10 Movies to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

My parents separated and eventually divorced when I was in elementary school. During that first Christmas my mother needed time to get the house together and make sure that Santa was adequately prepared for his visit. She had my father take us out on Christmas Eve and since she needed a full day, he took us to the movies and then out for lunch. This was in 1988. 25 years later guess what my father does on Christmas Eve? He takes my brother and I to the movies. It’s a tradition and I wonder if this would be our thing had it not been for my parents divorce. It doesn’t matter because now the holiday season means togetherness and getting lost in a (sometimes good) movie despite the hustle and bustle.

I love Christmas. I love the lights, the snow (I am from Upstate NY after all) and the free fall into magic. I am a bit of a curmudgeon and annoyed with someone over something 75% of the time and even I can turn on the cheer. I love it all. But my favorite continues to be the movies. Not just the one we see in the theater each year but the ones that have become classics. The ones we reach to on the shelf when the calendar hits December 1st or in my case November 27th. The movies that make me thankful for this time of year.

Here are my top ten all time favorite holiday movies. These are movies that are universally loved but I am itching to add more to my repertoire so that I can have 30 days of holiday movies. And now someone out there is wondering what happened to the real Heather who loves C-SPAN. I’m still here it’s just that I have to break up the monotony of politics with joy and John Candy.

What are your favorite holiday movies?

  • 10. A Christmas Story 1 of 10
    Image via IMDB

    A Christmas Story

    "Oh, life is like that. Sometimes, at the height of our revelries, when our joy is at it's zenith, when all is most right with the world, the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us." - Ralphie

    Who DOESN'T love the story of Ralphie and his quest for a BB gun? And raise your hand if you seriously thought about sticking your tongue to a metal pole just to see what happens.

  • 9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas 2 of 10
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    How the Grinch Stole Christmas

    "We'll improvise... just keep it kind of loosey-goosey. You HATE Christmas! You're gonna steal it. Saving Christmas is a lousy ending, way too commercial. ACTION!" - The Grinch

    Some hate this movie but I love when my books come to life and Jim Carrey's snarl? Yes.

  • 8. Uncle Buck 3 of 10
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    Uncle Buck

    "Hey, Mom. Next time you take off in the middle of the night, why don't you hire a murderer to watch the house?" - Tia Russell

    While Uncle Buck isn't about the holidays it is about family - no matter how crazy the members are. It's sweet and goofy and did I mention John Candy? Because John Candy.

  • 7. The Santa Clause 4 of 10
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    The Santa Clause

    "Can we take a direct flight back to reality, or do we have to change planes in Denver?" - Scott Calvin

    Santa Claus falls off the roof. The guy who finds him must now become Santa Claus. Chaos ensues. This movie is so bad that it's good.

     

  • 6. Planes, Trains and Automobiles 5 of 10
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    Planes, Trains and Automobiles

    "You know everything is not an anecdote. You have to discriminate. You choose things that are funny or mildly amusing or interesting. You're a miracle! Your stories have NONE of that. They're not even amusing ACCIDENTALLY!" - Neal Page

    For some reason I didn't see this movie for the first time until very recently. Last year, I think. If Del and Neal don't make you laugh and then cry at the end then I'm afraid that your heart might be colder and blacker than mine.

  • 5. Elf 6 of 10
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    Elf

    "I thought maybe we could make ginger bread houses, and eat cookie dough, and go ice skating, and maybe even hold hands." - Budd the Elf

    I'm guessing that the second you saw this title you blurted out "SMILING'S MY FAVORITE!" because that's what I do at the mention of Elf. Watching this movie means that Christmas is really coming.

  • 4. Love Actually 7 of 10
    Image via IMDB

    Love Actually

    "Life is full of interruptions and complications." - Karl

    C'mon now, you know you want to get the shit kicked out of you by love. This movie is everything to love about love and Christmas and examining the relationship between the US and Great Britain.

  • 3. Home Alone 8 of 10
    Image via IMDB

    Home Alone

    "This is *Christmas*. The season of perpetual hope. And I don't care if I have to get out on your runway and hitchhike. If it costs me everything I own, if I have to sell my soul to the devil himself, I am going to get home to my son." - Kate McCallister

    The story of Kevin McCallister's Christmas alone is now a classic. Though my favorite thing to do is realize that had this movie been made today it would have ended just as soon as it began. It's still one of the best in my humble opinion.

  • 2. Christmas Vacation 9 of 10
    Image via IMDB

    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

    "And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse." - Clark W. Griswold

    Confession: This is the first holiday movie I watch each year. It makes me laugh out loud each time I see Clark W. Griswold put his family through the motions of achieving a perfect Christmas.

  • 1. Trading Places 10 of 10
    Image via IMDB

    And for my number one favorite holiday movie *drum roll*

    TRADING PLACES

    "One minute you're up half a million in soybeans and the next, boom, your kids don't go to college and they've repossessed your Bentley. Are you with me?" - Louis Winthorpe III

    Why is it that all of the greatest holiday movies (in my opinion) were made in the 80's? I love Trading Places which is totally inappropriate for children and it's full of non-PC 80's humor which is what makes it so fantastic. Then there's the full on holiday/hooray for the good guys ending which makes it all worth it. Plus old school Eddie Murphy. Yes.

Keep the conversation going with Heather Barmore at Poliogue: The Art of Political Dialogue, Twitter and Facebook.

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