Will Ferrell in Elf. CNS photo/New Line Productions

Christmas flicks we can’t do without

  • December 25, 2012

Just like traditions of putting up the tree and hanging lights, there are Christmas movies we will watch year after year, almost without fail. They evoke feelings of nostalgia and bring back childhood memories.

After conducting an unscientific poll of family, friends and co-workers, I have discovered five favourite Christmas movies.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Have you ever felt like you weren’t living the life you had dreamed? In this black and white Christmas classic, we find George Bailey who chose to be a businessman, a family man and an upstanding member of his community instead of leaving home to travel in his youth. Due to the trickery of another, he feels like a failure, wishing he was dead. But by the holiday magic of an angel, he is shown what life in his town would really be like without him. And through this shift in reality, he learns that his life has a massive impact on the quality of the lives of those around him, the people he loves. By the end of the movie, he has no doubt that his life, the way it turned out based on the choices he made, is meaningful, a blessing and better because he exists. This movie, as cliche as it sounds, will warm your heart, no matter how frosty life may be.

Home Alone (1990)

What can be more satisfying to children than the idea that they can save the day? In this giveit-good-to-the-bad-guys flick, the hero is played by Macaulay Culkin back when he still was a wholesome household name. As the kid accidentally left behind when his family goes to France for the holidays, the eight-year-old is forced to spend Christmas alone. That would be depressing enough for anyone, but the action starts when two bumbling burglars try to break in. The kid’s ingenuity combined with this nightmare scenario packs the movie with hilarious slapstick comedy and the extraordinary feeling as a kid that you are more capable than you realize.

A Christmas Story (1983)

Leg lamp — just the image of this hideous piece of furniture conjures fond cinematic memories from moviegoers. In 1940s Indiana we find young, imaginative Ralphie who sets out to convince everyone, especially his mother, that he should have a BB gun for Christmas. This film remains funny almost 30 years later in part because it seems as if this holiday tale and the characters in it are completely plausible, most likely because the story has been adapted from the pseudo-memoir of American writer and radio host Jean Shepherd.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog and the Muppet gang retell the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miser who’sstomped on the Christmas spirit for years. Who doesn’t love a good musical by the characters that they grew up watching on television? The Muppets combined with this tale from Charles Dickens was an unexpected combination that still excites adults to this day. With lyrics like “Wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas,” sung by timeless puppets, it’s easy to fall in love with this film.

Elf (2003)

Will Ferrel plays a human in an elf ’s world in the most modern flick on this film list. Buddy the elf finds out that the reason he isn’t good at working in Santa’s workshop is that he’s really a human. And so he sets off from the North Pole to find his real father in New York City. But his biological dad is on the naughty list, so through Buddy’s childlike persistence, he teaches his father the right way to love and live. You can watch this film for Ferrel’s comic genius alone, but Buddy’s innocence is a reminder of that magical feeling that we experience as kids, a feeling that so easily fades as we come into adulthood.

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