Christmas may have come and gone but the holidays are still upon us, so why not maintain that seasonal spirit with a little festive viewing. The following are My Top 10 Christmas Favorites.

Some are movies.  Some are t.v. specials.Some are only slightly Christmas-related.  Regardless, every one of them never fails to put me in a holiday mood.


A surreal, under-appreciated comedy that happens to be set during the holidays.  A sexy French exchange student, an obnoxious rival (named, appropriately enough, Stalin), a claymation dancing hamburger sequence, and a very determined paper boy are just a few of the elements that make this movie joyously bizarre – and immensely entertaining.


A Christmas movie only insofar as it happens to be set during the holiday season, A brilliant WWII movie starring William Holden as a roguish POW suspected, by his fellow prisoners, of being a traitor.


Michael Caine is terrific as Scrooge, but he’s upstaged by the likes of Kermit the Frog’s Bob Cratchit.  One of my favorite Muppet outings.


What the hell happened to Eddie Murphy?  Long before Pluto Nash came this wonderful comedy set during the holiday season.  Murphy was at his best and Dan Aykroyd was actually funny.  It seems like so long ago…


Oh, say what you will about the sequels, but the original shines as a truly inspired kid-centric holiday movie.


Nothing takes me back to my youth like the Charlie Brown holiday specials.  As great as it is, this one still runs a close second to It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.


I’ve watched it every Christmas for as long as I can remember.  Love that dog!


The quintessential Christmas actioner.


Like you’re Christmas holidays dark?  Then look no further.  Billy Bob Thornton is great as the degenerate would-be Santa, but he’s upstaged by Brett Kelly as the lonely Thurman Merman.


Not just a great holiday movie but a great movie all around.  This is one my “desert island picks”, a movie I could watch over and over and over again.

Agree?  Disagree?  Are there any favorite you would include?  Let’s hear ’em!

36 thoughts on “December 30, 2012: My Top 10 Christmas favorites!

  1. My list would include One Magic Christmas (1985). It was filmed in Scarborough, ON. (I grew up there) and Meaford, ON (my folks lived there). Stars one of my favourites, Mary Steenburgen.

  2. The original Home Alone was great! Otherwise, just not into Christmas movies,never have been. Trading Places was good, and yes, Joe, it was that long ago. 🙂 Dr. Seuss scares the shit out of me and my daughter (but my son was fine with it). Naturally, somebody gave Lauren a nice collection of Dr.Seuss books for the baby. 🙂

    Speaking of baby, we were supposed to get the induction started today, but Labor and Delivery was full up and they couldn’t do it. They had Lauren call at 5 a.m. to see if they could take her, then again at noon, but no. We spent the entire morning cleaning, cooking and doing all the last minute stuff for nothing. Lauren’s doctors have not even bothered to call her (despite numerous calls to find out what happens now), so… Still hoping it happens the natural way, anyway, but we’ll see! She had one contraction about 15 minutes ago, so I’m optimistic. NOT. 🙂

  3. I like the ones on your list, but I haven’t seen Better off Dead.

    I love the Jim Carrey version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, too. I watch that tons.

    Frosty the Snowman is extremely short, but a classic. And you need a short classic sometimes. Not all kids (or adults) will sit still that long.

    We love Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, claymation version. That snowman is terrifying! We have 3 copies on DVD and that’s after I sold one. My mother-in-law has a shopping issue.

    A couple Doctor Who Christmas specials would make my list, too, but I don’t know how they call that a kid’s show.

  4. I agree whole completely with – Die Hard. It’s the best action movie for the Christmas season. Much better than the sequels for sure.

    A Christmas story is just the best movie ever. As a matter of fact one of my local TV network was playing a marathon of it on Christmas Eve. We must of watched it a couple of times while wrapping gifts.

  5. I absolutely LOVE “A Christmas Story” and it’s must see viewing every year. I agree, it bears watching over and over. And over. “The warm glow of electric sex” – that’s some quality writing right there! Also, A Charlie Brown Christmas is required seasonal viewing. It’s one of my earliest memories of Christmas as a child actually, as is the Grinch.

    I love the Muppets (in fact I’m watching the new Muppet movie on TV right now! Excellent! Kermit and Miss Piggy are singing “Rainbow Connection” right now!)

    I’ve seen the rest other than Stalag 17 and Better Off Dead, which I guess I’ll have to remedy. I LOVED Bad Santa, but then as I’ve aged my sense of humour has become somewhat warped, so that explains that. I enjoyed all the rest, too.

    I did like “Home Alone” but I haven’t seen it in years. I HAVE however, seen a recent picture of Macauley Culkin. Scary and sad.

