An Advent Calendar of Christmas Movies

Advent! What does it mean? I don’t know! Here is a list of Christmas movies!

Yippe Kai YayOne year, in my usual burst of holiday glee, I Netflixed every Christmas movie I could think of, and the result was that I watched all the traditional favorites (you know, A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, etc.), and it didn’t really resonate for me. I’d seen them so often they no longer brought back any memories. So I dug a little deeper and came up with some movies that, while not being Christmas-themed, per se, are set in or around Christmas. Jackpot! Turns out, when Little Susan had her nose pressed against the window staring outside for some glimpse of Rudolph’s nose, she was subconsciously absorbing the fact that Die Hard was blaring in the background. “Yippee-ki-yay, Rudolph!” I lisped on my mother’s knee as we set aside some cookies for Santa. “Yippee-ki-yay and to all a good night!”

So here is my list of 25 movies to get you through the Christmas season if you find yourself chasing the nostalgia dragon and coming up short. You might find some memories here you didn’t know you had, or you might just want to queue one of these just to find out what the fish everyone’s been talking about for so many years. Many of these aren’t technically in the holiday genre, but they tend to get you in the spirit anyway, whether it be a jingly score, a wintry feel, or a makeshift Christmas in a POW camp that’ll really make you appreciate the nice slippers you’re wearing while you watch.

  1. Die Hard (might as well start off with a bang)
  2. Edward Scissorhands
  3. Jack Frost the 1998 family film (Tagline: Jack Frost is getting a second chance to be the world’s coolest dad… if he doesn’t melt first.)
  4. Jack Frost the 1996 horror film (Tagline: He’s chillin’…and killin’.) (I confess I have no memories associated with either of these films, but I plan to starting this year. They have the same premise, basically. A dad/serial killer turns into a snowman to learn some things about fatherhood/kill.)
  5. Parenthood
  6. Gremlins
  7. Miracle on 34th Street (the original)
  8. Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone (rediscover the magic! In my recollection, HBO was destroying this movie by playing it every second one Christmas, and the John Williams score is vaguely festive. Plus, of course, Hogwarts really knows how to decorate for the holidays.)
  9. Batman Returns (the holiday Batman!)
  10. Little Women
  11. Scrooged
  12. The George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol
  13. Stalag 17 (I can’t recommend this movie enough. It’s William Holden being all sexy as a prisoner of war in Germany. Also, Christmas happens.)
  14. Back to the Future
  15. Uncle Buck
  16. The Nightmare Before Christmas (that’s three for Tim Burton)
  17. Home Alone
  18. White Christmas (not a Nazi propaganda movie, but a classic starring Bing Crosby that gets overlooked too often)
  19. Bridget Jones’s Diary
  20. I’d say A Claymation Christmas Celebration if I thought you’d be able to find it, but I don’t. So The Muppet Christmas Carol it is.
  21. The Year Without a Santa Claus (in my humble opinion, the best of those weird Christmas specials with the jerky, animated reindeer)
  22. Hook!!!
  23. Take a night off and watch Hairspray or something before the big night.
  24. Love Actually. Ha, JK. A Charlie Brown Christmas followed by Die Hard again, of course.

Missing: The Ref which is obviously the best Christmas movie of all time. Dennis Leary! Kevin Spacey! Cat burgling! — Ed.

Interesting note: I stumbled upon this. Is it called Christmas Evil or You Better Watch Out? Should I watch it? DO I DARE?

So homebodies of the world, unite, and stay in this Christmas to peruse these old (and maybe new) favorites. It might be a little rough riding for some of these, but stick with them and I just bet your heart will grow three sizes. (Come on, every time someone uses that joke, an angel gets their wings!)

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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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