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COUNTDOWN TO WINTER BREAK: Must-see Holiday Films

Cassidy Milewski, Contributor

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On the 9th day before Winter Break, The Fordian gives to you, 9 must-see, holiday classic films.

The holiday season is the perfect time to cozy up with some popcorn, a cup of hot chocolate, and a favorite film. Here are some of our favorite holiday movies to top off your upcoming snowy weekends.

  1. Miracle on 34th Street

When Doris Walker frantically recruits a last minute replacement for a drunken Santa for Macy’s Christmas parade, the new employee seems simply ideal for his job. He says his name is Kris Kringle and claims to be the real Santa Claus. When Kris has a run-in with the department store’s psychological tester, the man tries to have him tried in a court case where Doris’ lawyer neighbor, Fred Gailey, tries to prove that Kris is the real Santa Claus. Even more importantly to Kris throughout his journey is to get Doris and her daughter, Susan, to believe in him. With this movie you have two options: watch the original, black and white, 1947 version with Maureen O’Hara (The Quiet Man, The Parent Trap), currently available on HBO On-Demand, or watch the re-made 1994 version with Mara Wilson (Matilda), Elizabeth Perkins and Dylan Mcdermott on Starz On-Demand.  

  1. The Santa Clause

Tim Allen plays divorcee, Scott Calvin, who is disgusted to learn that his ex and her husband have tried to break it easy to their 6-year-old son, Charlie, that Santa isn’t real. On Christmas Eve, Scott reads The Night Before Christmas and later receives an unexpected visitor on his roof. When the man is startled by Scott’s screaming, he falls, and disappears, leaving only an 8-reindeer sleigh and a suit with instructions to put it on if he’s involved in an accident. Scott does as instructed, and is taken to the North Pole where he is informed by a group of elves that he is now Santa. Watch The Santa Clause tomorrow night, Wednesday, December 14th, at 9pm on Freeform as part of the 25 Days of Christmas.  

  1. Elf

Buddy was a baby in an orphanage who stowed away in Santa’s sack and ended up at the North Pole. Later, as an adult human who happened to be raised by elves, Santa allows him to go to New York City to find his birth father, Walter Hobbs. Hobbs, on Santa’s naughty list for being a heartless jerk, had no idea that Buddy was even born. Buddy goes on to experience the delights of New York City. When Walter’s relationship with Buddy interferes with his job, he is forced to reevaluate his priorities. Will Farrell makes Elf an absolute classic. Freeform has been playing the film frequently recently, but if you missed your chance, you can stay up late night on Sunday, December 18th for the 9:50pm showing

  1. It’s A Wonderful Life

George Bailey never got a chance to fulfill his life’s ambitions of exploring the world and building skyscrapers; he watches as his friends and family become success stories and dreads running his father’s building and loan business. When a financial discrepancy puts George in a difficult position, an angel comes to show him what life would have been like if he had never been born. This iconic holiday movie, starring Hollywood legend, Jimmy Stewart, in possibly his most famous role. Even after repeated screenings, this movie does not disappoint. While the film has been remastered in color, the original black and white version shines. 

  1. A Christmas Story

Ralphie dreams of owning a Red Rider BB gun and is willing to devise any plan to get it. He sets out to convince the world this is the perfect gift, but along the way, he runs into opposition from his parents, his teacher, and even Santa Claus himself. If you’ve never seen this movie, or you want the opportunity to re-watch it multiple times in a row, TBS will offer you just that. This year, they will again continue their almost 20-year tradition of a 24-hour marathon airing of this holiday film. If you’re watching for the 100+ time, Mental Floss offers you 25 things to Look for While Watching

  1. Fred Claus

Fred Claus (Vince Vaughn) has lived his entire life in his brother’s very large shadow. Fred could hardly live up to the example set by the younger Nicholas (Paul Giamatti), who was deemed perfect. True to form, Nicholas (a.k.a. Santa Claus) grew up to be the model of giving, while Fred became the polar opposite: a fast-talking repo man who’s run out of luck and money. Eventually Fred’s bad behavior catches up with him and he is sent to jail; his only recourse is to turn to his brother. Over Mrs. Claus’ objections, Nicholas agrees to help his brother on one condition: that he come to the North Pole and earn the money he needs by working in Santa’s Toy Shop. 

  1. The Polar Express

Inspired by the beautifully illustrated children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express is a surprisingly realistic computer animated film. For a young boy who doubts Santa Claus’ existence, an astonishing event occurs late on Christmas Eve night. He lies in bed hoping to hear the sound of reindeer bells from Santa’s sleigh. To his surprise, a steam engine’s roar and whistle can be heard outside his window. The conductor invites him on board to take an extraordinary journey to the North Pole with many other pajama-clad children. There, he receives an extraordinary gift only those who still believe in Santa can experience. This film is another offering on the Freeform line-up; the next showing will be Friday, December 17th at 9:45pm. 

  1. Home Alone

Kevin (Macauley Culkin) is an 8-year old boy who is accidentally left home alone when his family embarks on a vacation to France. While his family is away, Kevin comes to realize that having a big house all to yourself isn’t all fun and games when two men try to rob his house. Needless to say, chaos ensues with Christmas coming right around the corner. While the original is full of holiday fun and cheer, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is often referred to as the more festive of the two. This season, you actually have the rare opportunity to see the film on a large screen and listen to the Philadelphia Orchestra perform the score live. This event will take place on Tuesday, December 20th at Verizon Hall. 

  1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

It’s Christmas time and the Griswolds are preparing for a festive family celebration, but things never run smoothly for Clark (Chevy Chase) , his wife, Ellen, and their two kids. Clark’s continual bad luck is worsened by his obnoxious family guests, but he manages to keep going knowing that his Christmas bonus is due soon.

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COUNTDOWN TO WINTER BREAK: Must-see Holiday Films