Now that students are back home after a whirlwind finals season, it seems some of us have all the time in the world to sit in front of the TV and binge our favorite shows and movies. Especially during the holiday season, those hours spent on the couch next to the Christmas tree watching the Hallmark Channel and eating cookies seem almost picturesque. Family traditions during the holidays include watching movies and programs that have been around for longer than us, and we cherish the time spent debating our favorite and least favorite movies for years to come. While the Hallmark Channel does produce some winners, we always revert back to some classics to get us in the Christmas spirit. Here are five of my favorites; hope you enjoy!
1. White Christmas
This movie is one that always seems to put a smile on my face. Set against a stunning backdrop of a quaint Vermont inn, Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye bring laughter and song to a small town while falling in love in the process. The music is classic and the dialogue is hilarious, and the chemistry between the main characters pulls the audience into this whirlwind tale. My family loves this one because it’s a family tale that is timeless across the board. The movie even ends with a rousing performance of “White Christmas,” made famous by Crosby himself and now sung all over the world. You can watch “White Christmas” on Netflix.
Arguably one of the best movies in history (IMO), “Elf” brings parents and children together to laugh and share the “Christmas spirit” and inner child we all have inside of us. Will Ferrell brings down the house in a performance that entertains audience members of all walks of life, and Zooey Deschanel is unrecognizable (in the best way) as Ferrell’s love interest Jovie. Every time I watch this movie, I yearn to visit Gimbels for myself, skate around the Rockefeller Christmas tree and start a snowball fight in Central Park. There’s a reason this movie is a cult favorite and is watched in my house time and time again. If you don’t have “Elf” on DVD (or VHS like my family does), it’s available on Hulu, Starz, Amazon Prime Video or HBO Max.
3. The Holiday
This rom-com brings together a star-studded cast of characters in a journey of self-love and romance from Los Angeles to London. Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet and Jack Black make me snort with laughter and long for my own holiday romance by the time the credits start to roll. “The Holiday” is perfect for any Hallmark movie fans or anyone who wants a slightly cheesy movie that never fails to make you smile. It’s rated PG-13, so this movie is not completely family-friendly, but it’s great for a girls’ night anytime between now and January, as the story ends on New Year's Eve, or to just burrow in your bed alone with some ice cream.
4. Die Hard
An action-packed movie can still have some Christmas appeal. This flick is the topic of many a family debate on whether it can be called a “Christmas movie,” but I bet you can tell what side I’m on. The first in the “Die Hard” series is my favorite, as I can barely sit through the other four movies. Bruce Willis and the late Alan Rickman clash in this overly dramatic, but still hilarious, movie about an NYPD cop traveling to LA to patch things with his estranged wife, only to find himself trapped in a building taken over by German terrorists, and he’s the only one that can save everyone trapped inside. Again, not exactly G-rated content here. Nothing says Christmas like intense fight scenes and edge-of-your-seat action (in a cheesy, ’80s movie way). “Die Hard” is on Bravo Network, FuboTV, Amazon Prime or Peacock.
5. A Charlie Brown Christmas
I had to end on a real and true classic, and this special (which is not technically a movie) warms my heart without fail every single year. I’m partial to anything that has the little bald guy with the yellow striped shirt, and Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus and Lucy” piano masterpiece is a favorite of my father’s and always reminds me of home. Even as an adult, this sweet cartoon still makes me laugh and reminisce on Christmases past. It’s hard to describe the true plot of the special, as it centers around Charlie, a young boy, and his dog, Snoopy, as they prepare for the holiday with their quirky classmates and their small town. Who can stifle a smile whenever the sad little tree comes on the screen? A movie for all ages, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will have your family ready for the big guy to come down the chimney, guaranteed. The special is only available on Apple TV.
No matter what movies or TV shows you like to watch on your winter break, I hope you have a safe and happy holiday season, from my family to yours!