Nine Christmas movies to celebrate the holidays


Photo credit: Alexandra Chang

A Christmas tree stands in a living room. This holiday season, Chang recommends nine of her favorite holiday movies.

If you’re anything like me, Christmas begins the day after Thanksgiving, and the tree goes up on Dec. 1. In order to get into the holiday spirit, I always enjoy watching Christmas movies with my family and friends.

If you’re not sure of what to watch, don’t worry: this listicle includes everything from romantic comedies to action movies to black-and-white films.  

“Elf” (2003)

If you don’t know all of the main elf food groups by heart, you need to see the 2003 film “Elf” as soon as possible. This clever comedy stars Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf, who treks from the North Pole to New York City to find his real father, who turns out to be a cynical businessman. Can Buddy garner enough Christmas cheer to transform his father and find happiness in a world of humans? You’ll just have to watch to find out.

“Trading Places” (1983)

You might’ve forgotten that “Trading Places,” starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, is set during Christmas time; I know that I certainly did. The film is also surprisingly relevant, especially in our current political climate. Although it’s comedic, the movie explores the culture of poverty and insider trading.

“Die Hard” (1988)

Although people still debate whether or not “Die Hard” is actually a Christmas film, I think that it absolutely deserves a place in the genre. Starring Bruce Willis, the movie takes place during a party on Christmas Eve, and as per usual, Bruce Willis’ character has to save the world. If your dad, brother or significant other refuses to watch “Love Actually” with you, this movie will do the trick.

“It Happened on Fifth Avenue” (1947) 

Despite that the only Christmas-themed aspect of “It Happened on Fifth Avenue” is the setting, similar to “Die Hard,” it’s still worth adding to the list. This charming movie tells the story of a wealthy couple, who comes to discover that a homeless man has been living in their New York City apartment. Even though this plot would be nearly impossible by today’s standards, it is still a fun film nonetheless. 

“Home Alone” (1990) 

Who wouldn’t want to be Kevin McCallister for a day? Every moment of “Home Alone” is captivating, but my favorite scene is where Kevin prepares for his epic showdown with the burglars that are trying to break into his home. The fact that this part of the movie is set to the song “Carol of the Bells” makes it nothing short of iconic. 

“Miracle on 34th Street” (1947)

“Miracle of 34th Street” a total classic! Need I say more?

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved Chevy Chase’s movies. “Fletch” or “Seems like Old Times” are two of my favorites, but unfortunately neither one falls into the Christmas movie list. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is a part of the “National Lampoon” franchise, and it’s almost as good as the original. The movie remains entertaining throughout.

“Love Actually” (2003) 

To this day, “Love Actually” is still one of my favorite Christmas movies. Since it airs on TV nearly non-stop throughout the holiday season, you’ll have several opportunities to watch it.

“A Christmas Story” (1983) 

This beloved holiday movie is not to be missed. “A Christmas Story” follows a young boy (Peter Billingsley), who is often bullied at school, and dreams of his ideal Christmas gift: an “official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle” — as he puts it himself. It’s a touching movie that also includes moments of quick-witted satire.