10 terrific holiday movies to watch together with the family

With winter upon us, we have some suggestions of movies that are sure to enliven the holiday season. Watch them in groups, from sisters to cousins and on a couch rather than in a crowded movie theater. Here are 10:

1. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. This is the holiday classic that everyone knows. Reminiscent of the past for both the child of it and the film-watching adult, it’s a good move to watch it together with the kiddos this year.

2. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Burton recreates the creativity and striking one-of-a-kind fantasy of the Disney classic, with a “dark” take that captures the magic of November and December. With Jack Skellington. A perfect gift for your “Timmy.”

3. Coraline. Adapted from Neil Gaiman’s novel, this film tells the story of an imaginary girl who has to discover the real world once she travels back in time from the present to the past. A haunting tale that’s a must-see for the entire family.

4. The Polar Express. “It’s a Christmas movie,” Richard Pryor explained in this 1994 film, which followed the adventures of a businessman and a boy who embark on a train journey to visit Santa. “There’s no emotion in it, there’s no real drama. There’s no real plot. We are following the hero and the heroine —” What he said was a fair summation of the film.

5. A Christmas Story. A quintessential childhood Christmas film with no historical context, it is an eclectic blend of everything that is either fun or nostalgic about Christmas. And it’s a favorite to watch as an adult.

6. Ever After. A ballet sequence by Janusz Stach proved to be this film’s signature moment, creating a “moment” for all the elements, but also for its audience. Also memorable is a part of the storyline that involves a girl with a grandpa who dresses her in hot-pants for her favorite number. Best ever scene.

7. Elf. Did you know about Elf? No. No one did. Though we love Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf, we admit that we didn’t get a whole lot of holidays from him as a boy – and we weren’t made to believe that Christmas was in his family, either. This movie, based on a Will Ferrell movie, is perfect if you don’t know much about how all the magic is contained in some human beings.

8. Home Alone. When Kevin McCallister’s vacation to Paris ends with an attempted robbery and his family fleeing in a taxi, he finds himself living in a secret compartment in the family’s house with Santa Claus and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future – taking over the place as mom and dad are oblivious to what’s going on in the house. Aside from the memorable jumpers, one must-see scene is when Kevin uses a stuffed toy cat as a crossbow.

9. Die Hard. If you know little about Christmas-related plot devices, this is one of your best bets, because it’s a classic and Bruce Willis is, well, Bruce Willis.

10. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It’s an updated version of the Griswold family. If you’re looking for a good laugh this holiday season, this will do it. You can spend the movie bumping up against pop culture (Bruce Willis tried to buy a NASCAR car!), or focus on what Santa loves about your house.

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