Movies I Watch Every Holiday Season

I’m told that the Hallmark Channel has been running its original holiday movies since the beginning of November, so I’m kind of wondering how many there are at this point.

Outside of the made for cable TV fare, there’s of course plenty of holiday themed films out there of almost every genre – even one in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Iron Man 3). In my house growing up, you could count on some combination of It’s a Wonderful Life, Holiday Inn, Miracle on 34th Street and/or White Christmas. These are films I’ve seen so many times since I was a kid I basically refuse to watch them anymore, except in limited circumstances (like maybe one a year, and never Miracle).

I’ve since developed my own repertoire of what I call modern holiday classics, which I like to revisit every year. I’ve already completely annoyed my own wife and family with these, and I’m sure my own kids will be writing about how I scarred them for life by watching these over and over again.

Without further ado, and in no particular order…

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
One of the most quotable comedies of all time, I think we’ve all had – well, some – of these moments with our own families. 🙂

The Family Man
A reverse, modern day version of It’s A Wonderful Life finds Nicholas Cage at his restrained best. Sparkling chemistry with Tea Leoni and a kid who can actually act don’t hurt, either.

A Christmas Story
The classic of all classics – so much so that TBS runs it on a 24 hour loop every year. Infinitely relatable – the anticipation of the presents, the school yard dares – we are ALL Ralphie in our own ways.

The Ref
Need some sarcasm and big-time family burns this holiday season? Denis Leary’s got you covered.

Nobody’s Fool
One of my all-time favorite books and Top 100 movies. Paul Newman plays Sully to a tee, and it’s one of the best kind of “quiet” movies out there. Works for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Love Actually
I mean, what more needs to be said? Earnest, fun and the best kind of sappy optimistic that you can find this or any holiday season.

The Holiday
This film is all about chemistry from its leads. Cameron Diaz is at her best opposite Jude Law, while Kate Winslet shines next to Jack Black and Eli Walach both.

and, of course, yet controversially…
Die Hard
Yes, Die Hard IS a Christmas movie. I defended this pretty throughly last year (see below) and won’t hear another word against it.

Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?

Programming note: The blog will be on hiatus for the next couple of weeks. It’ll be back on January 8. Have a great holiday season!