Can't Miss Christmas Movie List

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The season is here and according to the length of my can't-miss-must-watch-every-year-christmas-movies list I need to get started watching some holiday movies asap. I have been known to watch a few of these more than once (of four times) during the holiday season. A couple of these movies I remember from when they were on my grandparents must-watch-every-year list, some are ones that I have grown up with, some have made it to my movie tradition list by having a default setting of being a serious creature of habit and a love of recreating experiences over and over. I have to admit I have a sort of order that I like to watch them and I reserve one solely for Christmas eve night.

Die Hard, Bruce Willis, Professor Severus Snape and the dad from Family Matters at their best. This is the one I like to kick off the season with, you know get your toes wet before you jump in the pool.

Gremlins, oh, Gizmo, you are the cutest thing on the planet and I still ask santa for you every year. I have always enjoyed a little campy goodness, and this, is just that at its best. But I actually really love this movie. I first saw it when I was about 8 years old and when little gizmo says "bye billy" at the end I still can't help but cry a little bit and yell "don't let him go Billy, you dummy, stop them!!" The 8 year old girl in me still believes the ending will somehow change each time I see it and Gizmo and Billy will never part (and never go near water ever again).

If you actually watch It's a Wonderful Life from start to finish you see a few things: Jimmy Stewart is a most excellent actor, the writing is witty and cheeky and moving and dark and reflective and phenomenal. Each year that I actually commit to setting down and watching this movie in its entirety, and not half watching while multi-tasking, I cry like a little tiny baby at the end.

Elf happens to be one movie that I can watch over and over and over - like back to back over. I laugh at the same things with equal gusto and it never gets old to me. Normally, I literally can't remember what happened in a movie five minutes after it's over and still I rarely will re-watch a movie, But Elf? Bring. It. On. I don't understand how this movie never gets old to me but it doesn't and I feel no shame. None. I might feel slightly ashamed to admit that I have been known to get choked up in this one too. 

A couple years ago I took my Fisher to see the play version of A Christmas StoryI wasn't sure what to expect as I love this movie so much but in the end I wish I could make that a yearly tradition too (in addition to the 24 hour marathon on cable of course). You can't not love this movie.

Christmas Vacation: I watch this every year while wrapping presents it's imprinted on my memory to this exactly the same every year and I can't help it, which is fine by me because I love this one too.

 The Family Stone: Honestly, I love this movie and watch it every year, maybe twice. Last year I bought  a copy because the year before, though I searched daily, I couldn't find it on tv and it was then I realized it had made it to my must-watch list. It has Clare Danes and Diane Keaton and Luke Wilson and the guy from Coach! And, yep, this one makes me cry too. 

Love Actually: Well. Of course this is on my list.

This is the grande finale that I wait until Christmas eve night to enjoy, after I put out all the gifts and the cookies and I have a fire going and a cozy blanket; that's when I pop in A Christmas Carol (with Alastair Sim). It has to be the 1951 version with Alastair Sim because it's by far the best. It's also hard to find so my back up happens to be Mickey's Christmas Carol - don't judge. This is my favorite Christmas movie, in fact, it is one of my favorite books and stories ever told (i also try to read the book in december too). The regret, redemption, self-reflection, opening of the heart and mind, forgiveness, generosity, it moves me every single time.  It's beautiful and sweeping and I don't think any one thing expresses all the magic that Christmas can offer quite as this story does.

Honorable mentions:

Little WomenMy grandmother always watched this during the holidays and if I see it on I watch it too, of course I love the old version with Katharine Hepburn, probably because it was my grandmothers favorite one.

Frozen River: definitely not a christmasy movie, but it's so good and I love Milissa Leo. I also have some weird issue where I just can't watch any movies where the setting is at christmastime at any other time of the year but christmas, so if I want to re-watch this one, it's got to be in December. 

Joyeux Noel:  When I can settle down enough during this busy month to read subtitles and force myself to not multi-task this is first on my list. 

What are your favorites? 

26 comments:

  1. (wrote my whole damn comment and then hit "sign out" instead of "publish." is it going to be one of *those* days?)

    BUT. Squeeeee! Elf! We're watching it this weekend!! I can't wait. Can NOT wait! I love that movie. And now I'll prepare myself for you and Erin to throw things at me, but I've never (actually) seen Love Actually. I know, I know. Whose sofa are we snuggling up on to watch? I'll bring the homemade chex mix!

