Be it third graders fending off robbers, sledding at 100 mph, or piles of spaghetti and maple syrup, there are countless holiday reminders out there to enjoy. Let’s face it, nothing helps brings out festive cheer more than a classic holiday film.
While the yearly movie selection process once required tracking network TV schedules, handy movie sites and sources now allow access to hundreds of holiday films with the touch of a button. The Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote allows you to switch from TV to the right input for Blu-ray or Netflix streaming, and easily access your home theater devices and game consoles.
Sit back and let the holiday merriment wash over you like the Grinch over Whoville (after his heart grew three sizes). To help narrow down the movie madness, here are our top ten holiday movies to kick off the season.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
When people say they barely “survived” the holidays, none of them have experienced a fraction of holiday hijinks the Griswold family endures in the Christmas classic. It’s a family reunion, with Randy Quaid as the crazy cousin who crashes the party and Chevy Chase as the hopeful optimist who nearly burns the house down in his quest to outdo the neighbors’ light displays. It’s a cringe-worthy holiday tradition that makes us all thankful for our own disaster-free vacation.
Memorable quote: “Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?” – Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) to his cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid)
A Charlie Brown Christmas
All it takes is the sight of a Christmas tree seedling or a few piano notes from Vince Guaraldi, and we’re caught up in the wave of nostalgia that is A Charlie Brown Christmas. This 1965 animated classic captures the appeal of the Peanuts gang like no other and reminds us of the reason for the season. If only waving our hands around to magically decorate our house actually worked in real life.
Memorable quote: “I know nobody likes me. Why do we have to have a holiday season to emphasize it?” – Charlie Brown on not receiving any Christmas cards
Using Christmas as a backdrop, this romantic comedy is as sappy as they come, but still manages to feel fresh with each viewing, thanks to an all-star lineup of talent and eight overlapping stories of love to keep things zipping along. It sure doesn’t hurt that there’s plenty of eye candy and a great soundtrack to make you break it out every season.
Memorable quote: “Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there: fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends.” – David (Hugh Grant)
How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Whether you’re a fan of the animated version or the live-action remake starring Jim Carrey, the best part is you don’t have to choose: two grinches are always better than one. Even the biggest Christmas grouch can’t resist the whimsical humor of the Dr. Seuss classic. And if anybody was going to do the Grinch justice, it would be Carrey, the man of a thousand face contortions.
Memorable quote: “And they’ll feast, feast, feast, feast. They’ll eat their Who-Pudding and rare Who-Roast Beast. But that’s something I just cannot stand in the least. Oh, no. I’m speaking in rhyme!” – The Grinch
Just the sight of a 6’3″ Will Ferrell clad in yellow tights and pointy-toed shoes is enough to get us through the holiday season. As the misunderstood adopted elf, Buddy, Ferrell’s adventures in the Big Apple with a wide-eyed Zooey Deschanel and jaded James Caan make it a must for repeated holiday viewing.
Memorable quote: “This place reminds me of Santa’s workshop. Except it smells like mushrooms and everyone looks like they wanna hurt me.” – Buddy (Will Ferrell) in the mailroom
It’s a Wonderful Life
Not all holiday films are filled with sugarplums and Christmas joy. This perennial TV favorite from Frank Capra starring James Stewart as a family man facing financial ruin presents a bittersweet take on the season, but serves as a reminder that we all have something to be thankful for.
Memorable quote: “What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.” – George Bailey (James Stewart)
A Christmas Story
It’s not Christmas until you shoot your eye out. This ’80s favorite will give you visions of leg lamps and bunny suits dancing in your head and still serves as a PSA for little boys not to lick anything frozen. Just be careful for what you wish for this Christmas.
Memorable quote: “Some men are Baptists, others Catholics; my father was an Oldsmobile man.” – Ralphie (Peter Billingsley)
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Despite its macabre setting and ghoulish characters, Tim Burton’s animated tale is still a timeless tribute to the magic of Christmas and really, all holidays. Thanks to the infectious music of Danny Elfman and Burton’s twisted imagination, it’s a Christmas film for those who prefer to spend the holidays without the clichéd trimmings.
Memorable quote: “There’s children throwing snowballs, instead of throwing heads. They’re busy building toys, and absolutely no one’s dead!” – Jack Skellington (Danny Elfman)
Macaulay Culkin lives out every kid’s fantasy to spend Christmas alone without being under the tyranny of his parents. Unfortunately he spends the majority of his time defending his home from two bumbling burglars using inventive booby traps and burning his face off with aftershave. Is this why staycations became popular?
Memorable quote: “I think we’re getting scammed by a kindergartener.” – Harry (Joe Pesci)
This ’80s comedy reimagines the curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge as power-hungry television executive Frank Cross and belongs in the canon of classic Bill Murray films. With comedy greats like Carol Kane and Bobcat Goldthwait helping out, it’s a hilarious modern take on the classic Charles Dickens tale.
Memorable quote: “No, you are a hallucination brought on by alcohol…Russian vodka poisoned by Chernobyl!” – Frank Cross (Bill Murray) to the ghost of his former boss.