No. 1 Elf (2003) —
Summary: Buddy (Will Ferrell) is an adult man who grew up in the North Pole believing he was an elf. After learning the truth identity of his real father, Walter Hobbs (James Caan), he sets out on a journey to New York City. While Buddy is filled with love, joy, and an overwhelming excitement for Christmas, Walter Hobbs can only focus on his job as a publisher. Throughout the film Buddy spreads Christmas cheer and befriends everyone he meets, including Jovie (Zooey Deschanel), who later becomes his love-interest.
Why watch it? Buddy reminds us we’re never too old for Christmas and we should be nice to everyone, from the raccoons in the wilderness to mail room coworkers. This Christmas comedy never gets old.
No. 2 It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) –
Summary: George Bailey (James Stewart) finds himself contemplating suicide on Christmas Eve after feeling hopeless about saving his family’s savings and loan association. Clarence (Henry Travers), George’s guardian angel, takes him on a journey to show George all of the lives he has impacted and all of the wonderful things in his life, including saving his brother’s life and saving a child from near poisoning from medicine.
Why watch it? We’re all stressed and we can’t wait for finals to end. This Christmas class shows us that there’s a bigger picture and we need to choose a perspective of gratefulness as we head into the holiday season.
No. 3 Home Alone (1990) –
Summary: Eight-year old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) gets left behind when his family travels to Paris for Christmas. At first, he might consider this a Christmas miracle. While home alone, two burglars who call themselves the “Wet Bandits” plan an attack on the McCallisters’ home. Kevin defends his home with a series of traps to derail the bandits’ plan. Eventually, Kevin begins to miss his family and wishes they were back together.
Why watch it? Kevin’s time alone is funny, inventive and a great reminder that family can be one of our greatest joys and simultaneously one of our biggest stressors. Don’t take them for granted.
No. 4 White Christmas (1954) –
Summary: After World War II ends, the troops of the 151st Division returned to the States. Captain Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Private Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) begin performing in musical shows together as “Wallace and Davis” and later become producers. After meeting the Haynes Sisters at one of their shows, Phil Davis wishes to follow them to Vermont where the girls would be performing for the Holidays. They arrive at the Pine Tree Inn which happens to be owned by Major General of the 151st Division Tom Waverly (Dean Jaggers). Wallace and Davis find out Waverly is struggling to keep his inn open due to Vermont’s lack of snow, so they form an elaborate plan to save the Pine Tree Inn.
Why watch it? I just watched this movie for the first time week and I was amazed by the performances. Everything from the sets to the costumes were so elaborate and the singing and dancing was impressive. It’s a cute story and a happy ending. What more could you want?
No. 5 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) –
Summary: Rudolph was born with a glowing red nose which hinders his chances of being one of Santa’s reindeer. His dad (Donner) tries to cover it, but while participating in the Reindeer Games, Rudolph’s cover falls off and his red nose is revealed. Embarrassed, Rudolph runs away and ends up on the Island of Misfit Toys. Even among all the misfits, Rudolph still doesn’t feel like he fits in. He leaves and eventually returns home. On Christmas Eve bad weather threatens Santa to cancel Christmas, but Rudolph’s red nose comes to rescues as he’s able to light the way for the Christmas Eve travels.
Why watch it? Rudolph is a cute animation and a good story to remind us that we all have a purpose, even the misfits.