Tossin’ It Out There: What’s YOUR Favorite Christmas Movie?

its_a_wonderful_lifeWhat’s going on everyone? It’s that time of year, time to break out the Christmas songs… and movies.

Yes, movies revolving around Christmas are practically a genre unto themselves. It’s a narrow field compared to some of our other discussions, but it’s still a discussion worth having.

What’s your favorite? Do you lean towards the classics, like “Miracle on 34th Street”, or do you prefer the more modern, like “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”? Do you need to visit one version or another of “A Christmas Carol” every year?

Let’s hear it! What’s YOUR Favorite Christmas Movie?

A quick note: For those of our friends who don’t celebrate Christmas, please feel free to bring up any holiday themed film you’d like. Not that it’s fair, but I was at a loss to come up with enough films to justify changing the topic to the more generic “Holiday” movies :( . Feel free to help me out ;)

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143 thoughts on “Tossin’ It Out There: What’s YOUR Favorite Christmas Movie?

  1. I’m going to be utterly generic and say It’s A Wonderful Life. I love that darned movie. And while the term “Capra” gets thrown around for being corny Americana and whatnot, what people often forget is that It’s A Wonderful Life is DARK. There’s the part where George contemplates suicide, or example, or when he realizes that the path he took in life was not what he ever imagined for himself. (Something everyone in middle age can relate to.) And then there’s the little moments, like when he’s at the stair bannister and the topper comes off. You can see for a fleeting moment he wants to throw it at Zuzu, whose music has gotten particularly annoying. It’s an absolutely amazing setup that’s a blink-or-you-miss-it moment.

    Other than that, pretty much every version of A Christmas Carol ever. (The one’s rooted in the Victorian trappings, not the ironic modern versions.)

    I’m a little fond of Mickey’s Christmas Carol, since it was the first movie I ever saw (it aired right before The Rescuers). I kinda like “Scrooge”, because that movie was downright creepy. (Can’t believe I saw that on a school field trip. Those ghosts at the beginning. Holy crap.) I’m a sucker for Ebeneezer’s redemption. The guy’s a short-hand for being a miser, but man — growing up without much money and learning to save like crazy, I could relate to him so much. And, really, his redemption started when he could see beyond his own troubles (loneliness, emotional baggage) and realized that he could do so much to help his community. How is that not incredibly heart-warming? I probably cry more at the end of A Christmas Carol than It’s A Wonderful Life, and that’s saying something.

    • There you go Ray, happy now (Last couple comments on the last page, Ray was railing about “Scrooge” LOL)?

      “A Christmas Carol” is pretty much the gold standard for adaptations, isn’t it? I mean, I’m hard pressed to think of a film that’s been made and remade more often than that one. Not that it’s bad, its obviously a story that has something timeless to it that people love….

      It’s the happy ending that makes people forget the darkness along the way in “Wonderful Life”. Its all people want to remember Santo. Happy Stewart yelling Merry Christmas :D

      No one wants to think of Jimmy Stewart being sad.

      • To be fair, though, Ray and I were talking about two different “Scrooge”s. He’s thinking the 1951 version. I’m thinking the 1970 version, which had Albert Finney as Ebeneezer Scrooge and Alec Guinness as Jacob Marley. It was nominated for four Academy Awards (mostly in the song and technical fields).

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrooge_%281970_film%29

        It was also uniquely creepy, like creepy in the sense that it could’ve been only made after or during the Woodstock era. It never struck me as a kid, but a lot of the scarier scenes were probably results of some bad acid. (Seriously,) Shoot, Scrooge’s entire journey in this particular movie could probably be interpreted as one bad acid trip.

      • Ok, LOL. Now you’ve got me curious! :D Scrooge is kind of tripping out, isn’t he?

        Thank you for reinforcing the point I was making with Ray, though, that there are so many adaptations of “A Christmas Carol” that they’re nearly impossible to keep track of!