    I have started watching “Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer” for the last few years, if only to marvel at how kind of mean-spirited and politically incorrect that it actually is. (Santa’s a jerk!) I’ve never really been able to get into “It’s a Wonderful Life”, and normally I enjoy Jimmy Stewart. Not sure why. I used to enjoy the original version of “Miracle on 34th Street” (not so much the new one), but I haven’t bothered to watch it in ages.

  6. Agree:

    TRADING PLACES (Hell, yeah, it was so long ago that I can’t remember whether I saw first on big or small screen.)

    A CHRISTMAS STORY for the author /narrator, Jean Shepherd. I grew up listening to Shep on WOR Radio out of NYC; he was a late-evening fixture there 1956–1977. Have never seen in entirety, probably because of the radio exposure; having the visuals makes me uncomfortable for some reason.

    The others? *shrugs* I’d probably stop a minute while channel-flipping. Maybe longer than that for STALAG 17, in honor of my late father-in-law, an ex-POW of the Nazis.

    I would add two made-for-TV films that were not broadcast this year, both starring Kelsey Grammer, both with a sweet heart and family-friendly.

    MR. ST. NICK (featuring our friend Colin Cunningham)

    A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, first on its own merits, and second for Don S. Davis’ sweet smile while welcoming the women to their teams.

    MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS–classic!

    Disney’s CINDERELLA, which was broadcast this year in USA. The Disney-branded storybook was a favorite when I started reading, and I started EARLY. I think we also had the 78 RPM soundtrack records of both CINDERELLA and SLEEPING BEAUTY.

    I discovered THE NUTTIEST NUTCRACKER this season, found it a hoot!

    Change of subject: Anybody hearing illegal fireworks in their area? Somebody started tonight just north of our street.

  7. One to add it your list: The Hogfather. Terry Pratchett is the master of parody and this movie is a Christmas tradition in our house. Which may tell you more about my house than you really wanted to know…

    I agree with most of your picks. The Grinch and Charlie Brown are Christmas classics and you can’t go wrong with the Muppets and Die Hard. Stalag 17 is great, though I never thought of it as a Christmas movie. However, for me Home Alone and A Christmas Story never held much appeal.

  8. We’ve been watching the “Harry Potter” films this Christmas. Not very Holiday ‘ish but fun. I’m not a big fan of your list (no offense). Die Hard was fun, though. I’ll look up “Better off dead”. I would like to add Christmas Vacation”. We watched that on Christmas Day and had some belly laughs. I planned to nap through it but it was too funny.

    When do you both go home? I bet the pups miss you!

  9. I like Emmett Otter Jug Band Christmas. The classics, too, that I grew up with, but my favorite has to be The Year Without A Santa Claus. Love the miser brothers. Now, it’s gonna snow-snow-ow, right here in Dixie isn’t too far off base today with climate change, etc.

  10. I agree with a lot of your list, including A Christmas Story, A Charlie Brown Christmas, etc. The ones I would add are:

    Christmas Vacation
    The George C. Scott version of a Christmas Carol
    The original Miracle on 34th Street

    And the Brits have a Christmas-quirkiness…nothing but James Bond films on the tele on Christmas day, so now I can’t seem to get through the holidays without watching at least one 007 movie.

  11. I have to share my own Christmas story here. After several weeks of being teased with “You don’t need it, you really have no use for it, but you HAVE to have it!” as a hint, I am now the absolutely thrilled owner of… a Stargate Atlantis script!! A Mallozzi and Mullie script, no less!! It’s a “production script” (per the certificate) of The Seed, one of my favorite episodes.

    To Ryan, who had to auction it off on E-bay… and to the other bidder(s) my daughter fought to the wire to get it for me… I am sorry you couldn’t have it, but it completely knocked my socks off Christmas morning, and I love it. May you all have as happy a holiday season as I have!


  12. G’day Joe

    Die Hard, oh yes great Christmas action and Alan Rickman!!!. Home Alone is great, sequels not so much.
    Must include The Santa Clause with Tim Allen. The first is of course the best.
    As for Bad Santa…just NO.
    Have to fess up, not seen A Christmas Story. I know, I am pathetic.

  13. Definitely on board with:
    Charlie Brown Christmas
    Trading Places

    Would also add to the list:
    While you were Sleeping
    Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim
    Christmas Carol with Reginald Owen
    As well as Patrick Stewart, and George C. Scott
    Miracle on 34th street with John Payne, Edmund Gwen
    The Doctor Who Christmas Episodes past and whatever comes up
    Cool when a station will just do a marathon…and let it run again and again.

  14. Funny that you mention Die Hard. Today, I just finished watching the last four episodes of SGU (easily some of the best SGU stories). I then watched the extras on that DVD. The part where Peter is in your office to pitch his script and making fun of your desk, toys, being a foodie, your blog, and the fact that you have Die Hard “1” as you are up on the “latest” movies is great. It seems as though the timing was perfect.

