Need some help getting into the holiday spirit? This list of flicks, ranging from classic and nostalgic to just plain fun, will help you go from “bah, humbug!” to singing carols under your breath:
1. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
George Seaton‘s Miracle on 34th Street is a great way to get the good vibes flowing. In the above clip Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) declares, “Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind… ” He’s actually talking to his lawyer, Fred Gailey (John Payne), who’s been retained to help Mr. Kringle (yes, as in Santa Claus) prove in court that he is the one and only. Does Gailey pull it off? We wouldn’t dream of ruining it for you, even if this particular spoiler is 70 years old. You’ll need to watch — or re-watch — for yourself, which you can do so over at Amazon Video. If you prefer a more modern take, there’s also the 1994 version, starring Richard Attenborough in the lead role, available via Netflix.
2. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Apparently, Charlie Brown didn’t get the “34th Street” memo, because he is having trouble remembering what Christmas means. Thankfully, he has the Peanut Gallery to help him figure it out, which he does in Charles M. Schulz‘s A Charlie Brown Christmas. This is kind of perfect for those of us who may not have that everything in place, sit-down Rockefeller-style celebration. Remember, there is no correct way to do Christmas! If you need that little reminder, you can find Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Sally, Pig-Pen and the rest of the gang over at Amazon.
3. The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
You’ve made it this far down the list, so by now you’re hopefully warmed up and ready to embrace the full force of Christmas. And how better to do this than with the Star Wars Holiday Special? In it, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is working to get his bestie, Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), home for the holidays. They have quite a trek in front of them and need to implement light speed to get to Chewie’s home world. You can also look for other familiar faces, like the late Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. Unfortunately, the made-for-TV film isn’t as readily available as some of the others on this list. In fact, it only aired once in 1978. So, you’ll likely have to make do with the short clip above. But that’s what Christmas is about, right? Enjoying the little things in life!
4. Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)
Before a certain 2003 hit Christmas flick that would forever make Will Ferrell number one elf, there was this movie starring Dudley Moore in the Santa’s little helper role. And, he’s not too keen on corporate America making a dime off gift production. Patch (Moore) and his fellow elves, and of course their leader, Santa, corner that market! The big bad meanie CEO-type guy is played by John Lithgow, and we have to admit, he’s pretty scary when shouting, “Santa Claus… is finished!” For someone to go up against Santa, that takes some almighty jingle bells… Do you think the magic of Christmas will conquer greed? You can find Santa Claus: The Movie over at iTunes.
5. A Christmas Carol (1999)
You know Charles Dickens‘ classic tale, but have you seen the Patrick Stewart version? If not, it is indeed a treat. Stewart takes on the role of Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge, and he is not in the mood for the holidays at all. It’s hard to imagine Stewart as such a grump, but here he is at his finest, exploring Christmas past, present and yet-to-come with three ghosts. You can also look for other familiar faces, like Richard E. Grant as Bob Cratchit and Dominic West as Scrooge’s nephew. Will this retelling of Dickens’ story end the same as the 1951 adaptation? You’ll have to watch and find out.
6. Love Actually (2003)
Yep, yep, Love Actually made this list… are you that surprised? And, it’s kind of perfect for those who are working right up until the holidaze. Hugh Grant takes on the role of Prime Minister of Great Britain, so he never really gets the day off. Laura Linney‘s character throws herself into work, but that might be because of a certain handsome colleague. Colin Firth‘s character may not be in an office, but he’s working on a novel from his French cottage (must be nice!). When he returns to his family’s home for Christmas, he’s greeted by cheers, but then he has a change of heart and leaves straight away, with one of his niece’s exclaiming after him, “I hate Uncle Jamie.” Eh, at least he left the pressies. You may already have the DVD for Love Actually on your shelf of favorites, if not, it’s available for streaming at Netflix.
7. The Holiday (2006)
Brit Iris Simpkins (Kat Winslet) and Californian Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) are fed up with the men in their lives and need a break from reality. The two find each other on a house-swap website and exchange homes, cars and even the people in their lives (unintentionally) over Christmas. While it’s nice to be around new people and feel appreciated, the characters’ own problems cannot simply be swapped out. You may be spending the holidays at home, but with this movie you can enjoy some arm chair travel and escapism. The Holiday can be found via Hulu.
8. The Dog Who Saved Christmas (2009)
For the ultimate feel good factor, we give you a blonde Labrador retriever named Zeus. He’s not much of a guard dog, but as the title of the film suggests, he saves Christmas for the Bannister family! Gary Valentine and Elisa Donovan star as Mr. and Mrs. Bannister. Amazon Video has this pick-me-up “in stock” for streaming!
9. Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger! (2012)
And now for the tale of an underdog. David Tennant (Doctor Who) stars in Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger!, the sequel to Nativity! (2009) starring Martin Freeman. Tennant plays teacher Mr. Peterson who, along with his class, goes up against his golden boy twin brother (also played by Tennant) in the primary school ‘Song for Christmas’ competition. At least Mr. Peterson has his lovely wife, played by Gavin and Stacey’s Joanna Page, in his corner. As well, the delightful and hilarious Marc Wooton (Nativity) makes his return as the good-hearted but sometimes menacing teaching assistant Mr. Poppy. This movie has cute kids, singing and David Tennant. You can catch up with this lot over at Netflix.
10. Paddington 2 (2018)
And, finally, if you’re really just not feeling the holidays, and plan to wait them out tucked under the covers, then maybe we should fast forward to the New Year, where we’ll be greeted by our favorite Peruvian bear, Paddington. It’s been three years since we’ve seen him, so it will be nice to catch up with this ol’ friend. It’s not necessarily a festive film in the traditional sense, but it’s definitely full of cheer. Paddington is on a mission to get a job. He wants to help pull his weight at his adopted home with the Browns. Paddington 2 hits theaters on January 12.
Where is your holiday mood landing at this point on a scale of Miracle on 34th Street to… let’s just get to next year?Read More