    • Yeah. I liked Finney’s “Scrooge” a lot. Also very rarely seen. Musicals not as popular today as then. The special effects gave it an updated feel to it. But I’d rate it #2 in the “Christmas Carol” lexicon. If you caught that staircase bit in “Wonderful Life”, you just might have ODed on too much Capra!

      • Well, I caught that because someone commented on it in another message board, and then posted a YouTube link of the scene. I swear it wasn’t cuz I watched It’s A Wonderful Life for the 80th time!

        (I’ve only watched it 70 times. At most. ;) )

  2. Basically anything by Shane Black, but if I am going to be more traditional then National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

  3. Weellll, this category of movie usually comes with a heaping side of sap, cheese, and corn, so…

    Seriously, I can’t think of a single one (that I like). Bash me all you want – the only Christmas moment I remember is from Deathly Hallows, when Harry and Hermione go to see his parents’ graves on Christmas Eve. I found that touching, especially as they get (almost) killed by a giant snake afterwards. No sap there, I tell ya!

    Merry Christmas Fogs!!!

    • Well, I don’t want to get all cheesy… or sappy on ya or nothin’, Livi, LOL.

      Is “Merry Christmas, too” good? Should I scale it back to “Happy Holidays”? Just keep it at “see you next time?” that sort of thing? :D

      Lol. Love it. Ha!

      • I shall accept your festive rejoinder, O Foggy One!

        No seriously, I just don’t like stuff like “New Year’s Eve” and that schmoop. Fake emotion inspires genuine hatred in me.

        See you next post! (Django, Les Mis, who knows…)

  4. Hands down…”A Christmas Story”. I watch it 24 hours straight on TBS. It’s my own tradition. I can’t help myself. I love everything about that movie. I’ve never had a BB Gun…cuz, you know, “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

    • Yeahhhh. If there was a correct answer to this question, I think that would be it. I love A Chrsitmas Story :D I watch it all day Christmas Day too. Sometimes I even start with the first airing on Christmas Eve.

      Things get ugly at Christmas if I dont have A Christmas Story on :)

  5. So, my husband and I are big on the Christmas movies. We own more Christmas movies than any other genre of movie. I think the total is near 40, at this point, and it grows a little every year. And we watch them all…every year. We have to start at the very end of September to fit them all in (so that’s when we watch the not-really-Christmas Christmas movies, as in Die Hard, Brazil, You’ve Got Mail….movies that have Christmas in them but that isn’t a major theme).

    Every year, the one I look forward to getting to the most changes a bit, but Elf is always very high up there — so, over all, I think Elf is probably my favorite. It still makes me laugh, even having seen it so many times.

    However, I feel painfully unable to not give credit to Nightmare Before Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life (though, really, I don’t think of it as a Christmas movie, perse), and Love Actually because they definitely have a firm place among my favorite movies as well — and not just favorite Christmas movies, but favorite overall movies.

    Btw, Fogs, if you still haven’t watched Love Actually…..well, then, shame on you. Reopen Chick Flick City, if you have to (though, it’s not really one..). But find some excuse to watch it. ;)

    • Husband here. Love Actually is my favorite Christmas movie, though not the most Christmasy (Polar Express) or most necessary (Christmas Vacation), or best (It’s a Wonderful Life). Let me join my beloved in supporting the viewing of Love Actually.

      • Everyone will be happy to know that I have my DVR set to record it on Christmas Eve… it’s playing on one of the high def premium channels, so unitnerupted by commercials, HD, the whole works. LOL

        I wont be watching it until Weds at least, but by the end of next week, I WILL watch “Love Actually” LOL

        Thanks for stopping by and joining in ;)

    • I didn’t expect such an avalance, Fogs, truly I didn’t. But last year at this time, I mentioned Love Actually, and I believe you said something along the lines of how Tank has been telling you to watch that and so you really should this Christmas. And that was last Christmas. So, you know, you’re a little overdue. ;)

      But, glad to hear you’re going to make it happen this year. I hope you enjoy it. And, moreso, I hope you can give it a write up, as I’m sure we’d all love to know your reaction to it at this point!