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    1. ugh, i have done that before. change is bad ;), and they changed the comment section and i just can't get used it.

      well, i am glad that you love Elf too. i think i may have ruined it for fisher because as soon as the holidays start he bemoans ... here we go, you are going to watch elf a hundred times. but you know, he watches at least half that many times with me. and, really, love actually isn't my favorite, but it's good. it would definitely top my list though if we could all snuggle and watch it together! xo

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  2. everyone in my office looooves love actually and for me, it doesn't do much. however, i absolutely adore the family stone! that is the grown up christmas movie that i've always dreamed of. i wish there were more like it around. i do love the younger audience movies like a christmas story (my moms favorite) and nightmare before christmas (i love tim burton) but the family stone is one that i could watch twice a year during the holidays too :) do you know of any other movies that are similar in the "grown up" category and emotional and sentimental like the family stone? it's a wonderful life might come close, but it definitely feels more "classic" to me :)

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    1. i agree - see above comment. i usually watch it with some intent every other year, other than that it's a good one to have on whilst doing other christmassy things.

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  3. Yes yes yes yes yes! Love this round up. Love Actually is one of the greatest movies ever made, not just in the Christmas category, but of course it's even more perfect at this time of year. My best friend and I have been texting each other single lines at random from the movie for weeks haha. "Eight is a lot of legs, David." I've never seen Gremlins! And I only saw A Christmas Story a few years ago when J, appalled I'd never watched it growing up, made me watch it with him. I love it! I'd add Home Alone to this list, for sure though :) xo

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    1. last night i was laying in bed and i was like HOME ALONE! i should have put it on here, but you know i actually like home alone 2 better. i like the whole christmas in NY theme - in fact i just bought that one at target last weekend for 5 bucks. xo

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    2. Oh Home Alone 2 is WAY better! That house his family owns? That giant 5 story brownstone?? Even as a kid I knew that was a gorgeous piece of real estate (and I used to day dream about what it looked like when it was all cleaned up and renovated...) xo

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  4. I love love love Love Actually. I even watch it during the year. it's one of my all-time favourites. the scene at the airport at the end. or Hugh dancing through Downing Street.... it's all just perfect. most of my other favourte xmas movies are old German or Czech movies. a little harder to see outside of Germany... which is too bad... xoxo

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    1. i love foreign films best, it is difficult to find christmas ones though, and like i said, i usually have them on in the background while i do projects and such - and unfortunately i am your typical american and know only english, so i have to be prepared to read subtitles any time i watch a foreign flick, this doesn't always work during the holidays. but if you have any suggestions i am all ears! xo

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  5. I had to smile when I opened your blog, because I have just finished writing my blog post for tomorrow which has the same theme. :) And I have to be honest and say that I was going to say something nasty about Love Actually (because it's too sentimenatl for my taste and because it simply seems to pop up on every Christmas movie list made by persons who I don't think they have watched any classic film, which of course I know it's not your case, that's why I'm being open about, I know you are a film buff), but now I don't think I will. xo

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    1. ha, well notice the title, this post certainly isn't called the best holiday films ever made. this is all sentimental and habitual in nature. though i do think if i were making that list the alistair sim version of "a christmas carol" (originally called "scrooge") would be on the top of that list for me. xo

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  6. This is the best list of Christmas movies yet! :)

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  7. When I first looked at the photos I thought that the Family Stone was a middle finger not the pointer lol. I like your grown up list of Christmas movies but for some reason around the holidays I love watching the stupid cartoon Christmas shows like Rudolf, Frosty the Snowman and Snoopy. Have you started decorating yet? i was really tempted to buy can of fake snow at the store today. :)

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  8. I just love this round up of holiday movies and love so many of these: Elf, Wonderful Life, Love Actually and will watch all of them multiple times whenever I see them. How is it that I've never heard of The Family Stone!!? I am going to track that down for sure, it sound like something I will love! I adore that you have Little Women on the honorable mention list, I think it's time to revisit that one. And Frozen River, another one I haven't seen! {I also have a soft spot for Frosty the Snowman}.

    xo Mary Jo

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  9. You know why you're the best? Because you have Die Hard on your list. A girl after my own heart

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  10. This is a great list, I'm so happy Die Hard is on your favourites list too. You can't beat a story about a man just trying to get home to his family! Plus it's got so many classic, snappy lines.

    I think the only movie on this list I am not into is The Christmas Story, the only time I've ever watched it was when I was at this party with an ex boyfriend I'd rather not remember and it was playing in the background, I'm afraid it's ruined that movie for good.
    Cheers.

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  11. This list is great!. I think we're gonna need to work our way through this as a family starting tonight.

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