Can’t pick a Christmas movie? Don’t worry, we’re here to help

Jimmy Stewart explains things to Donna Reed in “It’s a Wonderful Life” 1946. (AP file)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (MEDIA GENERAL) — Christmas is coming up fast!

**Cue panic**

It’s OK, calm down! You’ll get all your shopping done. I mean, this week is why you pay all that money for Amazon Prime!

Now that that’s settled—grab your sweetie pie, some boozy hot cocoa, and light a fire—it’s time for a Christmas movie marathon!

And hey, you can stop aimlessly scrolling through Netflix wondering which holiday flick to watch. It’s the season of giving!

We’ve narrowed down the options, young Jedi, but you have to make the final choice for yourself.

If you’re searching for a true, Christmas classic:

1. “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

I don’t know about you, but when I think of Christmas, I immediately think of a giant Christmas tree, a warm fire and the twinkle of the Charlie Brown Christmas song. It’s like Christmas kryptonite for me.

After that, all I can do is grab a warm blanket and a glass of boiled custard (Sorry eggnog people, I’m from the South where we like to melt ice cream and call it a drink.), light that aforementioned fire, turn on this movie and then slip into a deep Christmas coma.

I highly recommend. As would my co-worker.

2. “Miracle on 34th Street”

The other most Christmas thing ever? New York City during Christmas.

And what’s the most New York street in New York? 34th Street, of course! It’s got the Empire State Building AND the Herald Square Macy’s (and the parade!).

That Macy’s is so Christmas-y that THE REAL SANTA worked there. I don’t know what to tell you. This might be THE MOST CHRISTMAS OF ALL MOVIES, LIKE EVER.

The original (made in 1947) is the true classic, but I’m also a big fan of the 1994 reboot.

3. “A Christmas Story”

Another Christmas classic, I think…I mean, it’s called “A Christmas Story!”

It’s the one where the kid freezes his tongue to the flagpole, right? Kidding!

I haven’t actually seen all of this movie. I didn’t like it; I turned it off. But hey, if this movie is your thing—go for it. I won’t stop you.

Feel free to shame me and question my credibility in the comments section below.

If you want to laugh so hard your stomach hurts:

1. “Elf”

Without hesitation, “Elf” is the funniest Christmas movie of all time. Sorry Lampooners, you know I’m right.

Will Ferrell really found himself in the character of Buddy the Elf. Sometimes I wonder if Will Ferrell is actually just Buddy in real life.

Full of hilarious moments and quotable quips, you can’t go wrong with this masterpiece of Christmas cinema.

But before you sit down to watch, don’t forget to assemble your snacks!  And make sure they hit all the major food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.

2. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

This is my parents’ (aka “the olds”) favorite Christmas comedy.

Every Christmas Eve, once all the kid’s are in bed, they grab the Kahlua and Santa’s cookies (aka “not their cookies”) and watch this one while they wrap the last of the gifts.

Sorry again, y’all, but this movie is just not my thing. Maybe I’m just bitter.

3. “Just Friends”

A somewhat forgotten Christmas movie (more so it’s just set during the holidays), this one will have you snorting burning, hot cocoa out your nose, guaranteed. (I’m speaking from experience here, you guys.)

In it, big-shot music producer Chris Grandy (Ryan Reynolds) accidentally escorts a wild—but more like certifiably insane—pop diva named Samatha James (Anna Faris) home for the holidays when her private plane makes an emergency landing near his hometown in New Jersey.

There, he does his best to avoid hanging out with Samantha at all costs while also trying to snag his high-school crush and former best friend, Jamie (Amy Smart), who had permanently friend-zoned him in high school because he was overweight.

It’s a great one—but make sure the kids are asleep for this movie. It’s for mature audiences only.

“I’m a bubble.”

If you want to feel like a kid again:

1. Have a Claymation marathon!

“Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “The Little Drummer Boy”—who could choose just one? Good thing you don’t have to—they’re all pretty short, so why not make a marathon out of it? You won’t be disappointed. Only Burgermeister Meisterburger will be disappointed, but he can kiss my butt. Meanie. Trying to take Christmas away from all those cute kids.

Also, have you noticed how cute young Santa Claus is? You go, Kris Kringle. Make those toys!

2. “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”

Sure, “Home Alone” (the original) is great, but “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” is the best of the trifecta.

Kevin really ups the ante in every way.

He’s off in New York City, the most Christmasy place on Earth (see above) all alone, armed with daddy’s credit card. (Have you ever wondered what Kevin’s dad does for a living? He takes nine children on a plane at least once a year.)

The hi-jinks are WAY more advanced. He makes friends with a bird lady. He even meets the current president-elect (and you’re guaranteed to rewatch that scene with an entirely different perspective, I pinky-swear).

What a kid. What a life. What a film.

(Edit: This is my favorite Christmas movie of all time.)

3. “The Polar Express”

Another Christmas bastion, “The Polar Express,” will have you nostalgic for your childhood.

Not to mention, there’s just something about the tenor of Tom Hanks’ voice as the train conductor/spirit guide/liaison to Santa Claus that will give you that perfectly fuzzy feeling inside.

I mean, it’s the dream of a lifetime—waking up in the middle of the night and taking a train to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus!

It’s like “Harry Potter,” but with Tom Hanks—what could be better than that?

If you want to feel like a posh British person with all the Christmas spirit:

1. “Love Actually”

Everything about this movie is so BRITISH. It’s amazing.

Firstly, you really can’t go wrong with this cast—Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, Laura Linney AND Liam Neeson in the same movie? Wow.

