The Santa Clause is one of many timeless Christmas movie options.

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” Andy Williams sings on the radio. Villanovans agree, excited as we finish our coursework and return home to celebrate the Thanksgiving and Christmas season with our families. 

Although 2020 has been a difficult year for all due to the pandemic, students look forward to the holiday season to lift their spirits, de-stress from a challenging semester and celebrate with a cup of delicious hot chocolate. 

While Christmas may seem further away than Thanksgiving, The Villanovanwants to share some favorite Christmas movies to help plan out your holiday movie nights with family and friends. 

Never fear, for the Quintessential Christmas movie list is here. 

Now, let’s begin with the classics:

“White Christmas”

Titled after one of the most iconic Christmas songs ever written by legendary composer and lyricist Irving Berlin, “White Christmas” captures the essence of the Christmas spirit. As World War II veterans Bob Wallace and Phil Davis pursue their musical career as a song-and-dance duo, they meet the Haynes sisters, Judy and Betty. The women join Wallace and Davis to create a heartwarming Christmas musical in honor of their mentor, General Waverly. With dazzling scores and songs that include “Blue Skies,” “Snow,” and of course, “White Christmas,” this uplifting movie is perfect to watch with a cup of hot chocolate and some Christmas cookies. Starring legendary actors Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen, this 1954 musical is a must-see during the season, and, most popularly, on Christmas Eve. 

“A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Is it even the Christmas season if you don’t watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at least once? Director Bill Melendez and Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz created this 1965 classic that has captured the hearts of millions around the world. Charlie Brown is distraught with the commercialism and materialism of Christmas. However, he soon finds himself director of the school’s annual Christmas pageant. With help from friends Linus, Lucy and other Peanuts, Charlie Brown finds the perfect Christmas tree and, ultimately, the true meaning of Christmas. 

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

This 1964 classic Christmas film has captured the imagination and hearts of families around the world for decades and continues to do so. Sam the Snowman, voiced by singer Burl Ives, tells the story of Rudolph, the misfit reindeer, and how he helped save Christmas along with fellow misfits Hermey, one of Santa’s elves, and Yukon Cornelius, a prospector. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is the perfect, nostalgic movie to watch while baking Christmas cookies and decorating your tree.

“It’s a Wonderful Life”

Frank Capra’s 1947 film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” follows George Bailey as he struggles to escape his hometown of Bedford Falls to fulfill his lifelong dream of traveling the world. On Christmas Eve, with the help of an angel named Clarence, George realizes the importance of family, love, hope and the true meaning of Christmas. Deemed the cornerstone of all Christmas films, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, is a cornerstone of the Christmas season. 

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”

Chuck Jones’s 1966 television special, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” is another classic millions watch every year. The bitter and pessimistic Grinch despises all Christmas festivities and decorations. Unfortunately, the Whos of Whoville adore both. So, the Grinch disguises himself as Santa Claus and steals all of the Whos’ Christmas decorations in hopes to destroy their Christmas spirit. However, the Whos of Whoville persevere through hardship and inspire the Grinch to have a change of heart. 

 

Next are some favorite modern Christmas movies:

“The Muppet Christmas Carol”

While many audiences watch wonderful adaptations of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol,” few may know of “The Muppet Christmas Carol” that debuted in 1992. Starring Michael Caine and Jim Henson’s legendary Muppets, this musical was directed by Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson, and composed by Paul Williams and Miles Goodman. Gonzo the Great assumes the role of the storyteller Charles Dickens, along with his comedic sidekick, Rizzo the Rat. With appearances by none other than Miss Piggy, Kermit, Fozzie and Sam the Eagle, “The Muppet Christmas Carol” is a heartwarming movie full of comedy, music and heart.

“The Polar Express”

The Christmas season is a magical time of year full of hope, love and generosity, and “The Polar Express” captures this magic. In this film, a young boy boards a mysterious, magical train on Christmas Eve that is headed for the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. With notable songs such as Josh Groban’s “Believe,” this animated, modern classic takes audiences on an action-packed adventure to show how the magic of Christmas will never fade away for those who truly believe. 

“Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”

Family is a central part of the holiday season. In Chris Columbus’s “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” Kevin McCallister finds himself alone by accident during the Christmas season. Although his giant family may get on his nerves, Kevin realizes that family is everything, especially during Christmastime. These two modern holiday movies allow the audience to travel along with Kevin to one of the most beautifully decorated American cities during Christmastime: New York City. 

“Eloise at Christmastime”

“Eloise at Christmastime” is an undeniable fan favorite. Starring legendary actress Dame Julie Andrews as Nanny, Sofia Vassilieva as Eloise and Christine Baranski as Prunella, this modern classic follows Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight’s character Eloise, an imaginative young girl who lives at the beautiful Plaza Hotel in New York City. Full of adventure, music and comedy, “Eloise at Christmastime” is a film that remains a cornerstone holiday film in the hearts of millions of people around the world. 

“Elf”

Will Ferrell stars as the enthusiastic and Christmas-obsessed Buddy, a human elf who lives at the North Pole with Santa (played by Ed Asner). Seeking his birth father, Buddy travels to a chaotic, bustling New York City for the first time. This comedic, yet heartwarming, Christmas film has captured viewers’ hearts since its initial release in 2003.

“The Santa Clause” Franchise

On Christmas Eve night, Scott Calvin, played by Tim Allen, finds himself on a magical journey to the North Pole with his son Charlie after a man dressed in a Santa suit accidentally falls off his roof and vanishes into thin air. After a dream-like journey to the North Pole, Bernard the Elf explains how Calvin must take Santa’s place before it’s too late and Christmas is ruined. Determined to set things right with his broken family, Calvin assumes the role of Santa Claus and comes to question whether that strange Christmas Eve was really a dream at all. This modern franchise invites viewers both young and old to believe that the extraordinary can happen if one believes in Christmas magic. 

Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas Movies

We cannot forget the countless Christmas Hallmark and Lifetime Movies playing this season on television 24/7. Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas 2020 movie schedule and list of new films can be found here at https://www.hallmarkchannel.com/christmas. Lifetime’s It’s a Wonderful Lifetime movie schedule and list of new films can be found here at https://www.mylifetime.com/christmas-movies-full-schedule