I love end-of-the-year lists. I gobble them up like turkey on Thanksgiving. So I decided to make one of my own: My five all-time favorite Christmas movies. Now please keep in mind that I have not seen every Christmas movie ever made; I’m sure I’ve missed a lot of great classics. But for me, these five movies are what Christmas is all about.
5. Love Actually. Before there was Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, there was this movie. A collection of mini love stories set in England perfectly packaged for the holiday season. There are adorable kids, handsome prime ministers, unrequited love, aging rock stars and Alan Rickman. What more could a girl want for Christmas?
Favorite line: “Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don’t buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!”
Best moment: The scene after Emma Thompson’s character, Karen, discovers that her husband Harry, Alan Rickman’s character, is cheating on her. She goes to her room, cries and manages to pull herself together as Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” plays in the background. She straightens her bed and puts on a brave face for the remainder of Christmas. Emma was amazing in this scene. I love how she handles the situation. (Let’s just say that’s not how I would have handled it.)
4. A Christmas Story. This movie is a classic and the premise is simple: A young boy is determined to get a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. My husband and I never grow tired of its repeat Christmas showings on TBS. We’ll watch bits and pieces of it throughout the day. Also, it inspired the television series The Wonder Years. I think I’ve made my point.
Favorite line: “You used up all the glue on purpose!”
Best moment: There are so many to choose from, but what I love best is that after all the endless warnings from adults that he would shoot his eye out with a Red Ryder BB Gun if he owned one, he actually shoots his eye. Kids.
3. It’s a Wonderful Life. If A Christmas Story is a classic, then this movie is a super-duper classic. A love story with alternative realities and clumsy angels, this film is probably the sappiest title on my list, but I love it nonetheless. Jimmy Stewart is great as always and I love its message: everything happens for a reason.
Favorite line: “What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.”
Best moment: The ending. It’s pretty wonderful.
2. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. There are songs by Burl Ives, singing elves, glowing reindeer, bouncing bumbles and claymation. What’s not to love? Actually, looking back, this movie is pretty horrible. Santa is a grumpy mess who yells at elves and judges reindeer for being different. And instead of the adult teacher in Rudolph’s flying class lecturing the other reindeer about bullying, he joins in! But despite all that, I still love this movie. I watched it so much growing up, it’s become a habit of mine to watch it every year. And in the end Rudolph perseveres and his elf friend Hermey becomes a dentist, so there’s that.
Favorite line: “I’m cute! I’m cuuute! She said I’m cuuuuuuuute!”
Best moment: When the misfit toys sing “The Most Wonderful Day of the Year.” I love singing along and learning how each toy is a “misfit.” I mean, who puts square wheels on a train set?
1. The Santa Clause. This may not be the best Christmas movie ever made, but it’s definitely my favorite. And I’m pretty sure that between my mom and I we could quote the entire film in a moment’s notice. Yes the premise is silly, and it’s a little disturbing that after the original Santa dies no one seems to be concerned with where he disappeared to and that none of his elves seem sad about it. But Tim Allen is on top of his game in this movie. Let’s just pretend the second and third film never existed, okay?
Favorite line: “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! When I get home, I’m getting a CAT scan!”
Best moment: When the “elves with attitude” break Santa out of prison. Didn’t you know that tinsel’s not just for decoration?
Honorable mention: Die Hard. No one messes with John McClane. Especially on Christmas.
So what did I miss? I’m sure I missed quite a few, actually, so please share your favorites in the comments section below. Merry Christmas, dear readers!