      • Maybe, I dunno. I’ll let you all know somehow, sure, but a post is probably out. These next few weeks are “Hell Season”. A ton of new wide releases, plus powering down whatever awards consideration limited releases I can get my hands on, and then its MAJOR Awards time, so… gonn have my hands full :(

  6. For me it’s The Bishop’s Wife from 1947. David Niven, Loretta Young and Cary Grant as Dudly the angel. Totally feel good film and very funny.

  7. I loved Silent Night, Deadly Night in my pre-teen years. I probably haven’t watched it in 20 years now. It’s definitely due to be revisited.

    I’ll throw another vote for Die Hard, also.

    I’d also like to mention (I think I did last year, too) Gremlins. Great fun in a Christmas setting.

    I have no use for the general sap of Holiday fare… Except for A Christmas Story. So there, you have your vote for a real Christmas movie. You happy? You happy now?

    • Oh dude. So bad. LOL Silent Night Deadly Night? If people hadnt have protested that movie it never would have been anything.

      It did give us the superior Silent Night Deadly Night 2 though. The embed is a STRONG contender for greatest bad movie scene ever. LOL

      And yes, I am happy now.

    • LOL. I was gonna run a “Great Debate” here later this week on whether or not “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie, but I think it would be a landslide now. :( I gotta come up with something to post for Thursday… it’d be a damn blow out! LOL

  8. It’s a Wonderful Life still has to be the “Casablanca” of the Christmas movie genre, no question. But for a top Christmas moment in a movie….(and she is beating out Bing here, at the piano singing “White Christmas”) is Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in Meet Me in St. Louis. It may be sappy but, man, she will make you ferklempt every time.

    • :( Never seen that one. Classics arent my strong suit. I can picture it being really nice though, who doesn’t love Judy Garland singing? :D

      And yes, It’s a Wonderful Life IS still the “Casablanca” of the Christmas :D Nice call!

      • Don’t you die a little inside when anyone else sings it and changes “Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow” to “Hang a shining star upon the highest bough”? It’s rape, really.

        And I love the little girl running outside and murdering all her snow people right afterwards too. We actually watched that clip in a horror film class, because the professor always thought it was fairly creepy (along with the entirety of the Halloween portion of that movie). I think that girl frightened him. ;)

      • I’d forgotten about that scene! The girl is perfectly adorable child actress Margaret O’Brien, and her having that rage moment really sums up what can be the epitome of the suckishness of childhood – where everyone else is calling the shots in your life. And at Christmas it just seems particularly galling – everyone else’s life is obviously going so well. So even an MGM musical celebrating Americana has its dark undertones….

        And yeah, I don’t like the upbeat covers of HYAMLC, though Ella Fitzgerald can be excused because she’s Ella Fitzgerald.

    • Heh. I should go back to that one. I liked it quite a bit when it very first came out (as did everyone, I think) but then I suffered through Culkin burnout and never went back to anything he was in. LOL.

      It’s very good though, very funny. I should check it out again :)

  9. A GREAT discussion here, Fogs! And a timely question to toss out there.

    I love It’s A Wonderful Life as my favorite movie during Christmas. I grew up on it, know the “Buffalo Girls” song, and can do a pretty spot on imitation of Mr. Potter AND George Bailey. haha. A great classic family movie to enjoy during the holidays.

    Gotta toss out some enjoyable love to A Christmas Story, Elf, The Santa Clause and Die Hard though too! :D

  10. Late to the party again, but glad to offer up my 2 cents. “It’s A Wonderful Life” is the gold standard for Christmas movies. “A Christmas Story” is perfection (I originally saw it on a double bill with “Never Say Never Again”. I love almost all versions of “A Christmas Carol” but especially the Muppet’s Version (Post Link included :http://kirkhamclass.blogspot.com/2011/12/muppet-christmas-carol.html). A couple of years ago my daughter created an advent calendar using a Christmas Tree and Ornaments, behind each ornament is a small poster of a Christmas Movie and we watch it that day. Last night we saw a wonderful film that many may forget has a substantial Christmas theme to it, “About A Boy”. “Santa’s Souped Up Sleigh” should be on all Christmas radio playlists, it’s a hell of a lot better than the Wham song or the Paul McCartney song that both are terrible and get played incessantly. Hugh Grant gets redemption, but not mainly focused on Christmas, but the redemption is book ended with two Christmas scenes. The whole tone of the film fits with the Holiday season as well. (I strongly endorse Grant in “Love Actually” as well)

    • Party never stops here at FMR, Richard. :D

      WOW! LOL. A Christmas Story/NSNA double bill? :D Ha! Never would have thought of that!

