By Nikki Jamieson
It is official; it is only one month until Christmas.
This occasion marks the (un)official start of many a yuletide tradition; it is now acceptable to be playing holiday tunes 24/7, people can no longer judge if you take all the gingerbread snowmen off the shelf at the grocery store, you and your friends can gather round and share your many horror stories of hanging up lights and yes, you can break out the antler mugs to try out your family’s top secret eggnog recipe – the one that’s extra noggy.
Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas per se, or other holidays surrounding it, this time of year has that special feeling of togetherness that no other time of year really has.
Unless you are a Grinch. In which case, you must expect your hair to turn green and your shoes to be too tight, in order to accommodate your heart that’s two sizes too small.
Which brings me to another tradition; the watching of many kinds of Christmas movies.
There is nothing like a good Christmas movie to put you in the spirit of things.
While gingerbread can put you in a food coma and holiday light displays can leave you dangling off the roof, watching a film with family can only make you lose track of time.
Here are a few of my favourite Christmas films that should be watched every holiday season.
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree (1995)
All right, so this one may be a little hard to find, but I have found it on YouTube. This is a TV short based on the beloved children’s book of the same name, and stars Robert Downey Jr. – before we knew him as Ironman – as well as Kermit the Frog.
That’s right. It has Muppet characters.
True, Gonzo or Miss Piggy won’t be making an appearance, but the puppeteering is top notch and you’ll be swept up with the mouse family (literally) as they find the perfect tree.
Watch: Only after you get your Christmas tree. Just make sure to include the Muppet fans in your family.
Die Hard (1988)
Because sometimes, the holiday sweetness can get to be a little too much. That’s why they made a Christmas movie with explosions.
A New York cop gets stuck inside a LA office building where his wife gets taken hostage along with her coworkers on Christmas Eve. Que the gun fights.
While it’s definitely not a traditional Christmas movie in any sense, there is enough Christmas music and overtures to allow it to be able to pass as one, for the times when the holiday stress is too much and you just want to watch Bruce Willis save the day without his shoes.
Watch: When you’ve been driven crazy by all the Christmas music playing everywhere.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Yes, my electricity bill is through the roof, but at least I didn’t cause a city-wide power outage.
And while my tree is leaning to one side, at least I didn’t set it on fire.
A film of what can go wrong (and right) during the holidays, this classic is sure to get everyone laughing. While it may seem over the top in some spots – hey, it was the 80s – emphasizes the struggles to get the perfect tree, unexpected houseguests and the horror of creating the perfect Christmas light display.
Watch: Whenever you lose the fight against the decorations, it’ll cheer you up right away.
Fred Claus (2007)
First off, the brother of Santa is a repo-man. You got to love the irony.
When they were younger, the brothers don’t get along because Saint Nick is always seen as the ‘good child’, making Fred become resentful of him and that – combined with the incident leading to the creation of the first Christmas tree – causes a rift in the first place that lasts for hundreds of years. Fast forward to the present, where Fred needs money so he helps out at the workshop for a few days, just in time for a surprise inspection.
Along with plenty of laughs, it’s also nice to know that hey, even the Claus siblings fight during the holidays.
Watch: With your siblings and be thankful that your fights don’t last a few hundred years.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
I don’t care if Tim Burton intended it to be a Halloween film, in my heart of hearts it will always be a Christmas movie.
Bored with Halloween, the king of the pumpkin patch Jack Skellington decides to take a crack at being Santa, without Santa’s permission. Bring on the Halloween shenanigans as creatures that excel at Halloween, try to do Christmas.
Watch: When you have had enough of the same old holiday cheer.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
A beloved classic, how many of us haven’t grown up reading the story of the person who hated Christmas so much, he tried to steal it?
While there is also the 2000 Jim Carey version of the tale, but the original has a little less frills to make it appeal to a bigger crowd, and keeping it in line with the true spirit of Christmas that the Grinch learns about in the story.
Watch: With the whole family, to keep in the spirit. Just be prepared for one relative to try to sing the Whos’ Christmas carol.
Home Alone (1990)
Family prepares to go on a Christmas vacation.
Kid gets into fight with family. Kid wishes that he could spend the holidays alone.
Family leaves for vacation. Kid gets accidentily left behind.
Kid gets his wish, and now has to defend house from a pair of robbers.
While the wet bandits could not take all that abuse in real life, by the end the boy learns the importance of family and gets to spend Christmas with them – even if he does have to relearn it next year – in a way that is relatable.
Plus, the paint can bit gets me every time. Just don’t try doing that at home.
Watch: On Christmas Eve, right after you made sure that everyone who’s suppose to be home, is actually home.
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