Several nights before Christmas, all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Suddenly an idea popped into my head and a little voice leaned to my ear and quietly said, “For Christmas a TOPS list you simply must write and post it you shall before that magical night. The night when eight tiny reindeer lead Santa’s sleigh, ’round the world before sunrise on Christmas Day.” So I thought up a list and thought it up quick, but which 10 Christmas movies could I possibly pick?
10. The Santa Clause (1994)
Well, Tim Allen certainly did it this time and will forever remain on the “Naughty List,” even if he is Santa. In the 1994 classic, Scott Calvin (Allen) accidentally kills Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Suddenly, he finds himself automatically recruited to take over in Santa’s place. At its core, The Santa Clause blends the magic of Christmas with the very real problem of parental separation and divorce and is identifiable to children struggling to understand the complex nature of a broken family and their wavering beliefs in Santa Claus. Unfortunately though, as classic of a movie as it may be, it doesn’t age as gracefully as Santa himself and the animated moments now look bizarre and dated.
9. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Tim Burton’s cult-classic The Nightmare Before Christmas sees Jack Skellington (voiced by Danny Elfman and Chris Sarandon), the pumpkin king of Halloweentown get bored doing the same thing every year, which leads him on a venture through many different doors. Jack stumbles upon Christmas Town and decides he’d like to give Christmas a whirl, so he and the other ghouls and goblins of Halloweentown kidnap Santa and put on their own version of Christmas which turns out to be a nightmare. Nightmare Before Christmas is memorable for its diverse, unrecognizable and entirely creative landscapes and its stop-action animation style, which is where the characters and sets were constructed by hand and moved little by little, frame by frame to provide a more three dimensional experience. Looks like Jack is also on the “Naughty List” for kidnapping Santa.
8. Arthur Christmas (2011)
From Aardman Animations and director Sarah Smith comes a new Christmas tale about the Christmas family. One Christmas, the high-tech, fool-proof Santa operation misses a child, leaving Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy), the man in charge of the mail room – you know, the one who answers all the “how” questions about Santa – to save Christmas for one little girl and keep the belief alive. It’s a witty and fun journey that merges the way things were with the way things are and at moments, it tries for nostalgic sentimentality. Looks like Arthur is on the “Nice List” and is on his way to becoming a staple holiday movie.
7. Joyeux Noël (2005)
This beautiful film (made in France) is about an actual moment during World War I when French, German and Scottish soldiers laid down their arms and engaged in an evening of peace on Christmas Eve 1914. The film paints a pretty picture, but the reality was a little grimmer as most of the soldiers from that night – on both sides – were punished for their actions and killed shortly after. Joyeux Noël garnered an Oscar nomination for “Best Foreign Language Film.”
6. Frosty the Snowman (1969 – made for TV)
What child doesn’t know the story of Frosty the Snowman? It’s a childhood classic that receives air-time every year and tells the story about a snowman name Frosty who melts away with the promise of coming back one day. Based on the popular Christmas song, a magical hat brings Frosty to life, but a has-been magician wants his discarded top hat back when he realizes it still has magical powers, setting off a struggle between the magician, Frosty and his newest best friend.
5. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964 – made for TV)
Sam the Snowman (voiced by Burl Ives) tells the tale of a red-nosed reindeer named Rudolph (voiced by Billy Richards) who wasn’t allowed to play in any reindeer games. In search of a place where he’ll fit in, Rudolph teams up with other misfits Hermey (voiced by Paul Soles) – the elf who wants to be a dentist andYukonCornelius (voiced by Larry D. Mann). Together they discover the Abominable Snowman and the Island of Misfit Toys. Rudolph vows to ask Santa to help the misfit toys find homes. But before Santa can make the journey, a deep fog sets in, a fog that only Rudolph’s bright, shining nose can guide the sleigh through, thus making Rudolph a legend and his tale one that all misfits can love.
4. A Christmas Carol (1984 – made for TV)
Arguably the most recognizable version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is the 1984 made for TV version starring George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge, which has garnered significant airplay in recent years. It’s a film that, like the story, explores the true meaning of Christmas and human compassion when Scrooge, an uncaring, cold-hearted man is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.
3. Home Alone (1990)
The launch-pad for Macaulay Culkin’s career and Christmas classic endures generations for its comedic value and family bonding aura, which allows everyone to cuddle up under the blankets by the fire with a nice hot cup of cocoa. When Kevin (Culkin) is accidentally left behind while his family travels toParis, a couple of robbers try robbing the McAllister residence but are met by a witty child. It’s a film full of escapist fun that each and every one of us wanted in on. Who didn’t want to have stupid robbers coming to their house after seeing this movie? I know I did.
2. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965 – made for TV)
Charlie Brown, an already famous comic character, gained a Christmas special in 1965, which catapulted his popularity, which oddly enough became rivaled by his Christmas tree. Charlie Brown becomes disgusted with the commercialization of Christmas and spends time trying to find the true meaning of Christmas (sounds familiar today). What he finds though is a place in Christmas history that keeps viewers of all ages coming back for more year after year in what is one of the greatest Christmas stories ever told.
1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966 – made for TV)
Voiced by Boris Karloff, one of Dr. Seuss’ most celebrated stories of all time is brought to life in an animated, made for TV movie titled How the Grinch Stole Christmas! It’s my personal favorite Christmas movie because it embraces simplicity and uncovers the true meaning of Christmas with the line “He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… Means a little bit more.”
Agree or disagree? I want to know. What are your Top 10 Christmas movies of all time?