It’s finally the time of the year where it’s socially acceptable to start watching holiday movies – Woohoo! 

I absolutely love cuddling up on the couch, submerged in fuzzy blankets, with a hot cocoa in one hand and a warm cookie in the other. But while the snacks and location remain the same, how do we choose which seasonal movie to watch since there are thousands to choose from? 

Well, here are my favorite traditional holiday films I watch with my friends and family each December!


Possibly my favorite Christmas movie of all time is “Elf,” much like every other person with good film taste. Will Ferrell just does a phenomenal job at embodying a silly, whimsical character, forcing me to laugh at a majority of his lines no matter how many times I watch it: which is, disclaimer, a lot. Zooey Deschanel playing the love interest, Jovie, continually adds to the humor and fun of the plot since I absolutely love her. Because my fondness for the movie is so strong, I have both an ornament hung on my Christmas tree and a bright pink shirt that quotes Buddy’s line, “We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup!”

“The Grinch”

This may be an unpopular opinion, but the Jim Carrey version of “The Grinch” will forever be unmatched to the cartoon version. How can anyone dismiss his brilliant and hilarious acting which he does all while wearing such a heavy suit? I remember reading somewhere that Carrey had to train under CIA operates on how to endure torture because the Grinch suit was so hard to breathe in. The visuals are so colorful and the costumes, sets and music always make the film an easy and entertaining watch. 

“The Polar Express”

I have had many arguments over my love for “The Polar Express,” and I’m not sure why. While my appreciation for the film has definitely stemmed from watching it during the school day before winter break every year in high school, there is no denying how beautiful the movie is! The meaning, animation and soundtrack are all gorgeous. And of course, the “Hot Chocolate” musical number during the train ride is so iconic. 

The “Home Alone” Series

Both “Home Alone” movies are a staple duo to watch every holiday season. Though the sequel, “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” is the best in my opinion. I can’t help but laugh so hard that I actually cry when Marv (Daniel Stern) is electrocuted in the basement and is struck in the face by multiple bricks. His scream and Harry’s (Joe Pesci) frustrated mumbles never fail to put a smile on my face! The soundtrack truly invokes the holiday spirit as well. Once you hit the “start” button and the movie opens with the “Home Alone” theme song, you know Christmas has really begun.

“The Santa Clause” Series

Every single “The Santa Clause” movie is a masterpiece, but my personal rankings have remained the same since middle school: “The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause,” “The Santa Clause” then “The Santa Clause 2”. But no matter which film is the better one, Tim Allen will prevail as the best actor to embody Santa. The filmmakers do a wonderful job making each movie so different from the previous one, carefully eliminating anything repetitive that we’ve already seen before, which I love. Each plot is so unique even though it has the same characters, sets and theme in all three. 

“Christmas Vacation”

This is without a doubt, the funniest Christmas movie you can watch. Every year, my family and I will always push out soundless laughs, the good ones where it’s so deep nothing comes out, even though we know all of the lines by heart. The dried Christmas turkey that disintegrates, the electrocuted cat and Clark Griswold’s dirty humor are all just a few scenarios that make this film so hilarious. What’s even sillier is that my parents have matching holiday sweaters that say “Todd, why is the carpet wet” and “I don’t know, Margo!” 

“Christmas Story”

Not only have I watched “Christmas Story” every single December of my life since TBS seems to have some weird obsession with it (and I guess so do I since I decide to watch it each year), but I’ve also had the privilege of seeing it live at the Bushnell Performing Arts Center in Hartford, Conn. I’ll never forget how they had trained dogs to play the Bumpuses hounds and how they had a huge slide on stage for when Ralphie gets kicked in the face by a mall Santa. It was such a magical experience!

“It’s A Wonderful Life”

I never watched “It’s A Wonderful Life” until my senior year of high school because our drama club was planning on presenting it during the winter of 2019. And because I was actually cast to play Mary Hatch (which I was super excited about), it wasn’t until after I performed it did I realize how beautiful the story is. And I think I honestly think I wouldn’t have understood or appreciated the meaning behind the film if I had watched it at an earlier age. With my new and overwhelming connection to the plot, I will forever shed a tear at the line, “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings”.

These are just a few of the many holiday films out there you can watch all season long. But you’ll just have to promise me that whatever you watch, please do not turn on any Hallmark movies. There are much better alternatives out there!


About The Author

-- Senior I Executive Editor I English Creative Writing & Digital Journalism --

Brooke is a senior English Creative Writing and Digital Journalism major, with minors in Film, Television & Media and Editing & Publishing. She plans to pursue a career in screenwriting after graduation.

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