The chestnuts are roasting, the tree is twinkling, the fire is burning and the stockings are hanging. Christmas is upon us and soon we will be bombarded with family reunions, weekends filled with Christmas shopping and endless hours of cooking enough food to feed a large army from sweet treats to juicy hams. But as the school year comes to a close, it’s important to remember the other reason for the season: relaxation. It’s that time of year, to cozy up on the couch with fresh baked cookies, hot chocolate and, most importantly, a Christmas classic. For those of you who may be struggling to find that perfect array of holiday films for your family reunions or time of personal rest, here’s a list of classic Christmas movies that are sure to get you in the spirit of the season.
- White Christmas
How much more festive does it get than Bing Crosby and an endless line of musical numbers? Much like us southern Californians, characters Bob (Crosby), Phil (Danny Kaye), Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy (Vera-Ellen) desire nothing more than to experience a white Christmas in Vermont. What they get instead is sunshine, green grass and an empty inn. In hopes to bring in business, the gang rounds up a crew to put on a Christmas show. Not only does the act bring in business but a whiter Christmas than anyone expected, and with the snowfall comes new-found love. This is a Christmas tale that the whole family can enjoy for years to come, filled with laughs, romance and dance numbers filled with Christmas cheer.
- The Santa Clause
We all remember the annual showing of The Santa Clause on Disney Channel and ABC Family. This unique take on the story of Santa Claus himself keeps viewers laughing and dreaming as Tim Allen puts on the big red suit that fits him just right. When Scott Calvin (Allen) accidentally causes Santa Claus to fall off his roof, Scott is destined to fill Santa’s shoes or, rather, his sleigh. With the help of his son Charlie (Eric Lloyd) along with a workshop full of elves, Scott rediscovers his childhood spirit, his belief in Christmas magic and will become The Santa Claus. Keep the magic of the holidays alive with this merry movie.
- Home Alone
After his parents accidentally leave him home alone for the holidays, Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) decides to live it up kid-style. With the house all to himself, Kevin thinks the only thing he has to worry about are the stomach aches he’ll have from having candy for dinner. But things turn sour when two con men try to rob Kevin’s house. In his efforts to stop the mad men from succeeding, Kevin sets up a number of traps and pranks hoping to fend off the burglars. This Christmas comedy is sure to keep you in high spirits and forever wishing your friendly neighbors a “Merry Christmas, you filthy animal.”
- The Polar Express
This truly magical film takes viewers on a ride through the world of Christmas and what it really means to have a Christmas spirit. Josh Hutcherson and Tom Hanks star in this heart-warming Warner Brothers animated picture of a young boy (Hutcherson) who is whisked away on a mystical train ride on the night before Christmas to see Santa Claus (Hanks). On the way the boy meets a variety of characters that show him the meaning of Christmas and the importance of holding on to belief. The Polar Express is a magnificently beautiful film and the soundtrack will certainly give you cheery chills.
- Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Director Ron Howard brings the bizarre story of Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch to life in this holiday classic. Filled with tomfoolery, shenanigans and infinite laughs, Jim Carrey as The Grinch gives a whole new meaning to Christmas “sneer.” As the Grinch prepares to haul off the gifts, tinsel and Christmas cheer from the little town of Whoville, character Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) befriends the scoundrel and tries to give the Grinch back his Christmas joy as well as save Christmas for the whole town. It’s a story unlike any other that will swell your heart to twice its normal size as Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas steals the show in your living room this holiday season.
- Disney’s A Christmas Carol
Make your dose of Jim Carrey a double with this next holiday classic. A Christmas Carol is a story that has been passed down and changed from generation to generation but Disney’s is the richest of all. With stellar animation and a winning cast, the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future come back to life bringing with them lessons of life, love and kindness. When a mean and greedy old man Scrooge (Carrey) is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve, his world is turned upside down as he is faced with moments from his past, present and daunting future, forcing him to either change his ways or face a terrible fate. Embrace all the holiday feels this film has to offer and make Disney’s A Christmas Carol part of your present and future Christmases.
- Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town!
Along with films like Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph and Jack Frost, Santa Claus is Comin to Town is one of the holiday stop-motion originals. The story follows the life of Chris Cringle from cradle to sleigh as he grows up to become Santa Claus and makes it his mission to bring the magic of Christmas to a town where such cheer is outlawed. In a world where no toys are allowed, Chris faces many perils in his efforts to prevent the children of the town from experiencing a year without a Santa Claus. This timeless tale embodies the very essence of the story of St. Nick with a magical twist that every good Christmas tale ought to have.
- Charlie Brown Christmas
Deck the halls with peanuts this year and spend the holidays with your favorite cartoon gang. Charlie Brown Christmas is not only filled with classic Christmas tunes and touching life lessons, but also teaches about Jesus Christ as the reason for the season, bringing in religious joy amongst holiday jolly. You’ll find yourself singing along to these memorable tunes and reaching for the gingerbread and tissues while these lively cartoon characters teach viewers about finding reasons to smile during the holiday ups and downs.
For those who have been counting down the Mondays till Christmas, and who may occasionally take syrup as a sauce for spaghetti, this is the film for you. Buddy (Will Ferrell) is a human who has been raised by elves and, understandably, has never felt like he belongs. Unable to keep up appearances trying to fit in, Buddy sets out into the world and finds himself in New York City where he runs into all of the oddities of the real world, including his long lost father and a new found love interest. While he continues to stand out like a sore thumb, Buddy’s unusually high capacity to love and Christmas cheer might be the best thing that ever happened to New York. For those who just can’t contain their excitement for Christmas and have already filled their homes with cut-out snowflakes, Christmas lights and enough candy canes to build their own candy cane forest, add Elf to your “must watch” holiday movie list. You won’t regret it.
- A Christmas Story
While we college students may find the last couple weeks of school a grueling journey struggling just to make it to Christmas day, the struggles of Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) in A Christmas Story are a friendly reminder to all of us that childhood trials can be the most grueling of all. Based on the humorous writings of Jean Shepherd, this unconventional Christmas comedy follows the journey of a young boy and his crazy family as they struggle through pre-holiday mischief and mayhem just to make it to Christmas day. For those looking to de-stress from the academics this Christmas break and have a good laugh, this wild Christmas story classic is a must-see.