Ashton's Ultimate Christmas Movie Guide

by - December 22, 2010

 It's hard to believe Christmas is just days away.

This is my first Christmas out of my parents' house. I've got my own Christmas tree and presents up under it. I'm working Christmas Eve so I'll even be experiencing Santa Claus on my own.

The holidays are a time for family, or at least they're supposed to be. But in this technologically-savvy world we're living in that concept is often lost, especially on the younger generation.

This time of year has become so commercialized. These days it's all about the gifts, and let's face it - many people don't know how to accomplish family time outside of the gift-giving frenzy.

In today’s technologically-savvy world, technology is quite often the perpetrator behind all those nonexistent family times... So why not use the very technology that's keeping us apart to bring us back together this Christmas?

 I've put together a list of 10 timeless Christmas movies that span all the genres. They range in age from the 1940s to 2006, and I'm sure you’ll find one that appeals to everyone.

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Directed by Vincente Minelli, this heart-warming tale of the Smith family was based on an actual family living in St. Louis at the turn of the century. The four Smith daughters learn lessons of life and love in the middle of preparing for a reluctant move to New York. The movie isn’t just about Esther Smith’s (Judy Garland) relationship with the boy next door, John Truett (Tom Drake). It’s a story involving the entire Smith family, and you’ll even get to see Judy Garland sing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas for the first time.

The Holiday (2006)
Written and directed by Nancy Meyers, this romantic comedy revolves around two women with guy problems, Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) and Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet). Amanda, who lives in Los Angeles, and Iris, who lives in Surrey, England, swap homes for Christmas to escape their problems and have a guy-free holiday. However, the two meet and fall in love with their male co-stars, Graham Simpkins (Jude Law) and Miles (Jack Black).

Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1968)
It may have started out as an animated television special based on the popular children’s book bearing the same name, but this special directed by Chuck Jones is a must for all Christmas movie playlists. Narrated by Boris Karloff (who also provides the voice of the infamous Grinch), this movie sweeps viewers into the world of the Who’s during Christmas and takes them down the path of the Grinch who steals it all away. But never fear, for the Grinch has a change of heart and catches the Christmas spirit in the end.

The Santa Clause (1994)
This movie, directed by John Pasquin, takes readers along Scott Calvin’s (Tim Allen) journey to becoming Santa Claus after he inadvertently kills Santa on Christmas Eve. Scott’s son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd), goes along for the adventure-filled night of magic and elves at the North Pole. This family-oriented comedy is sure to have you in fits of laughter as you watch the reluctant Santa Claus take on his role while bringing his family back together.

White Christmas (1954)
This movie, starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye as Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, is based around the popular Christmas song White Christmas. It’s post-World War II and Wallace and Davis have just left the army and teamed up as a song and dance duo. They meet sisters Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen) and follow them to an inn in Vermont that happens to be owned by their former commander. The movie, directed by Michael Curtiz, follows the quartet in their romantic adventures as they help to save the inn.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
The Muppets gang takes on the task of retelling the classic Dickens’ tale of Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine). They bring their own unique personalities to the classic characters recognized around the world. With Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit and the other Muppets taking on the roles of the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, it’s sure to bring a little Christmas cheer to all.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
No Christmas is complete without a miracle. Directed by George Seaton, this classic Christmas tale makes Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) a more personable Santa Claus. After getting a job as Santa Claus in Macy’s, Kris Kringle tries to convince everyone that he is the real Santa, an act that gets him institutionalized. But not everyone, including lawyer Fred Gailey (John Payne) and Susan Walker (Natalie Wood), thinks the nice old man crazy. Gailey defends Kringle in court by arguing that he is indeed the real Santa Claus. With the talents of Maureen O’Hara as Doris Walker, this movie is sure to bring a miracle to all who believe.

A Christmas Story (1983)
Directed by Bob Clark, this movie is a tribute to the all-American Christmas. All 9-year-old Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun, but every adult he approaches with the subject, including the Santa Claus in the mall, quickly tells him, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Between his little brother and the bully at school, Ralphie isn’t sure he’ll even make it to Christmas day, but someone may have a surprise waiting on him.

Die Hard (1988)
Bruce Willis stars in this action-packed Christmas thriller as New York cop John McClane. Directed by John McTiernan, this movie single-handedly remade the image of Christmas movies. McClane gives a group of German terrorists a taste of their own medicine as he fights to rescue the people they’re holding hostage on the 30th floor, including his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia). This movie is packed with classic one-liners and non-stop action that is guaranteed to have its viewers on the edge of their seats this holiday season.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Written by Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick, this contemporary masterpiece casts a dark light over Christmas when Jack Skellington tries to take over the holiday. Skellington is the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown and the most feared creature in all the world, but he’s grown tired of the same routine and accidentally discovers a door to Christmastown where he quickly falls in love with a holiday he doesn’t fully understand. Skellington then decides that he’s going to take over for Santa this year, launching the viewer into a Christmas nightmare.       

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  1. I don't even have a tree or decorations. Spend money on the lights and then spend money on them again when you get the power bill. :(

  2. Great holiday movie selection, Ashton. The one that pops out at me is Miracle on 34th. Child star Natalie Wood became a major film star in her teens and twenties. Every girl wanted to be her. Yet, she had a troubled life and died young, the victim of a mysterious drowning that still raises questions as to whether or not it was accidental.

    I mentioned this some weeks ago but I am always intrigued by the photographs and illustrations that you use on your blog. Are some of them of your own creation?

  3. Sometimes I use my own photos, but most of the time I find them online using google or

  4. This is the first year I'm not going to get to see my Dad on Christmas. I didn't even get to see him at Thanksgiving, so, it's definitely weird for me this go round. :( I also love most of these movies on your list. I can't say I'm seen the Judy Garland one, and I know I didn't really love Miracle On 34th Street. I know, I know... I'm just not big on holidays. Bad stuff usually happens around the holidays anyway, so, why develop warm fuzzies when they usually get cut down? Okay, sorry for the depressing comment. :/ Didn't mean for it to turn that way. Merry Christmas, Ashton, and I hope Santa brings you everything you want. Lol.

  5. "Die Hard" is a great holiday movie -- I would have never thought about it. You're a genius!