This Christmas season, I'd like to present you with 12 movies that every holiday enthusiast should watch in the next two to three weeks leading into the new year.
I'm sure my list will spawn a few arguments between young and old, as I've had to battle with family myself to prove that Die Hard is indeed a Christmas movie. For the sake of keeping the holidays merry and bright, I'll leave that one off the list.
In no particular order, here are 12 movies that I plan on watching in the coming weeks, and I suggest you add a few of these to your viewing queue, as well.
A Christmas Story (1983)
The movie follows the journey of a young Ralphie Parker, as he dreams of his personal holy grail of Christmas presents — a Red Ryder BB gun. Between the neighborhood bully, his grumpy old man or his own fears and insecurities coming to roost, Ralphie deals with plenty of bumps in the road, as he hopes to survive through Christmas Day with his glasses intact.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
This has grown to be my favorite Christmas movie over the years, as I've slowly become more and more understanding of the Grinch (played by Jim Carrey). I'm not saying he's in the right, but I would be pretty bitter too if a town full of people cast me out and sang a song about how terrible I was every year.
Regardless, this live-action adaptation of a Dr. Seuss book, tells the well-known tale of how the Grinch attempted to ruin Christmas for the citizens of Whoville. Jim Carrey's mannerisms make the film, as he takes on the role of the hairy green villain. It'll make you laugh, tug on your heart strings and probably make you hum the tune to "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch."
Elf has grown into a cultural phenomenon over the years and appears to be here to stay. The movie stars Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf, who was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood by Santa and his elves. As he grows older, he decides to move out and visit New York (while still in elf garb) to find his biological father.
As he attempts to establish a relationship with his father (played by James Caan), Buddy gets into plenty of trouble. This movie has plenty of situational humor and one-liners for viewers of all ages to enjoy. Just don't mix candy with your spaghetti afterward.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
This Tim Burton classic is a stop-motion animated story about Jack Skellington, Halloweentown's beloved pumpkin king. The scary leader quickly becomes bored of the same routine every season and stumbles out into the realm of Christmastown. Between all the bright colors and warm spirits, Jack attempts to switch things up and take over the new town.
His plot goes array, as he kidnaps Santa Claus and attempts to hand out his own version of "presents" to the horror of all the boys and girls of Christmastown. Between the soundtrack, the plot and the refreshing twist on what you might view as a "Christmas Movie", I've always found “The Nightmare Before Christmas” to be wildly entertaining.
Home Alone (1990)
Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is a mischievous 8-year-old, who gets accidentally left behind when the rest of his family leaves for a vacation in Paris. At first, Kevin views the empty house as a dream come true, but that quickly turns into a nightmare as two con men attempt to rob his family's home. The movie then becomes a deadly game of cat and mouse, as Kevin attempts to outwit the two burglars with homemade contraptions.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) attempts to put on the perfect family Christmas for his wife and two kids, from a family tree, house decorations, and a holiday bonus. Just when Clark was turning a corner, everything goes haywire. His cousin, Eddie (Randy Quaid) shows up unannounced, his boss goes back on his word and Clark finds himself in a slew of awkward situations.
The Santa Clause (1994)
Tim Allen stars as Scott, a divorced dad who gains custody of his son on Christmas Eve. After an unfortunate accident, Scott is magically teleported to the North Pole, where he is forced to take the place of Santa Claus for the next year. Random weight gain and unexpected white beard growth prove to Scott that he isn't dreaming after all.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
No Christmas celebration can be complete without this classic short film about Charlie Brown and the Yuletide blues. Between the classic songs and the underlying theme of the film, it's a holiday staple for any viewing party.
It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
We'll take this one out of the time machine, as the film is produced in black and white. The movie revolves around George Bailey, who has so many problems stacking on top of each other that he is close to doing something drastic. Instead, a guardian angel turns the tide and shows George what all his good deeds over the years have done for his town.
Bill Murray stars in this more modern-day remake of "A Christmas Carol". Murray is cast as Frank Cross, a wealthy television executive with a cold heart and sinister selfishness. After firing one of his employees on Christmas Eve, Cross is visited by the three ghosts of Christmas to give him a chance to rethink his life and correct a few wrongs along the way.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Another timeless classic from the 1940s, Miracle on 34th Street is a story about a man named Kris Kringle, who fills in for an intoxicated Santa in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. While he attempts to tell the people of Manhattan that he is the real Santa Claus, he is forced to defend his mental sanity and authenticity in front of a crowded courtroom.
Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis star as Luther and Nora Krank, two newly minted empty nesters who attempt to escape the holiday season for a cruise in the Caribbean instead. The trip is stalled by their over-the-top neighbors (played by Dan Aykroyd and M. Emmet Walsh), as the Kranks become social outcasts for their lack of holiday cheer.