While Thanksgiving is yet to come, Holiday Movie Marathons seem to be starting up. ‘Tis the season for cold nights in, piles of fuzzy blankets, and cups of hot cocoa. I will warn you; I am not your typical Christmas movie gal. So bear with me. I promise you that I have at least one movie on my list you may like. If I don’t, well, maybe give one of these a try!
- Gremlins. I can already hear the arguments coming. Gremlins is an 80’s horror fantasy set during, you guessed it, Christmas! The main character receives a creature called the Mogwai as a present from his dad along with a set of instructions. Of course, things go sideways. I absolutely love this movie. The fact that it’s set during Christmas means I don’t have to only watch it on Halloween. You have Christmas decorations, snow, carolers, and of course some comedic horror. What more could you want from a Holiday movie?
- Harry Potter. (Harry Potter is technically a series, but I didn’t want to take up all my slots.) I know, I know, but it isn’t a Christmas movie. On the contrary, it is. This series is a 2000’s/2010’s fantasy. While not directly Christmas, I still get the urge to watch it around the Holidays. “But why Skylerr Byrd?” I am so glad you asked. Not only is this series filled with magic, wonder, and a whole hoard of emotions, but have you noticed how beautiful it is during winter? The castle is covered in snow, fires are going, students are bundled up. The great Hall even has snow and giant Christmas trees. You also can’t forget the “Happy Christmas, Harry,” line.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas. Tim Burton is by far my favorite director, so of course I had to add him in. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a 90’s musical fantasy. Pumpkin king, Jack Skellington, accidentally falls into the Christmastown. Unhappy with his town of Halloween, he tries to bring Christmas back with him. While stop motion may not be your thing, this movie has a great story and even better music. Plus, who doesn’t love a good Halloween Christmas combo? Now you can watch it two times a year!
- Elf. Look at that, an actual Christmas movie. I told you to bear with me. Elf is a 2000’s family comedy. Buddy the elf accidentally ended up in the North Pole as a toddler. Once grown up, he learns that he is not actually an elf and his father lives in New York. As you can imagine, things get pretty interesting from there. With a cast including Will Ferrell and Zoey Deschanel, you are guaranteed a good laugh. This movie has tons of holiday spirit, comedy, and loads of all things sweet. Definitely a great pick if you’re looking for some humor.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Even my sister agrees with me on this pick. This is another 2000’s family film. If you couldn’t have guessed, it is a live action adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Jim Carrey plays the lead role, so you can imagine how dramatic the character is. This is another one with lots of holiday spirit and laughs. On top of that, however, is a range of relatable characters. I mean come on! A character whose sole longing is to be welcomed in, and a little girl who is inviting and intentional with her whole heart. What’s not to love?
- The Chronicles of Narnia. Yet another 2000’s/2010’s family fantasy series. My reasoning for this is quite similar to Harry Potter. It’s a world of magic that I just happen to desire around the holidays. You also have an “eternal” winter and a Father Christmas character. The only difference is that Narnia has way more Christian themes (obviously, it’s based on C.S. Lewis Novels). I think my biggest issue with Christmas movies is that they are about the made up holiday, not the Christian themes people claim (which explains my odd taste in Christmas movies). However, Narnia intentionally focuses on the story of Christ. So I think it’s a great reminder as to what the Holidays are claiming to be about.
- A Christmas Carol. A Christmas Carol is an 80’s family fantasy. It based on the novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I love a well done film adaptation of a book, and this one is definitely up there! George C. Scott does a wonderful job portraying Scrooge and the cinematography really pulls you in. It’s a story of redemption, forgiveness, and of course, Christmas. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Nothing like a change of heart story.
- Klaus. Klaus is a newer movie that I was introduced to last year. It’s a 2019 animated Christmas adventure. A postman is sent to a town in the North where he meets a toy maker named Klaus. It’s a heartwarming film for the family to enjoy. I won’t lie to you, I cried watching it. Albeit, I cry a lot, but still. It’s a tad cheesy, but well worth it. Don’t worry, still a bit of comedy mixed in there.
- Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. This is a 70’s fantasy/musical. This stop motion special tells the story of how Santa Claus, and various Christmas traditions, came to be. I remember watching this with my Nana and Mom. At first, I didn’t care for it. It was mainly because Snow Miser and Heat Miser scared me a little bit. However, I look back at it now and am filled with joy. This movie reminds me of family traditions that I don’t get to join in on anymore. It’s nice to reminisce sometimes. Hopefully the Miser’s don’t pop up in my dreams again.
- Edward Scissor Hands. Last but not least, another nontraditional Holiday film. Edward Scissor Hands is another 90’s fantasy by Tim Burton. A scientist begins building Edward, but dies before completing him. Being left alone and with scissors for hands, Edward craves social interaction but is seen as an outcast. While it’s not traditionally Christmas, a good bit of the movie takes place during the Holidays. I would also like to add that the theme of this is somewhat similar to How the Grinch Stole Christmas. A lonely man longing to belong, and a girl who has a loving heart. No one should be alone during the Holidays, and I think this film is a good way to center in on that.
I know most of these aren’t traditional, but they are what comes to my mind when I think of Holiday Movies. Be it a family tradition, a good message, or a tie to a memory, I truly enjoy these movies. I think if you dig deep enough, you can find bits of Christmas in any movie. I highly recommend checking these out if you haven’t, or rewatching them if you have! If you have any suggestions, feel free to reach out. Johnny Black has already convinced me to watch It’s A Wonderful Life and I can’t wait. I’m already popping the popcorn.