When the snow comes a-fallin’, the kids are snuggled next to you (or in their beds) and the night sky is that lovely blanket filled with dreams of the holidays, there’s nothing better than putting on a film to embrace the seasonal mood.
So we thought we’d compile our list of top holiday films that get us into the spirit of things. Here are a few of our favourite picks from our youth. How many of these have you seen?
One Magic Christmas (1985) This Disney movie from the 80s starring Mary Steenburgen is about a mother who learns from an angel that Christmas is more than presents—it’s about the people she loves.
A Christmas Story (1983) Who can think about this movie without yelling out “You’ll shoot your eye out!!”? We certainly can’t. This holiday classic takes place in the 1940s, where young Ralphie has to convince his parents, teacher and Santa that he should have a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. Such a funny film.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970) One of the animated Rankin/Bass classics (Rudolph & Frosty being two others), this film is about the origin of Santa Claus.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) Dr. Seuss’ holiday tale is wonderful in both its original animated form (with Boris Karloff as the narrator) and the live-action version starring Jim Carrey. But, nostalgia wins out every time. We love cuddling up with the kids on the couch and sharing the original version with them.
White Christmas (1954) Two war buddies turned musical performers head up to their old general’s hotel during the holidays along with a showbiz pair of sisters in order to help bring in some much-needed business. The music alone makes it worth watching.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947 & 1994) A department store Santa Claus claiming to be the real thing begins to soften a cynical mother and her young daughter, but when he’s accused of being insane, a young lawyer tries to prove that he is, in fact, the real thing. And we love it.
Home Alone (1990) Written by John Hughes, the film follows Kevin, a kid who was left behind by his family during the holiday shuffle and has to fight against two wacky burglars trying to break into the house. Pure classic.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) For anyone who has ever had to deal with family dramas, holiday insanity and more, the Griswalds are folks you’ll want to laugh with. I mean, don’t we all have a ‘Cousin Eddie’ in our families?
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) George Bailey has had a lot of hard knocks in his life, but when he reaches his lowest point, it takes a naive angel to help him realize that he’s had much more of an impact on those around him than he ever dreamed—and inspires him to want to live again.
Scrooge (1970) While there are many versions, the not-as-well-known 1970 musical version starring Albert Finney is one that we think is worth a watch (although it’s not for the littlest family members—Scrooge is a ghost story, after all). Bonus: Scrooged, starring Bill Murray, is also a (somewhat raunchy) classic.
What are your favourite holiday movies?