With Christmas only a few days away, time is running out to sneak in your holiday movie-watching. Whether you’re on the computer ordering last-minute gifts, wrapping presents, decorating, sweeping up pine needles or baking for the holidays, it’s always fun to have a little holiday cheer on in the background. I hope you discover a couple new movie ideas for you and your family. I didn’t count down in order of preference, I just counted the way they came to me. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
10. “Babes in Toyland,” starring Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel, later renamed “March of the Wooden Soldiers,” became one of my favorite holiday movies when I was a little kid. I attribute my appreciation of oldies (songs and movies) to my mom, whose Netflix is just leaving AMC on 24/7. The 1961 version starring Annette Funicello is cute, but not as great as the original.
9. “White Christmas” is a no brainer. I know everyone loves Bing Crosby, but I loved Danny Kaye.
8. It wasn’t until I lived in New York with two girlfriends that I discovered the greatness of “Meet Me in St. Louis.” Though Christmas is a secondary theme in this movie, it’s worth the 90 minutes just to see Judy Garland sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” I’ve seen it dozens of times and I still can’t get through it without a tissue.
7. My family has seen every version of “A Christmas Carol,” but the one we keep coming back to and insist on watching every year at this time is the 1951 version with Alastair Sim. There’s something Sim brings to the tale that nobody else does, though I think George C. Scott came closest. I am happy to admit I can’t go past the Muppet or Disney versions of “A Christmas Carol” if I see them on television.
6. My Christmas joy isn’t complete until I’ve seen “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” I mean, nobody cuts a turkey like Clark Griswold.
5. “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2” are worth mentioning here. We watched them for the first time in a while over the weekend and they both had us cracking up. Daniel Stern is the real scene-stealer. Whatever happened to him?
4. “Love Actually” may be too recent to be considered a classic, but it’s absolutely a part of my must-watch Christmas repertoire.
3. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is just about the greatest thing to happen to Christmas, besides Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas.” This and “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” are adorable movies that will forever bring me back to my childhood days. I’m a sucker for nostalgia, especially around the holidays. And who doesn’t love a good Burl Ives tune? I will sneak-add “Frosty the Snowman,” the 1969 cartoon version, into this group.
2. I can’t believe I almost forgot “Santa Claus: The Movie.” Starring Dudley Moore and John Lithgow, this is one of the all-time greats.
1. Last but not least, “Miracle on 34th Street.” While the one with Elizabeth Perkins and Dylan McDermott is certainly charming, I have to go with the original starring Maureen O’Hara and a young Natalie Wood.
What are some of your favorite old Christmas movies? In 10 years I’d probably add “Elf” to this list.