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Shelby's Super Awesome Christmas Marathon! (Movies Edition)


Every year, starting in early December, I begin my annual Christmas movie and TV marathon. I spend the month rewatching old holiday classics, as I have time and in no particular order. This tradition is pretty loosely structured and has changed a bit from year to year, but it serves its purpose well - to get me excited for the holiday season, even when other things (like the end of semester slog through grading) feel overwhelming.

Until now, my must-watch-by-Christmas list has only existed in my head, but I suppose now is as good a time as any to share it with the world. For the purposes of this blog, I'll try to stick to films available on streaming or as a reasonably-priced rental ('cuz December's paychecks are better spent on gifts and Terry's chocolate oranges!). If you haven't yet, be sure to check out part one of this blog, where I shared my Christmas television watchlist!

~Old Standards~

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

I saw this for the first time last year when Kino Club hosted a screening of the film, and I'm not quite sure how I got through 29 years of Christmases without it. An absolute must on any Christmas marathon playlist.

Available to stream on Amazon Prime.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

My all-time favorite animated TV special, mainly because it is just so weird (even beyond the "red-nosed reindeer" conceit). Elf dentists? Misfit toys? A bad-ass named Yukon Cornelius? An abominable snowman? Sure, why the hell not.

Available to purchase in Vudu's "The Original Christmas Classics Bundle" for 14.99 (or on its own for 4.99).

Frosty the Snowman (1969)

Another weird one, but weird in a good way. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Available to purchase in Vudu's "The Original Christmas Classics Bundle" for 14.99 (or on its own for 4.99).

The Year Without a Santa Clause (1974)

Good luck getting "He's Mister Heat Miser, he's mister sun, he's mister heat blister, he's mister hundred and one" out of your head, like, ever.

Available to rent on Amazon (starting at 2.99).

~New(er) Classics~

The Christmas Chronicles (2018)

Kurt Russell is officially my favorite Santa now. #SorryNotSorry Tim Allen.

Available to stream on Netflix.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

I will defend this adaptation until my dying breath. Yeah, it's dumb, but Jim Carrey is perfectly cast and this film spawned *so* many of my catchphrases. I probably yell "MAX, FETCH ME MY SEDATIVE!" to my dog at least once a week.

Available to stream on Netflix.

Home Alone (1990) / Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

I never had to contend with a massive, annoying family like Kevin McAllister did when I was a kid, but I still understood the manic desire to run through an empty house screaming and flailing. Big mood, Kev. Big. Mood.

Available to stream on Starz.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Jose did a better job describing the appeal of this film in his recent review than I could manage, so I'll just send ya there.

Available to rent on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, and Vudu (starting at 2.99).

Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)

Yes, another Dickens adaptation. I love the Muppets and the Mickey version for totally different reasons, and this is the more 'standard' of the two, but they are both great in their own ways.

Available to rent on Youtube, Google Play, and Vudu (starting at 2.99).

Elf (2003)

Probably the best original Christmas film in the last 15 years, and arguably Will Ferell's best comedy role in that time as well. Fight me.

Available to rent on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, and Vudu (starting at 2.99).

~Forgotten Gems~

Annabelle's Wish (1997)

A made-for-tv animated special about a cow who wishes to become one of Santa's flying reindeer. If that's not cute, I don't know what is.

Available to stream on Youtube.

Snowden on Ice (1997)

I might be the only living person who remembers this film, but it was one of my favorites as a kid and I still have a soft spot for it as an adult (who is *mostly* over my obsession with figure skating/figure skaters). Also, if we're ranking anthropomorphic snowmen, I think Snowden is cuter than Frosty. *shrug*

Available to stream on Youtube.

Yogi Bear's All Star Comedy Christmas Caper (1982)

Another of my childhood favorites. This is one of those films I had totally forgotten about until about 20 minutes before writing this, but if I put it on I guarantee I'd somehow still know every word.

Available to stream on Boomerang; available to rent on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, and Vudu (starting at 1.99).

I'll Be Home for Christmas (1998)

Like most of humanity, I had a huge JTT (that's Jonathan Taylor Thomas, to the uninitiated) crush in the late 90's/early aughts and this film is at least partially to blame. Although to be fair, I also was crushing pretty hard on both Jessica Biel and Adam LaVorgna, too. Can't say I miss those pesky teen hormones.

Available to rent on Youtube, Google Play, and Vudu (starting at 2.99).

To Grandmother's House We Go (1992)

The precocious Olsen twins decide to give their harried single mother a "break" by sneaking out to go visit their grandma for Christmas. Predictable made-for-tv movie stuff, but cute nonetheless.

Available to rent on Vudu (starting at 3.99).

~Yes, these *are* Christmas movies~

Die Hard (1988)

I don't think I need to explain why Die Hard is my favorite action film AND my favorite Christmas film. If you need convincing, you should read Jose's incredibly detailed article on this film, written on the occasion of its 30th anniversary in July.

Available to rent on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, and Vudu (starting at 3.99).

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

A great crime film, a great neo-Noir, and a great Christmas movie. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang really does have it all. I can't wait to share this one with my Intro to Film students in the winter semester!

Available to stream on HBO Go & HBO Now; available to rent on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, and Vudu (starting at 3.99).

Iron Man 3 (2013)

I know Shane Black is over-represented on this list, but I'm not going to apologize for that. And even though I was *not* a fan of Iron Man 3 when it initially hit theaters, when I rewatched it recently I was pleasantly surprised at how well it holds up. Even the silly interlude where Tony is stranded in small-town rural Tennessee seems worthwhile in retrospect.

Available to rent on Amazon, Youtube, Google Play, and Vudu (starting at 2.99).

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

In recent years, I've steadily fallen out of love with Tim Burton (sorry, Burton stans, I just can't get into his adaptations), but I do still love this film. How could you not? It's ~magical~.

Available to stream on Starz.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Ok, so I think of this as more of a 'holiday movie' than a Christmas movie, but it deserves a spot on the list regardless. I have watched The Nightmare Before Christmas several times between Halloween and Christmas every year since I was 6-ish, when my grandma bought it on VHS. I don't know how many total viewings that would be, but definitely enough for me to have it memorized front to back.

Available to stream on Hulu; or, if you want to purchase the special 25th anniversary sing-along edition DVD, check out my review first.

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