It’s finally here! The turkey is eaten, the shopping is underway, and the tree is ready to be decorated. It’s Christmastime once again, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a time when the joy of giving, the peace of a winter’s night, and the beauty found in simple moments with people you love aren’t just cliches. The holiday season is my favorite time of year, and it’s my hope that I can share some of the happiness I feel during this time with all of the people in my life—including all of you that read NGN.
As I get ready for my first viewing of one of my favorite Christmas movies tonight, I want to share with you my list of 10 must-see Christmas films and holiday specials. These aren’t necessarily the best or the most popular, but they’re my personal favorites—the movies I come back to every year when I want to get into the holiday spirit.
1.) Love Actually: If you don’t like at least some aspect of this multi-storyline romantic comedy, then you should probably check to make sure your heart hasn’t been replaced with stone. Sometimes sweet, sometimes sad, sometimes silly—this is a movie that celebrates the unashamed romanticism of the holiday season with some of the best British actors around. (Hugh Grant’s adorable Prime Minister is a personal favorite of mine.)
2.) A Charlie Brown Christmas: No Christmas is complete without this classic. From the music and the sad little Christmas tree to Linus’s poignant reading of the Christmas story, this is one of those movies that forever shaped the way we experience Christmas in America; everyone has fond memories of this heartwarming special, and I’m certainly no different.
3.) The Muppet Christmas Carol: My favorite retelling of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is this funny, charming, and surprisingly heartfelt version from the Jim Henson Company. “One More Sleep ‘Til Christmas,” “Bless Us All,” and “When Love Is Gone” are three standout musical numbers from what is one of my favorite Christmas-movie soundtracks.
4.) Elf: This post’s namesake is one of the most enjoyable Christmas movies to come out in the last decade. My friends, family, and I can be found quoting this truly fantastic family film year-round (“You sit on a throne of lies!”).
5.) Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas: This movie always makes me reach for the tissues, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The mixture of adorable puppets, great music, and a genuinely affecting story makes this another memorable Jim Henson contribution to my list of Christmas favorites.
6.) Eloise at Christmastime: The beauty of New York City during the holidays and the charm of a surprisingly engaging love story make this a must-watch for me every year (my first viewing of it was this morning, actually). And who doesn’t love a good Julie Andrews movie around Christmas?
7.) Nick and Noel: It’s not a great cinematic achievement by any stretch of the imagination, but this made-for-TV movie from 1993 makes me feel once again like the 5-year-old girl who made her parents run around searching for this movie after she put it at the top of her Christmas list. It may be as cheesy as they come, but it’s also a Christmas tradition I’ll never let go of.
8.) Christmas Eve on Sesame Street: Beautiful music and a winning combination of comedy and poignant storytelling make this a timeless Christmas classic. Big Bird’s quest to find out how Santa gets down the chimney is sweet, but my favorite storyline belongs to Bert, Ernie, and the late Mr. Hooper, who give us a wonderful retelling of “The Gift of the Magi.”
9.) A Muppet Family Christmas: Is there anything better than all of the Muppets (including the Fraggles and Sesame Street gang) gathering together for Christmas hijinks and one epic sing-along? I really don’t think so.
10.) It’s a Wonderful Life: This is my favorite Christmas movie, one I watch with my family every Christmas Eve and watch alone at least once beforehand (so I can cry without anyone judging me). With a beautiful love story at its center and a wonderful message about what makes a person’s life worthwhile, there’s no movie that better captures the spirit of the Christmas season.
These are my favorites, but now I want to know yours. I’m always in the mood to watch new Christmas movies, so I’d love to hear your recommendations. And from this nerdy girl to all of you, may your holiday season be filled with light and love.