1. It’s a Wonderful Life
Just about the best feel-good movie ever, with great scenes and acting and wonderfully quotable lines, this has been my favorite holiday movie since I first saw it. Every year, it reaffirms my determination to be the best person, to find meaning in the little things. Jimmy Stewart struggles with responsibility and duty that keep taking him away from what he really wants to do – have adventures. And discovers that what he has is worth more than he thinks.
Remember, George: No man is a failure who has friends.
2. Love Actually
Such a happy endings movie – there’s not just one, but at least half a dozen! Colin Firth and Hugh Grant play cute, awkward characters, there’s a hilarious bit about an aging pop star recording a Christmas single, and Emma Thompson steals the show with her strong performance. Watch out for the portrayal of Americans. And along that vein, here’s a different (and interesting) take on the movie. She’s spot-on about the airport.
Love actually is, all around.
3. The Holiday
Even better than Love Actually, this one, with Kate Winslet (amazing), Jude Law, Jack Black (fantastic), and Cameron Diaz (ignore her, focus on Jude Law), is a great one for nervous travelers about to get away/visit family for the holidays. Winslet, trying to get over a (insert strong language equivalent of “jerk” here), and Diaz, taking a step back from romance (or so she thinks) swap their houses in Surrey and LA. Hijinks and laughter and love follow.
A woman should be the heroine of her own life!
4. White Christmas
Hello, classic musical! Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby are showmen and WWII veterans who do meet two traveling and singing sisters (one of whom is Rosemary Clooney!). Sparks fly as they set up a holiday show for their old commander, who is down in the dumps.
We came up here for the snow. Where’re you keepin’ it?
5. Home Alone
Honestly, I haven’t seen this one in ages. But I loved it as a kid, and I’m going to watch it again to see if I still love it. The title says it all, if you haven’t seen it already – Macauley Culkin plays a young boy left at home for the holidays. To make it interesting, thieves try to rob the house.
This is my house, I have to defend it.
6. A Christmas Story
Not one I watch a lot, this is a hilarious film about a man’s memories of his childhood Christmases. Classic scenes include the triple-dog-dare to touch his tongue to a frozen pole (I always cringe), the breaking of the leg lamp, and the boy’s vengeful beating of the school bully.
Sometimes, at the height of our revelries, when our joy is at it’s zenith, when all is most right with the world, the most unthinkable disasters decend upon us.
7. A Christmas Carol
Whatever version you watch, this is a classic Christmas story by Charles Dickens. Scrooge gets compassion scared into him by three ghosts.
There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.
Bonus Round: Die Hard
I forgot Die Hard! Probably because I don’t own it and it’s not on Netflix streaming (c’MON, Netflix!). But some day, I am going to watch this during the holiday season. And maybe Die Hard 2, and doesn’t Die Hard With a Vengeance take place on Christmas, too? Sounds like a great holiday marathon to me!
What are your favorite holiday movies?