I am a big sap for holiday movies. I watch my favorites every year, and rush out to my neighborhood movie theater every December to take in whatever magical experience Hollywood is hawking that season. I laugh, I cry, I believe in Santa Clause. Laugh at me if you will. (You wouldn't be the first.)
So in the spirit of the holiday season, I present to you my favorite all-time Christmas movies.
This is my favorite. Yes, I know it's everybody's favorite. (Although Love Actually is a very close second for me.) I actually wore a hole in my VHS copy of Frank Capra's classic story about what our lives mean to the people around us. I have been known to sing "Buffalo gal won't you come out tonight...and dance by the light of the moon..." for weeks after watching this movie, much to the dismay of my husband who does not enjoy off-key singing as much as one might think.
This film has a fantastic cast (Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth and many more) and something like six interwoven storylines. It sounds like a lot, but it works. From the washed-out rock star hoping for one more hit, to the mystery writer who falls in love with a woman who doesn't speak his language, to the widower who helps his stepson win the heart of a classmate, this movie is so charming and relatable, it's hard not to be a believer.
This was remade as You've Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, but in my opinion, the original is wayyy better. James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan are charming and absolutely perfect together as a couple who hate each other on sight, and carry a torch for their respective pen pals. (Who are, of course, each other.) The rest, as they say, is movie magic.
Kevinnnnnnn! After Kevin's gigantic family leaves him home alone on Christmas, he is left to fend for himself against two burglars working the neighborhood. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are spectacular as the hapless crooks, and Macaulay Culkin is about as charming as a kid can get. My kids LOOOOVE this movie, and every year they fantasize about how they might take out a neighborhood bad guy using only the contents of the refrigerator and their toy boxes.
This is actually one of my favorite Bill Murray movies. He is perfect and utterly hilarious as a network honcho who finds himself visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Present, Past & Future. The thing I love about this movie is that even though there are dozens of sight gags and golfball to the crotch type moments, the film has heart. I cry every time they start singing "Put a Little Love in Your Heart." Yes, I'm a big sap. I'm aware of this.
This is not as well-known as the other films on my list, but it's still one of our family's favorites. Thanks to an ill-timed snow storm, a bunch of kids traveling alone find themselves stranded in an airport with a cranky airport manager (Lewis Black) who would rather be on vacation.
Christmas AND Sandra Bullock? What's not to love? I'm crazy about this story about an orphaned MTA worker who saves the life of a man she has a crush on, and then finds herself pretending to be his fiancee. While the would-be fiancee naps away in a coma, Sandra spends the holidays as the newest member of the Callaghan family -- played to perfection by a hilarious and charming group of character actors. (These mashed potatoes are so creamy!) While fake fiancee Peter is sleeping, Bullock's character develops a crush on his brother Jack. Hmm, what to do, what to do?
I was planning to call this post "best holiday movies ever" when I realized, I don't have one single Hanukkah or Kwanzaa movie in the bunch. And it's not that I had any that didn't make the list...I couldn't think of a single one. So I ask you, dear readers, to please help me fill in the list. What have I missed?
And what are your favorite holiday films?