Movie night is a fun and frugal thing to do with the whole family. Light a fire, pop some popcorn, cuddle up with a warm blanket and a cup of egg nog, and enjoy these favorite Christmas movies. My family subscribes to Netflix, which is an inexpensive way to be able to watch movies regularly.
1. Polar Express – Chris Van Allsburg’s inspiring children’s book is brought to life in this warm-hearted animated tale directed by Robert Zemeckis. A young boy (voiced by both Daryl Sabara and co-executive producer Tom Hanks, who also lends his talents to the role of the conductor) with shaky faith finds it strengthened after he makes his way by train to the North Pole, where he finds reason to believe not only in others, but most importantly in himself. Rated G.
2. The Nativity Story: Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and Joseph (Oscar Isaac) make the hard journey to Bethlehem for a blessed event in this retelling of the Nativity story. From director Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen), this meticulously researched and visually lush adaptation of the biblical tale follows the pair on their arduous path to their arrival in a small village, where they find shelter in a quiet manger and Jesus is born. Shohreh Aghdashloo co-stars. Rated PG.
3. A Christmas Carol: Briskly helmed by Edwin L. Marin, this adaptation of Charles Dickens’s yuletide classic stars Reginald Owen as miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, who gets a last chance to redeem himself on Christmas Eve through the intercession of three spirits. The film boasts a fine MGM supporting cast that includes Leo G. Carroll, Barry Mackay, Ann Rutherford, Terry Kilburn and June Lockhart, who makes her big-screen debut as one of the cheery Cratchit children. 1938 classic. NR.
4. Frosty the Snowman & Frosty Returns: The frozen holiday hero gets a warm reception in this enchanting double feature. In Frosty the Snowman, a magician’s discarded hat gives life to a snowman, who quickly wins the hearts of all the town’s children. Jimmy Durante narrates the yuletide classic. In Frosty Returns, Frosty (voice of John Goodman) and his friends must stop an inventor’s plot to go public with his diabolical creation: an aerosol spray that can melt massive amounts of snow.
5. The Nutcracker Prince: The timeless holiday tale of “The Nutcracker” springs to life as an animated musical. After young Clara receives a wooden nutcracker as a Christmas gift, she dreams about a fantastical battle between her Nutcracker Prince and the evil Mouse King. At stake is the Nutcracker’s freedom — and Clara’s future happiness. Kiefer Sutherland, Peter O’Toole and Megan Follows lend their voices to this family-friendly adventure. Rated G.
6. It’s a Wonderful Life: It’s a wonderful film. Frank Capra’s inverted take on A Christmas Carol stars Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, a good man who’s spent a lifetime giving up on his dreams in order to keep life in his small town humming. When a guardian angel named Clarence finds a despondent George poised to jump off a bridge, he shows George what life would’ve been like had he never been born. 1946 classic.
7. Home Alone: Families stink. That’s the opinion of 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin), whose family unwittingly leaves him behind when they go on vacation. In no time, Kevin makes the most of the situation, watching forbidden flicks and pigging out on junk food. But when a pair of bungling burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) set their sights on Kevin’s house, the plucky kid stands ready to defend his territory — by planting booby traps galore! Rated PG.
8. Veggie Tales: The Toy that Saved Christmas – Appearing in his own TV commercials, unscrupulous toy maker Wally P. Nezzer has convinced all of Dinkletown that “Christmas is when you get stuff!” With the town’s children begging for more and more toys, it’s sure to be the worst Christmas ever — until one brave little Buzz-Saw Louie doll decides to take matters into his own hands and show the children of Dinkletown what Christmas is really about.
9. The Christmas Cottage: When his mother is in danger of losing her home, young Thomas Kinkade (Jared Padalecki) learns some lessons about love and friendship as kindhearted artist Glen Wessler (Peter O’Toole) leads the community to help save the house. Meanwhile, the future “Painter of Light” begins to find his own style as an artist. Based on true events that led to Kinkade’s popular success, this holiday bonbon co-stars Marcia Gay Harden, Gina Holden and Edward Asner. Rated PG.
10. the Star of Bethlehem: Delve into an astronomical mystery in this documentary about the historical star that believers claim prophesied the birth of Jesus. Could the star have been a comet or an unknown planet? Find out whether science can explain the biblical phenomenon. Examining the age-old story from the Gospel of Matthew, the film explores the possibilities and speculations of myth versus miracle.
11. Miracle of Sage Creek: Sometimes, the most wondrous miracles occur when you least expect them. A solid cast headlines this heartwarming, redemptive tale of two families that struggle to overcome prejudice and tragedy in 1888 Wyoming. Their efforts seem futile until the special titular Christmas miracle saves the life of a small boy. Rance Howard, David Carradine, Billy Drago, Wes Studi and Martin Kove star. James Intveld directs.
12. Holiday Inn: Bing Crosby croons to the tune of the Oscar-winning “White Christmas” in Irving Berlin’s love triangle romantic comedy. Tired of the bright lights of showbiz, Jim Hardy (Crosby) retires to the countryside to become a farmer. He converts the farm into the Holiday Inn, open only on holidays, then competes against his pal (Fred Astaire) for a singer-dancer’s (Marjorie Reynolds) affection. 1942 classic. NR.
What are your favorite holiday movies?
Photo credit: zanastardust