When it comes to holiday movies, people are particular about their viewing lists. Just as soon as the turkey leftovers are tucked in the refrigerator many people are excited to jump into the season of twinkling lights, mistletoe, and, of course, those holly, jolly Christmas movies. There’s not much out there that beats a cozy afternoon on the couch watching holiday movies with your loved ones. Most of the holiday genre films end with a positive message of goodwill and camaraderie with your neighbors and families so you don’t have to put your parental screen up before you dive in to your favorite seasonal flick.
So, what constitutes a good Christmas movie? Well, according to the Hallmark channel’s lineup there should be a young female lead as the main character, probably a go-getter who is running a successful company but is completely neglecting her personal love life. Add in a tragedy such as a parent dying or the demise of a beloved company back home and we most certainly will find the character begrudgingly on the first flight home where they will undoubtedly run into the love of their life, either the one who left her at the altar or the one who couldn’t handle her ambitions and dreams. Yes, Hallmark channel movies, especially around the holidays can be a little monotonous and single-themed but they are charming little nuggets of easy viewing. And, around the holidays, can’t we all use a little “easy?”
For me, the best holiday movies do two things to my emotions, either they will make me feel nostalgic or make me laugh. I don’t need tears around the holidays, the enormity of the holiday itself can cause me to withdrawal into a crying mess. But, I do love the feeling of “home,” that I conjure up during the holidays, an idealist, warm, place of yesteryear that I have probably over-embellished but still long for. The other thing I like a good Christmas movie to do is make me laugh. Sure, steadfast themes of goodness and counting your blessings are a must this time of year but so is humor. Without humor I, for one, would not be able to handle the crazy traffic or stress that revolves around malls and other retail outlets you inevitably must visit before it’s all over. Humor also helps get us through the pitfalls of holiday dinner-fails, tree lights that won’t work, and overbearing or under enthusiastic family members. So, with that in mind, I have created the top five movie list of my liking for the holidays. I think it is a nice compilation of films to tickle me yet put me in a mood of gratitude as I think of past Christmases and those I’ve been so fortunate to share them with. I’m sure you have your list of favorites as well, and we’d love to hear what you’re watching this holiday season.
Elf. I find the charm and love exuding from Santa’s largest elf to be infectious and one I seek out each holiday season. I love the innocence pouring out of Will Ferrell’s character as he passes the wonder and magic of Christmas on to those he meets. He reminds us you are never too old, or too big to be inspired by the big guy in the Santa suit.
What a Wonderful Life. Well, this one is a given, right? Isn’t this the quintessential Christmas tale of redemption and appreciation setting your course straight? The notion that one’s impact on families, friends, or co-workers is negligible has surely crossed the average person’s mind a time or two. Always a good reminder that one’s impact is far reaching and often hidden until circumstance and chance shine a light on the importance of all of us.
Surviving Christmas. The reason I like this 2004 film starring Ben Affleck as a young man with seemingly everything who finds himself without a family or reason for appreciating Christmas, reminding us what is important in life. Other storylines include a couple on the brink of divorce who have given up on each other but with the help of a stranger, see each other as viable people again. I love that, in the end, a family is repaired by adding in a broken stranger.
White Christmas. Not normally prone to liking musicals, this one tugs at my youngest memories of listening to Bing Crosby croon us through post Thanksgiving shopping right up to Christmas Eve gift exchange with cousins to Christmas Day prime rib dinner. White Christmas gives us servicemen, love interests, state-of-the-art digitizing for that time, and just a sweetly-wrapped idea of Christmas.
Miracle on 34th Street. Who is the “real” Santa, anyway? We all know a Santa who reigns goodness over their posse all year round. In this mainstay of Christmas movies, the identity of store-Santa Kris Kringle slowly emerges as the faith of a little girl and the integrity of an old man align.
Photos courtesy of Hallmark Channel Facebook page and depositphotos.