There’s something so magical about the movies. Talk to my youngest sister and you’d find that her life was actually shaped by the movies she grew up watching… so much so that she graduated with a Degree in Radio, Television and Film and is working towards being a Film Producer.

My parents instilled a great respect for cinema in all of us. We may not all love the same movies, but at the end of the day there are several that defined our childhood. Certain movies signify very important events in our lives and always will. For instance, to this day I still can’t watch Gangs of New York because it was the movie we watched the day I found out I had cancer.

One of the things I have looked forward to most in being a parent is sharing some of my favorite movies with Madison, particularly those that are the catalyst for kicking off our family holiday celebrations. With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I’m starting to sit down and prepare to the movies I need to watch with her.

1. Miracle on 34th Street- THE ORIGINAL.

Technically this is a Christmas movie, but in our house it kicks off our Thanksgiving. There’s something so innocent and magical about little Susan learning to believe in Santa Claus. And I still get all sorts of childhood happy when they deliver all of the letters to Kris in the courtroom at the end. And let’s face it ladies, John Payne? Not so tough on the eyes. Men were so handsome & dreamy back then!

2. White Christmas-

I think this movies is pretty self explanatory. In general, I’m not a huge fan of old movies. Everyone in my family is, but I AM a big fan of movie musicals and this is a must-have on my list. Not to mention it has an even more special meaning since my sisters surprised me with the song & dance from this movie at my wedding.

3. A Christmas Carol- THE ORIGINAL AGAIN (although I will say that Madison may enjoy the Muppet version better).

Again, my general apathy towards old movies doesn’t apply to this Christmas classic. It is not a Holiday season without good ole Tiny Tim and mean ole Scrooge!

4 – 7. My Animated 4-Pack: Charlie Brown, Frosty, The Grinch & Rudolph

If you celebrate Christmas, I’m going to have a hard time believing that you grew up and didn’t watch these movies. They are staples in any child’s Christmas and probably the four movies I’m looking forward to sharing with Madison the most.

8. It’s a Wonderful Life

Can you even believe that my husband has not seen this movie from start to finish? I’m fully aware that it will be many years before Madison can truly appreciate this movie, but seriously… who doesn’t get “Buffalo gals won’t you come out tonight?” stuck in their head every Christmas??

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Gathering– A late 70s made for TV movie staring Ed Asner. He’s dying and has spent most of his life alienating himself from his family, but then they have this one amazing last “Christmas gathering.” It’s incredibly sad and amazing at the same time. For the longest time we watched my mom’s old VHS where she had actually taped it from the TV. It skipped and was terrible quality but we watched it. Recently my dad was able to find it on DVD. Total Win.
  • A Christmas Story- With TBS 24 hours of A Christmas Story I can see how it would be easy to get sick of this movie… but I never do. We still watch it every year & we still laugh every year as my dad impersonates Darren McGavin while opening presents with memorable quotes “A can of simonize!” and “Yes, very much.” when responding about the bowling ball he got for Christmas.
  • The Ref– I can’t believe I forgot this one! Have y’all seen this? Dennis Leary, Judy Davis & Kevin Spacey. It is totally not a “family” Christmas movie. It involves a lot of inappropriate topics and lots of lewd language but it is absolutely hysterical and in true form, we watch it every year.

And lastly, the bane of my existence….. A Muppet Family Christmas. For the longest time you COULD NOT buy this movie. It was nearly impossible to find and it drove me nuts for years. I’ve noticed this year that you can buy it on Amazon for the cool price of of $31.95. The worst part? It’s not the version we all remember fondly from the time it aired on TV. I mean, they cut Fozzy’s duet with the Snowman. What is that about? I’m still determined to find the original TV version that I remember from my childhood… complete with Fraggle Rock characters and all. If any of you know where I can get this, PLEASE let me know. I only wish we still had the recorded VHS version of this, but it’s nowhere to be found.

So what about you? What movies are essential to your holidays? Which ones are you most excited about sharing with your child? I’d love to hear!

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  1. Elf! I LOOOVE that movie and I just introduced it to my three and a half daughter and she looooved it! I’m also hoping she loves Snoopy so we can watch Charlie Brown movies!