At our recent staff Christmas party, we played a game called “Name That Christmas Movie.” In a room of 60 people, the game was dominated by two young men, Aaron Leatherbarrow and Kyle Westfall. There are few people that love movies as much as Aaron. He watches them, podcasts about them, and I’m guessing, when he is driving around Tulsa, he is replaying them in his head. Kyle loves Christmas. If you go into his office in July, there is Christmas music playing. Kyle is an old-soul as well, who loves the old classics and has watched them dozens of times. So we asked them to write down their “9-18” favorite movies, and this is the result.
9 “New” Christmas Movies (in no particular order)
This movie is brilliantly funny, good for the whole family, and carries a great running time of 1 hr. 47 min.
Home Alone (1990)
This movie is well-paced, hilarious, and a must watch for the Christmas season. Good to watch with a lovely cheese pizza, just for me.
The Nightmare before Christmas (1993)
This cult-classic is one of the most gorgeous animated films. It has beautiful imagery and pulls you into holiday celebration with one of the greatest musical soundtracks ever made.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
This movie is hilarious and has become a classic in many households. Maybe not great for the young ones (language), but still one of the greats.
Die Hard (1988)
Because men deserve one night of raw, action-packed awesomeness in, you know, a Christmas setting.
Batman Returns (1992)
This could be the greatest superhero movie ever made, but it is also a wonderful Christmas movie! Gotham looks exceptionally stylized in this one.
The Holiday (2006)
For all the Rom/Com fans out there, this one is great to watch with your spouse. It’s romantic and gives you that warm fuzzy without being five sledgehammers to the face of cheese.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
The best version of the Christmas Carol story for kids. Though I highly endorse Jim Carrey’s version as well, I have to give the muppets the #1 slot for the family version of Scrooge’s story.
The Polar Express (2004)
This is the PERFECT movie for kids at Christmastime, The songs are brilliant, the story is magical, and the movie itself is gorgeous.
9 “Old” Christmas Movies (in no particular order)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) / Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
They’re short, so we snuck two in on this one. If these two aren’t on your “to watch” list, they should be. Not watching these during the holidays is practically un-American.
A Christmas Story (1983)
A fishnet leg lamp. A tongue stuck to a frozen flagpole. An official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle. And a Chinese restaurant Christmas dinner. This newer classic from the 1980s is a great glimpse into the strong desires of a childhood Christmas.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1947)
How does one person affect the lives of others? George Bailey (James Stewart) gets a glimpse on Christmas Eve. He is about to commit suicide–and it takes the entire town of Bedford Falls to turn him around in this inspirational classic featuring a whimsical guardian angel named Clarence. This one’s a pure classic. It is a bit long so get comfortable.
White Christmas (1954)
This loose remake of Holiday Inn features a stronger cast, including Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen (once the smallest waist in Hollywood). A bit corny but there is well-placed sappiness in the story of some soldiers who rally to save their old commander’s resort.
The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
Tough to beat Cary Grant as an angel, David Niven as a worried minister and Loretta Young as the beautiful and concerned wife. The 1996 remake of this film (which isn’t as good), The Preacher’s Wife, stars Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston.
Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
Elizabeth (Barbara Stanwyck) transforms from spinster Manhattanite to perfect housewife when her boss invites himself for Christmas. A war hero has Christmas dinner with the Martha Stewart-esque Elizabeth (who can’t actually cook).
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
The remake is good, but the original is better. Authorities want to institutionalize Edmund Gwenn, who claims to be the real Santa Claus. Maureen O’Hara and a young Natalie Wood also star.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
This stop-motion movie tells the story of Rudolph, Hermey, Cornelius, and all of our friends on the Island of Misfit Toys. Burl Ives lends his voice to Sam the Snowman. Watch the DVD version, as the televised version is sometimes cut down to fit the time slot and songs have been changed through the years.
A Christmas Carol (1984)
This Dickens tale has been told and retold many times, but no live-action version is better than this ’84 TV movie – with George C. Scott as Scrooge and Edward Woodward as the Ghost of Christmas Present.
(Also known as movies most people don’t know or ones that just didn’t make the top 18)
- Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
- A Mom for Christmas
- The Mistle-Tones
- 12 Dates of Christmas
- Borrowed Hearts
- The Family Man
- Home Alone 2
- Jingle All the Way
- Disney’s A Christmas Carol
Aaron Leatherbarrow is a dad who drinks eggnog, loves Kevin McCallister, and has spent hundreds of hours being a critic of all things entertainment on his podcast, TheOmnicast. He and three other fellas inform the average Joe on what you need to know regarding the latest or most important movies, TV programs, music, tech, games, comics and more.
Kyle Westfall begins his Christmas season in July, when the first round of Christmas movie watching begins. Music follows shortly and by September he is usually full-on in Christmas spirit mode. He has recently begun exposing his children to the greatness of Christmas movies and was pleased when repeated requests for Charlie Brown and other “chrimmage” movies took hold.