Christmas Movies After You’ve Christmas Carol’ed, Story’ed, and Home Alone’d
Posted on December 7, 2020 at 12:50 pm
By all means, watch the classics! One of the sweetest family traditions is sharing favorites like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “White Christmas,” “A Christmas Story,” “Elf,” “Home Alone,” and my favorite, “A Christmas Carol” (I watch the MCM, Alistair Sim, and Mr. Magoo versions every year, usually the Muppets version, too.) And then there are the TV classics like “A Charlie Brown’s Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “The Year Without a Santa Claus.”
I’ve already posted lists of lesser-known but wonderful Christmas movies. And yes, “Die Hard” is definitely a Christmas movie. Case closed.
But there should always be room for something new, and I love these:
Jingle Jangle (Netflix)
“Colorful” is not a colorful enough word to describe a fantasy movie musical so maximalist that even the title is overstuffed. The many pleasures of this overflowing Christmas stocking of a film are sure to make it a family favorite, and most likely a family tradition. Originally conceived as a musical play, it retains the liveliness of an in-person production. The exceptionally talented and appealing and nearly all-Black cast, including Phylicia Rashad, Forest Whitaker, and Keegan-Michael Key give the film a fresh perspective. The snowball scene is one of my favorites.
This is a Santa Claus origin story, based on the books by Grant Morrison. A spoiled, selfish young man is sent to a remote village to act as postman, not to return until he has delivered 6000 letters. Striking animation, top voice talent, and a charming interpretation of the way many of our favorite traditions began make this a gem.
“Dear Santa” (streaming now on Peacock and other services)
I love this documentary about the wonderful volunteers and USPS “elves” who answer kids’ letters to Santa. Schoolchildren and adults, including former beneficiaries of the program work around the clock. You won’t find a better example of giving being better than receiving than this charming and heartwarming film.
Holiday Rush (Netflix)
Romany Malco plays Rush, a popular DJ and a single dad of four. When he loses his job just before Christmas, his family has to leave their comfortable home and move back in to his old neighborhood with his aunt, played by the magnificent Darlene Love. This is a warm-hearted story about love and families and what really matters.
Fans of this site know that “A Christmas Carol” is my favorite holiday story. This is the story of how that book came to be written, with Dan Stevens just perfect as the brilliant but harried Charles Dickens. The book, one of the most popular of all time, really did change the way people saw Christmas, with more focus on helping others, and this story of love, reconciliation, and the power of storytelling is a treasure.
And, okay, yes, they aren’t classics and they don’t make much sense or vary much from the formula, but I like Hallmark Christmas movies, and the ones on other services, too. Some of my favorites are:
“Write Before Christmas”
A recently dumped young woman sends five Hallmark greeting cards to people who have been important to her and they change the lives of the recipients and hers, too).
“The Christmas House”
The Hallmark Channel’s first movie with a gay couple — the brother of the main character and his husband — is more layered and sympathetic than the more high-profile “Happiest Season” in this story of parents famous for their Christmas decorations insisting both of their sons come home to help.
“The Princess Switch”
A Chicago baker and a European princess who happen to look identical, both charmingly played by Vanessa Hudgens, pull a switch and each finds love. The sequel adds a third look-alike!
“The Mistletoe Promise”
A travel agent and a lawyer have different reasons for dreading Christmas, so make a pact to be each other’s plus one through the holidays.
Oh, and coal in the stocking of everyone connected with “Holidate!”