CHRISTMAS MUSIC AND FILMS

Are you a person who says Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or Bah Humbug?

Although it may be hard to believe there are people who like to enjoy and celebrate Christmas all year long. Many of these people move to towns that also celebrate Christmas every day of the year. In case you would like to visit these places or stay far away from them, these unusual and unique cities are, Solvang California, Santa Claus Indiana, Pigeon Forge Tennessee, Frankenmuth Michigan, Christmas Florida, Rovaniemi Finland, Christmas Valley Oregon, North Pole New York, West Jefferson North Carolina, and of course the OG home of Santa at the North Pole in Alaska.

If you are one of the millions of people that LOVE Christmas or “the holidays” you will be excited to read about all the holiday movies and music that are NOW available. All those BIG Holiday movies that you may have missed last year due to the pandemic are now available for you to enjoy in the safety and comfort of your own home.

Many of us have missed the traditional Holidays with friends and family that we had prior to the Pandemic. This year it seems like we may have a Christmas miracle and we will be able to safely celebrate with our loved ones.

We will share joy, feast, exchange gifts and hug all of those that we missed last year. And, if you did not miss them, you better start psyching yourself up for that HAPPY HOLIDAY REUNION.

It is time to break out the holiday recipes, the decorations and to dust off the “good plates.”

I am typically not a good cook, but I am fantastic holiday chef. It is the only real meal I have cooked each year for “too many years.”

I can throw-down on Christmas and Thanksgiving meals. If you come to my house any other day of the year be prepared for takeout or to bring your own food.

If you are having family and friends over for the holidays you will want to keep them occupied so that their weird conversations, politics or their “good advice” does not surface. The best way to keep your guests occupied is to have some great holiday films, music, festive snacks, holiday drinks and especially spiked eggnog.

So, if you need some suggestions or reminders about the entertainment that will keep your guests joyous and happy while they are at your holiday gathering, I have put together a list of some of my favorite holiday movies.

It is my hope that you thoroughly enjoy your holidays and your loved ones. But if you are apprehensive about your gathering, just remember that it is only one or a few times a year. Keep your guests full of festive foods and drinks and keep them focused on some great holiday films. Its hard to be grumpy while watching some heart-warming or funny holiday movies.

If you are having guests of all ages from “loud kids” to grandparents you may want to set up a couple of rooms with TV’s. If you are like me you may not have all the food ready so you might need a little “alone time” in the kitchen. The best way to keep your guests occupied and happy is to get them engaged in some holiday films. Look at the run-times on the films and you will know how long you have to put the final touches on your feast. And how long you have to enjoy that secret holiday beverage you may have stashed away in the kitchen.

If you are having some older guests over you may want to set them up with a classic film. Some of these films are the traditional ones that most people know and love.

Here are a few recommendations for your older guests but if you have not seen them in awhile they just might bring out the holiday spirit in you too!

“It’s a Wonderful Life”

Many call this the most popular Christmas film of all-time. The American Film Institute ranks it as #11 on their list of the 100 Greatest American Films of All Time.

“Miracle on 34th Street” (1947) 1 hr. 36 mins

This highly popular and traditional holiday film was released just six months after “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Apparently people were still in the mood for another heart-warming and feel-good Christmas classic because this one is also an award-winning film. This film is preserved in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as a “culturally and historical” film.

In 1994 a modern version of the 1947 film was released. Mara Wilson of “Mrs. Doubtfire” fame took on the role of Susan Walker who was originally portrayed by Natalie Wood in the 1947 version.

I enjoyed both versions of this classic Christmas movie.

Did you know there is a “King of Christmas” …other than Santa Claus?

Back in the day there was a guy named Bing Crosby. He was known as a crooner, which means he could really belt out a song. He could do it all, from soft and smooth to boldly and powerfully delivering a great vocal performance.

Many ladies (now grandmothers or great grandmothers) found him to be the heart throb of their generation. Bing became one of the best-known artists to release Christmas music. This is how he became known as the “KING OF CHRISTMAS.” Back then fans called it Christmas music, and this did not seem to bother or offend anyone. Today, whether you call it Christmas or holiday music you know you will hear it starting around Halloween through December. I prefer hearing it the day after Thanksgiving. Bing Crosby was also an actor that became the “face” of Christmas. Bing was the first star of multimedia, with success in radio, record sales and motion pictures. Bing recorded over 1600 songs, and he starred or appeared in more than 70 films. He was one of the most popular artists in the world between 1930 to 1954. His Christmas music and films have become Holiday Classics.

