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Ten Classic Christmas Movies That Are Worth a Watch

I’m someone who looks forward to Christmas all year long. I love everything about it – decorating the Christmas tree while jamming to the classics, reminiscing happy times with family over hot chocolate and homemade cookies, and of course, sitting by the fire and watching each and every one of our favorite Christmas movies. Here are a few timeless films that are definitely worth a watch this (and every) holiday season.


1. It’s a Wonderful Life

This one is about as wholesome as you can get. It’s a Wonderful Life brings us into the post-World War 2 era, and we follow protagonist George Bailey as he faces real internal conflict. This bittersweet perennial Christmas favorite will have you on an emotional rollercoaster as George Bailey journeys to despair and back.

2. A Christmas Story

You know, the one that plays about 1,000 times between the time you wake up on Christmas Eve and the time you go to sleep on Christmas night. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to witness Ralphie overcome the icy pole, the neighborhood bully, and his father’s unfortunate choice of holiday decor.

3. The Santa Clause

One of my personal favorites, The Santa Clause never ever gets old. Rooted in good old-fashioned holiday spirit, this film depicts a bizarre twist of fate that forces a modern-day Scrooge to question his reality. Totally worth an annual viewing (and check out the second and third if you get the chance).

4. Miracle on 34th Street

This one is the epitome of a Christmas classic. This film delivers a warm holiday message about the power of faith and Christmas spirit, and it spans generations. Watch it in black and white for a true sense of the setting.

5. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Not exactly a Christmas movie per se, but still a holiday classic if you ask me. The comedic chemistry between John Candy and Steve Martin is gold – you don’t want to miss this duo’s frantic cross-country journey to get home for the holidays.

6. Home Alone

This 1990’s hit is a John Hughes classic with a plot like no other. The integration of well-timed humor and sentimentalism makes for a truly unique film that your whole family will love.

7. Elf

This one offers a heartwarming combination of slapstick humor and a wholesome message about the true meaning of family. By far one of the best holiday comedies, this delightfully chaotic movie will leave you in a cheerful spirit just in time for the holidays.

8. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

If you haven’t seen this one, you are missing out. Watch as Clark Griswold’s dream of the perfect family Christmas quickly turns into a dysfunctional family gathering following a number of unanticipated mishaps.

9. A Year Without Santa Claus

While the technology may be quite primitive, this stop motion animated special brings me right back to my childhood. Santa faces a dilemma as a bad cold nearly prevents him from delivering presents on Christmas Eve. I think you’ll come to love this nostalgic film (oh, and you might end up with a few catchy songs stuck in your head).

10. Rudolph

Another old-timer, Rudolph features a timeless plot-line that teaches us our differences are often our biggest strengths and we should embrace them. The simplicity of this film allows us to fully appreciate the story and its lessons.

u of new hampshire ‘22
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