Arts and Entertainment

Central’s Top Five Holiday Movies

By Savannah Smalley 282

“Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal,” is an iconic line from one of the many holiday movies being brought out again this season. This line from Home Alone II comes from the clever Kevin McCallister, a young boy accidentally left to his own devices on the days leading up to Christmas. He lip-syncs the audio from the old black-and-white movie, Angels with Even Filthier Souls, while tricking hotel staff into thinking they have been caught in the crossfire. With holidays back to back such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s, the end of the year serves as a time to snuggle up under covers, drink hot chocolate, and watch your favorite holiday special with family and friends. After asking around through social media, I gathered Central’s top five holiday movies. 

Starting at number 5 there was a tie between the films, Die Hard and The Polar Express. Die Hard, one of the greatest action films to date, follows NYPD detective John McClane as he hopes to reconnect with his estranged wife, Holly, at a party held by her employer. Soon after John arrives, the entire building is taken hostage except for John and Argyle, his limousine driver who was oblivious to the events taking place. Throughout the movie, John McClane fights his way to his escape. Though some people beg to differ, the movie is generally seen as a holiday film due to various creative details such as the movie being set on Christmas Eve, a Santa Claus appearance, and the joyful line from Hans Gruber, “It’s Christmas, Theo, it’s a time for miracles.” Tied in preference, The Polar Express, a more classical approach to Christmas, follows the story of a young boy who is skeptical of the existence of Santa Claus and encompasses little holiday spirit. A train comes about, heading to the North Pole and the boy gets on and goes on a journey. Along the way, the boy meets excited children and experiences magic in a way he’s never seen before. This movie teaches kids the joy of youth. 

Coming in at fourth place, we have yet another tie between Elf and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Elf is a Christmas comedy film about the bond built between characters, Buddy and his reluctant dad, Walter Hobbs. Buddy, a human, was accidentally sent to the North Pole as a baby and was taken in by Santa’s elves. After growing up, Buddy is informed by Papa Elf of his biological father which leads to Buddy setting off on a trip to find his dad and building a connection between them. The movie showcases hilarious comedy scenes as well as some heartfelt ones that give this movie its status today. The movie ends with a crowd of people singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” with Walter eventually finding the Christmas spirit and joining in. The next classic to join fourth place is A Charlie Brown Christmas. This cute television special, based on the comic strip, Peanuts, follows Charlie Brown and his friends. Charlie confides in Linus that he was not in the Christmas spirit and felt depressed despite all of the happiness around him. All of the commercialization of Christmas didn’t feel genuine to Charlie as he prepared to go to rehearsal for the school play. Charlie gets a Christmas tree and throughout the movie, he realizes he doesn’t have to let his thoughts of commercialization ruin his holiday. By the end of the special, he is back in spirit and joins his friends in song for the school play.

 In third place is The Grinch. This popular tale by Dr. Seuss has had three adaptations. The most recent was released in 2018. This film is about the story of a green grinch who decides that he wants to ruin Christmas for the citizens of Whoville. Teamed up with his dog Max, the grinch steals everything holiday themed in Whoville and prepares to throw it off the side of his mountain. He believes that the citizens are too materialistic, but just before he throws them he hears the people singing together and gains just a bit of remorse, and realizes the true meaning of Christmas. At last, he returns all the gifts and decorations to the people. 

At a close number two comes The Nightmare Before Christmas. Quite the spooky story, The Nightmare Before Christmas serves not only as a Christmas story but a frightening Halloween tale as well. It follows Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloweentown, through a discovery of a bright new town called Christmas Town, after he grows bored of his same old routine in his homeland. He attempts to bring the holiday cheer to Halloweentown for a change of pace, but goes about it the wrong way due to the misunderstanding of Christmas. He calls for the kidnapping of Santa Claus, which ultimately leads him to more trouble, but in the end, he learns his lesson and is met with love. 

After battling it out, the students of Central High School rank Home Alone as the number one holiday movie. Non-surprisingly, Home Alone has cranked out six movies in total, with its newest addition being released in 2021. For the sake of keeping things from getting confusing, this list focuses on the original 1990 movie. This classic, features a young and mischievous Kevin Mcallister, protecting his family home from burglars after his family forgot him at home, as they left for their Christmas vacation in Paris. After setting up traps throughout his house, Kevin successfully keeps his home safe while ultimately keeping his entire adventure a secret. This movie is recognized nationally as one of the best Christmas movies of all time and is a Winter break must-watch for all.

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