Here are the most popular Bing Crosby Holiday films

  • “Going My Way” is a feel-good film that won 7 academy awards to include the Best Picture Award in 1945
  • “Bells of St. Mary’s” for this one you may want to break out the tissues. Bing Crosby and the Academy Award winning actor Ingrid Bergman star in this sequel to “Going My Way.”
  • “Holiday Inn” starring Bing and Fred Astaire. This film inspired the name for the popular “Holiday Inn” hotels. It is also the film that established the song “White Christmas” as an iconic Christmas classic.
  • “White Christmas” is one of the most popular Christmas songs of all-time so of course it needed its own movie. If you have not seen this film in a long time or EVER, you may want to see this one and own it.

I have some Holiday favorites that just might be a hit for your gatherings or those cozy nights at home.

Throughout the month I will feature some of my favorite holiday films. I did not rank them in any order. I will list the year of their release so you can determine if your guests have seen these films. If they have seen these great holiday films they are worth seeing again. These films are worthy of owning for this holiday and for years to come. It is my hope that you enjoy these films enough to make them a tradition for your holiday festivities.

During the holidays I enjoy movies from all genres, the iconic classics, romantic comedies, dramas, family films, kid movies and even the occasional holiday horror film. No matter what your favorite genre may be, you can always find a holiday film to entertain you..

I will provide a list of some of the most popular Hanukkah movies too so keep reading or skip down to that section of my recommendations.

Here are the films that set my mood and spirit for the holidays:

“A Christmas Story” (1983 / PG)

Since the release, this has been a personal favorite. My Godson first saw this movie at age 6 and now at 13, we are still watching this movie every year. He also recites iconic lines from the movie, year-round. Those leg lamps you see in stores around the holidays were popularized in this film. The movie has some strong language, however the “F word” is replaced with “fudge.” There is also some bullying in the film. Kids learn that licking a frozen pole is not a good decision even if you were “triple dog dared.”

“A Christmas Story” has become a Christmas cult classic. We view it many times throughout the holidays in my home.

“Home Alone” (1990 / PG) 1 hr. 43 mins

Although this was not Macaulay Culkin’s first time in front of the camera it was where most of us discovered this brilliant child actor. He was just 10 when he portrayed an 8-year-old who was mistakenly left home alone while his family took off to Paris for the holidays. While alone he had to contend with and protect himself and his home from burglars.

John Hughes wrote this popular comedy. He was one of the most celebrated screenwriters of the 80’s and 90’s. This film is good for all ages.

“Home Alone 2” (1992) 2 hours

What are the odds our star of “Home Alone” could be left alone again?

Young Macaulay was box office gold in 1990 so why not bring him back with a new dilemma to contend with. Only this time we find him lost and alone in New York. This was the second film in the Home Alone franchise. Due to the success of the original Home Alone this one opened at #1 and with over 31 million in its first week. If you need to entertain guests a little longer while you finish your cooking, this pairs well with the first “Home Alone.”

There were two additional movies released in this franchise, “Home Alone 3 in 1997 and “Home Alone: Taking Back the House” in 2002. If you need to resort to these two films for more cooking time, it is time to order a pizza and pour more festive drinks.

“ELF” (2003 / PG) 1 hr. 37 mins

If you need a laugh, this film will bring many. For comedy, you cannot go wrong when it comes to movies starring Will Ferrell. Will plays a human who was raised by elves as a “big human elf.” He decides he wants to leave the North Pole to find his biological father in New York. However, his father does not know about his son and the gigantic elf that is headed to find him. Elf is a heart-felt comedy and one that everyone could enjoy.

Fun Fact:

Will Ferrell was offered 29 million to star in the sequel of Elf. After reviewing the script, he turned it down and went on to film many more hit films. Will Ferrell is ranked at No. 79 with over $2,547,244,884 in box office sales.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965)

This was a Christmas TV special based on the iconic comic strip created by the famed cartoonist, Charles M. Schultz. He is highly celebrated and regarded as the most influential cartoonist of all-time.

When my sons watched this repeatedly in the 70’s and 80’s I enjoyed it too. It never felt like Christmas until we watched this together.

“The Holiday” (2006 / PG 13) 2 hrs. 16 mins

I love a great romantic comedy and I love them even more around the holidays. The film is a little longer than most holiday movies, but I wanted even more. It stars Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Cameron Diaz. We have seen these actors in other romantic roles but together they are magic in “The Holiday.” These two ladies are feeling discouraged about men, so they swap homes in their home countries. While vacationing each one of them ends up meeting men that they decide to let into their lives. Both men played by Jude Law and Jack Black are so loveable in these roles. Since moving last year I am not sure where this film is at, so I am buying it again today. I LOVE THIS FILM!

