Top Five Family Christmas Movies

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Ralphie has to convince his parents, teachers, and Santa that a Red Ryder B.B. gun really is the perfect gift for the 1940s
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
December 14th, 2012

Top Five Family Christmas Movies

-- Christmas is a joyous time of year when children are waiting for Santa and the radio is always playing joyful music. We get to spend winter nights on the couch watching Christmas movies and sipping hot chocolate with loved ones as the fireplace warms the room. Each family has its own favorite Christmas films with scenes constantly reenacted during parties or even at the dinner table. Below are five Christmas movies you are guaranteed to enjoy with your family this holiday season.

"A Christmas Story"

This 1983 film has become such a staple of the season that many families endure the twenty-four-hour marathon shown on cable television each year. It does not matter that the movie is set in the 1940s. Kids of any generation can completely relate to Ralphie and his quest for a Red Ryder B.B. gun. We've all been told at some point that we can't have the thing we want most, but at Christmas anything seems possible. This movie is stuffed with memorable scenes, such as Flick sticking his tongue to the flagpole, Randy eating like a "piggy," the Old Man constantly battling the furnace, and Ralphie nearly shooting his eye out, as predicted by many adults in the story. Written and narrated by the great Jean Shepherd, this is a wonderful flick to share with friends and family, and it will have everyone wanting to play Santa this year.

"Home Alone"

Written by John Hughes and released in 1990, "Home Alone" appeals to any kid who has ever wished he could make his family disappear. On the other hand, adults can appreciate the action and humor, mostly provided by the less-than-adequate thieves, played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. At the heart of this film are two important lessons for the entire family. First we learn that, no matter how much we annoy each other, holidays are always more enjoyable when surrounded by loved ones. "Home Alone" also shows us that it doesn't matter where we celebrate the season. Whether we fly to Paris for an extravagant vacation or enjoy the comfort of our own homes, if the family is together, Christmas will be merry.

"Elf"

If singing is your favorite and your family loves to spread Christmas cheer, "Elf" is probably a hit in your home each year. This movie was released in 2003 and stars the hilarious Will Ferrell as Buddy, a human being who was raised at the North Pole by Santa Claus and his elves. Buddy's adventures in New York City are classic, as he makes his way to the Empire State Building to find his true father. Along the way, we learn the importance of the season's simple things, like singing songs and spending time together. The North Pole scenes are as timeless as the old Rankin and Bass animated specials, and the story, though familiar, never gets old thanks to Ferrell and the excellent supporting cast.

"The Polar Express"

This 2004 animated film stars Tom Hanks in a number of different roles, while telling the story of a boy's journey to the North Pole on Christmas Eve aboard the magical Polar Express train. Like many children, the boy struggles with his belief in Santa Claus. Those around him do all they can to encourage his faith; however, like anything in life, it needs to come from within him. Families will enjoy the beautiful animation and scenery in the film, from the dancing waiters serving steaming hot chocolate to the scores of elves populating the North Pole. Ultimately, the movie reminds us all that sometimes we just need to believe.

"The Muppet Christmas Carol"

A list of the best Christmas movies would not be complete without a version of the Charles Dickens classic story. The Muppets' version is perfect for the entire family, as it remains extremely faithful to the Dickens text while using Jim Henson's fun characters to tell the tale. Michael Caine's Ebenezer Scrooge may be the best portrayal of the character on film, while Kermit the Frog makes an excellent Bob Cratchit. In addition, the Paul Williams soundtrack is brilliant and brings a Broadway musical feel to the movie. A popular watch for families of all ages, this 1992 adaptation is discovered by new fans each year.

Watching Christmas movies is a great way for the family to spend time together during the holiday season. In the end, it does not matter which films you choose. The most important thing is to enjoy the time you share and to create your own traditions together.