I love getting into the spirit of things, whether that's for Halloween or the 4th of July. But there is something about getting ready for the winter holiday season that just makes me so happy. While I love decorating the tree and making gingerbread houses, and dressing up for parties, I also love movies. I'm a big movie fan to begin with, but there's something about having a Christmas movie on in the background while you're wrapping presents that is undeniably lovely.
It was hard to pick, but here are my top 10 get-me-into-the-spirit movies:
1) Elf: If you haven't seen this movie, you absolutely have to, regardless of whether or not you celebrate Christmas. It is the a heart warming tale of Buddy the Elf's search for his father, and I his overall attitude of happiness and gratitude despite the harsh realities of the world he discovers in New York is a good lesson for us all to take home during the holidays.
2) Love Actually: This might actually be my favorite movie of all time. I can watch any time of year, but since the plot line is based on the count down to Christmas, it's especially nice to watch during the holidays. The movie masterfully weaves many different love stories together, in a way that isn't cheesy, but that actually makes you realize that, "Love truly is all around."
3) Miracle on 34th Street: This was probably the first Christmas movie that I ever truly loved. I think that every little kid fantasizes that the Santa at their local mall or department store is the real Santa, and in this movie that actually takes place. It's a story of believing in the season and hopes and dreams, and it proves that if there is a time to give up your cynicism, it's during the holidays.
4) Home Alone: I'm not going to lie, I still watch Home Alone every year. It is such a sweet story that proves that family really is what matters during this time of year. Plus, the pranks pulled on Joe Pesci as the burglar are still hilarious.
5) National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: Chevy Chase is one of America's funniest actors, and he definitely proves his chops in this movie. It's one of those movies where everything that can go wrong, does go wrong, and every stereotype that could play out at a family Christmas dinner does so. I think that most of us can relate to the senile aunt who packs up her cat to put under the tree, or the grandparent's who seem intent on embarrassing us. But, in the end, everyone still loves each other, regardless, and that's Christmas.
6) The Holiday: Ok, unlike Love Actually, this movie is incredibly cheesy. But I still love it. It's another movie that makes you believe in the hope that Christmas miracles really do exist, even if that miracle is meeting a guy in London and having that somehow work out for you long term.
7) Bridget Jones' Diary: This is another movie that, if you haven't seen it, you must go out and buy it immediately. Bridget Jones is a character that all of us girls can relate to, and her love triangle is something that I think every girl has fallen into. Like all good Christmas movies, she ends up with the good guy (the perfectly named Mr. Darcy), and the final scene is something I still swoon over.
8) The Santa Clause: Confession - I had a giant crush on Jonathan Taylor Thomas. And that is what largely prompted me to go see this movie. Because Tim Allen and he were on the same show. So it made sense. But that is neither here nor there, because Tim Allen is hilarious, and this movie is adorable. It's a great one to watch with little kids.
9) The Holiday Inn: This movie is truly an American classic - it is after all where the song "White Christmas" debuted! But it's also a touching love story, complete with amazing dance numbers from Fred Astaire and songs by Bing Crosby.
10) It's a Wonderful Life: My mom loves this movie. This and Breakfast at Tiffanies were some of the first VHS tapes I remember. My middle school American history teacher used to make us watch it during the holidays. Because although it takes place at Christmas, it's not necessarily about Christmas, but about hope and dreams and all the things that make us grateful for the things we have.
So, take a cold afternoon, make a cup of tea or hot chocolate, put one of these movies on and take some time to remember all of the things that you're grateful for. It's hard sometimes, with the stress the holidays can bring about, but it is what they're best for, too :)
Until next time,