September 22, 2023
Bryan Jarboe--Watching Christmas movies is a perfect way to spend a winter's night.

When it comes to Christmas traditions, nothing is as timeless or consistent as the unforgettable seasonal Christmas specials.

As students continue to grow older, they still remember the lines of their favorite Christmas specials they have grown up with. Whether it released decades ago or just recently, Christmas specials are an important element of the full Christmas experience. With this said, here are 10 of the most popular Christmas specials.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Released in 1946, this is the oldest film on the list. Everyone can remember the classic line of James Stewart, “Please, God, let me live again.” This brings back the theme of appreciation of what you have by understanding the important gift of life. This is a theme commonly forgotten in the modern scenes of Christmas celebrations.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Similar to the former, this film brings back the tradition of classic films from the 1940s The film takes place in
New York City where a Macy’s Day Parade Santa Clause (who may be the real thing) helps to restore a child’s faith in Christmas and Santa. The sentimental value of the film helps to make this a classic.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
In addition to being the longest cable broadcasted Christmas special of all time, this animated short projects the most important theme of all. Though it has appeared on primetime television for decades, it is one of the few Christmas specials that recalls the center theme of Christmas when the character Linus recites Luke 8:2-14(KJV) about the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem as the true meaning of the season.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
The Grinch stands as one of the most notable animated Christmas specials. It features the angered spirit of a The Grinch himself, who dislikes seeing the citizens of Whoville happily celebrating Christmas. Though he succeeds in stealing the material of the town’s Christmas celebration, the town remains joyful. Their community is what had brought them joy during the Christmas season, not gifts or material possessions.

A Christmas Story (1983)
This classic comedy recalls the strangeness of suburban life during grade school. The film showcases humor through the family Christmas celebrations. This film is narrated by the main character Ralphie Parker as an adult years later from these Christmas experiences.

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation (1989)
This comedy brings back the humorous situations of the holiday season but to more of an extreme with a touch of dark humor. Throughout the film you see the antics of the Griswald family led by Clark “Sparky” Griswald played by Chevy Chase as they attempt to survive the normal Christmas routines.

Home Alone 1&2 (1990 & 1992)
Though this is not one film or exclusively a Christmas story, these films show great seasonal comedy of the McCallister family after they mistakenly separate from their son Kevin during the Christmas season. There is plenty of comedy as well as a lesson that there is nothing better than being with family during the season of giving.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
This film is an adaptation of the famous Charles Dickens novel with the famous puppets from the mind of Jim Henson. It follows the character of Scrooge played by Michael Cane as he is visited by three Christmas ghosts Christmas Eve. Through this adventure, he begins to rediscover the greatness of caring for others.

The Santa Claus (1994)
This comedy takes the idea of Santa Claus in the life of an average person. After accidentally disrupting and ending Santa’s life on Christmas eve, Scott Calvin, played by none other than Tim Allen, is to take Santa’s place as the new Santa Claus. The movie finds Calvin not only repairing Christmas but repairing the relationship he has with his son.

Elf (2003)
This recent Christmas comedy quickly became a holiday favorite. This now classic film showcases the quirky personality of Buddy the Elf played by Will Ferrell as he travels to and through New York City from the North Pole in order to find his real Dad played by James Caan. This film brings back the importance of family over materialism during the Christmas season.

With this list of Christmas movies, it is easy to say that there are a number of films that can please any audience. Whether it be a drama, comedy or a classic, there is always a Christmas themed special that can please anyone during this season.

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