Merry Movies

Binge-watch these Christmas classics to get in the holiday spirit

Winter brings many things. Cold weather, snow and shoveling, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah just to name a few. The days are busy with work, shopping, cooking and often a lot of stress. One way to combat all of that is to cozy up at home and watch a classic holiday movie that will be on television or pop in a DVD. The following are just a few suggestions to get in the spirit.

Babes in Toyland or March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934)

An all-time favorite tradition of mine has been to watch this movie every Thanksgiving morning. It’s on every year and to me, it never gets old. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy star as the fumbling toymakers who live with the old lady in her shoe along with all of her children. When the evil Barnaby (Henry Brandon) threatens to evict them for nonpayment of rent, Laurel and Hardy attempt to come to her rescue. Bo-Peep, Tom Tom, the three little pigs and of course the Boogie Man are just a few characters to get involved with the hijinks. A classic to introduce to your older children.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

What would the holidays be without A Charlie Brown Christmas? Written by Charles M. Schulz, this animated holiday classic is for all ages. Who doesn’t love the story of Charlie Brown, a boy who just doesn’t seem to get a break, yet always holds out hope. After he expresses his displeasure with Christmas being only about the presents, he sets out to find the perfect Christmas tree for the holiday pageant. Naturally, his tree isn’t what Lucy and the others would have picked out but in the end they all come together and realize what the holiday is truly all about.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Another quintessential Christmas film, It’s A Wonderful Life, directed by Frank Capra has already began playing pretty regularly. This holiday classic will make you laugh and cry but it is the ultimate feel good movie. James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore and Henry Travers bring to life the characters we have all grown to love. George Bailey always puts everyone first before realizing his dreams but it takes an innocent angel to show him that in reality he has everything he ever needed. I still can’t look during the scene in the bank when Uncle Billy loses the money and the unscrupulous Mr. Potter watches in secret knowing very well that he is in possession of the money. I don’t know about you, but every time I hear a bell tingle I believe an angel got his wings.

White Christmas (1954)

White Christmas stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen and is another classic featuring of course the all-time favorite Christmas song of the same name sung by the great Bing Crosby. Bing and Kaye play song and dance partners who team up with sisters to save the Vermont Inn of their former general from going under. The holidays aren’t the same without seeing this movie at least once.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Don’t waste your time on the remakes of this film as there can only be one with Natalie Wood. Miracle on 34th Street stars Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn and Natalie Wood and it will make you feel good all over. Non-believer Doris Walker learns a valuable lesson about faith and love from, of all people, Kris Kringle. Wood portrays the skeptical Susan Walker brilliantly and we all share in her surprise as she pulls on Kris’s beard to realize that it is real.

Other holiday classics include Home Alone and its sequel, National Lampoon’s Christmas and A Christmas Story for starters. Also try cult classics The Nightmare Before Christmas, Scrooged and The Ref. If you’re in the mood to laugh, watch Elf, A Christmas Story, Bad Santa, Jingle All The Way, The Santa Clause and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. And don’t forget about Christmassy romantic comedies like Love Actually and The Holiday.

So cuddle up with a warm blanket, grab a snack and enjoy some nostalgia one afternoon or evening. You will be happy you did.

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Cheryl Wadsworth
Cheryl Wadsworth is a writer for Long Island Weekly, specializing in movie previews.

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