The candy has been dispersed, the costumes dissipated, the turkey’s have been sprightly consumed, the grace for Thanksgiving given. Now, the king of all holidays arrives: Christmas. Conjoining the frivolity of Halloween with the familial connection proffered by Thanksgiving, we’ll soon all be basking in merriment beneath the Christmas tree, jovially opening gifts, seasonal songs amplified in the background.
It’s a wonderful, magical, time. And what more opportune way to immerse oneself in the Christmas spirit than through the medium of film? Where we can enter the narratives of other families, other individuals, encountering the same mixture of stress, trepidation, happiness, joy and gratitude that we all similarly experience during the Christmas season.
In this article, we’ll explore the top 5 Christmas movies of all-time. Some are comedies, some are indebted to drama, but they all share the singular characteristic of celebrating the authentic spirit of Christmas.
5. The Santa Claus (1994)
Helmed by Tim Allen, “The Santa Claus” tells the story of a divorced man who has custody over his son on Christmas Eve. Scott Calvin, the protagonist played by Allen, startles a man dressed in a Santa suit, who then proceeds to tumble off the roof he was stationed upon. The man perishes, Scott is then shuttled to the North Pole, where he learns from an elf that he must now inherit the obligations of Santa Claus. Scott persuades himself it was dream, but over the ensuing months, he peculiarly grows a beard and begins to accumulate a concerning amount of weight. Calvin eventually acquiesces to his given role as the perennial figure of Christmas, in a evolution of character that is sure to delight families.
4. Elf (2003)
Who better to enjoy Christmas with than Will Ferrell, who portrays Buddy the Elf in this Christmas blockbuster turned classic? Buddy, played by Ferrell, a fully-grown adult, was accidentally transported to the North Pole as an infant. The elves, too lazy to identify a return label, instead decided it would be easier to raise Buddy as one of their own, insisting he develop under the delusion that he is one of them. After blundering through his adolescence, Buddy begins to realize certain incongruencies between him and his fellow elves, namely that he is approximately 6”4. His adopted elf-father reveals the truth and soon Buddy leaves for New York City, where his birth father resides, a staid businessman named Walter. Once Walter apprehends the truth of Buddy’s origins, he reluctantly employs Buddy in his office, which creates great fodder for comedy. Buddy has conspicuous issues assimilating into his new, antiseptic, work environment. Eventually, Buddy is able to discover how to tentatively balance both worlds, in this raucous comedy film.
3. A Christmas Story (1983)
A veritable Christmas classic. Youngster Ralphie Parker pines for the perfect Christmas gift, a BB gun manufactured by “Red Ryder.” His obdurate Mother insists Ralphie will inevitably “shoot his eye out,” much to Ralphie’s chagrin. Ralphie thus embarks on an adventure to persuade everyone, including Santa Claus, into believing an air rifle is a completely plausible Christmas gift. Along the way, we encounter numerous daydreams of Ralphie’s, as he imagines scenarios in which he is gifted the coveted gun: His conflicts with schooltime bullies; his Dad’s euphoria at receiving a lamp, gracefully patterned after a women’s leg; and much more. The movie concludes, predictably, with Ralphie receiving the rifle for Christmas, but almost immediately ruining his glasses with a stray bullet. The Parker’s conclude the holiday merrily, at a Chinese restaurant. It’s a perfect Christmas story.
2. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
“It’s A Wonderful” is an essential film for viewing during the holiday season. It tells the story of George Bailey, who acts as a paternal figure to the beleaguered town of Bedford Falls, as he navigates the travails of losing his loan company. Set during the Great Depression, an angel named Clarence illuminates, via numerous flashbacks, the narrative of Bailey’s life, consisting of his modesty, his philanthropy, and his family. A depressed George becomes engrossed in these memories, endowing him with a sense of gratitude even his failing company cannot entirely obscure. Bailey emerges from the memories restored and profoundly moved, giving thanks for his many blessings. If you’re seeking a feel-good movie one Winter evening, stream or pop in the DVD of “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
1. Christmas Vacation (1989)
What better way to celebrate Christmas than to thoroughly lampoon it with a traditional family Christmas celebrated with the infamous Griswold family? Clark Griswold, the patriarch of the Griswold clan, is determined to organize a family Christmas with his progeny and wife that will be treasured forever in the annals of his family’s lore. And, once the ensuing inferno settles, the audience is left with a collection of scenes imbued with absurdity and hilarity. Clark’s road rage, for instance, in pursuit of a Christmas tree, leaves his family’s vehicle trapped beneath a big-rig in the opening sequence; a cleverly concealed kitten is electrocuted as Clark attempts to illuminate his Christmas tree lights; a dry turkey proliferating profuse fumes of smoke after Catherine, Clark’s sister-in-law, assists Ellen in concocting a luxurious Christmas dinner; Clark having repeated conniptions troubleshooting his extravagant Christmas house lights, which for a long duration fail to function properly; a squirrel finding its way into the household, via a tree Clark smuggles into the household, after his initial Christmas tree burns down; Uncle Eddie happily exclaiming to Clark, as he’s emptying the excrement from his motorhome, that his “shitter was full.”
And, finally, Clark declaring to his gathered family, after all his machinations for an enjoyable Christmas have gone terribly awry, “Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where’s the Tylenol?
Happy holidays. Good luck finding the Tylenol.
For additional information on celebrating Christmas, reference the following articles: