My sister-in-law asked me for some Christmas movie recommendations. She wants to watch something Christmas-y, but doesn't know what, exactly. I thought that we could all learn from each other, so I will post my favorites here, and I would love it if you would post your favorites in the comments!
I'll start with the lighter, fun stuff, and you'll see that I tend to favor older classics over newer movies.
1. It's A Wonderful Life: Yes, it's black and white...but PLEASE don't let that throw you! What do you think: do the small good deeds you do really matter, especially if you feel like a failure in the big things? Jimmy Stewart faces a crisis and because of it, wishes he had never been born. A quirky angel named Clarence comes to show him what life in Bedford Falls would have been like if George Bailey (Stewart) had never existed. This is a fabulous, feel good movie we watch every year without fail.
2. Miracle on 34th Street: Also in black and white, Maureen O'Hara and young Natalie Wood are at their finest. A jaded mother and her daughter discover that Santa really is real, and the USPS helps provide a Christmas miracle for a young lawyer who is defending Santa Claus in court.
3. The Bishop's Wife: I'm talking about the OLD one (sensing a theme here?). Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston star in a remake of this (love them both!), but really, can anyone beat Cary Grant and Loretta Young? I think not. David Niven is a bishop whose relationship with his wife is in trouble. Help comes in the form of a dashingly handsome and charming angel who helps convince the good Bishop that he should focus on what is most important- or he might lose her.
4. Arthur Christmas: This is a recent animated movie that I completely fell in love with. Life as part of the Claus family is more complicated than you might imagine. Father/son relationships are strained, and Arthur is often overlooked since he is clumsy and definitely not cool like his brother Steve. But when he saves The Day, everyone can see his value. This is a charming, wise cracking movie that has uber cool elves and a sweet ride for Santa. But at the end of the movie, your heart will be touched. And right now, it's less than $4 on Amazon!
5. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: Need I say more? I grew up watching this every December, and now my children do as well. Plus, who does't love Burl Ives?
7. A Muppet Christmas Carol: Now, I have to admit- I'm not a huge Muppets fan generally. But two of their movies that count as classics in our home: Treasure Island and A Christmas Carol. This movie is filled with puns, silly antics and of course, Michael Caine as the perfect Scrooge. Kermit the Frog is Bob Cratchit and he and Tiny Tim are amazing and simply heartwarming-even if they are muppets. This is a must-watch for our family every Christmas season.
8. White Christmas: Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney (she is George's aunt), Danny Kaye and Vera Ellen are so talented, it's a little ridiculous. Two famous singers meet up with two sisters and decide to put on a show to save the business of their former army general. Of course, they find love along the way. Love this movie and the songs- especially the "Sisters" number. ;) It's a perfect Christmas movie.
9.Meet Me in St. Louis: Not your typical Christmas movie (it is mostly about the world's fair), but the Christmas scenes are fabulous. It is also where Judy Garland debuted the beloved "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" song (my favorite!). Another bonus: the clothes are A.MA.ZING.
10. Scrooge: Do you musicals? If so, you will enjoy Albert Finney in "A Christmas Carol". Songs like "I Hate People" (a great song for the end of a bad day) at the beginning and "Thank You Very Much" at the end will stick in your head. The Amazon reviews for this movie are practically all 5 stars!
11. The Shop Around The Corner: Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan hate each other. But unbeknownst to them, they are falling in love during Christmas through anonymous letters. This is "You've Got Mail" before Meg Ryan was born or even thought about email.
12. Holiday Inn: Bing Crosby is lazy. So he decides to open a hotel that is only open on the holidays- because really, there aren't that many of them. He hires a lovely assistant who Fred Astaire and he both fall for. They sing and dance their way through a whole year of holidays, but it is the debut of "I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas" that really put this movie on the map.
13. Dr. Suess's The Grinch Who Stole Christmas: Because no Christmas movie list would be complete without this movie- it's a no-brainer!
If you are looking for movies that focus on the true meaning of Christmas, here are some other ideas:
You can find excellent Bible videos of various stories of Jesus Christ's life here. These are especially helpful if you enjoy reviewing, reading or acting out the story of the Nativity on Christmas Eve, as many families do.
Mr. Kruger's Christmas is about a lonely old man (Jimmy Stewart) who re-discovers the true meaning of Christmas. It's a little dated, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Jimmy Stewart.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has amazing Christmas concerts every year that are also available on DVD. They have guests like the Candy Bomber, David McCullough, Sissel, Natalie Cole, Jane Seymour, Tom Brokaw, John Rhys-Davies and even Sesame Street! The music, dancing and story telling is superb. They are definitely worth checking out as well.
Did I miss any? I know your family will have different favorites than mine does. It seems like The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe also makes it in the mix sometimes. What Christmas movies are a "must see" tradition for you? List them in the comments!
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