      That’s a cool tradition there, even if you only did it once. What a neat idea.

      I’ve been pretty much Hugh Grant free in my Holiday movie diet, although as you can see, I’ve taken quite a beating for never having seen “Love Actually”, so I have to rectify that soon. :(

  11. Woot! Woot! It’s Christmas time!! Yes, I LOVE Christmas movies! We have several that make the yearly rounds and others that get alternated. Here are the staples.

    1. It’s a Wonderful Life
    The ultimate Holiday film…Perfect!
    2. ELF
    Super funny. LOL every time! “You sit on a throne of LIES!”
    3. Holiday Inn
    Old school–Fred Astair and Bing Crosby celebrate ALL Holidays, but this where Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” became a standard classic. Love it!
    4. Love, Actually
    Yup, I join the band wagon. It is lovely. Absolutely lovely.
    5. A Christmas Carol
    All versions really–we switch it up every year. (this year it was Muppets)
    5A. Scrooged
    Yes, it’s a version of Christmas carol–but it is a yearly watch! Bill Murray is brilliant! And the Ghosts are awesome.
    6. A Christmas Story
    DUH! Preaching to the choir on this one. So awesome!
    7. All the old-school animated classics: Rudolph–Frosty–Charlie Brown–etc
    8. Miracle on 34th Street
    The classic–makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.
    9. A Very Muppet Christmas
    Kermit gets the George Bailey treatment…of course I LOVE it!
    10. Arthur Christmas
    This one is new this year–surprised on how much I loved it. It will be added to the yearly schedule.

    Merry Christmas!
    (and Later!)

    • WOW! You are a big fan of the Christmas movies huh?

      Never saw Holiday Inn (or the movie that shall not be named, obviously LOL) but the rest are all solid.

      I like how you added “DUH” after “A Christmas Story” :) Doesn’t it feel that obvious? :D

      In other news, I’m on my phone so I can’t double check, but I’d SWEAR you’re the first person to mention Scrooged. That’s incredible… to me. Such a great flick!

      • I think so…I read all the comments before doing mine and I was surprised too.

        Maybe I will introduce folks to it! It is a true Christmas gem! It is hilarious and leaves you with the wonderful Christmas Happy-Glow. (Yes, I that is a phrase of my own creation :D).

      • Being a fellow Xmas movie lover, I recommend White Christmas (right up there with Holiday Inn), the Santa Clause trilogy, Polar Express, Fred Claus, and Surviving Christmas, if you haven’t seen them, for your epic line-up. And I’ll have to check out Arthur Christmas in turn. ;)

    • Count me in on Scrooged. Hands down my favourite Christmas movie. Maybe because it’s not all cheer and lightness even though all ends well. There’s just enough darkness in it to let me feel like i’m rebelling the Christmas spirit for 90 minutes.

      Also, Bill Murray in his prime. ’nuff said.

  12. Man, I don’t even know if I have a favorite Christmas movie. The *best* one I have seen is It’s a Wonderful Life, but I’m not sure if I will get the chance to revisit it this year. I guess I could say Home Alone, an old childhood favorite, but I haven’t seen it in years.

    Speaking of which, I should probably sit down and watch ALL of A Christmas Story sometime this month.

    • Not like you won’t have opportunities. LOL.

      Though I definitely know what you’re saying. Many a year I’ve watched that movie like three times over on Christmas day, but only if you add up all the single scenes I caught in piecemeal at odd points in time on and off! :D

      Wouldnt have Christmas any other way though!

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