If you’re struggling to feel the Christmas spirit this December, you’re not alone – many people are claiming 2016 is the worst year since 2001.
And while you may enjoy engaging your inner-Scrooge and saying “Bah Humbug” every now and then, we suggest you try to kick the negativity to the curb and get into the holiday mood.
One of the best ways to do that is to watch some fun and festive movies. Even though these films are rarely critically acclaimed, they include the necessary mixture of reindeer, elves, snow, and holiday tunes to get you believing in this “most wonderful time of the year.”
Here are 13 of our favourite holiday flicks.
1. Home Alone (1990)
It’s Christmas time and the McCallister family is preparing for a vacation to Paris, France. But the youngest in the family, Kevin (Macaulay Culkin), gets sent to his room for bad behaviour, then through a series of events gets left behind by his family – leaving him home alone… at eight years old.
While having free reign of a house is fun at first – eating pizza, jumping on beds and tobogganing down stairs – the plot of two burglars, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), makes Kevin realize he’s not as adult as he thinks. While Kevin acts quickly to deter the plot to rob his house on Christmas Eve, he also makes a wish for his family to return to him in time for Christmas.
Did you know: Home Alone is listed in the Guinness World Records as the highest-grossing live-action comedy ever.
2. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Did you know: This was the first time the Muppets appeared on screen after the passing of their creator, Jim Henson, in 1990.
3. I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1998)
Young love meets Christmas craziness in this film. College student Jake (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), tries to surprise his girlfriend, Allie (Jessica Biel), by cashing his ticket home for the holidays in for two tickets to Cabo. The only catch? She refuses to go. What ensues is an attempt by Jake to get home for Christmas Eve before Allie finds love with his rival Eddie (Adam LaVorgna).
4. Scrooged (1998)
This Christmas flick is another adaptation of Dickens’s Christmas Carol but Scrooge is played by Bill Murray’s selfish, cynical TV executive character, Frank Cross. He is haunted by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future who bring three lessons on Christmas Eve.
Did you know: Scrooged was Murray’s first major role following a self-imposed, four-year exile from Hollywood.
5. The Santa Clause (1994)
On Christmas Eve, Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) reads The Night Before Christmas to his son Charlie (Eric Llyod) and later they receive a visitor on the roof. Calvin goes to check out what’s happening and surprises Santa, causing Saint Nicholas to take a tumble that renders him unable to complete his Christmas duties. What ensues is a magical tale of Calvin turning into Santa Claus – permanently.
Did you know: The role of Scott Calvin was originally written for Bill Murray.
6. A Christmas Story (1983)
Set in the 1940s, this movie follows young Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) as he struggles with winter, middle school bullies, his parents, and an infamous lamp in the shape of a leg. The only thing that keeps him going is the hope of getting a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas (the one thing that could “shoot his eye out”).
Did you know: The infamous tongue-stuck-to-pole scene was done using a hidden suction tube and some movie magic.
7. Die Hard (1988)
Since this action-packed flick takes place on Christmas Eve it’s worth a mention. A New York police officer, John McClane (Bruce Willis), flies to Los Angeles on Dec. 24 to spend the holidays with his family. While at his wife’s corporate Christmas party, the building and all of the party-goers are taken hostage; enter McClane to save the day.
Did you know: The Nakatomi Tower that’s overtaken by terrorists is actually 20th Century Fox’s headquarters.
8. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, is no longer happy with doing the same thing every year for Halloween. One day he stumbles upon Christmas Town and becomes fascinated with this idea of the holidays; he goes on to share it with his citizens.
Did you know: Tim Burton claims, in the new adaptation’s DVD commentary, the co-mingling of Halloween and Christmas products on store shelves planted the seeds for this tale of the king of Halloween intruding on Christmas.
9. Elf (2003)
Buddy (Will Ferrell) is an orphan who inadvertently ends up in the North Pole only to be raised by elves. Later, as an adult human, Santa allows him to go to New York City to find his birth father, Walter Hobbs (James Caan).
While Buddy doesn’t exactly fit in in the Big Apple – he crosses the street at the wrong time, chews discarded gum and takes a coffee shop’s claim to have the “world’s best cup of coffee” a little too literally – he is able to show New Yorkers the true meaning of Christmas (while also finding love).
10. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
In this live-action adaptation of the beloved children’s tale by Dr. Seuss, the green Grinch (Jim Carrey) decides to ruin Christmas for the citizens of Whoville. When he meets Cindy Lou Who, though, he begins to have a change of heart.
11. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
This movie focuses on Macy’s executive Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins) and her young daughter Susan (Mara Wilson), who both struggle with believing in the spirit of Christmas. With few changes from the 1947 original, this ’90s adaptation sees Dorey hire a man named Kriss Kringle (Richard Attenborough) to play her store’s Santa. The only problem? He thinks he’s the real Saint Nicholas. When authorities threaten to place the old man in an insane asylum, a young lawyer – alongside Dorey and Susan – comes to his rescue.
Did you know: The 1947 original movie was originally called The Big Heart, according to Turner Classic Movies.
12. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
The Griswold family’s plans for a big family Christmas (predictably) turn into a major disaster. Clark (Chevy Chase), his wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), and their two kids continually have bad luck which is worsened by obnoxious family guests. As Christmas Eve approaches, things only get worse.
Did you know: This movie is one of only two Christmas movies released in 1989. The other was John Hancock’s Prancer. Johnny Galecki, who plays Rusty Griswold, starred in both.
13. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Christmas time is approaching and Charlie Brown knows that he should be happy, but he really isn’t. He’s focused on the overwhelming commercialism that is all around him. He witnesses it in his own family when his younger sister Sally writes her Christmas letter to Santa and when Snoopy enters a Christmas decorating contest with a cash prize. He just doesn’t know what to do about it.
Did you know: Linus’s “True Meaning of Christmas” speech was almost cut. This led to some big arguments between Charles Schulz and the show’s producers. The fear? The speech would scare off advertisers by narrowing its audience (which, clearly, it didn’t).
What other movies are on your must-watch list for the holidays? Let us know in the comment section below.
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