I think we can all agree that winter weather calls for making tea, snuggling under a blanket, and, most importantly, watching Christmas movies. The older, the better! As much as I love The Santa Clause, Elf, and Home Alone (1 and 2), only the classics have the particular charm and innocence that epitomize the Christmas spirit. The following are my favorites:
Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
A magazine writer must pretend to be the perfect housewife she claims to be in her articles, when her publisher and a war survivor visit her on Christmas. Highlight: Barbara Stanwyck’s character convincing her guests that a baby boy is her own, when the day before, her baby had been a girl.
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Two shop employees don’t get along, not realizing that they’ve been writing anonymous love letters to each other. Highlight: James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan’s characters meeting their matches in each other.
The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
An angel helps a Bishop fund the building of his new church and resolve his familial problems. Highlight: Cary Grant as the angel.
The best film adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic story. Highlight: Alastair Sim as THE Ebenezer Scrooge that all subsequent Scrooges have aspired to be.
It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947)
A homeless crowd moves into a mansion while its owners are away. The owners find out, but pretend to be fellow hobos in order to continue a romance between one of each group. Highlight: The cutest dog!
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
After boosting sales at Macy’s flagship store and spreading his joy, Santa Claus must prove to skeptics in court that he is, in fact, real. Highlight: Natalie Wood as an adorable child cynic.
Holiday Inn (1942)
A performer opens an inn that puts on shows exclusively on holidays, but must compete with his old partner for the same female star. Highlight: Fred Astaire’s tap dance with fireworks.
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
A large family experiences good and bad moments, while living in St. Louis. Highlights: Judy Garland singing “The Trolley Song” and a tear-inducing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
A depressed man is shown by an angel what would’ve become of his family and friends had he never existed. Highlight: James Stewart’s character promising the moon to his sweetheart.
White Christmas (1954)
This film has absolutely everything: singing, dancing, comedy, romance, generosity, irony, amazing outfits… It’s perfect for the holidays! Highlights: Too many to name, but every beautiful song, every phenomenal dance, and Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye actually losing it, as they pretend to perform as ladies.
Many of these films will be aired this month on TCM and AMC, while others can be viewed on Netflix or Amazon Instant Video. Should I add any other Christmas classics to this list?