Holiday Movies to Holiday De-Stress

Feeling holiday tension?  Relax with these goodies…

So how are things going at your house?  Crazed?  Glum?  Giddy?  Whatever the holidays bring, we all owe it to ourselves and spend some time relaxing and enjoying family and friends…and movies!  There are so many holiday specials and movies and TV episodes that nobody can really keep track.  In my house we usually lose track badly enough to miss all of them.

But not this year!  This year we are going to watch a few of our favorites.  They aren’t all the classics, but they trip our triggers.  Give them a chance – whatever your mood, there’s something here to give you a seasonal smooch.

Donna Reed, Jimmy Stewart and Karolyn Grimes in “It’s a Wonderful Life”

The Traditional

How about a little Frank Capra to warm the cockles of your frozen holiday heart?  Oh, yes, I know full well that It’s a Wonderful Life is filled with cliches and everyone on Earth has seen it a thousand times and that it’s the biggest, most chokingly huge ball of holiday sap ever.  But I love it still.  Jimmy Stewart is the stalwart George Bailey, bereft at the holidays, thinking he has let everyone down and they would be better off if he were never born.  A glimpse at his familiar world without him via a bumbling almost-angel gives him the chance to appreciate everything he has and lets us watch him over-emote and make us cry.   It’s a classic, people – let your guard down and watch it with cocoa and a cookie.

The Funny 

My own personal favorite (mostly) family holiday movie is definitely A Christmas Vacation.  Chevy Chase in what I think is one of his funniest roles is Clark Griswold, fumbling patriarch doing his damndest to give his family the very bestest Christmas ever.  His own ineptitude, his ridiculous family (nuclear and extended) and his scrooge boss all combine to foil his careful, really stupid plans.  I love Clark.  I love his enthsiasm for the season, his good natured acceptance of mishaps and weirdness and his complete lack of anything even remotely resembling an ounce of common sense.  My kids have never seen this one – they’re going to see it this year.  If they don’t love Clark, I may have to wrap up a Jell-O mold for them each for Christmas.

Christmas Vacation is going to start running on Netflix Instant Streaming on Dec. 22.  I love you, Netflix!

The Wildly Inappropriate

Sure, family is fun and delightful and all well and good.  But the holidays aren’t just for the children, right?  Of course I’m right.  And that’s why we have movies like Bad Santa to watch after the children go to bed and we want to laugh and laugh and laugh at largely gross and inappropriate goings on.  Happy Holidays, it’s time for Drunken Santa!  Billy Bob Thornton is Bad Santa and he is…bad.  He’s drunk, he’s lazy, he’s a thief, he’s generally pretty stupid.  And he’s hysterically funny.  This Santa will have sex in his car, pee in his suit but still look out for a misfit kid who doesn’t have anyone else.  The scene where he tries to teach his young protege to box using his dwarf friend is so funny that we rewind it at least once every single time we watch it.  Is this a high quality movie?  Absolutely not.  Is it for families?  Absolutely not.  Is it for the easily offended?  Absolutely not.  Is it riotously funny?  You bet your holiday hinder it is.

The Also Rans

There are hundreds of holiday movies to get lost in for a couple of hours in between stress sessions this year.  A few others you might like:

Die Hard – Bruce Willis kills people for Christmas.  HO, HO, HO!!

A Christmas Story – Ralphie shoots his eye out!  You can watch it all day Christmas Day on TBS.

Rudolph/Frosty/Charlie Brown Christmas – Specials.  Short and sweet, great for people with limited attention spans, children and those who are too busy being craxed to watch a full movie.  Will aotomatically make you feel better about your skin condtion, lopsided tree or tendency to melt in the spring.

Miracle on 34th Street/White Christmas – Other people really like these.  I’ve never seen either one.  That doesn’t mean they’re bad, it only means that they’re probably too proper and I feel asleep whenever they came on.  Hey, it happens.

Now relax.  Enjoy something sappy or funny or grossly inappropriate this year.  The holidays can be stressful.  Movies are always there for you and they never dislike their gift or passive aggressively evaluate your contribution to Christmas dinner.  What else can you ask?

Happy Holidays from Movie Rewind!

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