Holiday favorites to jump start the jolly season


Because the weather outside isn’t so frightful, it is sometimes difficult to get into the holiday spirit. Just because Texans won’t see a “White Christmas” doesn’t mean you can’t watch it.

Here are some holiday films to get the season started.

10) “The Muppet’s Christmas Carol” (1992)- Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” has seen many different incarnations. However, few are as beloved as the Muppet version. This heartfelt musical rendition centers on the redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine), a cruel man whose every breath helps spread misery throughout the world. After being visited by the ghostly apparition of his former business partners, Jacob and Robert Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and things to come, Scrooge ultimately undergoes a change of heart. Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Rizzo the Rat and the Great Gonzo all lend their singing voices in a riveting musical score composed by Academy Award winning composer Paul Williams.

9) “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965)- “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a 30-minute made-for-TV special featuring everybody’s favorite Peanuts gang. This short film’s thematic elements deal with the over-commercialization and secularism of Christmas before reminding viewers of the true meaning of Christmas. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy van Pelt and Pig Pen add satirical humor to the proceedings while trying to stage a Nativity play.

8) “White Christmas” (1954)- Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) are two WWII veterans turned successful nightclub entertainers who visit their former commanding officer, General Waverly (Dean Jagger), at his financially unstable inn. The two singers secretly plan to save their general’s inn from bankruptcy by performing a big song and dance show at the inn. This campy musical comedy has become a staple of the holiday season and was the highest grossing film of 1954.

7)”It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946)- George Bailey (James Stewart) has repeatedly sacrificed his lifelong ambitions of traveling the world in order to better the lives of his friends and family. When a despairing George attempts to commit suicide on Christmas Eve, he is saved by a guardian angel who shows him an alternate reality in which George was never born. This must-see holiday film illustrates that even the smallest actions of an individual can have powerful effects on the surrounding world, and that sometimes the most hopeless circumstances can lead to a wonderful life.

 6) “The Christmas Story” (1983)- 8 year-old Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) can’t seem to catch a break. Every Christmas, Ralphie asks his parents for a Red Ryder BB gun, but they simply reply, “You’ll shoot your eye out.”  Afterwards, he writes essay compositions in his elementary class arguing why he deserves a BB gun, and receives a C+. Undeterred, Ralphie asks the Santa Claus at a department store for a BB gun only to be rejected by being pushed down a slide. This humorous coming-of-age story shows the lengths one determined little boy will go to get the present of his dreams.

5) “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)- Jack Skellington, the “Pumpkin King” of Halloween Town, has grown tired of celebrating Halloween every year and decides to get into the holiday spirit by kidnapping “Sandy Claws,” and celebrating Christmas the only way he understands. Jack sets out on his musical journey with a team of skeletal reindeer intent on making Christmas a frightful experience. The film’s gothic stop motion cinematography is gorgeous and often breathtaking in its design. The vibrant musical score provided by composer Danny Elfman is full of catchy tunes and atmospheric flourishes that blend well with the film’s bizarre yet unforgettable characters.

4) “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000)- The Grinch (Jim Carrey) is a mean soul that has the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile and termites in his smile. He despises the Who’s of Whoville and holds nothing but contempt for Christmas time as a whole. Throughout the film, the Grinch devises an elaborate scheme to sabotage Christmas and steal all of the presents in Whoville. However, a brave young girl named Cindy Lou Who takes it upon herself to brave the Grinch’s icy mountain top home and save Christmas before it’s too late.3) Home Alone (1990)- After being forgotten at home during his family’s rush to leave for Christmas vacation, 8 year-old Kevin McAllister (Macaulay Culkin) wakes up to find that he has the house all to himself. Kevin rejoices in his newfound freedom by stealing his mean brother’s life’s savings, firing his BB gun, watching adult gangster movies and eating as much junk food as he wants. Unfortunately, two dim-witted burglars soon begin to threaten Kevin’s home, forcing Kevin to use his cunning intellect to booby trap the house. Hilarity ensues as the two burglers fail to outsmart the 8 year-old boy.

2) The Santa Claus (1994)- Divorced marketing executive Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) has just done the unthinkable: he has just accidently killed Santa Claus and must now assume the role of jolly Saint Nick himself. After donning Santa’s red suit and journeying with his son to the North Pole, Scott awakens the following morning dismissing the previous night’s events as a bad dream. Over the course of the next 11 months, Scott begins to gain an abnormally large stomach, grows an un-shaveable beard and develops a ravenous appetite for Christmas sweets before completing his transformation into the new Santa. Scott must come to grips with his new responsibilities as Santa Claus while also dealing with the already strained relationship he has with his son.

1) Elf (2003)- After Santa mistakenly abducts a baby while giving out presents, the human child named Buddy (Will Farrell) is raised to believe that he is an elf. However, Buddy doesn’t stay little forever and sticks out from the rest of the elves due to his 6’3″ height and poor toy making skills. Soon afterwards, Buddy is told about his biological father Walter Hobbs (James Caan) and sets out to find him despite Walter being on Santa’s naughty list. Elf is a funny story of a man that thinks he’s an elf trying to gain acceptance from a father that never wanted him.