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My Favorite Holiday Movies
Now that DVDs exist, we can all watch Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas movies any old time we want. Sometimes when the mid-summer heat and humidity here in Florida get unbearable, a holiday movie can be just what the doctor ordered for me. There's nothing like sitting in shorts and a tank top with an iced tea while watching Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby sing "Snow, snow snow!" in White Christmas.
I'm quite a creature of habit, though, so I'm much more likely to watch certain movies at specific times of the year. For some reason, the three movies below are particularly subject to a timetable. Like clockwork, I watch To Kill a Mockingbird around Halloween, Home for the Holidays around Thanksgiving and White Christmas at Christmastime. That might seem like a no-brainer to you because they're all related to those holidays. But there are plenty of other holiday movies I watch year-round. These three, however, are somehow more enjoyable if I watch them at about the same time every year. Who knows where such a weird quirk came from. It's harmless, so I just go with it!
Here's my month-by-month must-watch list of holiday movies:
My Favorite Holiday Movies
More Holiday Movies
To Kill a Mockingbird
I know most people wouldn't consider this a holiday movie. But those who've watched it would probably agree that the final moments invoke the spirit of Halloween. I won't ruin the ending for those who haven't seen it; I'll just say that it's scary in the way that only old-fashioned story-telling can be. There are no special effects; it isn't even in color. The characters have been so well-developed by the end, however, you feel like you're right in that black-and-white world of Gregory Peck's Atticus Finch and his children, Scout and Jem.
I always watch this right around Halloween, but no matter when you watch it, this is about as close to perfect as a movie can be.
Read a more detailed review of To Kill a Mockingbird
Home for the Holidays
My choice for November isn't quite as highbrow as To Kill a Mockingbird. In fact, it's probably a 180-degree turn from Mockingbird's wholesome world. But that's okay, because this movie has something Mockingbird doesn't: it's hilarious.
The story follows Claudia, played by Holly Hunter, as she joins her strange family for Thanksgiving. When she meets up with her brother, played by Robert Downey Jr., at the home of her crazy parents, and her uptight sister and brother-in-law, the action gets progressively weirder. But it isn't all lunacy; there's a love story, too, as Claudia connects with her brother's friend who has come along for the ride.
By the time the movie ends, you'll probably have had at least a few really good laughs, along with the satisfaction of watching someone who doesn't know which end is up find love.
I've literally watched this movie every Christmas season since I was a little girl. As corny as it is, it never wears thin. There was something magical about the combination of Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. And when you add Vera Ellen's dancing, Rosemary Clooney's singing and Edith Head's costumes; you have an infinitely watchable movie.
Cronball? You bet. But that's one of the things I love about it. If you watch the DVD, make sure to catch the special features so you can hear Rosemary Clooney share some of the experiences she had while making the film.
Holiday Movies Poll
Which is your favorite holiday movie?
Other Great Holiday Movies
- Holiday Inn
- While You Were Sleeping
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
- The Ref
- Love Actually
- A Christmas Story
- Christmas Vacation
- It's A Wonderful Life
- The Polar Express
- A Christmas Carol (1938 version)
- Bad Santa (not for kids though!)