“Last Holiday” (2006 / PG 13) I hr. 52 mins

If you are in the mood for another great holiday rom com, this one is perfect. It stars Queen Latifah and LL Cool J. I do not want to give away the plot on this one, but it is charming, witty and has a lot of heart. I LOVED IT

“Love Actually” (2003 / R) 2 hrs. 15 mins

This is not just a favorite at Christmas, this is one of my favorite movies year-round. “Love Actually” was brilliantly written and directed by Richard Curtis. The ensemble cast is packed with star power. It is a “who’s, who” of British Superstars as well as some of our best American actors. I cannot think of another film where you will find, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Chiwetel Ejiorfor, Alan Rickman, Rowan Akinson, Laura Linney and more all in the same cast. The film is set in London during five weeks prior to Christmas. We are introduced to ten couples that all have diverse types of love stories. As the story unfolds we learn how these couples all are all linked in some way. The film and soundtrack are spectacular. This is a soundtrack that you can enjoy in its entirety. After watching the film one time you will want to see it again, and again. I highly suggest that you add “Love Actually” to your collection of great films.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993 / PG) 1 hr. 16 mins

This is one of Tim Burtons most popular and beloved films. Tim is a master at gothic fantasy and horror films. He is an American writer, director, and producer. Tim has his own unique signature style and look to his films. The Nightmare Before Christmas was conceived from a poem written by Burton. This dark fantasy is an animated musical. It features the music and voice of Danny Elfman of the legendary 1980’s new wave band Oingo Boingo.

This is a great film throughout the year but at Christmas it is a tradition and a classic in my home.

“Bad Santa” (2003 / Rated R) 1 hr. 32 mins

This is a dark comedy and not recommended for children. For a room full of adult guests this will have them laughing out loud. This is one of my favorite films starting Billy Bob Thornton. This was also The late John Ritter’s last live-action films before his sudden death in 2003.

This is the story of Willie T. Soke (Billie Bob Thornton and his dwarf sidekick and assistant (Tony Cox). They are thieves that become department store employees during the holidays as a Santa and his elf. They take this job every year just to rob stores within the malls in the evening as they close for business. Willie is a sex addict and alcoholic Santa that certainly should not be around children. This Santa is vulgar and “WRONG” in every way. If you want some great belly-laughs “Bad Santa” is for you.

The un-rated version titled “Bad(der) Santa.” was released in 2004.

The sequel of “Bad Santa” titled “Bad Santa 2” was released in 2016.

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989 / PG-13) 1 hr. 37 mins

This was the third film in National Lampoon Magazine’s Vacation film series. And it is my favorite of the three. It was written by the late great author and filmmaker, John Hughes. He wrote, produced, and directed some of the most iconic and successful comedy films of the 80’s and 90’s. This film has some of my favorite performances from the star Chevy Chase and the late John Candy. The entire Griswold family is hilarious in this comedy. If you have guests from out of town you may want to play this at your holiday gathering. Be prepared to LOL!

My last recommendation to get you through a long holiday weekend with your guests will be “Last Christmas”

“Last Christmas” (2019 / PG-13)

This was one of the last holiday films I saw in the theatre before the pandemic. This is an American-British romantic comedy. I loved the previews and could not wait to see it.

It is a story that was co-written by one of the co-stars of the film, Emma Thompson. It was based on the enormously popular hit song, “Last Christmas” by Wham.

The film was inspired by the music of the late pop, superstar George Michael so the film and soundtrack is loaded with great Wham and George Michael music. The end of the movie features a brand-new George Michael song he recorded just prior to his death. “This is How (We Want You To Get High” was previously unreleased.

The romantic chemistry between the stars of “Last Christmas” was HOT and believable

Last Christmas stars Emilia Clarke who is best known for “Game of Thrones” and the handsome star of “Crazy Rich Asians,” Henry Golding.

If you love a great rom com…. LAST CHRISTMAS is for you!

Here are a few suggestions for kids:

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • The Polar Express
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Mickey’s Christmas Carol
  • Trolls Holiday
  • Peppa’s Christmas
  • Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
  • Frosty the Snowman
  • Christmas Eve on Sesame Street
  • A Christmas Carol
  • The Beauty & the Beast…Enchanted Christmas
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol
  • A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie
  • Jingle All the Way
  • Jack Frost
  • Yogi’s First Christmas

Hanukkah Suggestions:

  • An American Tail
  • Full-Court Miracle
  • Eight Crazy Nights
  • The Hebrew Hammer
  • Hitched for the Holidays
  • Mistletoe & Menorahs
  • Little Fokkers
  • Double Holiday
  • A Serious Man (dark but great)
  • Holiday Date

This should be enough to get you through the long Thanksgiving weekend and the school vacations.

You can always find an EXCELLENT selection and deals for holiday films and music at DeepDiscount.com

I hope my suggestions are a hit at your holiday gatherings…. keep the snacks coming and the glasses full as you enjoy some of my favorite films.