My Top Ten Holiday, I mean Christmas, Movies

Santa is not the only one capable of making lists.  It being Christmas Eve, I thought it particularly appropriate to offer my favorite movies to watch during this holiday season to get me in that Christmas-y mood.  There are other choices, of course, and your favorites may not be on here.  I can’t believe I have never actually watched The Muppet Christmas Carol.  Polar Express is a fabulous book and I like to keep it that way.  I enjoy watching White Christmas but the 50s glam and sometimes very odd cornball numbers (tambourines with her face on them? the pointe ballet at the end?) get to be a little too much for me at times (I prefer #9 below).  And I am very aware that I stand against the masses when I say…I am not a huge fan of A Christmas Story.  For those who love the TBS marathon, more power to you.  But I do NOT agree that it is “the best” and I can’t understand it being #1 on everyone’s lists.

So here’s mine.

I’m sorry to Hannukah and Kwanzaa and the Solstice, but a. there aren’t so many options there, b. I celebrate Christmas, and c. this is my list (in no particular order until you get to the end…which makes very little sense).  

1. Home Alone

I especially love the sequence when Kevin preps for the arrival of the thieves to the sounds of a dramatic Carol of the Bells.  Though I do wonder when he had the chance to draw such a cool map when he spent his evening at the church.

Also, I love the Christopher Guest movies, but this is when I first came to know and love Catherine O’hara.

Why, who's that in a shiny yellow jacket?

Special Note: I have seen the store where he buys a toothbrush!  And my mom just told me that in high school she went to the church where Kevin talks with the scary old man next door!

2. The Santa Clause

Such a great idea.  I love the magic.  It just makes you happy.  …well, except the part where Tim Allen kills Santa.  I mean, have you ever thought about it?  That slo-motion wave santa gives before he disappears… I’ve always found that creepy.  But then there are elves with sparkles on their cheeks and Tim Allen has to learn about his new world and the kid is the cutest kid ever and Bernard eating a pita and who wants to think about where it started.

Speaking of, we noticed this year for the first time that when they finally accept he’s Santa on Christmas Eve and the mom burns the custody papers and Bernard shows up and looks at Judge Reinhold’s tag and more Ugly Christmas Sweater jokes…Bernard seems to be eating a pita.  Which means, are they having falafel for Christmas Eve dinner???  Just a question. 

We also tried watching the DVD Extras and had to stop.  The elf training course with Bernard (a much older David Krumholtz who apparently was building a new deck) is just painful.  I almost want to recommend it for the hilarity, but I don’t.

Part that always makes me smile: Judge Reinhold saying “weenie whistle” as many times as possible.

3. Elf

So much fun; a modern holiday classics like all that advertising says.  Absolutely brilliant casting (and such a great use of Will Ferrell’s strengths).

Part that always makes me smile: Mary Steenburgen singing when the notes get higher at “He knows if you’ve been bad or good.”  So wonderfully terrible.

Awesomest Line: “Look at you!”

4. Little Women

This is not solely a Christmas movie, however it does begin on Christmas Eve, Beth gets her piano on Christmas, and the beautiful old-timey decorations, skating costumes, and all that snow really set the tone.

Plus I love this movie.

5. The Preacher’s Wife

Yes, the Whitney Houston version.  I’ve always loved this film, and the procession of Christmas-y, winter fun scenes (and maybe I always wanted to live somewhere that it snowed and there were outdoor skating rinks) are combined with outstanding music.

Part that always makes me smile: The fire truck siren.

6. Miracle on 34th Street

I like both versions (yay Elizabeth Perkins!), but prefer the old, in goold ole’ black and white without any of that added-color whatnot.  And I prefer the mail/U.S. Post Office argument to the currency/God argument.

Classic.  Amazing.  Santa teaching Natalie Wood monkey impressions!  Upside down phone jokes!  Natalie Wood teaching Santa how to blow a bubble!

This is the 2nd Santa-is-proven-to-be-real-and-has-to-exist-in-the-modern-world movie on my list.  Hmmmm.

Side Note: It’s on TV now as I’m writing this and I totally forgot – HELLO, FRED MERTZ!

