The holidays are in full swing and now it’s Christmas Eve. While many of us can’t gather as we normally would, some of the traditions and habits we keep are still there like any other year. One of those things we love to do? Watch Christmas movies, of course. Here are a few of my favorite Christmas movies that always keep me in the mood and spirit of the holiday.
The Santa Clause
Easily topping my list is The Santa Clause. I think a big part of this is due to its availability. Coming out in 1994, the year I was born, this movie would become a staple every Christmas Eve as I grew up. I especially remember being at my grandparents’ house for the holidays and sleeping over on Christmas Eve night when The Santa Clause would, without fail, always be playing on ABC or ABC Family (now Freeform). As an adult, I now understand some of the complexities involved in this story, such as divorce and custody rights, and mental health, but I still love this movie.
‘Twas the Night
Long before Bryan Cranston was the menacing Walter White in Breaking Bad, he was off on other projects. As a seven-season run of Malcolm in the Middle was picking up steam, the actor starred in a small Disney Channel original film, ‘Twas the Night. Here he plays con-artist Uncle Nick who goes to visit his family on Christmas Eve. Tasked with the responsibility of having to watch his nephews and niece, however, he quickly finds himself in a strange encounter with Santa Claus himself. The rest of the night will go down in history as Nick, and the kids, respond to these events, but it’s clear who is and isn’t on the Nice list. Be warned, though, this movie has not aged well in the nineteen years since its release.
More of a short film just shy of thirty-minutes, The Snowman is a classic animation from 1982 based on an earlier book of the same name. The animation style and music used in this animation is beautiful, and there is a splendid wonder throughout it all. Until the very end, too, the magic is accompanied by a fair measure of somberness. This story is a unique experience.
Christmas with the Kranks
I’m beginning to wonder if I’m a sucker for Tim Allen holiday movies. Christmas with the Kranks, for me, has always been an enjoyable, yet unconventional, holiday pick. Having a slight irreverence about the holiday season and focusing on a married couple who want to take a vacation away from home for Christmas, this movie speeds up quickly when neighbors realize that something is off with the Krank family. No Christmas lights or decorations? No tree? No food? The Kranks are in for the experience of their lives as neighbors try to investigate and bring their version of holiday cheer back to the household. It’s innocent and fun humor that, by the end, comes to rest on those traditional holiday themes of family and community.
A recent addition to my Christmas favorites is the Netflix animation Klaus. Releasing only in November 2019, Klaus has quickly gained love and attention over the past year. Jesper is a privileged young man who has no interest in working and just wants to live life in comfort, until his father sends him away to Smeerensburg, a distant and odd town, to learn the values of hard work before he can have the life he so desperately wants. While there, Jesper is tasked with setting up a postal presence and to get the locals sending letters. This is where the myth and legend of Santa Claus begins, as Jesper meets a woodsman named Klaus, who is also a toymaker, and they set off to provide toys to children to get them writing letters to Klaus. The animation style is incredibly well done and it’s an excellent holiday title to add to your family’s watch list.