Just 5 Things… Christmas Movies

Oh, how I love Christmas movies. It’s the one time of year that I love to turn on the TV and catch whatever holiday special is on. I love the old, I love the new. I put on a DVD when I’m decorating the tree just to get me in the spirit.

And now, for the first time ever, I will reveal my top 5 favorite Christmas movies of all time. Keep in mind that I use the term “movie” loosely here. It refers to whatever Christmas-type program I can actually purchase or download for viewing on my very own telly.

I expect this to be a hotly debated topic, so here goes…

1. It’s a Wonderful Life

Oh, you knew that was coming, right? Did you know it would be my number one pick? I love, love, love this movie. I watch it every year. I cry every year. I say the same lines over and over again. I can tell you about ZuZu’s petals, Mr. Gower the pharmacist, Burt the policeman, Mr. Potter, Uncle Billy, Clarence the angel, and of course George Bailey himself.

Can you finish these lines?

“Teacher says, everytime a bell rings…”

“I’m saving up my money for a DEE-vorce…”

“Every man on that transport died…”

“George, why must you torture…”

“You see, George, you really did have…”

If you can finish those lines, you are truly a mega-fan like me. Come on over. We’ll drink warm apple cider, eat popcorn, and recite all the lines together.

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

I love Chevy Chase. Mostly.

I love the Fletch movies. LOVE them. And I love Vacation. And Christmas Vacation. We could have stopped there. European Vacation and Vegas Vacation were just a waste of talent.

But how can you not love Clark Griswold? Every time I talk about Christmas lights with someone, I refer to two different styles: Martha Stewart (you know, elegant wreaths and bows with glistening white lights) and Clark Griswold (a haphazard attempt at colorful and entertaining Christmas decorations outside that blinds all nearby neighbors).

And what about cousin Eddie? Can’t you just picture the scene… Clark is sitting around the dinner table with his family on Christmas Eve, describing to the children that Santa’s sleigh has been spotted in the sky. Eddie turns and says “Are you serious, Clark?” It’s a line we’ve used over and over again in my family just for general entertainment purposes. Funny, not stupid. Heart-warming, but not sappy. I love this movie.

3. A Christmas Story

I don’t know if it’s because I lived in Cleveland for many years where the movie was filmed, but I relive the 1940s every time I watch this movie. I’m almost embarrassed to say that this, too, is another movie where I could probably recite every single line.

I think I love the fact that it’s a quirky, fallible family. One that I could have easily been a part of. I remember my mother cooking a turkey upside down and the legs falling off. We could have been that family that ends up at a Chinese restaurant if only my mother had liked Chinese food.

Some of my favorite parts? The “Major Award” of a fra-gee-lay (“must be Italian”) leg lamp. The changing of the flat tire where Ralphie drops the hubcap full of screws and yells “FUUUUDGE.” Only he didn’t say fudge. And of course, the ending. Where he does actually shoot his eye out. Kind of (I don’t want to ruin it for you if you haven’t see the 24 hour marathon on TBS on Christmas Day).

4. A Charlie Brown Christmas

I actually have all of the figures from this little special and set them up every year. Charlie Brown, Linus, Sally, and the sad little Christmas tree.

Charlie Brown always tried. He tried. And I always thought the other kids were mean to him. So I have always held a soft spot in my heart for Charlie Brown. I can totally see myself picking out a sad scrap of a Christmas tree because I felt sorry for it and thought nobody else would ever buy it.

But mostly I love this one because it’s all about the true meaning of Christmas, in a quiet and unassuming way.

5. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

Hold on. Let me be clear about this one.

I like Jim Carrey. He makes me laugh, most of the time. So it’s nothing personal. But there is absolutely no reason that “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” should have been made into a real movie.

I’m talking about the original Dr. Seuss cartoon version. That’s the Grinch I know and love. That’s where I can hear Thurl Ravenscroft sing that lovable Grinch song throughout the show. (Did you know he was also the voice of Tony the Tiger?)

Seeing the Grinch’s transition: the smile on his face, the blue in his eyes, his heart growing 3 times that day makes me feel so happy. And to this day, my older brother is still unable to say roast beef. He insists on calling it “roast beast.”


There’s my top five. What about you? New classics I should add to my list?
Old classics I missed? Tell me, tell me, tell me quick.

  • http://twitter.com/dutchbeingme Julie

    Oh… all good ones! But you should have expanded and made it 6!!! You missed ELF! :)

  • http://amberherself.wordpress.com/ amberherself

    I grew up watching The Santa Clause with Tim Allen :) Love that movie.

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  • Nichole

    I was with you until Charlie Brown. I don’t like the Peanuts at all. My favorite newish Christmas movie is “elf.”

  • http://twitter.com/nlj Nathania Johnson

    As others have said, Elf is a good one. I also love Fred Claus.

    Love Actually takes place around Christmastime and is a fun chick flick.

    A personal favorite classic movie is The Shop Around the Corner, which was remade as You’ve Got Mail, though the remake is not a Christmas movie.

    The Polar Express is stunning.

    Ultimately, my favorite Christmas movie of all time is probably White Christmas.

  • http://mommythisandthat.com Melisa

    Elf, as everyone has mentioned is definitely a new fave of mine. I agree with your list, never missing the Peanuts gang. Snoopy is my absolute fave!

    I see someone mentioned Love Actually and I agree with that one as well. It’s not a Christmas movie but takes place during the holidays and really is a good all around flick!

  • http://www.letsbegreentogether.com/ Cathy Let’s Be Green Together

    Okay, my husband loves It’s a Wonderful Life and always takes about it, but I NEVER seen it. I know, I know, you are now pelting me lumps of coal. Will definitely watch this year…..since it’s on YOUR list and all. Now number 2, though……we’ve already watched it once and plan to more. A favorite of ours, though, that didn’t make your list is Home Alone!

  • http://www.thejammiegirl.com Thejammiegirl

    My all-time favorite is “Pinky and The Brain Christmas” – it’s twisted and wonderful :)

  • SaucyB

    I’ve been head over heels for these shows since I was a kid. Just earlier this week I had Xmas Vacation going in the background while I decorated the tree. It is SO quotable. We’ve already watched Elf twice. That’s become very quotable in our family too. As for the classics, the season wouldn’t be complete without Charlie Brown.

  • http://twitter.com/deirdrereid Deirdre Reid, CAE

    My favorite is White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. When I lived in VA, I watched it with my girlfriends and pretend nieces on Thanksgiving night and we’d all sing along to it. I also love Scrooged with Bill Murray, actually any variation on the Christmas Carol but that one’s a winner.

  • Anonymous

    ELF should be on this list. It is the best movie ever!

  • Suzanne

    I could finish all your “Wonderful” quotes as I am definitely a mega fan as well. We should definitely “STOP” the car, take “45 minutes all to ourselves”, and enjoy some hot cider and popcorn! The quotes are from the two classics that didn’t make your list that would definitely make mine.

  • Coma Girl

    I’m with Julie – I love Elf!

  • http://twitter.com/amyeover Amy Oversmith

    I know the endings to all your IAWL quotes. Join with me as I shout, “I wish I had a million dollars… Hot dog!”

  • http://twitter.com/alexcampbell11 Alexandria Campbell

    im not a big fan of christmas movies but my favorites would have to be.
    1. ELF! 2. national lampoons christmas. 3. home alone 1 & 2

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I’m obviously the most low brow poster on here, because I really love “Bad Santa.” It’s so foul, but I love it. “Love Actually” is my favorite “feel good” holiday movie.