7. Harry Potter Marathon

I realize that they’re not solely about Christmas, um, at all, but they always seem to have that same feel-good effect.  Especially the early ones.  Especially the very first one, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  It’s the magic and the little kids and there’s always at least one Christmas scene.  And the snow.  INSIDE A CASTLE.  Are we sensing another theme from this California-raised girl?

I want to go to here.

8. It’s a Wonderful Life

How can you not love this movie?  I always want to watch it on Thanksgiving to start the season off right.

Part that always makes me smile: Their honeymoon with the posters and the rain and the accapella.

9. Holiday Inn

This Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire classic is where the song “White Christmas” comes from.  It was one song for this movie, became a classic on the radio, and was so popular that they made another movie just to capitalize on  celebrate it! 

Bing has left the hustle and bustle of performing in New York to retire to the countryside and set up an inn.  To bring in customers, they start performing on holidays, making the inn the country retreat of choice for each day that the post office is closed.  Also, it’s about a girl and the boys fighting over her.  I find it pretty amusing to see Fred Astaire play quite the jerk. 

Trust me and go watch this great movie.  There is an awkward blackface number (to which I can only say, keep the time period when it was made in mind), but the dancing overall is amazing.  There’s a number for almost each holiday and, while White Christmas is beautiful, the best number is actually Fred Astaire tapping with a bunch of firecrackers for the 4th of July!

Anytime that number is on we stop everything to watch.

(This is a master at work.  Sit up and pay attention.)

10. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The original cartoon, not the Jim Carey film.  I know that Rudolph is a great holiday classic for many, but it was not what I latched onto as a child.  I loved the Grinch.  Watching it has such a feeling of childhood attached and just feels good. 

He already wins best smile.  And best sidekick.  And may I suggest, when he’s stealing everything… best montage ever???

And there you have a small glimpse into my world (and psyche).  What’s on your list?

Fahoo Fores Dahoo Dores to all and to all a good night!

Have a Happy and Relaxing Holiday Season!

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5 Comments

Filed under Movies

5 responses to “My Top Ten Holiday, I mean Christmas, Movies

  1. Great list! I’m always so impressed with how good Elf is- it really was a surprise. And while I do enjoy Holiday Inn (especially the firecracker scene!), I will always be a strong supporter of White Christmas. It has Danny Kaye wearing shoes and socks that perfectly match his pants! Every time! Plus Vera-Ellen does that wicked fast tap thing! She’s one of my favorite dancers and I’ll never tire of watching her, even if she is freakishly skinny in this one (she retired shortly after, suffering from anorexia). The lady in Holiday Inn is nowhere near as thrilling to watch as Vera. Though I guess we have Fred to make up for it.

    • cassiopeia137

      Thanks, Alex! I didn’t know that Vera-Ellen left shortly after White Christmas; but I have always known her as the lady with the insanely tiny waist. I don’t think I ever remember those odd tambourines and am always surprised by her face on them. And the little girls who shouldn’t be on pointe yet but are always bother me. But you have to love Danny Kaye spoofing Marth Graham. And the unending size of that stage at the inn…

      • Haha it’s certainly full of ridiculous cheesy moments and showpieces, no question! Just makes me love it more.

        Also I forgot to mention: Thank you for not loving A Christmas Story like so many other people. That movie is not very good, and I hated that everyone I knew growing up was obsessed with it. And wanted to watch it and talk about it every single year.

  2. Dan

    Does Die Hard count as a Christmas movie, because if it does I’m going for that one.

    Also, there is a criminal lack of Scrooged on your list, but other than that it seems pretty spot on (oh, aside from Muppet Christmas Carol – you missed that one out too).

    Whatever you do DON’T watch Jingle All The Way!

    • cassiopeia137

      a. Die Hard absolutely counts. It was about to get an honorable mention but then I was getting honorable mention crazy and decided the list was very long and I was not going to worry about it this time. And it is on many other lists. My best friend’s family holds a Die Hard movie marathon every Christmas. It’s quite the tradition & deserves to be. It’s just not mine.
      b. I know, I know, but I haven’t ever actually seen Scrooged either. Amazing, right? It is a must. I know this. As is Muppet Christmas Carol. But I wasn’t listing things I hadn’t seen on my favorites list since I don’t know them yet.
      c. Too late! I totally saw Jingle All the Way in the theatre. Oh yes.

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