I cannot tell you how the tradition started, but come holiday season when we were kids, my brother and would ritualistically watch a lesser known movie titled ‘Transylvania 6-5000’. A comedy-horror, spoof and B-grade film with a poor script, cheesy soundtrack and half-baked plot that currently carries an “impressive” 18% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Nothing about this movie was Christmas or holiday themed, and while my nostalgic brain tells me this movie was built on pure comic genius, thanks to the talents of such greats as Jeff Goldlum, Geena Davis and Michael Richards, my logical thinking mind knows better. Regardless of its accolades and themes, it was a tradition, and there are fond memories of spending time with my brother, year after year, tucked under our blankets in the build up to the big day. The holidays at their finest.
While it has been 20+ years since I’ve last popped this little Hollywood gem into the VCR, there are many others that paint my Christmas season with joy. From Klaus to Gremlins, there are countless holiday specials and movies, new and classic, that I look so forward to each December; staples from my childhood that I revisit through tradition this one time of the year, and it has been fun getting to share in some of them with the girls.
Each year, it seems, they are ready to add one more to the repertoire, based on content and maturity, and this means, for me anyway, that I get something special and magical to look forward to each new December, as I witness them experience something for the first time, creating their own memories of what I can only hope are movies of slightly better caliber than that of two reporters sent to Transylvania in search of a mis-understood band of monster-creatures, all the while maintaining the heart and love that only siblings can share.
With time somewhat limited, schedules ramping up between December 1st and the 25th, and my bedtime creeping earlier by the year, it can be hard to fit everything in. Because the time is both limited and precious, the need to prioritize is apparent, and, sadly not every film or TV special is going to make the cut each year. So, without further ado, I present to you my top 10 list as the must needed viewing this particular, 2022, holiday season.
10. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Presented in all it’s classic stop-motion animation, this is one of my all time favourites. The Bumble is always a sight to behold, and an Elf with dreams of a dentist is an inspiring move for its time.
9. The Nightmare Before Christmas
This one was new for the kids this year and they loved it. It’s a perfect bridge between the seasons, and while it has some moments that may be a little on the scary side, the songs and animation style kept them interested and engaged throughout.
This one was new for me this year and I have to say: I loved it! The message was great, the animation wonderful and it provided a unique and touching take on the tale Mr. Klaus. Definitely one to recommend.
7. The Grinch (2000)
I have to admit that I don’t particularly care for this take on The Grinch tale. I don’t need all of that backstory and, in my opinion, the tale works better as a contained and simple story. That said…
6. The Grinch (2018)
I enjoyed this way more that I thought I would, given the comments I made on the Jim Carey version. It has some quirky extra characters, a fun message and still delivers on the classic story elements.
5. A Charlie Brown Christmas
Another staple in the collection, I a Charlie Brown Christmas is revered in our household as much for the soundtrack as the ‘film’ itself. Iconic characters, not overstuffed, and some truly inspired dance moves; you can’t go wrong.
4. Santa Clause is Coming to Town
Another great stop motion animation from even before my childhood. I challenge you to watch this and not catch yourself humming “put one foot in front of the other” for the next three days.
3. Frosty the Snowman
What more do I need to say? Short. Sweet. Familiar. Happy Birthday!
2. Home Alone
I remember watching this (and the sequel) in theatres and it was like nothing I had ever seen before. It was a first in our house this year and the kids loved every moment. I can’t speak to anything past number 2, but someone recently advised I should give them a fair chance.
1. The Grinch (1966)
There is, in my humble opinion, only one true version of The Grinch, and anything without Dr. Seuss and Boris Karloff in the driver’s seat is going to be sub par entertainment.
Once the kiddos are asleep…
Not all Christmas movies are made for kids, and I have a few that I look forward to each year once the kids (and the Mrs.) are in bed.
Classic, campy fun. If you think it’s ok for your kids, there’s no judgement here – I watched it when I was fairly young and I turned out just fine! Be forewarned, however, that there is a scene I had forgotten that tells a rather grim and tragic tale of someone getting stuck in the chimney on Christmas Eve…
I have a love for horror movies that sets me apart from anyone else in the household, so the opportunities to watch them are sparse. I don’t like extreme violence and gore, and this one sets a fun holiday table, turning the traditions of the season on their head and delivering something campy, unique and fun…in a demonic elves are coming for you kind of way.
3. Die Hard
It’s a Christmas movie. Accept it. Plus, it’s got Alan Rickman, may he rest in peace, and whether he’s playing Hans Gruber Severus Snape, or The Sherrif of Nottingham, he runs a masterclass in villainy and intrigue. Which leads us to:
2. Love Actually
This over the top rom-com is riddled with problems and questionable, stalker-like actions, yet I can’t help but want to watch it every year. There’s just something about it that gives me the warm feels.
1. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
Perhaps there’s no more traditional movie for my generation than this Chevy Chase classic. We own the moose mugs, I’ve got the lights display, and every year our tree gets bigger and bigger as we hike deeper into the woods, just like The Griswolds would have done. Yep, this one makes the cut each and every year.
So, there you have it: my must watch list for the 2022 season. What are yours and why? I’d love to start building my list for next year. Happy holidays and happy viewing!