Yes, it’s that time of year again! And what could go more perfectly with a steaming mug of hot cocoa (or peppermint mocha) than your favorite holiday movie? (Besides whipped cream, of course.)
It’s time to deck the halls, all while spending precious quality time with the ones we love. That’s why I’ve compiled my top 5 Christmas movies ever, a true testament to only the jolliest of feel-good family films.
5. The Polar Express (2004)
While I’ve never met a person who hasn’t at least moderately enjoyed The Polar Express as a movie, I’m sure there are plenty of Scrooges out there who absolutely hated it. I, on the other hand, saw it as a great adaptation from a children’s book to feature film, similar in quality to a few others, like 2009’s Where the Wild Things Are and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which was released in the same year.
The Polar Express, directed by film great Robert Zemeckis, also boasted an amazing score comprised of original music by Alan Silvestri, as well as the truly moving track “Believe” by Josh Groban (which can be heard in the end credits).
4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
At my house growing up, not a single Christmas season was complete without watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation at least once in that particular year. We even owned it on the DVD; which was, of course, the full, uncensored version of the film, and therefore a whole lot more fun to watch than the bleeped-out TV edit. But, I digress.
Clark Griswold’s harebrained antics are hilarious, and this is one movie that I wholeheartedly believe everyone should watch at least once during their lives. It’s one of the all-time great comedies, festive season or not. Not only does it express the importance of friends, family and tradition during the holidays, but it also depicts, with quite a few laughs to go around, the story of a man who tries just a little too hard to provide the Griswolds with “the perfect family Christmas”.
3. The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)
Try and tell me you don’t remember Snow Miser and his hot-headed brother, Heat Miser, and I’ll dare you to say it again. Why? Because, naturally, you’d be lying. No, I’m not talking about that awful live action TV movie from 2006; I’m talking about the original Year Without a Santa Claus (which was also a TV movie, but a lot better). We’re talkin’ stop motion animation here!
The Year Without a Santa Claus was always my favorite animated Christmas film as a child. Even more so than Rudolph, or Frosty, or Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (another made-for-TV stop motion film you may remember). Something about the music and the story captivated me in a way I can’t explain. Try and tell me you didn’t cry when Santa Claus announced he was taking a vacation that year, and I’ll just call you a liar again.
2. Elf (2003)
Easily one of the funniest, most heart-warming Christmas films to date. Will Ferrell’s childlike wonder in regards to the sights and sounds of New York City make this movie, and I’m definitely not ashamed to count it among my top five favorites. Elf was an instant classic, and even die-hard holiday haters will want to watch this movie again and again.
While I’m positive I’ll get plenty of backlash for including this movie in my list, I’ll just put it bluntly for the haters: If you don’t like Elf, not even a little bit, then you’re a cotton-headed ninny muggins for sure.
1. A Christmas Story (1983)
Because no quote ever in holiday history is more memorable than, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” Ralphie wanted an official Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle, and, by golly, he got his wish. Along the way he encountered bullies, deranged Santas, teachers, crummy Ovaltine commercials, leg lamps, and the dreaded bunny pajamas; trials similar to those we all faced as children. But he sure as fudge made it.
The best thing about A Christmas Story? It’s a timeless classic. And it will always be a timeless classic. That’s why it’s the number one film on my list, and it will always remain there. Even despite the 24/7 marathons we are forced to endure each and every year.
So, there you have it. Five of the best Christmas films (in my opinion) of all time. Keep in mind that there were many more I wanted to add to this list, but I could only pick five. And remember, no matter what movies you watch this holiday season, always be sure to keep the family close.