By Kristina Bostley
The holiday season is already in full swing this year, but with the tree already up, the halls already decked, and the Christmas cards already sent, what’s left to do? Snuggle up in front of the crackling fire with a mug of steamy hot chocolate and settle in to watch these top 10 Christmas classics. Watch as Kevin McAllister, Ebenezer Scrooge, the Grinch, Buddy the Elf, George Bailey, Ralphie, and Bob Wallace and Phil Davis try to get you into – or keep you in – the Christmas spirit.
10. Home Alone
The classic tale of a young boy stranded at home while his family vacations in France is none other than “Home Alone.” Macaulay Culkin stars as eight-year-old Kevin McAllister in the comedy about a kid who outsmarts two would-be thieves trying to hit the jackpot on Christmas Eve. Kevin sets all sorts of traps for Harry and Marv, played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern respectively, making a would-be simple robbery into one of mischief and mayhem for the two burglars. See the 1990 classic on ABC Family at various times in December.
9. Love Actually
“Love Actually” is the story of eight interwoven tales of love and life in England during the holiday season. This romantic comedy has it all: the excitement of starting a new relationship, falling in love, heartbreak, divorce, scandal, family drama, rock stars, politicians, and more. The movie focuses on its main theme – love – regardless of age, sexual preference, ethnicity, social status, occupation, or anything else. Though the movie does not have main characters, it does star celebrities including Hugh Grant, Keira Knightly, Colin Firth, and Liam Neeson. If you have a Netflix account, you’re in luck: This 2003 movie is available to subscribers.
8. A Christmas Carol
The Charles Dickens novel is one of the greatest-known Christmas stories, introducing readers to Ebenezer Scrooge and his visits from the three all-knowing ghosts. The story of what was, what is, and what will be spawned several adaptations in film, television, live theater, and even opera and graphic novels. Though audiences can’t forget memorable versions such as “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” or “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” there’s a recent remake that deserves just as much attention: Jim Carrey’s version of the classic, a 3D animated motion capture movie directed by Robert Zemeckis. The different style gives a whole new look and feel to the story as Scrooge bah-humbugs his way through the story of how his past, present, and future affect those all around him. Catch the remake on the ABC Family channel on December 23 at 3 p.m.
7. Miracle on 34th Street
The 1947 classic “Miracle on 34th Street” about the controversy of Santa’s identity begins in New York in none other than Macy’s Department Store. When the man hired to be Santa shows up drunk, Doris Walker hires an old man to reprise the role. It turns out to be much more than Doris bargained for when she discovers that the man goes by the name Kris Kringle, and he insists that he is actually Santa. Though he has many of the qualifications Santa would have, his outrageous claim is written off by Doris and other Macy’s employees – that is, until the store’s psychologist tries to have him committed to a mental institution. The debacle leads to a court case, but it turns out that Doris doesn’t need a jury’s decision to realize who Kris Kringle actually is. Stream the movie on Netflix to find out his true identity.
6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (ABC Family)
How exactly did the Grinch steal Christmas? Right out from under the noses of his friendly one-time neighbors, the Whos. The only Who he doesn’t fool is Cindy-Lou Who, and she somehow knows that the Grinch’s heart is just a bit too small to appreciate the true Christmas spirit. Originally a Dr. Seuss book and then made into a cartoon in 1966, Jim Carrey reenacted the story with his 2000 release of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” directed by Ron Howard. “Inside a snowflake, like the one on your sleeve, there happened a story you must see to believe,” is one of the movie’s taglines, and you can see the story yourself throughout December on ABC Family.
Comedian Will Ferrell stars in “Elf,” a recent but memorable movie about a human, Buddy, who is accidentally sent to be raised in the North Pole. Funniness ensues when he is sent back to the very real world of New York City to reunite with his real father and forced to acclimate to the New York way of life. After a long trip and a disastrous encounter with a “fake” department store Santa Claus, Buddy begins to find his way into the hearts of his father, his father’s wife, and his half-brother, not to mention a young girl working as an Elf in said department store. As Christmas draws near and the real Santa finds himself in trouble, he calls on Buddy to save the day. It’s available to Netflix DVD subscribers, and if you missed it on Encore on November 28, keep an eye out on the TV Guide Channel for its next showing.
4. It’s a Wonderful Life
Guardian angel Clarence is forced to appear to George Bailey on Christmas Eve when George wonders if everyone else would be better off if he were dead. George Bailey has a reputation for getting the short end of the stick, like when he saved his brother from an accident but lost hearing in his left ear, or when he was forced to forego his long-anticipated European travel plans to take over his father’s business after his death. When his mortgage and loan company threatens to go under, George despairs, and it’s up to Clarence to show George what a tremendous impact he has on the lives of others. See just what kind of impact that is when you watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” on December 14 at 8 p.m. and December 24 at 8 p.m., both times on NBC.
3. Polar Express
“Polar Express” is the highly acclaimed stop motion animated Christmas drama about a young boy who begins to doubt the existence of Santa Claus and the North Pole. He’s awakened on Christmas Eve by a magical train that zips him and other children his age right up to the North Pole. On board, the boy gets himself tangled in a bit of trouble, but nothing that can’t be worked out with the help of the train’s conductor, the few friends he’s made along the way, and a mysterious man on the roof of the train. Upon their arrival to the North Pole, the children get to meet Santa, and the boy receives a special gift that restores his belief in the jolly man in red. What did the boy receive? Find out when you watch throughout December on ABC Family, starting on December 1 at 5 p.m. and continuing throughout the month.
2. A Christmas Story
TBS is airing “A Christmas Story” for 24 hours straight on Christmas Eve this year. The Story is one of a slightly dysfunctional, yet at the same time mundanely normal, family living in Indiana in the 1940s. All poor Ralphie dreams about is getting an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle for Christmas, but as it draws nearer to Christmas, it seems like a dream that will never come true. Ralphie faces opposition from his teacher, Santa, and especially his own family, and the nine-year-old becomes desperate to prove he’s worthy of the BB gun. If you’ve never seen it, and even if you have, find out whether Ralphie receives his prize possession during the marathon on December 24.
1. White Christmas
The classic tale “White Christmas” embodies the Christmas spirit with everything that is good and pure about the holiday season. It encapsulates the spirit of love and friendship and the season of giving and ties it into an old-fashioned bundle of music and dancing and true American chivalry. The voices of the legendary Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney are accompanied by the fantastic dance moves of Danny Kay and Vera-Ellen as they float over the screen in the tale of two soldiers-turned-entertainers who team up with a sister entertainment act to make their former general’s Christmas one that he will never forget. Watch the magic happen on December 7 on TV One at 5:30 p.m., or stream it through Netflix.