1. Elf (2003)
Okay. Tell me why you wouldn’t want to watch a grown man walk around in an elf costume for an hour and a half. Will Ferrell’s extravagant acting really sells this movie and makes it an iconic holiday classic. Follow the story of Buddy (Will Ferrell) after he comes back to New York from the North Pole in search of his real father. Not only does this movie have hilarious punch lines, but is also the inspiration for many memes. I promise it will truly teach you that “the best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”
2. Home Alone (1990)
My parents didn’t let me stay home alone until I was 14, but 8-year-old Kevin McCallister wakes up to find that his parents have accidentally left him at home as they went on vacation for the holidays. In his few days without parental supervision, not only does he manage to survive, but he also booby traps his whole house and catches two burglars that were attempting to break in. While the rest of the movies in the Home Alone series have some mixed reviews, it’s unanimously agreed that you can’t go wrong with the first one.
3. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
The first time I watched this movie, it was the last day before winter break in first grade. Walking into the classroom, I still remember the overwhelming wave of pure joy that ran through me as I saw the TV cart with a movie pulled up. As I laid there on the classroom’s alphabet rug, snuggling under the blankets with my friends and watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special, I felt quite cozy. And that’s exactly what this movie is: cozy. It’s a wave of nostalgia of more blissful and simple times. Although laced with references to the religious aspects of Christmas, the animated movie is truly for everyone to enjoy as we watch Charlie Brown discover what Christmas means to him.
4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
From Dr. Seuss’s original book to the short film to eventually this movie, this story has been told in several ways. This particular version focuses more on the Grinch’s backstory and how he became the iconic Christmas villain. While it adds more characters and introduces a more complex plotline than the original book allowed for, this film still stands strong and teaches us that the holiday season is much more than the gifts that are exchanged.
5. Polar Express (2004)
Shh. Come here. I have a secret to tell you. Santa Claus isn’t real. Or is he? Polar Express tells the story of a boy that is beginning to question Santa Claus’s existence but, after his adventures upon boarding the Polar Express, makes some interesting discoveries. He helps us realize that, at the end of the day, having the childlike naivety we often look down upon might not always be so bad.