And with so many story lines to keep straight, you’ll never get bored!

Also, if you know how I can get the “Christmas is All Around” song out of my head, please let me know.

2. “The Holiday”

This rom-com-meets-the-holidays flick is perfect for snuggling with your sweetie.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if a quirky Brit with a killer smile and an overworked L.A. glamor gal, both love-lorn, switched lives for the holidays?

Well, wonder no more, because a viewing of “The Holiday” will put all your questions to rest.

The only, more eternal question you’ll be left with is—who’s more adorable, Jude Law or Jack Black?

[Edit: The answer is Jack Black, by default. I’ll never forgive Jude Law for what he did to Sienna Miller back in 2005.]

3. Have your own “Harry Potter” Weekend

There aren’t any other good British Christmas movies. I really tried to find one, promise.

There are about 20 different versions of A Christmas Carol/Scrooge, but I couldn’t definitively tell you which one is the best one.

Instead, you could watch all Harry Potter films, which have some amazingly British Christmas scenes, back-to-back. You might even catch one of those marathons on ABC Family, but with a collective 20 hours of movie to watch, do we really have time for all those commercials?

It’s a huge undertaking, so if you don’t have time for all eight, you could just watch the ones with holiday scenes: The Sorcerer’s Stone (1), The Chamber of Secrets (2), The Goblet of Fire (4), The Order of the Phoenix (5), and The Half-Blood Prince (6).

Or you could just log on to YouTube and find each specific scene! It’s just like magic!

Here’s my personal favorite (just the scene, not the movie—”The Goblet of Fire” is by far the worst adaptation of the series):

If you want to feel all the feels:

1. “It’s a Wonderful Life”

While this movie would normally be in the classics section, I’ve placed it here because this movie is SAD.

The guy wants to kill himself on Christmas! You really can’t get much more depressing than that.

2. “The Family Stone”

This is another one of those movies that aren’t technically a Christmas movie, just set during the holidays.

I don’t want to ruin anything for you, but if you feel like sobbing so hard that you can’t breathe properly—then this is the movie for you.

3. “Stepmom”

If you, like me, have both a great mom and stepmom, tread carefully with this one. It will seriously have you feeling all the feels. (Like, way too many feels. This movie is exceptionally sad.)

But a word of advice, if you also have two moms—watch this one away from family. There’s absolutely no reason why you have to bring this “emotional family drama” into your actual home. Nobody wants to know which mom you like better—literally no one.

If you’re a grump that hates Christmas:

1. “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

We all have one in our family—the nay-sayer, the Christmas hater. The one who hates all the hullabaloo and would rather be at the office than back in their hometown drinking wassail and singing carols.

To remedy them, turn on this movie.

The original cartoon version is undeniably classic, but I prefer the most recent version.

Whether it’s Jim Carrey’s hilarious portrayal of the Grinch or Cindy Lou Who’s adorable smile, this film is bound to melt any icy, black hearts in the room.

2. “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Maybe it’s a Halloween movie, maybe it’s a Christmas movie—regardless, this movie is sure to please your emotive 14-year-old cousin that wears too much eyeliner and blasts heavy metal that’s just a little too loud in their Beats.

This year, invite them to step out of the shadows and enjoy a movie with the rest of the clan.

Watched year-round, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is the siren song of misunderstood teenagers far and wide.

Trust me, get your camera ready in advance—when you tell them this is the movie you picked, you’ll want to memorialize that smile. You won’t see it again until they get their first boyfriend/girlfriend (and you know that won’t happen until the acne clears up.)

3. “Scrooged”

Bill Murray has tried his hand at the Christmas movie a time or two, but the first was definitely his best.

A nice campy twist on the A Christmas Carol/Scrooge story, you’ll surely laugh your way through this one (and maybe even cry a little, but only a little.)

You might also pick up a life lesson or two along the way—namely, that if you don’t like Christmas, the entire universe will join together to really screw with your mind.

If you’re searching for something new to watch:

1. “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”

Courtesy: Netflix
Courtesy: Netflix

You may have already binge-watched this one with your mom, sister and cousin a few weeks ago during that post-Thanksgiving coma we all wish we could forget.

Yes, “Gilmore Girls” is technically a TV show—but with four new episodes clocking in at around an hour-and-a-half each, you could consider each one a mini-movie of sorts.

The series starts with “Winter,” and if you don’t know much about the Gilmores, I’ll tell you they LOVE Christmas.

As an avid fan, I’ll also say you should probably watch the original series first. Regardless, you won’t be disappointed—just a little confused. (They talk really fast.)

2. “Office Christmas Party”

WARNING: You’ll have to make the trek to the movie theater to see the next two films. But if you’re looking for something new, that’s where you have to go!

With an all-star cast (Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, T.J. Miller, Kate McKinnon and more) and a fairly decent Rotten Tomato rating, this flick—about a bank branch manager that decides to throw a wild Christmas party when his “uptight” sister/CEO threatens to shut his office down—should provide a few good laughs and some good old-fashioned Christmas sentimentality for you and the family.

NOTE: This one’s rated R. Like, capital R.

3. “Almost Christmas”

If you’re looking for a more emotive new film, “Almost Christmas” might be more your speed.

Starring Kimberly Elise and Danny Glover, it follows a family heading home for the holidays for the first time since their mom died of cancer.

**CUE THE WATERWORKS**

If you still don’t know what to watch:

I really can’t help you. I’ve given you all the colorful advice I can.

Well, on second thought, you might skip the movie and read this.

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