The movies play a big role in Christmas for my family. We’ll each find at least one DVD under the tree, and we may or may not be one of the few Christian families who go to the cinema to enjoy a new release (this is particularly obvious in the Jewish-heavy population of South Florida where my mother lives). It certainly wouldn’t be the holiday season without these five classic films:
It’s a Wonderful Life. No one will ever forget the moment Clarence earns his wings and dear old George Bailey walks into his house to find his life just as he left it. As a culture we’ve moved away from films that make us think, question our decisions, and value the blessings in our lives. It’s a Wonderful Life will throw you into yourself and bring you out the other side a bit more humble and a bit more grateful for everything.
White Christmas is one of my favorite musicals. I love Bing Crosby, and watching him and Danny Kaye dressed up as the Haynes Sisters is by far one of my favorite scenes. The salute to our troops is just another feel-good moment about this film, and is even more poignant in this age of never-ending war. Secretly I want to be a 1950s showgirl, or just live in any of Rosemary Clooney or Vera Ellen’s costumes.
Love Actually and I met in the Alpha Chi Omega house in 2006. We must have watched it two dozen times between Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. How can you resist some of the best of British talent combined with the seamless integration of so many characters? Hugh Grant’s Prime Minister is hysterical and watching Colin Firth learn Portuguese is just sweet. Throw in Professor Snape learning the err of his ways from Nanny McPhee and you have a real Christmas mess. But love really is all around.
The last two films on this list have to be The Holiday and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. While The Holiday also stars some of my favorite British talent and an epic tribute to the golden age of Hollywood, it should be the film you turn to when you want something a little cheesy and feel-good from your Christmas film fest. If you’ve taken all the claymation Rudolf and Frosty with a side of Charlie Brown that you can, turn to this chick flick for a bit of relief.
And I will admit, I have never seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation in its entirety. I know, it’s shocking and un-American. I’m not sure why, but I somehow missed the Lampoon films. I’ll definitely be looking for this one to pop up on TV so I can add it to the DVR. I’m sure the Griswald’s and I will become close friends, and I can add this to my list of must-watch each December.
What holiday films have to be on your watch list every year?