It’s that time of year when I’m able to start watching Christmas movies. The first few weeks of December aren’t close enough to the actual holiday for me – I have to wait until the week before (Yikes – Christmas is in 1 week!!!)
And so here is my list of favourite holiday classics. It’s not entirely original, as many of my favourites are common, but it captures the movies that truly make the season for me (in no particular order).
1. Holiday Inn – When it comes to movies, I’m a song and dance fan – and this one is all song and dance. Starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, it spans one year in the life of two performers and celebrates not only Christmas, but the important holidays like Lincoln’s Birthday (which features a cringe-worthy black face routine). There are some spectacular dance numbers including an explosive solo dance by Astaire, a love triangle, and some great catchy tunes.
2. It’s a Wonderful Life – I remember the time when I actually fully understood the meaning of this movie – my Grade 9 English teacher would be happy to know that it was in her class. Prior to then, I had only really watched snippets of the movie and was too young to really appreciate it. Watching it and being quizzed on it afterwards (while identifying the symbolism) really helped me understand the messages within.
3. A Charlie Brown Christmas – Most of my dance moves were learned from this classic, so you just know I’m an awesome dancer. Nothing really brings home the spirit of the season as strongly as Charlie Brown – probably because I’ve been a fan since I was just a little girl.
4. A Christmas Story – The leg lamp. The tongue on a frozen metal pole. The pink bunny pyjamas. The BB gun. So many classic moments.
5. Christmas Vacation – I remember seeing this in the theatre when it first came out, which means that I was only 9 years old at the time. I applaud my parents for allowing me to watch movies that were possibly not age appropriate when I was little. The movie is much funnier once you get all of the jokes, but it was still pretty darn hilarious as a 9 year old.
6. The Holiday – A more recent favourite. The Holiday was one of those movies that I really didn’t want to see. I’m not a fan of Jude Law or Cameron Diaz under normal circumstances, so I steered clear of this one for a long time. On the recommendation of a coworker, I gave it a shot and found a new favourite. This is my recommendation for you to try it on for size if you haven’t already.
7. Love Actually – I’m a fan of movies that interconnect a bunch of characters and have clever ways of bringing them together when it is done right (Garry Marshall has made at least 2 attempts to do this unsuccessfully in my opinion*). This movie makes me laugh, tugs on my heartstrings and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It’s a movie that I can watch every year without feeling bored. Bill Nighy is magnificent in his role as an aging rock star. Colin Firth offers up a great marriage proposal scene. And the lead guy from The Walking Dead is in it. I have a friend who hasn’t seen it yet, and this year I will be forcing it upon her. You’re Welcome.
8. One Magic Christmas – Who doesn’t love Mary Steenburgen? This olden classic is one that has been with me for a long time. It tells the tale of a woman who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus until an angel takes away everything that is important to her. Her daughter heads to the North Pole and meets the big man, bringing back a letter that renews her spirit and belief in Christmas magic. Great message, strong story and well acted by Lady Steenburgen.
9. White Christmas – Another classic. Surprisingly this almost didn’t make my list. It’s a good movie, it makes the season bright and all that… but the creepy little boys in Santa suits at the end freak me out. I prefer to turn the movie off before the final scene where they sing White Christmas.
10. Edward Scissorhands – Is this really a “Christmas Movie”? I say yes. Of course it’s not traditional, but the messages of love, acceptance and giving ring true. Plus, the climax of the movie takes place during the Christmas season, so it has made my list.
What are your favourite Christmas classics?
*Garry Marshall directed Valentine’s Day which was an incredibly poorly acted rip-off of Love Actually set on February 14th. More recently he directed New Year’s Eve which I have no intention of watching because it is going to be garbage. Also, Garry needs to stop casting Hector Elizondo in his films – but that’s another blog post.