I admit that I have already begun listening to holiday music and I am cherishing every second of it. Soon enough the season will be over and it will simply be cold and depressing in Indiana. In light of that fact I started listening early this year. As I have sat and enjoyed Handel’s Messiah and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Carol of the Bells I have begun thinking about all my favorite holiday movies. Those “cinematic gems” my family sits around watching together that sprinkle our season with sugar and spice and everything nice. There is something so great about tucking in on a cold evening and living out someone else’s magical holiday moments for a few hours. It helps me forget about gray skies and bare trees while I anticipate all the fun the holidays bring. Here is my list of favorite movies to watch in the days leading up to December 25 in order of importance to me.
- A Charlie Brown Christmas – Our 2-year-old has discovered this movie recently and affectionately refers to it as “Charlie Brownie.” Some of the fun has worn off this year as we have watched it a bazillion times, but I still love this little flick. It sits high on my shelf of holiday films for several reasons. 1) the simplicity of the message, 2) the uncomplicated dialogue, and 3) the beloved characters who feel like family in spite of the fact that they are cartoons.
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – I am sorry I cannot be your friend if you do not like Clark Griswold and his merry band of nutty family members. This movie has way too many scenes that stand out to name them all, but my favorite has to be when Aunt Bethany and Uncle Lewis wrap up the cat to give as a gift. In fact, these two characters are my favorite from the movie. When Uncle Lewis’s hair piece comes off in his hat, or when he lights his stogie and catches the tree on fire, or how about that squirrel scene. Please excuse me while I run home and watch this move one more time and laugh like it is the first time.
- One Magic Christmas – My mom used to watch this when I was kid and I thought there was something wrong with her. The whole story was just plain depressing. Hard-working, nasty mom and sweet, loving dad cannot afford to give their kids the Christmas want and then true tragedy strikes. I seriously did not get it when I was 10 years old. As an adult, I see the magic of the movie. A disappointed, stressed out mom has lost sight of what is most valuable in her attempts to provide security for her family. It takes a huge loss and a couple of miracles for her to understand how hard she has been on her husband and children. I get emotional every time I watch it. I see now why my mom enjoyed it so much.
- The Muppet Christmas Carol – I am a Muppet nut, always have been. So it makes sense that this movie ranks high on my list. I can sing every song from the film except the super depressing one that Ebeneezer’s fiancé sings when she is dumping him in a cold, snowy park. I skip right over that part of the film. However everything else about it is great. Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, Miss Piggy as his feisty, loving wife, Rizzo the Rat, and Gonzo as the beloved narrators. I even love Michael Caine as Ebeneezer. Is it sad that this is the movie version of a classic book that a 34-year-old librarian prefers? I think not. It simply makes me well-rounded.
- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever – I discovered the book in elementary school when my fourth grade teacher read it to the class. I loved it and then found out it was a movie when we watched it in the same class. The main characters in the book are the Herdmans. They are everyone’s worst nightmare: beating kids up, stealing money and lunches, smoking cigars, and blowing things up. And then … they take over the local Christmas Pageant and really stir things up. They bully all the other kids out of the most important parts so they can be Mary, Joseph, and the three wise men. Mirth, merry, and hope ensue as the Herdmans learn the true meaning of Christmas and unknowingly teach it to the faithful members of the congregation. My favorite line is from Gladys Herdman, playing the Christmas angel, as she arrives late to the pageant. She runs in and bellows at the top of her lungs, “Hey, unto you a child is born!” as she manically waves around a large star. The scene is priceless and endears Gladys in the heart of the viewers forever.
Below are a few more that I love and try to watch every Christmas. Yes, folks, some of them are cartoons.
- ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
- Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
- Christmas Comes to Willow Creek
- Smoky Mountain Christmas
- Annabelle’s Wish
So there it is — the merriest Merry Christmas movies from my list. Follow the links above to check them out today. I promise they will add to your holiday cheer and make a cold December night seem a little warmer.