This article was originally published in the December 2015 issue of VRAI Magazine.
Some holiday traditions involve activities like attending a concert or ballet. Some traditions involve baking or cooking. But one of my favorite traditions involves cozying up on the couch and popping in one of my must-see Christmas movies.
There are 4 movies that I simply cannot go without watching during the holiday season. Each holds a special significance and reminds me of Christmases past. I don’t have to watch them in a certain order, but I cannot let the season go by without watching each of them at least once (or two or three times…). Some are funny, some are sweet and nostalgic. But all are classics in my mind, and for good reason!
So, without further ado, here is my list of must-see Christmas movies:
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Though this movie debuted when I was 5 years old, I didn’t see it for the first time until I was in middle school or junior high. Little did I know that knowing this movie by heart is practically a rite of passage in my husband’s family, a true cult classic if there ever was one. We quote it year-round—you should hear us on our annual trip to pick out our Christmas trees together!—and one of my husband’s cousins even showed up to Christmas dinner dressed with a striking resemblance to Cousin Eddie. We are even the proud owners of our own set of moose mugs:
The Muppet Christmas Carol
This is the classic telling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but with a Muppet twist. This movie quickly became a family favorite when I was kid, and I remember several Christmas Eve nights spent cozied up in our pajamas, tree lit, watching this movie before going to bed. It is equal parts funny and heart-warming, with some classic Muppet musical numbers thrown in. So really, you can’t go wrong!
I was lucky that the single-screen theater in my tiny college town was showing Elf when it came out in 2003 (it usually took weeks for them to run the latest movies). I’m pretty sure my friends and I saw it more than once—because what else are you going to do when you live in a town that’s sandwiched between corn fields?—and laughed harder each time. One of these years, I’m going to decorate my home for Christmas the same way that Buddy decorates Gimbels the night before Santa’s arrival.
Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
I’ve always loved musicals, so a Christmas movie that’s also a musical = perfection in my book. I love the story line, the characters, and the songs. And I know I’ll never make it through the last scene without tearing up. Last year, I even created little wintery jars as a holiday homage to this movie. It’s just not the Christmas season until I’ve watched White Christmas. And my pup doesn’t mind either!
Which holiday movies are on your must-see list?