Christmas movie guide

What to watch over the holidays

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Katie McClellan

On author Katie’s Christmas watchlist, classic Christmas movie, “Home Alone” makes for a fun night with family.

Katie McClellan, Co-editor

When it comes to the holidays I pack my time with all things Christmas. However, one of my favorite parts of Christmas are the movies. So, I decided I’d write down a short list of some of my favorites that never fail to bring back all of the Christmas nostalgia. Oh, and excuse my childish taste in movies- when it comes to Christmas I can’t help it.

Angels Sing

Woah… this movie. This film deserves so much love, it’s definitely my favorite holiday movie of all time. My family discovered this one around five years ago and it’s been our Christmas Eve tradition ever since. It’s set in Austin and stars so many of the greats, from musicians to Harry Connick Jr. and Connie Britton. It chronicles the journey of a father and son who have a rocky relationship with Christmas as they work through the holidays with a huge family who loves Christmas. I bawl everytime we watch it. It’s heartfelt and warm, it’s about family, the good and the bad, and it’s perfectly “Austin.” Sadly, this film is only available for rent on sites like Amazon, but my family loves it so much we rent it every year anyway. If you’re looking for a deep Christmas movie that puts the Hallmark channel to shame, this is the perfect pick for you.

Dash and Lily

As soon as this show was released on Netflix about a week ago I binged the whole thing in one night. A little over the top, I know, but it’s the perfect amount of sweet without being too cheesy, making it a great pick for the holidays. This series takes place in New York City when Christmas finatic Lily places a notebook in her favorite bookstore daring whoever finds it to complete a dare to get to know her. Cynical and unexcited by Christmas, Dash finds the book and quickly the pair become very close, without ever meeting. This sweet romance has all the marks of a classic teen love story, but with that extra sprinkle of Christmas cheer and a Jonas Brothers cameo for anyone interested.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Talk about nostalgia, this movie will never not bring me back to fuzzy blankets on a snowy morning watching Christmas movies with my family when I was little. Not to mention, all Charlie Brown shorts are a classic, the adult’s droning voice is still absolutely hilarious and often mimicked in my house. While it’s definitely a childhood choice, this short is still the perfect thing to watch if you’re feeling nostalgic for the days when we thought adults talked like that… Make sure to catch this film on live television sometime during the holiday season this year.

Home Alone

I feel like this one doesn’t need any introduction, Home Alone is yet another childhood classic that’s still perfectly entertaining now. Bratty 8 year-old Kevin accidentally gets left at home while his family goes on vacation, and thinking his Christmas wish to have no family has come true, he’s thrilled, that is until he finds out two con men are attempting to rob his family’s home and he’s the only thing standing in the way. Every kid dreams about booby-trapping their house, films like The Parent Trap and Goonies also reinforce this exciting idea. So if you are a fan of outlandish situations and hilarious fun, this movie belongs on your list. Watch Kevin untangle himself from this holiday mess on Disney Plus. Oh, and a reminder, there’s a two and three if you’re that hooked…

Harry Potter

I know, I know, Harry Potter works for any season, but hear me out. Hogsmeade in the winter with Butter Bear, Mrs. Weasley’s Christmas sweaters, the Great Hall snowing during Christmas dinner and the Yule Ball are only some of the Harry Potter movies’ classic holiday moments. As a die-hard fan of the books and movies, my favorite time of year to watch the films is Christmas time, when I can snuggle up with a blanket and some hot coco and dive into a world where magic is real, school uniforms are required and our beloved trio is always getting themselves into trouble. I recommend revisiting your Harry Potter movie collection this season, or if you’re new to the craze, rent  the first movie on Amazon or YouTube and fall in love like the rest of us have.

Gilmore Girls: Christmas episodes

I have loved this series for years and everytime Christmas rolls around I make sure to watch all the Gilmore Christmases on Netflix that I can. It doesn’t get better than a bickering family at Christmas dinner, Stars Hollow’s outlandish Christmas festivities and a good New England snow. Not to mention being graced with that early 2000/ 90s vibe for a good 45 minutes. These episodes are bound to give you all the winter feels and plenty of laughs along the way as you watch Rory and Lorelai work through struggles, hilarious mishaps and life as the best mother-daughter duo out there (sorry Mom).

Let it Snow

At first I wasn’t convinced about this Netflix Christmas film, that is until the Joan Cusack cameo where she’s wrapped in tin foil… If you’re not interested now I don’t know how else to tell you to give this one a shot. Let it Snow follows the love stories of a group of mid-western small town teens on Christmas Eve and examines their complicated relationships when a snowstorm hits. I will admit, it has a more Hallmark movie feel to it, but at least the acting is good and a lot of familiar faces show up in this sweet holiday story. I encourage you to give this a try if you’re a sucker for teen romances and the “everything goes wrong” type of story, you won’t be disappointed.

Love Actually

For a Christmas film, Love Actually is both strangely catastrophe oriented and at the same time takes a deeper look at love in the type of movie that’s usually dismissed as a cheesy Hallmark-y holiday special. The intertwined love stories of nine Londoner’s examine the complexities of love and human connection while giving viewers the full London Christmas experience. It also features several fan favorites like Keira Knightly, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant. Unfortunately this is another Christmas movie that requires spending a few dollars in order to rent it on YouTube or Amazon. This cult classic is beloved by many, and I suggest if you’re looking for a more serious love story to make some popcorn, grab a box of tissues and settle down for a good cry.