It has to be Christmas Vacation

Published 4:26 pm Saturday, December 19, 2009

There’s a lot I like about Christmas. I enjoy the snow, giving presents more than receiving them, my sister’s milk chocolate fudge, any type of holiday candy for that matter, Christmas music, Christmas carols, decorating the tree, attending Midnight Mass and spending hours with family, especially my niece and nephews.

At near the top of my list of what I enjoy about this season, however, are the movies.

Starting each Nov. 1, I try to watch at least one Christmas movie a week, with a break during Thanksgiving to watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

I’ll watch good ones and bad ones, old ones and new ones, ones that should have never been made and ones that were nominated for Academy Awards.

Everyone has their list of favorites, and for this column, five days before Dec. 25, I’ll share mine.

1) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

This third chapter in the ‘Griswold’ series takes place at home and became a classic soon after its 1989 release. To this day, homes that look out of control as far as Christmas lights go are referred to as a ‘Griswold’ house. It also has some of the best one-liners of any comedy ever made, including the one that explains why Ruby Sue’s eyes aren’t crossed anymore.

2) Holiday Inn

Black and white movies may seem like they should only be featured with 8-track tapes and VCRs on the Antiques Road Show, but this gem pairs Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire in a film about an inn that hosts events for specific holidays throughout the year. It is also the first film appearance of the song ‘White Christmas.’

3) Polar Express

Brilliant in animation and storyline, this is one of the few Christmas movies I can watch every day for two months and not grow tired of it.

4) It’s a Wonderful Life

Not only one of the best Christmas movies ever made, but one of the best movies period. Jimmy Stewart finds out what his hometown would be like if he hadn’t been born, and we find out what happens when a great story is mixed with even better acting.

5) One Magic Christmas

This darker Disney movie includes a plot where two kids are kidnapped, but it also features a storyline that has some depth to it and is centered around a working mother who can’t stand the holiday season.

6) Elf

Will Ferrell was born to play the lead role in this film about a human-sized Elf. There aren’t as many laughs here as in the Christmas Vacation, but there are quite a few.

7) Joyeux Noel

For those who want a change of pace from the typical cartoon special or comedy, here you go. This compelling film tells the story about the Scottish, German and French soldiers who agreed to a truce on Christmas Eve during World War I.

8) A Christmas Story

Classic about little Ralphie who wants an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle.

9) Home Alone

While the plot is far fetched, Home Alone is still a nice choice to put someone in the holiday mood.

10) Die Hard

I first saw Die Hard a few weeks before its national release after my sister won tickets off the radio. I loved it then, and I still love it now.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!