5 Must-See Christmas Movies for Adults


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The holidays often bring a spate of sentimental new releases to get you in the Christmas spirit, but why blow your dough on crowded theaters and cholesterol-laden popcorn when you can see your favorites at home?  If you’re looking for a good movie to pop in while you curl up under the blankets and enjoy a crackling fire, here are a few that will get you laughing and remind you what this season is all about.

1.     National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989). There is so much to love in this kooky Christmas comedy from the mad geniuses at National Lampoon, not the least of which is the dysfunctional interactions of the Griswold family.  But nothing, absolutely nothing, compares to the squirrel.  If you want to have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas ever, then it should definitely include this memorable movie.

2.     Home for the Holidays (1995). If you thought spending the holidays with your family was stressful then you will have no trouble commiserating with Claudia (Holly Hunter) as she returns to her childhood home to face her crazy family over the holidays, uncovering a number of skeletons that should have been left in the closet.  This movie is equal parts laugh-out-loud humor, cry-in-your-hanky heartbreak, and cover-your-eyes embarrassment, and anyone who has left home as a child and returned as an adult will find something to love in this film about family, love, and facing the truth.


3.     It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). This quintessential holiday movie is more likely to bring tears than laughter, but the poignant story of a man who thinks his family would be better off without him is an absolute must-see.  With Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed at the helm as high-school sweethearts who find themselves dealing with the demands of a family and a business, you know you’re going to get a couple of Oscar-worthy performances.  And the story of love, loss, and ultimately, redemption will have you hugging your kids and ringing a bell before the credits roll.

4.     White Christmas (1954). This farcical film about song-and-dance duo Wallace and Davis (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) falling for a couple of songstress sisters and helping out an old war buddy is kitschy and fun (if formulaic).  However, you’ll recognize some of the songs (including the titular number) and the sets, costumes, and dance numbers are entertaining enough to keep you glued to the screen (even when the dialogue gets a bit sappy).

5.     Bad Santa (2003). Often cited as one of the top ten dark comedies of all time, this tale of two men posing as Santa and his helper (Billy Bob Thornton and Tony Cox, respectively) in order to rob department stores will keep you laughing from Christmas until the New Year, even with the cutesy plot twist created by an 8-year-old kid who helps them see the error of their ways.

BONUS: The Ref (1994). This underrated comedy features Denis Leary at his comedic best as a cat burglar who takes a bickering family hostage on Christmas Eve (long before he got serious and started pulling people from burning buildings as alcoholic fireman Tommy on Rescue Me).  Costars Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis sparkle as the warring couple in question and a stellar cast of supporting actors fill in as equally loathsome family members who pop up to torment the unfortunate thief.  This movie may not be as well-known as some of the others on the list, but if you watch it once, you may be inclined to make it part of your holiday tradition.

Article by Arie Rich

Arie has written 1143 articles.
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