Happy Holiday’s everyone. Now there are three things I love about this time of year; the food, putting up decorations, and watching Christmas movies. So, let’s get in to my ‘Top-10 Favorite Christmas Movies’ that are a part of my yearly rotation. Now there are many more that I love to watch this time of year but I was able to narrow it down to 10 so let’s go.
10. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
Sure, this sequel was pretty much the exact same film as the first, but it was still loaded with holiday charm, and the energy of young Kevin McCallister being lost in New York. The number of examples how this film copied the original are endless and you could possibly consider this movie a remake of the first, more than a sequel.
But regardless of the lack of ambition in creating something new, it was still a fun story. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are excellent once again and with New York City serving as the backdrop to this recycled script, the over-the-top Christmas nostalgia the settings create still make it so entertaining every year.
9. Gremlins (1984)
There are so many ways this film is a timeless classic but one thing it holds is a strong holiday feel. The small-town settings, winter backdrops, and Christmas appeal, blend perfectly in this film and thought the outrageously adventurous story is a holiday vibe that just adds to this 80’s classic.
The story-line weaves the holiday into the film routinely and from my childhood, through my teenage years, and as an adult, there is such warm nostalgia watching this movie and seeing all the classic scenes from; the gremlin attack in the kitchen, the old lady flying out the window and a young Corey Feldman dressed as a Christmas tree, this movie will be on my watch list every year till I’m an old man.
8. The Ref (1994)
Sure, this one isn’t a traditional Christmas film, and it may not be one to gather the family around to watch, but it was so good in my opinion. The humor is well written, and with strong performances from Denis Leary and Kevin Spacey, the comedic moments flow frequently throughout the wild story-line. It was an unconventional script that still manages to capture some holiday charm over the course of Christmas Eve. The often-crude humor fits the theme of the film perfectly, and there were so many hilarious moments as Leary deals with a bickering family while he tries to hide out from the cops.
7. Bad Santa (2003)
There is one thing “Bad Santa” certainly did, it broke the mold of your common Christmas movie. The comedy was dark in tone, crude, and way over-the-top and I don’t see anyone shining in such a role as Billy Bob Thornton. He was perfect in this film and displays his strong comedic range.
There are so many ways this film is unnecessarily offensive, but with a creative story-line, actually fitting in a Christmas vibe, and landing some effective humor, it just had to make my list. Both Bernie Mac and John Ritter made excellent additions to the story, and despite the raunch factor there is just something that makes this one of my favorite holiday films.
6. Die Hard (1988)
There are three timeless debates in life; is there a heaven, what is the secret ingredient in the orange Julius, and is “Die Hard” actually a Christmas movie. I definitely know the answer to the important question, yes “Die Hard” is a Christmas film. The theme of the holiday is present in the movie more than once, it does manage to capture some flashes of a Christmas vibe and who cares, it’s a classic action-film that just feels right watching this time of year. It’s Bruce Willis’ iconic role, he was fantastic as John McClane and his charm and charisma make watching him take down Hans Gruber and his henchmen entertaining anytime you want to watch it.
5. Friday After Next (2002)
This one may not make everyone’s lists, but I think it’s an underrated holiday film. The “Friday” trilogy was solid throughout all three films and this third one that adds a fun Christmas setting, is often under-mentioned. There are so many wildly fun characters in this story line that all provide effective moments of comedy and the soundtrack can only make you feel like it is Christmas. It keeps a swift pace, weaves the Christmas theme in routinely, and delivers endless amounts of dumb laughs that never get old.
4. Scrooged (1988)
There is only one thing better than a classic Bill Murray performance, and that is putting it into a Christmas story. This classic film about a dick-headed T.V. executive being visited by the ghosts of Christmas pass will always entertain during the holidays.
Murray was excellent in the lead and his blunt comedic delivery can always rouse a laugh as he portrays about as ugly and selfish as a man can be, who finds the small glimmer of light inside himself. The laughs are plentiful and holiday charm just fills every aspect of the great comedy.
3. A Christmas Story (1983)
This is without question a great film, I can always sit down and watch it, but it may be so high on this list out of simple repetition. Every year this one is played on TBS for 24 hours straight if not longer I can’t remember. But I have watched this one from start-to-finish, finish-to-start and every way in between.
There was a year where I watched this film in three sections, at three different houses on Christmas. Regardless it’s a classic holiday film to me, the time-period of the setting adds a charm to it, the narration and all the holiday vibes just make this a cozy film to watch during the holiday.
2. Home Alone (1990)
Another film suited for all ages, “Home Alone” is a must on many people’s holiday watch list. This film was known for the iconic performance of young Macaulay Culkin who shined as Kevin McCallister. This was a fun story that boasted great holiday charm, an adventurous story-line and a couple of great side characters played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern.
It’s a heartwarming story that will never age, it can easily be passed down from generation to generation, and still hold its relevance. And after all the action of Kevin defending his home is over, this film still captures a heartwarming ending that will lock it among the top of the holiday watching list for decades to come.
1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
This film is easily my number one favorite Christmas movie. Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold is magic in my opinion and his wanting to make the perfect Christmas will never get old. This is a classic holiday comedy with wild characters, hilariously dumb comedy and a holiday vibe that comes from every angle.
The exaggerated portrayal of Christmas traditions and the resulting comedy always draw a laugh and throughout all the dumb humor is a heartwarming story that just makes me feel good. Chevy Chase was fantastic in this film, he makes the comedy work and he makes Clark Griswold a lovable character people can just connect with.
And that’s my list guys. I know it isn’t the most conventional list and some of the films are not exactly traditional in terms of the common holiday message. But I love them, they are all part of my holidays for various reasons and watching each of them just conjures up some awesome nostalgic memories of Christmas for me.