I’m looking forward to my kids’ holiday vacation from school. Really, I am. But there’s also a small part of me that’s dreading it. Dreading the endless bickering, the tattling, the tears… it’s enough to drive a woman to hide in her closet with her smartphone. And wine.
And so, if you, like me, will need the occasional respite this holiday vacation, I present you with my list of the five best holiday movies for the family. Press play, and enjoy the bicker-free break.
Kids love the oversized curly-haired elf named Buddy who teaches others about the true meaning of Christmas. Parents just plain love Will Ferrell, whether he’s chugging Natty Light in “Old School” or syrup in “Elf.” It’s a good one to watch while you all make paper snowflakes or have an indoor snowball fight with balls of crumpled paper. And afterward, just see if you can get “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” out of your head. Damn you, Zooey Deschanel.
2. “A Charlie Brown Christmas”
The anti-consumerism messages might be lost on the youngest audience members, but they’ll certainly resonate with weary grown-up shoppers. And Charlie Brown’s underdog persona is one that all ages can relate to. Not to mention his actual dog, Snoopy. This is a good year to revisit this classic — 2015 marks the 65th anniversary of Charles Schulz’ Peanuts comic strip and 50 years since the first Peanuts TV special. Plus, the new Peanuts movie (also set in the snow) is in theaters now. After your home viewing, take a cue from Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, and the rest of the gang, and go ice skating at Frog Pond or one of the other local rinks we love.
3. “Frosty the Snowman”
A cute vintage film about a magic hat and the North Pole, “Frosty” gets surprisingly sad at parts when the melting begins. (Be prepared to comfort the sensitive soul.) Rising temperatures aside, it’s still a great one to thumpety-thump-thump along with. My suggestion for a post-movie activity? You guessed it: Get outside and make some snowmen. No snow? Use cotton balls or marshmallows to create your Frosty indoors instead. You can also purchase the extended “Frosty” from iTunes and learn how to make a snowman and Santa from a professional animator.
4. “The Polar Express”
While this flick pales in comparison to the original Chris Van Allsburg book (and could be seriously edited down), it’s still worth a viewing this holiday season. The beautiful animation alone places it on this list. Plus, Tom Hanks voices, like, 17 characters, and who doesn’t like Tom Hanks? So read the book, and then watch the movie while setting up your own living-room train track to the North Pole. Or better yet, visit the Museum of Science or one of the other local 4D theaters to feel the polar wind rush through your hair on your way to meet Santa.
5. “The Muppet Christmas Carol”
In my humble opinion, everything the muppets touch is gold, and this holiday remake is no exception. Michael Caine’s Ebeneezer Scrooge holds his own against Kermit the Frog’s Bob Cratchit (not an easy feat given the charisma of this particular frog!), and the rest of the muppets amp up this classic tale with thier usual zaniness. The heart of the story remains true to the original 1843 Charles Dickens novel, though, with quaint Victorian costumes and set. In fact, if this movie gets you in the mood for more Victorian-inspired holidays, head next to none other than Jordan’s Furniture in Avon, where the Enchanted Village features life-like vintage dolls celebrating amidst snow-covered storefronts.
So now you know how I’ll be getting my peace and quiet this holiday season. How about you? What movie will your family be curling up in front of?