1. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965). There’s just no denying that this masterpiece of animation is most people’s favorite. It’s a classic story of the kid that no one ever seems to like who finds someone less fortunate (a sad tree) and gives them a chance at fulfilling their destiny. The voices, the songs, the dancing… you just can’t go wrong with this heartwarming gem.
2. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964). This clay-mation special was my favorite when I was little. I had a Rudolph toy whose nose lit up as it walked across the room, and I would always play with it while watching. The story is quite a lesson in tolerance, especially for parents. Donner was such a jerk to his son! That is, until he realized that Rudolph’s freak “problem” actually made him very important and essential in saving Christmas. The Abominable Snow Monster is my favorite character. All he needed was a dentist-in-training to fix his toothache and he turned into a giant googly-eyed teddy bear!
3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989). Hands down the funniest Christmas movie of all time, Chevy Chase’s wacky holiday romp will always have a special place in my heart. My dad was, undeniably, the Clark Griswold of the south. He did it all- covered his house in millions of tiny lightbulbs, stapled himself to the side of the house, fell from the roof (and broke his pinky toe), never yielding in his insatiable need to celebrate Christmas in the BIGGEST way possible. One of my favorite things about this movie is that it shows just how incredibly wrong everything can go during the holidays, and that it’s ok to be ok with it. Sometimes the turkey just comes out mummified.
4. Love Actually (2003). Every boyfriend’s least favorite, this mash-up of every English actor you can think of gets me every time! Hugh Grant’s rendition of “Good King Wenceslas”, Bill Nighy’s horrendous christmas cover of “Love is all Around”, Rowan Atkinson painfully gift-wrapping a gift that Alan Rickman should not be buying- it’s a laugh riot! It’s also incredibly heart-warming- the kid gets the girl, a man professes his love for his best friend’s wife without any expectations, and the widower finds his Claudia Schiffer. I also like that not every storyline has a happy ending. Laura Linney gives up on the dreamy office guy for a greater responsibility, and Emma Watson basically just stops her husband from doing anything to completely ruin their marriage, but not without some serious damage. I could do without Santana’s “Smooth” segueing Colin into Wisconsin, but the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” makes up for it in the end. Not to mention this movie solidifies Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is you” into eternal holiday life, as if it needed any help.
5. Saturday Night Live (1975-present). Anything SNL has ever done having to do with Christmas is included here. Since the beginning, the jokesters down at Studio 8H have been lampooning the holiday season in style. No matter what anyone thinks about any given cast over the years, there’s no denying that when it comes to Christmas, SNL always delivers. Adam Sandler’s “Hanukkah Song” and Jimmy Fallon’s “I Wish it was Christmas Today” have become holiday classics, and Alec Baldwin will forever be know for his “Schweddy Balls”.
These are just a few of my favorite things to watch at Christmas. What are some of your faves? I’d love to hear about them!