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Christmas Movies to Watch with Your Family
Tis The Season...
For us, it all starts Thanksgiving Day. That's the day we break out the Christmas DVDs and begin watching them one-by-one for the next month to get in the holiday mood. Which one we start with all depends on how each member of our family votes, but there are so many good ones to choose from, that it's never disappointing.
If you're considering a new family tradition for the holidays, watching movies together to get you in the right spirit would be a great and easy one to implement. Here you'll find some of our family favorites that you can sit down and watch with your own family!
You get the comedic talent of Will Ferrell, Bob Newhart and even James Caan. The story centers on Buddy (Ferrell), who, when he was a baby, crawled into Santa's bag at an orphanage one Christmas. He ends up back at the North Pole, where he is adopted by an elf (Newhart) and raised as one. Somehow he never quite realizes he's really a human, even though he doesn't quite fit in. Then one day he finds out the truth, and that his real father (Caan) lives in the magical land of New York, doesn't know of his existance and is on Santa's naughty list. Buddy sets out on a hilarious adventure in an effort to save his father and Christmas too!
It's A Wonderful Life
This classic starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed never gets old. It teaches that age-old lesson that no matter how bad you think things are, your life still has value and that one person can have a profound effect on those around them. It also is a great reminder of being grateful and staying aware of the blessings in your life. A great family film that comes with a powerful message.
The Santa Clause Trilogy
These movies feature Tim Allen as Scott Calvin, a cynical, divorced father who works for a toy company. He doesn't realize how empty his life has gotten until, one Christmas Eve Santa falls off his roof and Scott ends up falling prey to a little known clause that makes him the next Santa. This means great changes for his life, including a new bond with his son, a change in priorities and a more robust physique!
In installment two he finds out there's another clause in the Santa Clause and that he has to find a Mrs. Claus, or give up being Santa. The third movie introduces us to Jack Frost (Martin Short), who is tired of playing second fiddle to Santa, and decides if he can't have his own holiday, he'll just steal one. We also get a look at Santa's inlaws, who come up to be part of the birth of the new little Claus (the hard part is that they can't know that Scott is Santa, or that they're at the North Pole).
A Christmas Story
Another great classic starring Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin. We get an inside look at a 1940s American family's Christmas, from the perspective of young Ralphie. All Ralphie really wants for Christmas is a Red Rider BB gun, but first he has to convince his parents that he won't shoot his eye out with it! To do this, he tries in vain to get his teacher and even Santa on his side.
This movie is lots of great fun and will take you back to the days when cursing was an offense punishable by washing one's mouth out with soap; the average family had a stay-at-home mom, a somewhat grumpy, but well-meaning father and the ideal entertainment involved being curled up next to the radio for story-telling.
Did you know that St. Nick (Paul Giamatti) had a big brother? Well, he does and that brother's name is Fred (Vince Vaughn). Fred spends his days as a repo man and chases after the dream of opening his own gambling hot-spot. To do the latter, he needs a large sum of money and has to turn to his younger, much resented brother (how do you compete with a saint after all?).
Nicholas agrees to help him, but in a show of "tough love" says Fred has to come to the North Pole for the first time to earn it. The timing couldn't be worse, as a quality control agent (Kevin Spacey) has come to check up on Old Saint Nick, and is contemplating shutting down all Christmas operations--permanently.
Home Alone 1 and 2
Eight year old Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) is tired of his family. On the eve of their trip to Paris with extended family, he's had it. He wishes he could live alone and that his family would all just disappear. When a series of events makes him get overlooked and left sleeping in bed while the rest of the family jumps on the plane, Kevin thinks he gets his wish. But his elation turns to second thoughts when two crooks (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern) target his house to rob. Then Kevin is left to do what he has to and defend it.
In the second installment, Kevin is once again left behind (only at the airport in New York) during another Christmas trip with his family. He bumps into his old nemeses who have escaped from prison and are at it again in trying to rob a toy store on Christmas Eve. Kevin once again uses his hilarious genius to best these two crooks and works to save the day and reunite with his family.
The Family Man
Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage) believes he has it all: success, money, women... A heroic gesture gives him the chance to get a glimpse at what life could've been with the one he let get away (Téa Leoni). He wakes up in a new life where his pent house, sports car and big bucks are exchanged for a wife, kids and mini-van. When the glimpse is over, will he choose to keep his old life?
This movie is one of my personal favorites and the lessons and laughs make me watch it again and again. A must have for any collection, and really a good one to watch any time of year.
*This is rated PG-13 and does have one use of strong profanity (you can almost miss it, it's pretty fleeting). There is also a scene with Leoni in the shower and you see her silhouette through the shower door as she's dancing in there. This is not really a show for the young kids (they'd probably be bored anyway), but I had to put it on here. It's a great message and I think it's fine for the more mature members of your family.
The Polar Express
Based on the children's Christmas classic book by Chris Van Allsburg, this animated movie is beautiful to look at and has a story that will make you want to believe again. Starring the voice talent of Tom Hanks as a boy who wants to believe, but is still unsure of the truth about Santa Claus. He gets a ride on the Polar Express to the North Pole, where the adventures he has tests his character and his beliefs. But is it all a child's dream, or was it as real as it felt?
This is Only the Beginning
There are so many great Christmas movies out there that I can't even begin to list them all. I've only scratched the surface here and would love to hear from all of you who have favorites of your own!