Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, there is no more dispute over whether the holiday season has begun. December is here at last, and that means fuzzy pajamas, hot cocoa and a laundry list of holiday favorites to binge watch. In quite possibly the most divisive roundtable of the semester, the Life section thought it would be fun (and slightly dangerous) to debate our favorite holiday movies that deserve to be the No. 1 flick of the season.
Lesly Nerette, CC
Friends, we are finally here! It is officially the season in which Mariah Carey’s stockings get thick with cash, for singing at the top of your lungs (and no one will be mad because they will join you) and to indulge in sugar, spice and everything nice!
Besides excessively blasting holiday music to fully immerse myself, I always watch one Christmas movie to kick the festivities into high-gear: “The Polar Express.”
If this is not in your top two (I would hope it’s not two), then you are not doing Christmas right. I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules! There is no way to convey my love for this movie in 250 words. As a child, this movie had me on the edge of my seat with the magical settings, characters and especially the hot chocolate. I also really enjoyed the idea of having a midnight train take me down to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus! Of course, as an adult I have taken the train at night around the holidays, and I have been very upset that I was not taken to go meet the legend himself. Nonetheless, at this age I will watch this movie at any opportunity I get! If you have time this holiday season, get your best PJs on, grab a blanket, grab a cup of hot chocolate and watch this magical movie.
Olivia Hickey, CC
This may be a hot take, but Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare before Christmas” is my favorite holiday movie. It is truly a classic. I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t that a Halloween movie?” No. It’s seasonally appropriate from October to January. Plus, there are decorations for both Halloween and Christmas inspired by this movie. Honestly, if it’s on an ornament, it’s basically holiday approved. It has good music, (“This is Halloween” is a staple and “What’s This” is such a fun song), the striking art and animations Burton is known for and just the right amount of creepy fun to bring the whole family together. This year has been rough for many, so if a movie not usually categorized as a holiday film makes you smile, go for it. The holiday season should be filled with joy, and you can bring yourself joy with whichever movie you see fit.
Khira Francis, CC
My favorite Christmas movie is Disney’s “A Christmas Carol” (2009) starring Jim Carrey. It’s finally on Disney+ and I’m so excited I can watch it way too many times now. Any Carrey fan knows his little one-liners make his films so much more hilarious. They kind of make Scrooge look like him, so it’s like you’re watching Carrey actually go through all of this. The animation is also amazing — each character is almost uncomfortably detailed for a kids’ animated movie, making the close-up shots really cool.
I also love how much color and detail went into the happier scenes, like feasts and Scrooge’s happy memories. In the scenes where he’s looking at his past, you can tell what memories are painful and which are his favorite because the color palette changes.
The scenes with the Ghost of Christmas Present might be my favorites though. The Ghost himself is some crazy-looking cross between Jesus and Santa, and I love it. He has this jolly laugh that makes me think of Christmas, but he also has some crazy scenes that really make you think about life.
If you can watch this movie, please do. It’s incredible and it always makes me feel like Christmas is finally here.
Gino Giansanti, SW
What my mistaken, yet well-intentioned colleagues fail to understand is the definition of the word “classic.” I am by no means a Grinch when it comes to Christmas movies, as all of the animated films mentioned make my December watchlist. That being said, those movies are lower on my list than holiday favorites like “Elf,” “A Christmas Story” and “Home Alone.”
Nevertheless, the undisputed greatest holiday movie of all time, the true “classic” of our list, is none other than Frank Capra’s 1946 cinematic masterpiece: “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Say what you want about old movies, but “It’s a Wonderful Life” set the precedent for what holiday movies should be. While it’s set in post-WWII America, the story is timeless. Everybody has big dreams, and it can be discouraging when it seems like your life is going by without accomplishing all you set out to do. George Bailey dreams of seeing new places, meeting new people and making a lasting impact on the world around him, yet can’t seem to escape his hometown of Bedford Falls. Everyone around him seems to be living out their dreams, yet he is stuck. It takes a guardian angel and a tight-knit community to bring George the true spirit of the holidays.
Sure, there are some scenes that show the film’s age, but the message at the heart of the story is what puts this movie at the top of my list. At the end of the day, strip down the Christmas lights, ornaments, presents and snow, “It’s a Wonderful Life” teaches us that we always have a purpose in life. If we stop and appreciate all that we have, and most importantly appreciate those around us, we can see how wonderful life truly is.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” is not just one of the greatest holiday movies of all time, it’s one of the greatest movies of all time. Period.