Ashton's 25 Days of Holiday Movies

by - November 30, 2018


I love Christmas movies, and judging by the popularity of The Hallmark Channel and Freeform's 25 Days of Christmas this time of year, I'm not alone. But let's face it, Hallmark and Freeform don't always have what you're wanting to watch right now, and if you're a guy neither channel's line-ups may appeal at any time. That's why I've rounded up 25 movies of my own to get you through the holiday season.

My Favorites
Meet Me in St. Louis - Released in 1944, this Judy Garland classic introduced the world to the timeless song, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Technically, Christmas only makes up one portion of the movie, with scenes from summer and fall (specifically Halloween) making up the majority of screen time, but the Christmas scenes are unforgettable.

The Holiday - Two women, Iris (Kate Winslet) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz), swap homes for the holidays. Each woman is running away from a past relationship. Both meet new partners, Graham (Jude Law) and Miles (Jack Black), and rediscover who they are as women.

White Christmas - Is it even Christmas if you haven't watched this movie? Set after World War II, a pair of performers, played by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, set out on a mission with a sister act (Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen) to save their former Army commander's Vermont Inn.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants to have the perfect Christmas, but losing his holiday bonus, a visit from his crazy brother-in-law, and a glitch in his decorations quickly add up to disaster. This movie seriously makes my sides ache from laughing.

Rise of the Guardians - Talk about an all-star cast: Alec Baldwin as Santa Claus, Hugh Jackman as the Easter Bunny, Isla Fisher as the Tooth Fairy, Chris Pine as Jack Frost,Jude Law as Pitch Black (the boogeyman) and the non-verbal Sandman. Each actor is perfectly suited to their character, especially Alec Baldwin. Santa, Bunny, Tooth, and Sandy are protectors of children. When Pitch makes a comeback, Jack Frost is reluctantly added to the guardians' line-up. Watch this with your kids at your own risk. It may turn into a daily request.

Comedy
Elf - Buddy (Will Ferrell) is a human who was raised by one of Santa's elves. When he learns of his true heritage, he sets out to find his biological father. Along the way he meets a girl and helps bring back the true spirit of Christmas.

The Santa Clause - Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) takes on the role of Santa Claus when he accidentally causes the old Santa to fall off his roof on Christmas Eve and he and his son, Charlie, finish delivering all the presents. The next day, Scott believes it was all a dream, but the closer it gets to Christmas, the more Santa-like he becomes.

Home Alone - When Kevin McCallister (Macauley Culkin) gets left at home for the family Christmas vacation, he believes his wish to not have a family has come true. Soon he finds himself up against a duo of con-men set on robbing his home and sets elaborate traps to stop them.

I'll Be Home for Christmas - Jake (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) and his dad don't get along. In fact, Jake wasn't planning on being home for Christmas, but he decides to make the trip when he finds out he's getting a classic Porsche. A practical joke leaves him stranded in the desert in a Santa suit, and he has to hitchhike across the country.

Just Friends - When it comes to Jamie (Amy Smart), Chris (Ryan Reynolds) has been stuck in the friend zone for years. When he unexpectedly goes home for Christmas, Chris finally has the chance to win his high school love.

Last Holiday - For Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifa), it takes a terminal diagnosis to start truly living her life. Believing she only has a few weeks to live, Georgia withdraws her life's savings, flies to Europe and starts living like a millionaire.

Traditional
A Charlie Brown Christmas - This was the Peanuts gang's first animated holiday special, and it's become a yearly tradition for many families. There's nothing fancy about this made-for-tv movie, but perhaps its simplicity is what gives this classic it's staying power. Perfect for teaching kids the true meaning of the season and for adults who grew up on Charlie Brown and friends.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas - I'm partial to the 1966 version, narrated by Boris Karloff (who also provides the voice of the infamous Grinch). Visit the world of the Whos during Christmas and takes them down the path of the Grinch who steals it all away. But never fear! The Grinch has a change of heart and catches the Christmas spirit in the end.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Sam the snowman, voiced by Burl Ives, tells the story of how Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer came to lead Santa's sleigh. Travel with Rudolph as he and his misfit friends try to find their place in the world and teach the world that being different isn't a bad thing.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - Okay, so this isn't widely thought of as a Christmas movie, but this story is largely thought to be based on Jesus, with the lion Aslan being C.S. Lewis's depiction of Christ. Even if you don't hold with that theory, much of this movie is based in the winter, despite no mention of Christmas as it's set in war-torn Europe and a distant land.

In the Good Old Summertime - Another Judy Garland classic, this remake of The Shop Around the Corner ends during the Christmas season. It's the story of Veronica Fisher, played by Garland, and Andrew Derby Larkin, played by Van Johnson. The couple become romantic pen pals without knowing they're coworkers who don't get along at all.

Little Women - While I enjoyed the Winona Ryder version of this movie, my favorite is the 1933 film starring Katherine Hepburn as Jo, Joan Bennett as Amy, Frances Dee as Meg, and Jean Parker as Beth. Whenever I read Louisa May Alcott's books, these are the characters I visualize. Set during the Civil War, the March sisters must overcome poverty and emotional crises.

Non-Traditional
The Nightmare Before Christmas - This has become a cult classic both at Halloween and Christmas. Halloweentown's Jack Skellington has become bored with his own holiday and after discovering Christmastown decides to become Santa. As you can imagine, his scary ideas don't exactly lead to the ideal holiday, and Jack finds himself in danger, but his secret admirer, Sally, comes to the rescue.

Batman Returns - This movie is regarded as one of the worst Batmans ever made, but it's set 100% during Christmas. It's so ridiculous and perfectly Tim Burton, that it deserves a mention, especially if you're one of those people who likes hosting 'bad movie nights.'

Red - Although Christmas is never specifically mentioned, this action film is definitely set during the holiday season. It even starts out with Frank (Bruce Willis) stealing his neighbor's decoration. Then he, along with three other ex-CIA agents, are targeted by hitmen and go on the offensive to figure out why. Anyway, I think this is a nice alternative to Die Hard. The cast (Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker) is amazing, and there's plenty of explosions and humor.

Most Memorable Holiday Scenes
You've Got Mail - Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) are falling for each other online. There's just one problem: they're professional rivals. This movie makes my list because of the poignant scene about mid-film in which Kathleen is decorating her shop for Christmas and reminisces on holidays with her late mother.

Mean Girls - We all know why this movie makes the list. Nearly the entirety of the take-down of Regina George (Rachel McAdams) by Cady Herring (Lindsay Lohan) happens during the holidays, starting with the strategic candy cane grams to the infamous Jingle Bell Hop dance.

Bridget Jones's Diary - Who could forget the ugly Christmas sweater party?

New Year's Eve
Poseiden - Once you've exhausted your Christmas movie tolerance, it's time to move on to movies about New Year's Eve, of which there are very few. But that's exactly when this remake of 1972's The Poseiden Adventure is set. The cruise ship Poseiden is overturned by a rogue wave and a handful of passengers make their way through the devastation to the bottom of the ship, which is now the top.

New Year's Eve - First of all, could they have fit anymore stars in this movie? Seriously, there are about ten plot lines happening throughout this entire movie, but somehow it works. If you're looking for something to watch other than the Times Square countdown, I highly recommend this movie.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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