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 my top 5 Christmas movies…
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. How the Grinch 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 “How the Grinch 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.