You might live in a region where the weather is warm all year ’round or one where it’s typical to have several feet of snow on the ground in winter. Either way, the holidays are a festive time of year. A favorite custom in many households is watching Christmas movies. If you do happen to reside in an area where cold and snow are par for the course, snuggling up for movie night is especially fun! It’s easy to fall into a habit of watching the same seasonal films over and over. By the time you’re done reading this post, you might have a few new titles to add to your list!
Christmas movies should always include a few classics
It’s interesting to note how film-making has changed over the years. Just about everything in movies looks and sounds different when comparing Christmas movies from the mid-20th century to more modern films. On the one hand, you might watch a movie from the 1940s and think, “Oh, how cheesy!” but that’s okay. There’s something so special and entertaining about watching classic films, especially when you enjoy some of the best with your family during the holidays. Here are a few classic Christmas movies that might become favorites in your home:
- A Christmas Carol – 1938 version, starring Reginald Owen and Gene Lockhart. This was the first film depiction of the Charles Dickens classic novel. In fact, since then, there have been many different versions of the same story. You and your family may enjoy viewing several selections over a course of several days, then letting each person vote on his or her favorite!
- A Christmas in Connecticut – 1945, starring Barbara Stanwyck, whom many people remember for her role as the matriarch in the long-running television series, “Big Valley.” In this class Christmas film, Stanwyck is a single woman who works as a food writer for a news publication. She portrays herself as the perfect farm wife and mother, much to the delight and admiration of her readers, which includes a war hero who regularly followed her column while recuperating in the hospital. The only problem is that Stanwyck’s character has let people assume something that isn’t true. The result is complicated web of deceit and romantic humor when the soldier writes to the publisher requesting a visit with the famous “homemaker,” who must quickly come up with a plan or risk losing her job!
- Little Women – 1949, starring Janet Leigh, June Allyson, Margaret O’Brien, and Elizabeth Taylor. That’s a lot of super stardom in one film! Based on the Louisa May Alcott classic novel, you’ll travel back in time to the 1800s where four sisters and their mother are doing their best to survive their husband’s/father’s absence while he’s serving overseas during wartime. The film highlights the blessings, joys and trials of the family at Christmas time.
Christmas movies from the 21st century that you won’t want to miss
For the purpose of this post, we’re calling anything in the 21st century “new” for Christmas movies. Some of the selections have parental cautions attached due to subject matter or thematic elements. Each parent must determine what is appropriate for the children in his or her own household. For best “new” movies to enjoy during the holidays, you might want to add these to your collection:
- Silent Night – 2002, starring Linda Hamilton. This is am amazing film, which does include scenes and subject matter that might not be appropriate for younger viewers. It takes place at Christmas time, in 1944, when a group of American soldiers come upon a house in the woods that is inhabited by a German woman and her son. Things go from bad to worse when German soldiers also arrive at the cabin.
- Dear Santa – 2011, starring Amy Acker and David Haydn-Jones. A young woman who has led a life of indulgence with her parent’s money finds a letter to Santa from a little girl. The child’s mother died, and all she wants for Christmas is a new wife for her dad. There are a few subtle innuendos in conversations between certain characters. All in all, it is a story that shows a person’s discovery of what’s really important in life. There’s also a “girlfriend” in the picture, who the little girl does not think is fit to be her dad’s bride. What unfolds is a sweet, humorous and romantic tale that may become one of your family’s favorites.
- Little House on the Prairie Christmas – 1981, from Season eight in the LHOTP television series. It’s entitled “A Christmas They Never Forgot.” The Ingalls family and friends tell of Christmases past as they gather together during a blizzard. Trying to stay warm and pass the time, they all share memories of special moments in their childhoods. Hester Sue is a dear friend who happens to be black. She recalls believing as a child that Santa Claus only loved white children. Almanzo, Laura’s husband, tells of the time he discovered presents in the barn. He told his father that Santa wasn’t real and immediately regretted it. Ma Ingalls shares her memories of her step-father. He tried so hard to comfort her after her birth father’s passing. This is a beautiful film. It shares the innocence and joy of Christmas blessings for the whole family.
Holiday movie nights help make memories to cherish for a lifetime
It’s nice to slow down from the usual hustle and bustle of the holidays. Make some special snacks or order a pizza. Pour some hot cocoa or try making hot chocolate from scratch! Get into your favorite PJs and grab a blanket, then settle in for an evening of film. You can have a whole stack of Christmas movies on hand to pass the hours together on a winter’s night!
As a parent, there’s no greater gift you can give to a child than time spent with you! When your children are grown, they will fondly recall the Christmas movies you enjoyed together! And, perhaps, they will one day introduce similar family traditions in their own homes!