5 FAVORITE CHRISTMAS FILMS
Article By Abbey Archer
It’s finally Christmastime! Like so many others, I absolutely love this time of year. Between the lights and gingerbread goodies, and the religious or earthy ways we celebrate, it’s a great time to be happy. And like Halloween, there are several films in the vein of the holiday that we love to cozy up to, like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Polar Express, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, and even Die Hard. Because nothing screams reindeer and baby Jesus like blowing away German terrorists with a yippee ki-yay … you fill in the blanks.
Those are all good, but here are 5 more to watch before the month is over.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
I know I keep cheating when I include made-for-television films, but come on, Peanuts are the best! In this feature, Charlie Brown is trying to find the true meaning of Christmas, in between all the commercialism and pink aluminum trees. He’s enlisted to direct the Christmas play, and it all goes down the drain real quick. The kids are so mean to poor Charles … and it’s hilarious.* And like the Great Pumpkin special, this packs a lot of charm, heart, and great music in its twenty-five minute runtime. It has also been annually broadcasted on TV since its release, cementing its status as a true classic. Speaking of which …
A Christmas Story (1983)
If ever there was a film that carved its way into pop culture, it’s this one. Aired for twenty-four hours every Christmas day on TBS, A Christmas Story is the simple tale of a kid that wants a RedRyderCarbineAction200ShotRangeModelAirRifle (say that five times fast), and the little stories that happen leading up to Christmas. Really, looking at this objectively, this is kind of a dumb film. But I love it so much, and obviously, I’m not alone in this. (Except in my family. I can already hear the eye rolls coming from my mom and siblings.) Between kids sticking their tongues on frozen poles, pink bunny pajamas, and the immortal “You’ll shoot your eye out” adage, this film straddles the line of being ridiculous and strangely relatable. It’s a major award!
Even after fourteen years (has it really been that long? Oy) this film continues to bring a fresh and funny spin on Santa and his elves. With Will Ferrell and director Jon Favreau at the helm, Elf is about Buddy, a human baby who snuck back to the North Pole and, upon growing into manhood, learns of his true parentage in New York City. Ferrell gives one of his best performances as the overly enthusiastic, hyper-optimistic Buddy, and it’s hard not to smile at his clueless fish-out-of-water adventures. You can watch this with the whole family, or by yourself. I won’t tell.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Who knew humanity needed Michael Caine to act alongside everyone’s favorite puppets? (Sorry, Sesame Street.) The Muppet Christmas Carol is a retelling of the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, only with a lot more songs and fur. Gonzo the Great and Rizzo the Rat are our narrators, Kermit our Bob Cratchett, and everyone else … well, I’ll let you discover those on your own. Caine is a great Scrooge, and the Muppets are equal parts cute and creepy. It’s not to be missed, and the songs will get stuck in your head — I guarantee it.
Rise of the Guardians (2012)
This could be argued that it’s not a real Christmas film, but it features Santa and Jack Frost heavily, so do with that what you will. In the meantime, Rise of the Guardians follows the above-mentioned characters, plus the Tooth Fairy, Mr. Sandman, and the Easter Bunny, as they help the children of the world retain their belief in them (except Jack, since he’s more of a rumor) before Pitch the Boogeyman destroys their proof of existence. It sounds a little dreary, but it’s light and a lot of fun, with dazzling visuals and great voice work from the likes of Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, and Jude Law. It’s a staple at our house, so give it a try and it may become one in yours, too.
* The author does not condone child abuse and/or bullying.