Is there any better feeling than being a wrapped in a blanket burrito and drinking a hot beverage (hot chocolate or toddy… your choice!) while watching your favorite movie? Nope. Add in the occasion being Christmas Eve and hear the choir of angels sing. No matter if you’re hitting up the club with your besties, at a family get-together, with your SO, or just spending Christmas Eve solo, you should make some time to watch a movie. It’s imperative. So fetch.
Here are the best movies to watch during Christmas Eve:
1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)/(1966)
Whoever says they don’t like The Grinch is lying and being a total Grinch. Let’s face it: we are the Grinch (better than being a Scrooge, am I right?). You have two great options to choose from when deciding which to watch: the live-action version with Jim Carrey as The Grinch from 2000 (highly recommend. Also, bonus points for Taylor Momsen’s on-screen debut as Cindy Lou Who. Come on, let’s show some love for the pre-Little J days), or the classic cartoon short from 1966.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is based off the best-selling children’s book of the same name by Dr. Seuss. It tells the story of The Grinch, a recluse in Whoville who detests Christmas so much he tries to put an end to Christmas by stealing all the decorations in Whoville. Throughout the movie, he comes to realize that Christmas isn’t a materialistic holiday, but one of sharing love. At the end of the film, he joins the Whos for their annual dinner and carves the roast beast.
If you love “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by Thurl Ravenscroft, or need holiday outfit inspiration for your dog and want to turn them into Max, the Grinch’s dog who wears reindeer antlers, this movie is for you. Plus it has some pretty meme-worthy scenes (help me, I’m FEELING!!).
2. RENT (2005)
Don’t fight me on this, because RENT is amazing and needs to be a certified Christmas movie (I mean, c’mon, it starts out on Christmas Eve). Yes, it’s based on the hit Broadway musical of the same name, but singing loud for all to hear is what brings Christmas cheer, right?
RENT follows a group of friends (some of whom are lovers) in the East Village, New York in 1989, and their struggles with sexuality, drugs, the AIDS crisis, and paying their rent. The film features some members of the original Broadway cast production, including Idina Menzel, Taye Diggs, and Adam Pascal. If you haven’t heard of them, check them out. Hint: Frozen fans, Idina Menzel sings “Let It Go.”
This is definitely a tear-jerker, not just because one of the members of the group dies of AIDS and there are many a break-up scenes, but also because of the gorgeous score by Jonathan Larson that brings this narrative to life. You’ll also laugh during the funny moments and cheer for the cute couples.
Now, if you’ve seen the Broadway version, the film isn’t an identical re-telling, but it’s close.
If you want a feel-good, roller-coaster of emotions musical film to sing your heart out to, this is for you.
3. Elf (2003)
“SANTA! OH MY GOD! SANTA’S COMING! I KNOW HIM! I KNOW HIM!” If you recognize this quote, and scream it out loud every holiday season, then that means you’re a fan of one of the quintessential Christmas movies: Elf. Starring Will Ferrell, Zoe Deschanel, James Caan and Mary Steenburgen and directed by Jon Favreau, this tells the story of Buddy the elf. Buddy is one of Santa’s elves who learns of his true identity as a human and takes a trip to New York City to meet his biological father. He quickly discovers that people aren’t as enthusiastic about Christmas as he is, but he keeps his holiday spirit, nonetheless, spreading Christmas cheer.
Not only will Elf bring a smile to everyone’s face, no matter who you watch it with, it’ll also inspire you to be a do-gooder this holiday season and spread love everywhere you go. It’ll also inspire you to want to belt “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” but take it from us: don’t try this duet sitting in the bathroom while the other person is taking a shower and doesn’t know you’re in there. Major creep status.
4. Home Alone (1990)
This film can do no wrong. I mean, it does, but in a fantastic way that’ll have you in a fit of laughter from beginning to end. It tells the story of Kevin McCallister, an eight-year old boy who has plans to spend Christmas vacation in Paris with his family, until Kevin gets into an argument with his older brother, wishing his family would disappear and leave him alone forever. The next day, due to a storm, the power lines go out and all electricity is gone, causing the McCallisters to oversleep and rush out to the airport to make their flight, forgetting Kevin at home. Kevin realizes his wish has come true and celebrates this freedom, but is soon creeped out by rumors about his neighbor, Marley, being a murderer and the fact that there are two burglars on the loose.
In the following days, the burglars break into the McCallister’s house, getting injured from the booby-traps Kevin had previously set up, and pursue him around the house. The burglars manage to catch Kevin but Marley comes to his aid, knocking the burglars unconscious with a snow shovel and calling the police. At the end of the film, Kevin’s brother calls out, “What did you do to my room,” leading the audience to speculate that Kevin wasn’t alone all that time.
It you love classic comedies or are a die-hard fan of the Home Alone franchise, give this a watch.
5. A Christmas Carol (2009)
Just like with How the Grinch Stole Christmas, there are a few different viewing options for this movie: the 1984 live-action film starring George C. Scott as Scrooge, the animated 2001 version with Kate Winslet and Nicholas Cage, and the recently 3D animated 2009 version. If you like classics, I would say go with the 1984 version, but if you’re a fan of animated re-tellings, go for the 2009 version that stars Jim Carrey as Scrooge.
A Christmas Carol is based off the best-selling novel of the same name by Charles Dickens. It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a greedy old man who is selfish and self-serving, even on Christmas. He turns away the poor, destitute, and even his own family, who he has not contacted in years. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley, who advises Scrooge to change his ways and be more giving and kind to others, or else he, too, will die. Marley tells Scrooge that he will be visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future later on that night.
We see Scrooge as he meets the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present. They transport him through different stages of his life that lead to him becoming selfish and ignorant. The Ghost of Christmas Future transports him into the future, where he is seen to be dead and it becomes clear that he died alone due to him pushing everyone away. He then realizes that if he does not quickly change his ways, he will indeed die, and promises to be a better man.
If you love Charles Dickens or have been watching this movie for years, grab some friends or a furry friend and watch it again.
6. Love Actually (2003)
If you’re a fan of Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson or Keira Knightley, chances are you’re at least heard of this film. Or you’re heard it referenced on TV shows or just casually by your chick-flick loving sister. Love Actually takes place over the course of five weeks, including Christmas, following ten love stories. All of the individual’s stories are linked in one way or another, be it in a romantic or a platonic way.
The film, filmed in Britain, got generally positive box-office reviews, while in America, it was a different story. Some felt the film felt too congested and unorganized, while others felt it’s bittersweet and funny nature, brought to life by the actors and actresses, was what made Love Actually enjoyable.
If you’re into movies that celebrate the realities of relationships at different stages in a person’s life, this movie is for you.