Ten movies that will put you in the holiday spirit


Sarah Jackmauh ’15

Sarah Jackmauh '15
Sarah Jackmauh ’15

The holiday season is a time to celebrate annual traditions like the decorating of gingerbread houses, caroling, ice skating and of course, movie-watching. Gather around the fireplace, cozy up with some hot chocolate, and turn on these popular Christmas films to get into the holiday spirit.
1. It’s A Wonderful Life
Director: Frank Capra
Starring: James Stewart and Donna Reed
Released: 1946
If you’re in the mood for a classic, look no further than It’s A Wonderful Life directed by Frank Capra. This 1946 film captures the story of George Bailey, a selfless father who sacrifices his dreams in order to help others. Bailey has lurking anxieties and depression, which calls for the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody. This story displays the true meaning of Christmas: spending time with family and giving thanks.
2. A Christmas Story
Director: Bob Clark
Starring: Peter Billingsley
Released: 1983
Recently adapted as a Broadway musical, A Christmas Story is about the dysfunctional holiday adventures of Ralphie Parker and his family. As a young boy growing up in an Ohio suburb, Ralphie has a Christmas that is far from ordinary.  All he wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB Gun, but nagging teachers, parents, and even an angry Santa Claus warn Ralphie against asking for this dangerous present. In this 1980s classic, Ralphie’s disastrous Christmas experiences include a dog infestation, an ugly lamp, a pink bunny suit, an unconventional Christmas feast, and a flat tire. For a good laugh, A Christmas Story is a must-see.
3. Elf
Director: Jon Favreau
Starring: Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, James Caan
Released: 2003
Arguably, there is not a single Convent of the Sacred Heart student who does not quote “Buddy the Elf” at one point or another during the Christmas season. This family-oriented comedy tells the story of “Buddy the Elf,” a human who grows up in the North Pole among Santa and his elves.  Buddy is unaware that he is not a real elf until he is sent to visit his father, Walter Hobbs, in New York City. Buddy’s adventure documents his experiences of building relationships with his hostile father, half-brother Michael, and love interest, Jovie, as well as showing his adaptation from the life of an elf in the North Pole to life of a human in the Big Apple. Watch Elf  if you’re in the mood for some belly-laughing courtesy of Will Ferrell.
 4. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Director: Larry Roemer
Starring: the voices of Burl Ives, Billie Mae Richards
Released: 1964
The family-friendly and timeless classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer tells the tale of Rudolph, a reindeer with an unusually glowing red nose. Rudolph embarks on a journey with Yukon Cornelius, a miner, and Herbie, an elf who aspires to be a dentist. On Christmas day, these three friends visit the island of misfit toys, where Rudolph tries to make his companions feel special since he, himself, is an outcast among his fellow reindeer in the North Pole.  Rudolph is finally recognized for his special trait when on Christmas Eve, Santa needs him to guide the sleigh through bad weather with his shining red nose.  Sing along to the catchy, well-known tunes while you enjoy this animated classic.
5. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 TV Short)
Director: Chuck Jones, Ben Washam
Written by: Dr. Seuss
Starring: Boris Karloff, Thurl Ravenscroft
Released: 1966
How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski
Released: 2000
Whether it’s the 1966 animated version or the 2000 comedy with Jim Carrey, How The Grinch Stole Christmas will make you laugh, cry (happy tears) and smile. This is the tale of the Grinch, an angry hermit overlooking the utopian village of Whoville. He attempts to steal Christmas, and with his adventures come laughter, scares, and lessons learned.
6. Christmas Vacation
Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik
Writer: John Hughes
Starring: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki
Released: 1989
The successful “National Lampoon” franchise is back with its Christmas special, Christmas Vacation. The infamous Griswold family continues their dysfunctional adventure into the holiday season. When extended family travels to the Griswold’s for the holidays, the vacation turns from decking the halls to a complete disaster. For a good laugh, Christmas Vacation will enliven your holiday season.
7. White Christmas
Director: Michael Curtiz
Starring: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera Ellen
Released: 1954
Although released nearly 60 years ago, White Christmas continues to enchant millions with its musical legacy. Including songs such as “Snow” and of course, “White Christmas,” this film will have you humming and singing for days. Explore the tale of four musical friends who spend their Christmas in Vermont where they experience love, laughter, and the joys of the holidays.
8. The Holiday
Director: Nancy Meyers
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Jack Black
Released: 2006
This “chick flick” is the perfect way to experience a truly romantic holiday season. When two women, Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Iris (Kate Winslet) swap houses for the holidays to get away from their troublesome love lives, their new experiences are unforgettable.  Watch The Holiday to see a heartfelt, funny and memorable holiday “rom-com.”
9. Fred Claus
Director: David Dobkin
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, Elizabeth Banks
Released: 2007
Fred Claus tells the story of Santa’s older brother, Fred (Vince Vaughn) who is quite hostile about his younger brother’s business. He is forced to move to the North Pole during Christmastime, where he bitterly observes the holiday season firsthand. Will this Scrooge become another one of Santa’s elves? Watch Fred Claus for a good laugh and for a fun adventure starring Fred and his brother.
10. A Charlie Brown Christmas
Director: Bill Melendez
Writer: Charles M. Schulz
Starring: Peter Robbins, Geoffrey Ornstein
Released: 1965
One of the most famous holiday movies of all time, A Charlie Brown Christmas tells the story of Charlie Brown, a concerned young boy who seeks to find the true meaning of Christmas amongst all of the materialism associated with the holiday season. Join Charlie, Sally, Pig Pen, Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, Peppermint Patty, and more as they celebrate the joys of Christmas.
– Sarah Jackmauh, Co-Features Editor