We all grow up with certain family traditions and traditions tend to be more prominent around the holiday season. It has become a family tradition over the years for my mom and I to be responsible for putting up and decorating the Christmas tree. Time would be set aside on the weekend to take out and dust off boxes of ornaments from the closet and play Christmas music as the lights were strung and our favorite ornaments got a chance to be admired on the evergreen branches once again.
Once the tree was done and decorations were up, Christmas never really felt like Christmas until I dug out my favorite holiday movies and watched them again in anticipation for the arrival of Christmas Day, dreaming of all the cool and wonderful toys I’d get to unwrap and play. Being brushed with a burst of childhood nostalgia as Christmas is only a few days away, I compiled a list, in no particular order, of the Christmas movies I absolutely had to watch every holiday season. I may be a grown woman who hasn’t seen these movies in ages, but the ones on this list are very near and dear to my heart.
1. A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s impossible not to include this family classic when it comes to naming Christmas movies. Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts gang come to life as they prepare for Christmas, ponder the meaning behind the holiday, and convincing Charlie Brown he hasn’t completely ruined Christmas by buying the sad little tree that sags under the weight of a big, single red ball ornament. It’s a charming film that is both timeless as it is ageless. The movie is also hard to miss when it’s constantly being broadcast on network television year after year around the holiday season.
2. Home Alone & Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. I might be cheating by lumping these two films together, but these films starring a young Macaulay Culkin might as well be watched back-to-back. Both films happen around Christmastime and both starred Culkin. I’d say these two films are companion pieces. Although my memory on both films is very vague and fuzzy, I did remember loving both of them as a kid. I found the reactions the burglars had to Kevin’s booby traps to be funny in Home Alone and being a born and raised New Yorker, Home Alone 2 featured New York City at its finest during the holiday season. I also had fantasies of being able to stay at the swanky Plaza Hotel without really worrying about what a several night’s stay would cost me. And of course, Home Alone 2 had Tim Curry as the desk receptionist at the hotel. Enough said.
3. The Muppet Christmas Carol. I didn’t really watch too many of the Muppet movies that came out around the ’90s, but when I watched this film starring Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge, it instantly became one of my favorite movies growing up. I cannot begin to describe how many times I’ve watched this on repeat (and I wonder how I didn’t kill my VHS copy in the process). The movie was a fun and entertaining take on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with the Muppets. It had a lot of heart with humor in all the right places. And then there’s the music too. The songs were catchy and I easily sang along when there was a musical number. Considering a good actor like Michael Caine had to act alongside felt puppets, he held his own well with the likes of Kermit and Miss Piggy.
4. Frosty the Snowman. Just like A Charlie Brown Christmas, this is another holiday classic you’ll often find airing on network television around December. The old style animation still holds up just fine and it’s impossible not to wait until the end of the film to sing the Christmas song named after the title. It’s upbeat and leaves you with the warm and happy feelings of the holiday season. I always did think my snowman would come to life like Frosty did when I built one at my local park. How cool would that be to go on adventures with him and sing songs?
5. Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas. This film is pretty much considered Beauty and the Beast 2 except the setting for this movie takes place sometime between when Belle became Beast’s prisoner and before Belle and Beast truly started falling for one another. For a sort of sequel, I found something to love about it. The introduction of the ornaments, like Angelique, were a nice addition to the established supporting cast from the original film and this was another film where I loved the music. This was one of those rare times you actually had a new Christmas song that wasn’t the usual holiday classics that were either sung by the original artist or was a new rendition of the same song. As Long As There’s Christmas was the true gem in the film and one I couldn’t get out of my head for weeks after I first watched this movie. Such a good song.
I don’t know when it’ll be likely for me to go back and revisit these films from my past, but I hope when I do have kids someday I can introduce these films to them as part of a family Christmas tradition.
What are your favorite childhood Christmas movies? Share them with me in the comments section.