As the month of December rolls in, those familiar changes arrive. Christmas lights begin to adorn the homes of neighbors. Familiar carols start to play on the radio once more. The malls fill with shoppers, eager to find that right gift for those on their list. Yes, the Christmas season has returned once more. That wonderful time of the year, when friends and family come together in a spirit of peace and love. Well, what better activity for coming together then watching a movie? I find a good Christmas movie is something that can be enjoyed by all sorts. In fact, I have a few that are particular favorites for the holiday season. Now, as I list these choices, let me be clear that these are ranked in no particular order. Now, here are my personal picks for Christmas movies.
This action still holds up as a landmark piece of work, its excellent writing and thrilling tale of normal cop John McClane caught in an extraordinary circumstance shifting the action movie hero to a more believable figure and making a star out of Bruce Willis. As for anyone who questions if it is a Christmas movie, its plot also concerns the McClane family split apart through life’s normal troubles but then coming together in the midst of the holiday season. That emotional core helps to defend its status as a Christmas movie, at least in my opinion.
2.It’s a Wonderful Life
One of the classic Christmas movies, this particular film tells the tale of George Bailey, a man who finds out what life would have been like if he were never born. It’s a beautiful story, one that shows just how much of an impact we make on the world around us with our actions. Frank Capra’s sentimental direction is on top display, along with Jimmy Stewart’s wonderful acting.
Who knew shopping for a Christmas gift could cause so much trouble? That’s the case when Billy Peltzer’s new Christmas present (a cute Mogwai named Gizmo) and some ignored rules cause his hometown to be overrun by gremlins, fiendish little monsters with a surprising knack at messing with machinery. It’s a kooky mix of laughs and scares, though maybe consider some caution if the Christmas company you’re with prefer their movies without creepy monsters or morbid humor.
4.The Nightmare Before Christmas
Halloween and Christmas come together in this stop-motion work from the minds of Tim Burton and Henry Selick. At its center is Jack Skellington, a Halloween king who has grown tired of the usual tricks and treats and decides to take Christmas for a spin. Of course, the result is a ghoulish but delightful showcase of what happens when holidays collide.
Any list of Christmas movies would have to have some version of Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol on the list. For me, my preferred version is this one, telling the tale a network executive named Frank Cross who is visited by his own ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. I find this version captures not only the heart that most people associate with the classic story, but also the creepy ghost story elements that most people tend to forget.
On a cold Christmas Eve in Tokyo, a trio of homeless people discover a baby abandoned in a dumpster and resolve to find the child’s parents. Thus begins this lovely little anime film’s tale of family, regret, love, sorrow, and miracles. After all, what’s a Christmas story without a little miracle?
7.National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Most everyone has memories and shared feelings about Christmas, whether in those shimmering moments when everything comes together or those frustrating points that cause the Christmas spirit to fade like a dim tree light. This film mines those moments for humorous effect, as Clark Griswold attempts to have a good old-fashioned family Christmas and finds disaster every step of the way. Even with all the faults that do crop up, the film still captures how fun and heartfelt the holidays can be…even if there is family bickering or a turkey that’s turned out so dry that it becomes brittle.
When Buddy discovers that he is not actually an elf and is instead a human who had snuck his way into the North Pole, he sets out to find his long lost father. In the face of general cynicism around him, Buddy also manages to share some Christmas cheer and offer a good reminder of what the holiday season is all about. It also shows the power in remixing the familiar, drawing a lot of influence from classic Christmas movies and specials (especially the Rankin-Bass stop-motion TV specials) while offering its own inspired twists upon them.
Well, those are my Christmas movie recommendations. Give some of these films a try, if you have the chance during this holiday season. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite that you and your Christmas company might add to your own collection. In the meantime, I’d like to wish all of my readers a Happy Holidays. May the month of December bring you good tidings.