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Saturday, January 22, 2022

‘Tis the season for holiday movies

Here’s a list of UC Davis students’ go-to flicks to get in the spirit of the season

By MAYA SHYDLOWSKI — features@theaggie.org

Exams are finally over and projects have been turned in. Now, it’s time to relax, pour some hot cocoa and scroll through endless streaming services and television specials trying to find a decent holiday movie to watch. There are so many out there — from classics to Netflix originals — that sometimes it’s hard to decide what’s worth watching. Luckily, UC Davis students shared some of their favorite movies to watch to get in the holiday spirit. 

First things first, you need to decide if you’re in the mood for a classic or a more recent release. If you feel daring enough to go for a newer film, try one of fourth-year managerial economics major John Giovannoni’s favorites: “Unaccompanied Minors” (2006).

“Other than ‘Die Hard,’ my personal favorite is ‘Unaccompanied Minors,’” Giovannoni said. “My other favorite is the classic ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas,’ but any Christmas movie will make me happy.”

You can find other recent releases on various streaming platforms like Netflix or Hulu. And you can’t forget the holiday specials of different TV shows: “The Simpsons,” “Friends” and so many more have holiday specials that definitely make this list of holiday hits. 

With the holiday season comes lots of traditions, from lighting the menorah to singing Christmas carols. Many people also have traditions when it comes to holiday movies, whether that’s watching their favorite movie right after Thanksgiving dinner or sitting down on the couch as a family, with eggnog in hand, on Christmas Eve. Certain movies bring back happy memories of childhood holidays. Emma Stephenson, a third-year global disease biology student, shared her childhood memories of watching “Home Alone” (1990) with her family.

“My favorite Christmas movie is definitely ‘Home Alone,’” Stephenson said. “My little brother used to watch it every day of the year, so it got a bit old for a while, but now it just reminds me of my brothers and how Christmas is about having fun and being a kid.”

Virginia Beall, a fourth-year psychology major, has fond memories of sitting down to watch “Elf” (2003) with her family, a cup of hot cocoa and a cozy blanket. 

“‘Elf’ is a movie about an elf named Buddy who travels from the North Pole to New York City to meet his biological father,” Beall said. “This is my favorite Christmas movie because it reminds me of my childhood in Italy and the Christmas traditions that my family and I used to celebrate in Milan!”

For a live-action classic, try “The Santa Clause” (1994) or “A Christmas Story” (1983). “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989) will be sure to make you laugh and remind you to be thankful for your own relatively peaceful holiday traditions. 

If you’re more interested in cartoon movies, “The Year Without a Santa Claus” (1974) and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993) are just as great as “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1967) and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1964). If you’re a Peanuts fan, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965) is a must-see around the holidays. Kelsey Puckett, a third-year English major, said she loves re-watching these cartoons again now that she’s older.

“My favorite Christmas movie is ‘Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer,’” Puckett said. “It was a comfort movie for me when I was little, so watching it again as an adult makes me feel nostalgic. I also love the silly stop-motion animation.” 

Of course, you can’t forget the many versions of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” From the original rendition in 1938 to more recent ones like the 1992 “The Muppet Christmas Carol” and the 1983 “Mickey’s Christmas Carol,” it’s hard to go wrong. If you’re a superfan or in the mood for a movie marathon, Disney also released another, more terrifyingly realistic animated “A Christmas Carol” in 2009. 

In the mood for romance? “The Holiday” (2006) and “Love Actually” (2003) are chart toppers around the world. They feature both American and British actors that keep viewers laughing and crying. Looking for something more timeless? “Holiday Inn” (1942) and “The Shop Around the Corner” (1942) are old school romances that will melt your heart and fill it with joy. 

Of course, some of the most beloved holiday movies, consistently ranked on top movie lists, are “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947) and “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946). Both are tear-jerkers full with holiday spirit and heart-warming messages. 

“Hitched for the Holidays” (2012) offers viewers a blended Hanukkah and Christmas celebration — with a little romantic twist. There is definitely a lack of Hanukkah movies out there, but some generic movies claim to be Hanukkah-related because they feature a menorah, like “Call Me By Your Name” (2017) and “Full-Court Miracle” (2003). Other winter holidays like Kwanzaa are even less represented in Hollywood, but the documentary “The Black Candle” (2008) offers a glimpse at some of the history of the holiday, narrated by Maya Angelou.

Whichever movies you choose to watch this holiday season, may they fill you with joy and the holiday spirit. Enjoy your holiday movies in your pajamas with hot cocoa, with your friends and family — or however you choose to celebrate. Happy holidays!

 

Written by: Maya Shydlowski — features@theaggie.org

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