I'm going to share my Christmas movie favorites and explain why they satisfy.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947): In my childhood, I of course adored "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "Frosty the Snowman," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," and "A Charlie Brown Christmas." Back then, you had to wait for them to be shown on TV. Of course, everyone loved "It's a Wonderful Life," "A Christmas Carol," and "White Christmas," but my go-to as a kid and still today is "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947).
As a kid this one struck me because it seemed every year I sent Santa a letter about what I wanted. I never got a thing on the list. One year, I decided to not ask for a physical thing but something else. I sent him a letter asking for my oldest brother (13 years older than me) to come home for Christmas. He had always been the one who cut down our Christmas tree when we found one in the woods that we liked.
He didn't just come home, he brought his wife and moved into a cottage on our property. We sat together with our siblings and strung cranberries and popcorn for their tree and went caroling.
I could not stop thinking about that movie and wishing for a home instead of things. I still get all sentimental when the girl looks up from her seat in the car and sees the house and screams.
This one represents the very basic needs - home and family.
Elf: This endearing and hilariously sweet movie fast became my classic fave. The beginning of the film taps on our sentimental favorites like the North Pole elves, Santa, Frosty, penguins and more. Then, it moves us into NYC Christmas which holds a fascination for more of us. That is one city where an elf could be crushed or he could make the hardened city folk finally believe again.
This one best represents believing again in magic and miracles.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: There is nothing more idyllic than the perfect family Christmas. But, the fates always have a way of throwing in the unexpected. Anything that can happen, happens. This is such a classic from the desire to cut down a real tree to having both sides of the family visit and a house that is more brightly decorated than any others on the block. Deftly executed by a great team of comedy actors, this one makes my family Christmas foibles seem lame.
This one best represents suburban Christmas.
A Christmas Story: Every kid knows a bully, every kid anticipates Christmas and every kid wishes for that one thing that would be the ultimate toy. This nostalgic film taking place in the 1940s s still timeless today.
This one best represents nostalgic childhood Christmases.
Home Alone: As much as a pain in the butt family can be, they still make the Christmas season. Sure, you can survive, but can you thrive? The old adage "be careful what you wish for" comes to mind when Kevin McAllister wishes his family away. Fending off the wolves, keeping the home hearth safe, and surviving the holidays take on a new meaning in this adorable family comedy.
This one best represents why it's best to stay a child as long as time allows.
Honorable mention: There are always other films you love to see, just not top of the list, so here are mine -
Christmas With the Kranks
Home Alone II
A Christmas Carol
Jingle All the Way
Deck the Halls