I love watching Christmas movies on a cold, wet winter night. There’s something wonderful about getting dressed in the fleece pj’s with Snoopy slippers, making a hot cup of cocoa (Mannheim Steamroller Cinnamon Hot Chocolate-no sugar added), and enjoying one of my favorites.
It isn’t true that there are movies I can’t see too often. I loved The Christmas Story until I viewed it 5 or 6 times in a row when TBS had an all Christmas Story Christmas eve. I can only watch Ralphie shoot his BB gun, break his glasses, and concoct the falling icicle story so many times and the charm is gone.
I dole out movie watching time for my very biggest favorites, carefully rotating them in and out of the queue so the viewing experience stays fresh. Writing this tells me what a boring life I lead.
Here are the movies waiting for my attention.
10. Christmas Vacation (1987)—The Griswalds are my kind of dysfunctional family. The movie contains one of my favorite quotes:
“Clark, I think it’d be best if everyone went home… before things get worse.” (“WORSE? How could things get any worse? Take a look around here, Ellen. We’re at the threshold of hell“)
9. The Fourth Wiseman (1985)—The movie comes from Henry Van Dyke story, “The Other Wise Man.” Artaban, played by Martin Sheen, is the other wise man who wants to follow the star and plans to join the caravan of the three wise men with his gift of three precious jewels to give to the baby Messiah. Artaban and his servant Orontes, played by Alan Arkin, miss the caravan, but Artaban continues the search for his King, always one step behind. In the end, Artaban finds out he had the Messiah with him all along because he winds up spending his wealth helping others. Obvious? Predictable? I love obvious and predictable!
8. Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)—I didn’t like this movie the first time I saw it with Jack. The music seemed contrived, the characterization was weird and uncomfortable to me. The story grew on me since I got the opportunity to watch it many, many times with Jack who loved the story.
7. We’re No Angels (1955)—Four words: Humphrey Bogart, Peter Ustinov. How can any movie with those two men miss. There was a remake in the late 80’s with Sean Penn and Robert DeNiro. Skip that one and go for the original.
6. Die Hard (1985)—Bruce Willis, destructing a skyscraper and saving his wife from the evil-doers led by Severus Snape, a.k.a. Alan Rickman, is an action/love story hero in this Christmas movie. No, it isn’t a traditional holiday movie but it is fun.
5. White Christmas (1954)—I watched this for the first time with my parents. Probably numerous times. I particularly love the part when Danny Kaye feigns a broken leg to keep the General from listening to his favorite radio show. I still get teary when the General realizes that his troops are at his inn for a surprise reunion. It is sweet enough to give you sugar overload so one time every other Christmas season is my max for watching this favorite.
4. Best Christmas Pageant Ever (1983)—This movie is so cute. I hadn’t read the book before it showed up on TV and it took me by surprise. Years later, Jack played Ralph Herdman in a theater production at the Harbor Playhouse and I saw the play 4 or 5 times. It’s clever and funny. The Herdmans are real juvies with minimal saccharine.
2. Elf (2003)—I may have the minority opinion but I don’t think Will Ferrell can make a movie I don’t love. Really. Sillier the better. But this one was one I watched for the first time on the couch at home with my kids. It represents blankets, popcorn, and shared laughter.
1. The Muppet’s Christmas Carol (1992) —This might not make anyone else’s favorite movie list but it makes mine! Jack and I watched it and shouted favorite quotes like folks do who watch the Rocky Horror Show.
- “Light the lamp, not the rat, light the lamp, not the rat!!!”
- “Our assets are frozen!”
- “Mother told me not to eat singing vegetables.”
This is my favorite rendition of the Christmas Carol. All others, even the most distinguished ones, pale next to it.