For many people, Christmas means curling up under a warm blanket and re-watching those seasonal staple films that make their way onto television each year. If you’re looking for a little nostalgia trip, or if you want to sit down and finally watch that one Christmas movie that’s eluded you all of these years, check out these holiday favourites.
Year after year, Charlie Brown Christmas finds its way onto our television sets, and along with Charlie Brown, viewers think about what Christmas really means to them. With a short run-time of only 25 minutes, this classic can fit into just about any busy holiday schedule.
The 1960s were a golden age of stop-motion animation, and Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer was, for many, the pinnacle of this style. Surprisingly anti-consumerist in its message, this movie will have you calling into question all of your holiday tropes. Can elves be dentists? Can snow-monsters feel holiday cheer? What do we lose out on by distancing ourselves from the misfits of society?
One of the first truly classic Christmas movies, It’s a Wonderful Life shows us that each of our actions have consequences, even if we don’t notice them. Those who can get over the black-and-white style in this pre-technicolour film might find themselves reflecting on how their own actions in the previous year, both kind and unkind, have been silently shaping the lives of everyone around them.
Christmas is a time to be with family, but the McCalisters seem to have forgotten that as they accidently leave their youngest son, Kevin, home alone for the holidays. While fending off his house from Christmas bandits, Kevin comes to understand the true meaning of the holidays and the role of his family in his own life.
A modern classic, Elf tells the story of Buddy, a human who was raised by elves after crawling into Santa’s toy bag as a baby and being whisked away to the North Pole. It’s a unique premise to be sure, but the real story begins as Buddy tries to return to reality and to his real family. The human world isn’t quite as fun or festive as Buddy’s northern home, but that’s something that he hopes to change.
Die Hard has always been the source of a great debate. Is the adrenaline-fueled action movie truly a Christmas classic? The story takes place during the holidays, but apart from that, there aren’t many Christmas lessons to be learned. Despite this, the film finds itself on the televisions of many action-movie fanatics during every holiday season.
Like Die Hard, Trading Places takes place over Christmas, but the holiday spirit doesn’t run very deep throughout this festive comedy. A modern adaptation of The Pauper and the Prince, Trading Places shows us what thoughts and actions we’re capable of under the right circumstances. Despite being an adaptation, the film’s storyline is so creative in its depiction of the world of high finance that it even changed the laws that govern the American stock market.
This movie is best watched after the children go to bed. It’s crude, irreverent and hilarious. Mall Santa, Willie Stokes, is actually a thief disguised as the holiday icon. You might think this to be the perfect disguise for some holiday theft, but as Willie and his elf soon find out, nothing could be farther from the truth.
The Griswald family is forever in search of the perfect vacation, but it seems to elude them at every turn. This Christmas story of the famous vacationing family sees them hole up at home as they try to navigate the often-ridiculous nature of holiday traditions. Whatever familial dysfunction you face during your own holiday celebrations, it doesn’t hold a Christmas light to the holiday ineptitude of the Griswalds.
One of the only heart-warming stories to come out of the First World War was the now-famous Christmas truce of 1914. Soldiers from all sides of the conflict were said to have laid down their arms in order to come together in celebration of their common spiritual heritage. Historians are not in agreement as to whether this story holds any truth, but it has entered into part of our culture as proof of human decency in the face of the overwhelming horror of war.