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A ranking of my favourite holiday films

10 movies to watch this December

The holiday season is a magical time filled with warmth and joy, and it’s also the perfect excuse to indulge in some heartwarming movies. As a holiday movie lover, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite holiday films to help you navigate the cinematic wonders that capture the spirit of this festive time of year.

1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

This movie is undoubtedly one of my favourite films every holiday season. I love how it differs from other holiday movies in that it is not a picturesque depiction of the holiday but rather a realistic one. The film features scenes of family frustration, quarrels with festive lights and financial fiascos. The movie reminds us that no one’s Christmas is perfect. Still, if you have love, that is all that matters at the end of the day. Featuring Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo, this movie is perfect for unwinding with a comedy classic after the inevitable holiday frustrations.

2. Home Alone (1990)

Filled with slapstick humor and heart, Macaulay Culkin’s portrayal of Kevin McCallister is iconic. When Kevin is accidentally left behind during a family Christmas vacation, hilarity ensues. The ingenious traps set out for the burglars planning to rob Kevin’s family home over the holiday provide endless laughs, making this movie a holiday classic that never gets old.

3. The Polar Express (2004)

Based on the beloved children’s book, The Polar Express is an enchanting animated film that tells a story about the magic of believing. This movie transports me back to a time when I truly believed in Santa Claus and his elves, and, for one hour and 40 minutes, I can feel that nostalgic magic.

Tom Hanks, the voice of several characters in this movie, adds charm to this visually captivating adventure that captures the spirit of Christmas.

4. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Frank Capra’s timeless classic holds a special place in my heart. Jimmy Stewart delivers a memorable performance as George Bailey, a man on the brink of despair who learns the true meaning of life and love. If you’re looking for a transformational movie with an uplifting message and ending, this movie is a must-watch this holiday season.

5. Elf (2003)

Will Ferrell’s comic genius shines in Elf as a modern Christmas classic perfectly combining humor and heart. The main character, Buddy, a human raised by elves at the North Pole, brings infectious joy to the screen. If you need to embrace your inner child and boost Christmas cheer, this film will invoke just that.

6. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

This animated classic, featuring the beloved Peanuts gang, reminds us of the simple joys of the holiday season. Charlie Brown’s quest for the true meaning of Christmas, combined with Vince Guaraldi’s iconic soundtrack, creates a timeless and heartwarming experience for viewers of all ages.

7. The Holiday (2006)

This romantic comedy starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet follows two women who swap homes for the holidays and find love in unexpected places. The Holiday combines humour, romance and a dash of Christmas magic to create a delightful film, perfect for a night in. If you appreciate a cozy holiday rom-com, you should make this move a priority this holiday season.

8. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Edmund Gwenn’s portrayal of Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street is magical. The film captures the spirit of goodwill and the importance of maintaining a childlike belief in the magic of Christmas. This film is a heartwarming classic that stands the test of time.

9. Die Hard (1988)

Is this a controversial inclusion? Perhaps. But Die Hard has earned its spot on this list by becoming a holiday tradition for many. Bruce Willis, in his role as NYPD officer John McClane,  fights off terrorists in a Los Angeles skyscraper during a Christmas party. This film is undoubtedly action-packed and full of memorable one-liners. If you are looking for a holiday movie but aren’t looking for something heartwarming or endearing, this one’s for you.

10. A Christmas Carol (1984)

Charles Dickens’s timeless tale receives a stellar adaptation in this 1984 version starring George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge. This film is all about the spirit of redemption and the power of compassion. If you want to witness a character’s profound transformation or inspire your own this season, this movie is a must-watch.

At the end of the day, the holiday season is all about spreading joy and spending time with those you love, and these holiday movies can help you do that. Whether you prefer a timeless classic or a more unconventional choice, there’s a holiday film for everyone to enjoy. So make some hot cocoa, cozy up by the fireplace and let the magic of these films add an extra dose of warmth to your holiday season.

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