I’m going to admit, during the holidays I can be a bit of a Scrooge once in a while. With all the stress, extra work, and other stuff that seems to go on during this time of year, it’s hard to enjoy the “Christmas Spirit”. And don’t even get me started on Christmas Music…However, there is one thing that can set me into the Christmasy mood – which is holiday films. I love watching these movies, I look forward to it all year. Something about cuddling up with a warm blanket in my jammies, munching on some popcorn with a hot chocolate, watching a holiday movie, just makes me all warm and tingly inside. Because of extreme admiration of holiday films, I’ve decided to top a Top 12 list of my favourite movies to watch this time of year. Why top 12? Well, I suppose I was inspired by the 12 days of Christmas, and also because I couldn’t narrow it down to just 10. Keep in mind with this list, this isn’t necessarily “Christmas” movies, but movies that I watch this time of year – though most are Christmasy in some way.
So without further delay, my Top 12 Favourite Movies to Watch During the Holidays!
12. Love Actually
I was introduced to this movie a few years ago by my old roommate Saber, and I adore it. I really enjoy the different stories going on at the same time, and how it explores various different degrees of love – from romantic to family to friends. I just really enjoy the message this movie has to give. And technically, this movie is set around Christmas, so for any of you Christmas purists out there, haha, take that – it’s a Christmas movie!
11. Edward Scissorhands
Now this may seem like a weird movie to watch around the holidays, it is a darker idea. But what I really like about this film is the notion that those who are different, a bit off from the ideals, can be more human and more pure. I suppose for me, I first saw this movie at Christmas, and I guess it just seems right to watch it around this time of year. I love how the whole movie is centered around the story of where snow comes from, to me, snow is an integral part of Christmas. I don’t know, this is just definitely one of those movies I really get a hankering to watch this time of year.
10. Home Alone
Ah here we go, a more traditional holiday film. Now, I’ll be the first to admit, this is definitely not an amazing film. The acting can be horrendous, the premise is a bit farfetched, and it is a bit childish for a 20-something to watch every year. But I’ll also be the first to admit that I don’t care, I really have a lot of fun watching this film. It really pulls together all of my own thoughts and feelings about Christmas – it’s about being with family and the people you love. Though sometimes the acting is terrible, I love Catherine O’hara has the mom in this film – I think I keep coming back to see her; she really makes it believable that she desperately wants to get back home to see her son, and how terrible she feels about leaving him behind by accident. Yes this film is cheesy, but it’s not the holidays for me without it.
9. While You Were Sleeping
I know this one may seem like it doesn’t fit much either, but really, this film is set at Christmas, so to me it makes sense. And there’s nothing better than watching a RomCom by myself, it’s one of the few times I ever indulge in my hopeless romantic side. It’s not the greatest movie, but it’s sweet, and I love watching it. And that’s that! 😛
8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Both the Cartoon and the Live Action)
Ok, so technically this is two films. But they’re the same story so I counted it for the same number. For the cartoon, I think most people can understand why it’s on my list – it’s nostalgic, and it’s a classic. And while some people don’t enjoy the live action version starring Jim Carrey, I feel like they did a really good job representing the original film by capturing its charm and its mandate, as well as creating something original. Both versions have a great story, and I love Dr. Seus so it’s only logical that these films make it into my top 12.
7. Batman Returns
Another Tim Burton film on my list! Now for anyone wondering why on Earth did I put this film on my list – it is set at Christmas, so yeah, it’s pretty much always on TV around this time of year. So when I’m relaxing, watching the TV after a long day of work, this movie is definitely one that frequents a few different channels. Though this one doesn’t really hold any of the typical holiday spirit, I try to watch this every year because honestly, it’s awesome. I love the Tim Burton Batman films, so yeah, it makes sense why I’d watch this one every year around Christmas.
6. A Nightmare Before Christmas
I don’t think I could talk this film up, because I don’t know anyone who doesn’t at least somewhat enjoy this film. I love strange, different and dark films, and mix that with Christmas, it just makes it something really intriguing and memorable to me. I love this film!
5. Die Hard
I think this film tops most guys’ Christmas movie lists – it’s one of the best action films of all time, and to boot, it’s set at Christmas, so by movie logic math, this makes this movie super-ultra-amazing. Now, I do watch this movie multiple times a year because I love it and I adore Bruce Willis, but I always try to make time for Die Hard close to Christmas. It’s just not Christmas without someone saying “Yippie Kay Yay Motherfucker”!
4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
I’m not normally a fan of comedies like this – you know, the ones that play off of awkward situations (example: most Ben Stiller films), but this one is a classic. I can’t think of a more messed up, dysfunctional Christmas movie, and this one is just insanely entertaining. This is one I usually watch on Christmas Eve with my family, and though it’s not the most typical Christmas movie, it’s definitely a tradition in my family.
3. A Muppet Christmas Carol
I don’t care how silly this makes me look, or how childish this makes me look, I love this movie. No, no, no. Love isn’t strong enough. I adore this film. A Christmas Carol is my favourite holiday story, and this version just brings me back to my childhood. The silly songs, the silly jokes, and the fact that most of the cast is played by Muppets doesn’t phase me of make me feel stupid watching this movie. A Muppet Christmas Carol has a lot of heart, and it is in my opinion, one of the best versions of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It takes a very familiar story, makes it more entertaining than most versions, and creates a film that is heartwarming to multiple generations.
2. The Ref
This is probably a film that most people haven’t heard of, yet alone seen. My parents introduced me to this film about 4 or 5 years ago, and I look forward to watching it every December. I’ve already watched it twice this month! This movie is definitely not a typical Christmas film, and the Christmas “theme” is really more of a backdrop for everything else going on. I adore Dennis Leary, and I adore Kevin Spacey, so putting them together into a film is a moviegasm at its best. No, this film isn’t “oscar worthy”, but it’s definitely a Cochrane family favourite.
Now I know I already have a version of A Christmas Carol on my list already, but this version is just so awesome that I couldn’t resist giving it its own spot. Bill Murray is one of my favourite comedic actors, and this version of this classic tale mixed with his comedic timing and performance just makes it such a memorable film. I love the different spins on the ghosts, on the classic characters, and how this film is both familiar to the Dickens tale, and yet is very original. I have yet to see a holiday film that makes me laugh this much, makes such an emotional impact, and leaves me feeling so touched and heartfelt. Scrooged to me is the best example of a Christmas film – it is continuously entertaining, so much so that I watch it because I want to rewatch it, not because it’s merely tradition. It knows when to be funny, when to tug on your heartstrings, and when it’s ok to overdo the holiday-campy-cheesey-goodness. I love this film, and I can’t wait to sit down and watch this film this holiday season.
So there you have it, my Top 12 Favourite Movies to Watch During the Holidays. I know this probably doesn’t have some of the classic holiday movies you’d think would be on a holiday list, but, I’m not a typical Christmasy type of person. To me, these films reflect my own values of the holidays, and who I am as a person. And even though I don’t always get into the holiday spirit, I always look forward to watch these films every year.