  15. I’ve always enjoyed NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS myself… *BEST* “Holiday” music EVER! 😀

  16. I enjoyed the movie called The Santa Suit, thought it was quite well done, and has Kevin Sorbo in the lead role. Basically a story about a rich corporate CEO of a Toy company who is pretty much an ass to everyone, who is turned into ‘Kris Krandall'(Guy who looks like Santa, so everyone sees him as a Santa lookalike). Basically his life is turned upside down and he’s made to realise the error of his ways.

  17. Better off Dead, Trading Places (filmed right here in Philly), Bad Santa and A Christmas Story are definitely on my list. With the addition of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

    We tune to TBS on Xmas eve and watch A Christmas Story repeats for the duration, usually going well into Xmas evening. This year was a solid 18 hours.

  18. I’m late commenting on this, but I just wanted to say to Andria how sorry I am about Aspen’s passing. We were really pulling for him, and I am so sorry. I know it was a comfort to him that you were there, holding him until the time came.

    Hang in there, Sis.

  19. Ohhh joe you forgot Charlie and the chocolate factory -the original gene wilder version!!!

  20. Ganymede: We love that movie too! (Nightmare Before Christmas) Halloween is our time to watch it. It has some of the best lines: “Frogs breath? Nothing’s more suspicious than frogs breath.”

  21. How about “Elf”? I’m not a big fan myself, but my wife and kids like it.

    And slightly off-topic, but when living in Maryland, it was a Christmas tradition of mine to see A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre (yes, the same Ford’s Theatre where President Lincoln was shot). It was closed after the assassination until 1972 when it reopened at Christmastime with a showing of A Christmas Carol, which they redo every Christmas.

  22. I live in NW Indiana. I grew up one town over from where the real “A Christmas Story” (Hammond) took place. One of the classics that I have to watch every year is “White Christmas”. It reminds me of my grandparents. We would watch it when it came on TV. My newest favorite is “Elf”. I have the soundtrack to it and the score is so quintessentially Christmas. I haven’t seen “Better Off Dead” in years. My son-in-law and I were just talking about it the other day.

    I hope that this coming year is a wonderful and prosperous one for you! We are going to feast at my brother-in-law’s house tonight. I imagine you will have pics of all the scrumptious foods that you will be eating tonight. Take care and Happy New Year!!!

  23. I missed yesterday’s post, and now am in tears after reading Andria’s tribute. My kids are wondering what is wrong with me now.

    On the movies, I know it is cliche, but I still love It’s a Wonderful Life. I forced my kids to watch the half hour, and then they were hooked. Great story, great acting.

  24. A Christmas Story is an all time favorite in my house hold. It runs 24 hours from Christmas Eve Night through Christmas Night on a Cable Channel for the past couple of years. My brother and I take great delight in making my father watch it through at least 2 & ½ times. He complains every year but we see him laughing through most of the movie every time.

    Another Christmas must for me is White Christmas. I have watched it around Christmas time for the past 18 years straight. I just love that movie.

    I’d like to wish You, Akemi, and the pups the very best in 2013. I hope that it a year of great opportunity, new discoveries, and some of the best dinning to date. Thank you as always for your blog that has helped to give me just a few moments of escape when things were looking very bleak in my life. While I do not get to visit this blog as often as I would like these days I still enjoy stopping by and reading about your adventures. My miracle for 2013 is that my dad is still here with the family. We are coming up on the one year mark of when he was told he only had 60 days to live. Here is to hoping we can make it one more year!!!!

    1. @Shana: How could I forget WHITE CHRISTMAS! *facepalm* And my best to your dad and family. Been there. ((Shana))

      Seconding Jennifer re “Iron Chef”.

      Hey, JimfromJersey & anyone else looking to make a last-minute, tax-deductible donation:

      There’s a donation challenge honoring the 75th annual performance of Handel’s MESSIAH at my alma mater, Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA, USA. The challenge ends today, Dec. 31, but one may donate online.

      I was very involved with the Ursinus music program back in the late 1970s and sang in the MESSIAH choir all four years.

      Thanks, Joe, for approving this post.

  25. Joe,
    I’m watching this week’s Iron Chef America (DVR’d). If Tory Belleci from Mythbusters can be on the show as a judge, so can you. You have connections. 🙂 I, and I imagine many of your fans, would love to see you take on this task!! Please! Please! Please!

  26. What about those cool friends from Montreal. Mr & Mrs buddy?? You always talk so highly about them and the time you spend with them in Montreal??? Clearly it doesn’t mean as much to you as it meant to them.

  27. Scrooged & Christmas Vacation are two of my faves! Tried to post earlier and couldn’t, sorry.


  28. Better off dead!! Love it!! Christmas Story is based on Hammond, Indiana. It is one town from my hometown! There is a museum here in December. Die Hard, classic!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.