As soon as we swallow that last piece of pumpkin pie (or maybe it’s after the final play of the final football game), Thanksgiving is officially over, and the holiday season begins! We can finally start decorating our houses and dorm rooms, and perhaps, best of all, we can finally start watching our favorite holiday movies, cuddled up under a warm, fuzzy blanket with our favorite mug full of hot chocolate. Freeform’s, or as we fondly remember it, ABC Family’s, 25 Days of Christmas may include all of the classics. But here is a nice list of some holiday movies, old and new, that you will be sure to get you into the holiday spirit.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Unpopular opinion: I LOVE the 2000 live-action adaptation of the 1966 animated original. Starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch and Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who, Ron Howard’s adaptation tells the same story we know and love but with a comedic twist that my dry-humor self greatly appreciates during the holiday season. In fact, I almost always watch the film every Christmas Eve with my mom as if without doing so it wouldn’t be Christmas after all. My friend and I even quote specific lines from the movie throughout the year. Although I still enjoy the animated version, the humor of Howard’s movie makes it the perfect film to watch at the close of the Christmas season when all of the gifts are wrapped and you just want to sit back and laugh.
– Elizabeth Berry, ’21
- The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
If you’re looking for a more recent holiday adventure, The Christmas Chronicles—featuring Kurt Russell as Santa Claus (and a glimpse of Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus)—is just the movie for you! The story centers around sister and brother, Kate and Teddy Pierce, who are still struggling with facing their first Christmas without their dad. In an attempt to have some somewhat forced sibling bonding time, Kate and Teddy decide to try to capture Santa Claus on camera. And their plan succeeds. But when they hide inside of Santa’s sleigh for a closer look, (predictable) chaos ensues, which includes scattering Santa’s reindeer, magic hat, and sack of presents all across Chicago. Let’s just say what follows may include a high-speed car chase, a group of cute half-Gremlin, half-Alvin-and-the-Chipmunks looking elves, and Kurt Russell singing Elvis’s “Santa Claus is Back in Town” in the middle of a jail cell. Iconic.
The story is truly heartwarming and reminds us of the power of believing in the magic of the holidays, family, and, ultimately, yourself. The sequel to this movie, The Christmas Chronicles 2, was just recently released, and it goes more in-depth into the history and mythology of Santa Claus, which means more of Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus. And honestly, Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn are the best part of that movie. They are still couples goals after all this time.
Definitely recommend the first one, and would also suggest the second one (though not as strongly). Both are available on Netflix.
– Elizabeth Vinson, ’21
As someone who grew up very culturally Jewish, I definitely have a blindspot when it comes to holiday movies, so I’m adding Elf to this list mostly because I simply haven’t really seen what else is out there. Elf is just such an iconic film, but for those who haven’t seen it, the film centers around Buddy (Will Ferrell), a human who was adopted and raised by elves in the North Pole, believing that he is one of them. When he realizes that he is a human, he travels to New York City to meet his father. While it is definitely cheesy in the sense that the main theme of the movie is spreading joy and Christmas cheer in a world of cynics, workaholics, and Santa non-believers, the movie is full of humor and heart, and Will Ferrell’s performance is very entertaining.
– Samantha Barth ‘21
- Samantha: An American Girl Holiday (2004)
This movie just fills me with so much nostalgia and feels very appropriate to watch during holiday times, maybe because the Samantha movie first aired on TV at around Thanksgiving, or maybe because I associate American Girl Dolls with the holidays because growing up, I’d always ask for dolls or accessories as Hanukkah gifts. Samantha: An American Girl Holiday was the first American Girl movie, and I can’t even put into words the thrill I felt when my five-year-old self watched this movie for the first time and literally seeing the dolls and their stories come to life. In this movie, AnnaSophia Robb stars as the wealthy Samantha Parkington, who lives with her grandmother in New York. Nellie O’Malley, a domestic worker, moves in next door, and the movie largely follows the two girls and their close friendship, as well as Samantha’s relationships with her grandmother and uncle. Beyond the heartwarming plot, the settings and costumes are very aesthetically pleasing.
– Samantha Barth ‘21
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