Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without watching those seasonal holiday movies and TV specials we can’t seem to get enough of, year after year. Watching A Charlie Brown Christmas has become as de rigueur as revisiting It’s a Wonderful Life. Although Frank Capra’s classic was made 68 years ago, the holiday magic permeating it never gets old. I’m nixing the naughty in favour of the nice (did you hear that, Bad Santa?) on a list of cinematic Capital Christmas bonbons worth checking out again this holiday season.
A Christmas Story (1983)
It’s hard to believe the late Bob Clark, the same guy who brought us Porky’s, directed Jean Shepherd’s droll, darkly nostalgic tale of a childhood Christmas remembered. They had me at the leg lamp.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Long before Randy Quaid claimed he was being chased by “star whackers” his scene-stealing antics as Cousin Eddie fuelled many of the yuk-yuks during clumsy Clark Griswold’s unforgettable Christmas celebrations in this John Hughes-scripted, slapstick-lathered Yuletide classic.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Who can resist this classic tale of the bearded white-haired senior (Edmund Gwenn) who claims he’s the real Kris Kringle after being hired to replace a drunken department store Santa Claus at Macy’s?
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Vince Guaraldi’s jazz score is just one reason this animated gem with the Peanuts gang helping Charlie discover the true meaning of Christmas is a perennial favourite. A timeless, endearing charmer.
White Christmas (1954)
This nostalgic classic is irresistible and holds up on sentimental terms, thanks to all those Irving Berlin chestnuts showcased by Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen at a New England ski lodge.
Joyeux Noel (2006)
Fact-based First World War drama set on Dec. 24, 1914, when French, British and German troops laid down arms long enough to share the joys of Christmas during a spontaneous truce is a celebration of humanity and heartfelt paean for peace.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Despite its underlying darkness and cozy conservatism that sparked caustic satirical sketches decades later, Frank Capra’s populist parable is still a wonderful Christmas classic.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1967)
Dr. Seuss classic improves with age. It’s highlighted by Boris Karloff’s deliciously malevolent voiceover for the adventures of the mean-spirited Grinch, who is “as cuddly as a cactus ... as charming as an eel.”
The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)
You can’t go wrong with this witty classic in which Monty Wooley reprises his starring role in George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s Broadway hit as Sheridan Whiteside, the meddlesome and pompous radio commentator who disrupts an Ohio family’s Christmas holidays while recuperating from an injury during a lecture tour.
Home Alone (1990)
The adventures of endearing Macaulay Culkin’s surprisingly resourceful kid accidentally left home alone while his family flies to Paris for Christmas. As if.
Michael D. Reid writes about moves for the Times Colonist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.