As exciting as the Holiday Season may be, it is also one of the most stressful times of the year. Christmas shopping, hosting parties, financial strain, and bad weather are all contributing factors to the raised levels of anxiety that people experience during the month of December.
It’s important to remember that the Holidays should be about spending time with family. With all that is going on at this time of year, it may seem impossible to find a moment to relax with loved ones. A great way to do this is to: plan an evening to be together, make some hot chocolate, and gather around the television to watch a Christmas movie. Whether it’s a comedy, romance, or drama, there are so many to choose from. A lot of them are good movies, but the following classics have a way of standing out above the rest. They’ve become Holiday traditions for many families, and no matter how often they’re shown, they never seem to lose their luster.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Still as hilarious today as when it first came out, this classic comedy displays the joy and hardship that is experienced in trying to have a good old family Christmas. It’s one of those movies that allow viewers to forget all about their own stress for awhile and laugh along to the outrageous antics of Clark Griswold and the rest of his clan.
A Christmas Story
Whether it’s the Red Rider BB gun, the leg lamp, or the pink bunny pajamas, no other Christmas movie boasts as many unforgettable props as this one. Watch along as little Ralphie Parker pleads with his parents, his teacher, and a mall Santa for a BB gun for Christmas. Their famous response, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” This film speaks to anyone who was ever a child and remembers what it was like to yearn for that one special toy and then to find it under the Christmas tree after all hope of receiving it was lost.
A Christmas Carol
There are so many versions of this Dickens’ classic, that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of them all. Leading the way would have to be the 1951 take. Alastair Sim is spot on with his portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge, as he transforms from a cold-hearted, greedy shell of a man, into a kind-hearted soul with a newly found compassion for the people that he once alienated. Watch this film in black-and-white to get the full experience of just how spooky the visits from each of the ghosts actually are.
This feel-good story follows two army buddies turned musical performers that secretly plan a Christmas Eve concert to help out their General, who has become a struggling inn-keeper. With dazzling musical numbers, and the talented crooning of Bing Crosby, it’s easy for viewers to get caught up in this masterpiece as they forget about their worries for a little while. It’s the perfect movie to watch just before setting out the milk and cookies for Santa, and heading off to bed on the night before Christmas.
It’s a Wonderful Life
Although not entirely a Holiday movie, the memorable finale does take place on Christmas Eve, and the films’ epiphany-like theme make it perfect viewing at this time of the year. Many movies and T.V. shows have paid homage to It’s a Wonderful Life, but none have captured the effectiveness portrayed by Jimmy Stewart in this timeless classic. Stewart plays George Bailey, a good man who is at his wits end. His business is about to go under and he contemplates suicide, until an angel named Clarence intervenes and shows Bailey what the world would have been like if he had never been born. The films’ powerful message reminds viewers, not only how important our loved ones are, but also how much we mean to them.
The Holiday Season is a hectic time of year. It’s easy to get caught up in all the hustle and bustle and to forget about what is truly important. These 5 great movies have all stood the test of time, and serve as a reminder to slow things down and think about family, friends, and the true meaning of Christmas. Watching them each year is a great way to keep the spirit of the season going strong, well into the New Year.