of Santa’s elves and goes off to find his real father…and family…in New York City. They’re not sure if they’re going to accept him, he’s having a hard time fitting in, but in the end, it all works out and he gets to live the best of both worlds. If you haven’t seen this, then I’m judging you…hardcore.
Best Christmas movie to make you appreciate your husband or wife
The Family Man: I’m actually watching this with Jake, as I type. Even he said, “I’m surprised at how much I really like this movie.” So, of all the movies I’ve listed this is probably the least about Christmas, but that’s a pivotal point in the movie so we’ll include it here. It’s a movie about a man that chose one path for his life, and then he gets a glimpse of what his life would be like if he had gone down the other path. Basically, he goes from being self-obsessed and money grubbing to…a family man. And of course the family man is WAY more likable and he sees what he’s really missing out on. Watch this with your spouse. You’ll both love it.
Best Christmas movie that uses Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas”
Love Actually: I am not a fan of “encore” movies where there is a huge cast of big names and ten different story lines. I’m not a fan…except for this movie. Yes, it’s quirky. Yes, maybe two of them are porn stars. Yes, it’s British and I can’t even describe the plot because there are about ten of them happening. But it’s got character and it’s endearing and most importantly, a little girl belts out “All I want for Christmas” at a school Christmas program and it’s kind of amazing. Watch it for the laughs and try to forget that they openly mock a curvier woman (I mean, those characters are meanies, and she gets the guy anyways).
Best Christmas movie that makes you wonder if your dad could secretly be Santa Clause.
The Santa Clause: This is Tim Allen at his finest. I was a little bit older when this came out, but I still remember watching it quite a bit. It’s about a guy named Scott Calvin (same initials as Santa Clause, conveniently) who accidentally knocks Santa off a roof and unknowingly takes over his job. Over the next year, he morphs into Santa Clause and goes from being a cynic to a believer and a firm supporter of all things Santa Clause and the spirit of Christmas. Watch it with the kids so you can PROVE that Santa exists. At least for a couple more years, right?
Best Christmas movie featuring the former Governor of California
Jingle All the Way: It’s like someone said, “How can we take ‘Kindergarten Cop’ and make it again…but with a Christmasy feel to it?” And that was the birth of this movie. Coming from a parent that hears the pleas of exactly what my kid wants for Christmas and probably will for the next however many years, this movie speaks to me. You just want to make them happy, right? Throw in a little Sinbad as a disgruntled postman and you’ve got yourself an action-packed Christmas movie. Also, was Iron Man modeled after that toy? The resemblance is striking.
Best Christmas movie that has been remade multiple times and you’ll watch every version because it’s such a classic tale
Some version of…
“A Christmas Carol”…preferably Mickey’s Christmas Carol: I’m pretty sure everyone knows the tale of the Christmas Carol, so I won’t rehash it here, but I still love this story…for a lot of the same reasons I like the Family Man, I guess. It’s about redemption and finding out what really matters in life. I’ve seen it in movie form a bunch of times, and seen it in play form a bunch of times. My favorite is still the Mickey Christmas Carol. It’s all of twenty five minutes, go find it on Youtube.
Best Christmas movie that makes you appreciate claymation AND makes you really nostalgic for those times when your grandma babysat you and your siblings and you watched shows like this when they came on TV…which was rare and had to be planned because we didn’t have streaming devices or DVR back then.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Last, but certainly not least, is a classic childhood favorite. This was the one. The one that I waited all Christmas season to see. Yes, the abominable snowman scared me, but I stuck it out for Hermey the Dentist, Yukon Cornelious and the rest of Rudolph and his friends…and the eventual turnaround of the abominable snowman. It’s the song every kid knows by heart at a young age and it’s the story that encompasses all things Christmas. And now as a parent, I look forward to watching it with our son every year.
So that’s it. That’s my list. There are plenty of other honorable mentions that I didn’t list here, but this pretty much sums up my favorites. Which ones would you have included?
Happy first week of December!