When you’re one of those people who start counting down to December 25 on January 2, making a top ten list of Christmas movies is a Herculean task. Nevertheless, after going back and forth with my Twitter friends over the past few weeks (“You’ve never seen WHAT?!”) I figured it was for the greater good.
So here, in no particular order, are my votes for the top 10 Christmas movies of all time. Or at least of my time. Please let me know what I’m missing out on. I’ve got room on the shelves!
1. A CHRISTMAS STORY
Why: Umm, electric sex gleaming in the window. You’ll shoot your eye out. Triple dog dare. Fra-geee-lay. Ohhhh fudge. Pink nightmare. The Bumpuses’ dogs. I could go on forever. Whether you grew up in 1940s Indiana or 1980s New York, this nostalgic look back at one little boy’s childhood resonates with everyone. Why else would TBS air it on a 24-hour loop on Christmas Eve?
2. LOVE ACTUALLY
Why: SO many studios have tried to pull off the ensemble cast epic story, but no one comes remotely close to “Love Actually.” It’s the one movie that gets played every year in my house without even the slightest complaint about stale old traditions. It is heart-warming, funny, sweet, and has great comedic timing. Honestly, the trailer doesn’t even come close to capturing how good this movie is. If you haven’t seen it, just buy it.
3. NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION
Why: Chevy Chase at his finest. Plus, let’s face it, there’s no such thing as a non-dysfunctional family. Embrace it, grab the popcorn, and be prepared to laugh your butt off.
4. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Why: I continue to be amazed by the number of people who have never seen this movie. In my opinion, if you live your entire life without seeing “It’s a Wonderful Life” at least one, you’ve missed out on one of the greatest films ever made. And there is probably a little Potter-sized hole in your heart because of it.
5. The Muppet Christmas Carol
Why: There are a million adaptations of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, so why the Muppets? Well, with the exception of one boring song between young Scrooge and Belle (which got cut from the theatrical film but unfortunately made it into the home video), it’s one of the most entertaining versions I’ve ever seen. Michael Caine is fantastic, as are Rizzo the Rat, Gonzo, and Kermit the Frog. And whoever decided to cast crotchety critics Statler and Waldorf as the Marley brothers is a genius!
Why: It’s the kind of movie you can just put on in the background (after watching it half a dozen times, of course) while decorating your tree. Is there anything funnier than a human being raised by Santa’s elves, then finding out why he’s five times larger than all his friends and being thrust into the whole confusing, “naughty” world of Manhattan? Well, yes. Making that human Will Ferrell.
7. WHITE CHRISTMAS
Why: Whether you despise old movies or are still clinging to your VCR, nothing says Christmas better than Bing Crosby. This musical (yes, it’s a musical too!) has been dear to my heart for more than two decades now, and I’ve only been alive for three.
8. DR. SUESS’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS
Why: Sorry, Jim Carey. Even with all that revolutionary makeup, the original 1966 animated film was just too priceless.
9. While You Were Sleeping
Why: Okay, okay. So this isn’t a traditional “Christmas movie.” But it is probably my very favorite romantic comedy ever, and it takes place at Christmas time. Sandra Bullock is as beyond adorable, and Bill Pullman is in his sexy years, so… don’t miss it.
Why: My hubby recently reacquainted me with this one, and it was a tough race between it and “Scrooge,” but it does offer something different. Namely, Bill Murray and that bad ass chick from “Indiana Jones.”
(Hey, whittling down to ten was tough!)
– Scrooge (1970 with Albert Finney. I still feel wrong not having this in the top 10, but I thought “Scrooged” would have a wider appeal. Plus, the trailer was pretty much nonexistent.)
– Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
– A Charlie Brown Christmas
– Mickey’s Christmas Carol
– The Nightmare Before Christmas (to be fair, it did make my Halloween list)
– Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
– Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
– Meet Me in St. Louis
– A Muppet Family Christmas (almost impossible to find, but well worth it if you can)
– Home Alone (yes, I did)
What will YOU be watching this Christmas? Tell me what I’m missing out on!