Top Ten Christmas Movies
1. A Christmas Story—between the nostalagia elements and the memories of that one toy you HAD to have. Not to mention, the excellent casting of the movie and excellently interwoven subplots make this a favorite year round for my family.
2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation—granted, there are some scenes not appropriate for children, but what I love about this movie is it unapologetically shows all the stresses of the Christmas season. Particularly those surrounding having family together. Those are the ones we would try to gloss over if given the choice, but can erupt in a pretty nasty way. This gives us a chance to laugh at them.
3. A Charlie Brown Christmas—it almost didn’t air in 1965 in large part because of Linus reading from the King James Version of the Bible and the gospel of Luke. It has been renewed through 2015, but I bought it on DVD because my kids ask to watch it year-round. It’s nice to be able to remember the lessons of Christmas all year long.
4. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus–this is a Rankin-Bass production that is very difficult to see on television now. A few years ago ABC Family Channel had it on their 25 days of Christmas, but it hasn’t been in the line-up for a few Christmases now. It is the story of how Santa Claus receives the “mantle of immortality.” It’s not Biblical, obviously, or accurate or anything else and is actually based on a book by L. Frank Baum (the guy who wrote The Wizard of Oz) but I love the stop motion animation and the artistry in Rankin-Bass productions and, for me, this one is the most beautiful from a artistic point of view.
5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas—this is the original animated version narrated by Boris Karloff. What I like about this is that the message is subtle. It reaches people where they are at. If someone is on the fence about the birth of Christ, it doesn’t beat them over the head, it shows the Grinch removing all the commercial aspects of the Who’s Christmas only to find that Christmas means more. And I love Max, the Grinch’s dog and that song, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”
6. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever—I wish a network would start a revival for this one the way TBS did for A Christmas Story. I read the book as a kid and remember seeing it one year on tv. It starred Loretta Swit. It’s about this family of “bad kids” in a town. The other kids’ only refuge from them is church until one little boy tells them they get free snacks in church. As fate, or God, would have it, they are cast as the leads in the church’s annual Christmas pageant. I’m glossing over a lot of details, obviously, but it manages to be heart warming without being cheesy and very funny as well.
7. The Bells of St Mary’s—I watched it once with my mom when I was a kid and was hooked. Ingrid Bergman and Bing Crosby were expertly cast and it is a beautiful story of Christmas miracles.
8. Holiday Inn–I love it mostly for the music. It helps that I worked in a Holiday Inn too.
9. While You Were Sleeping—Now we can argue as to whether this is a Christmas movie or not, I maintain it is because it centers around one young woman who has no family and if there is gonig to be a miracle at Christmas, it might as well be having the family you’ve never had. I also love the scene when they are at mass, even funnier if you are Catholic. The grandmother’s line, “I liked mass better in Latin. It was nicer when you didn’t know what they were saying.”
10. A Claymation Christmas—Also no longer in rotation on tv, this was part of many of my childhood Christmases as a favorite. The Christmas carols brought to life through claymation are fun and amazing. Here are two of my favorites. I would definitely watch these with kids:
Top Ten Favorite Christmas Carols
1. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
2. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
3. The First Noel
4. Angels We Have Heard On High
5. Joy to the World
6. O Come All Ye Faithful
7. What Child is This?
8. Silent Night
9. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
10. Once in Royal David’s City
Honorable Mention because it is an Epiphany Hymn
What Star is This
Top 10 Favorite Christmas Songs
1. The Twelve Pains of Christmas off the Bob River’s Twisted Christmas albums
2. Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses
3. You’re a Mean One Mister Grinch by Boris Karloff
4. Santa Claus and His Old Lady by Cheech and Chong
5. The Little Drummer by David Bowie and Bing Crosby
6. Father Christmas by the Kinks
7. Snoopy and the Red Baron (Christmas Bells) by the Royal Guardsmen
8. Dominic the donkey 😉
9. Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Bob Geldof and Company
10. Christmas In Hollis by Run DMC