There are several old classic Christmas movies that our family traditionally enjoys re-watching together this time of year. The first and the last are must-sees every Christmas.
We try to fit the others in as time allows, although it is rare for us to see them all in a single year. (I think the only time that happened was when we spent the entire month of December quarantined with chicken pox):
This one’s a given. It just wouldn’t seem like Christmas without a least one viewing of this timeless tale featuring Jimmy Stewart as a despairing husband and father who is given a chance to see what the world would be like without him. We’ve seen this one scores of times, and still, it never grows old.
BONUS: Take one of our It’s a Wonderful Life Christmas Trivia Tests after watching to see how closely you paid attention!
I love all the big-band song and dance numbers in this one, but that sweet lullaby Bing Crosby sings to Rosemary Clooney about counting blessings instead of sheep is also very catchy!
The big-hearted Buddy, an orphaned human baby who raised by elves at the North Pole, is just too loveable to resist. The movie is admittedly a little sappy — after all, Buddy carries a bottle of syrup with him at all times and even eats it on spaghetti — but it never fails to evoke a lot of laughs.
NOTE: We have a free printable Christmas Quiz for Elf, too.
I grew up watching this Dr. Seuss classic and now view it with my own children. I’m always amazed at the heart change that comes over the Grinch once he finally realizes that Christmas holds a much deeper meaning than all the external trappings of gifts and food and decorations. Unfortunately, Seuss stops short of explaining what the real reason we celebrate actually is.
If you watch this one, about a little old man who calls himself Kris Kringle and the fragmented family he makes it his mission to help, be sure you get the original version with Maureen O’Hara. It’s so much more charming than the remake!
The book is naturally better than any of the film adaptations, although this one with George C Scott comes pretty close. Scrooge undergoes a remarkable transformation, when the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet-to-Come show him the value of investing generously in the lives of those around him.
I think a lot of us can relate to Charlie Brown: He tries so hard to do everything right at Christmas, but his efforts always seem to fall short.
While these first seven films are fun and family-friendly, if we are honest, we must admit that few of them have anything much to do with the real Reason for the season — unless you count Linus’s quoting Luke 2 to the Peanuts gang during a very disorganized run-through of their class Christmas play.
If you are looking for a CHRISTmas movie that actually focuses on CHRIST, however, then we would heartily recommend this one:
This is a beautiful portrayal of the Jesus’ birth. It remains true to the Scriptural account of the events surrounding the coming of the Messiah, including references to Old Testament prophecies that predicted it.
Though the film speculates as to different characters’ reactions to the news that Mary was pregnant, it does a good job of underscoring the fact that there must have been some who doubted the girl’s explanation.
It shows how dangerous and difficult the journey to Bethlehem must have been — especially for one so close to delivery — and how desperate Joseph must have felt searching for a safe, secluded space for his wife to give birth.
The film does a great job depicting the power-hungry, blood-thirsty jealousy of King Herod…
…and the devastating hardships that the Roman occupation placed upon the children of Israel. No wonder the Jews longed for the Messiah!
But more than anything, this film communicates the sense of awe and wonder that the story of Christ’s birth instills in those who truly believe.
Did I miss one of your favorites? What Christmas movie(s) would you add to this list?