When I was a kid, my parents had a Rubbermaid container just for Christmas movies, but we weren’t allowed to watch them unless it was the Christmas season — something that my brothers and I found particularly irksome.
As a supposed adult, I’ve definitely argued with my dad about the reasoning behind this secreted-away movie box. While I understand my dad better now — keeping bratty children entertained over the holidays is hard — my inner child still wants to watch those Christmas movies whenever it wants.
So, in the spirit of the holidays, let’s dive into the Rubbermaid and take a look at the movies that I remember most vividly. And no, Home Alone does not make my list — I’ve always felt uncomfortable about Kevin McCallister’s self-protective pranks.
A Christmas Story: As a kid, I felt like this 1983 classic was forced upon me — my parents loved it, and my child mind has likely exaggerated the number of times we were made to watch it — but I’ve grown to appreciate it as I’ve gotten older. Set in the 1940s, the film focuses on Ralphie, who — more than anything — wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.
With plenty of scenes that children can relate to — as well as jokes and semi-dysfunctional marriage situations that only adults will understand — this is, I admit, a good family movie experience.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: If you’re thinking of the Jim Carrey version — don’t. That movie is vile and it will ruin any child’s Christmas. I’m talking the 1966 television special. The British Boris Karloff — known for his parts in horror films — lends his euphonious voice to the production as both narrator and Grinch, bringing a homey, fire-side-story feel to this animated classic.
Even better, the film features a few catchy musical numbers, from the comical and acerbic “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” to the heart-melting “Welcome Christmas.”
Various Rankin/Bass Productions holiday specials: When I say various, I mean it. This company’s heyday in the 1960s and ’70s generated loads of stop-motion-animated Christmas films, including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year and Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July.
Featuring a recurring cast of characters — with the voices of actors like Billie Mae Richards and Burl Ives — and a host of holiday tunes, these films will keep your inner child busy for days.
The Snowman: If you don’t have time for a full-length film at the end of a busy day prepping holiday fare, this 27-minute animated short is for you. Nominated for a 1982 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, The Snowman tells the story of a boy and his snowman in a quiet, snow-swept landscape — literally, as the film features a score by Howard Blake without any dialogue.
The Muppet Christmas Carol: A musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, this film is by far my favourite childhood Christmas movie. While Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge doesn’t quite match Alastair Sim’s brilliance in the 1951 film Scrooge, A Muppet Christmas Carol makes up for it with a swath of your favourite, lovable Muppet characters and heartwarming holiday tunes.
In all seriousness, parts of this movie still make me want to cry. And thankfully, you too can experience the magic of these Rubbermaid treasures, because, like my most cherished Muppet movie song says, soon there will only be “One More Sleep ’til Christmas.”
Jessica Klaassen-Wright / Editor-in-Chief