Angela’s Top 5 Nostalgic Christmas Movies

Written by Angela December 30, 2013

albert finney

Bah, humbug. The more adulthood cements itself around my life, the more inconvenient and expensive the holiday season becomes. Thankfully, there was once a time when Christmas was something I looked forward to for weeks ahead, and my biggest worry was whether or not Santa got my list. Here are the top five films that help me relive that time.

5. “To Grandmother’s House We Go” (Jeff Franklin, 1992)

to grandmother's house

Ah, the Olsen twins—what would a nostalgia list be without them? I was never really into anything else involving the famous munchkins, yet there was something alluring about their characters in this particular made-for-TV movie. Maybe it was their spunky little spirits and their less-than-perfect background, or maybe it was simply the fact that this movie’s plot was actually fairly intriguing. For whatever reason, the memory of this movie reminds me of how much of an adventure Christmas-time used to be.

4. “Home Alone” (Chris Columbus, 1990)


Speaking of trouble-making kids with not-so-great families, “Home Alone” is also memorable for its resonating power. The movie could have taken place at any time in the year, but it works best as a Christmas film by reminding kids and adults alike of how important it is to not take the people we love for granted–including older brothers who bully the hell out of you.

3. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (Jeremiah S. Chechnik, 1989)


Let’s face it: Christmas-time can be awkward. There’s a ton of pressure to behave a certain way for family members we hardly ever see or aren’t very fond of, to spend money we may not have, and to spend time doing things we don’t really want to do. While the media often insists that we overlook this stress, it’s nice to watch a movie that addresses it in a hilarious way. Ironically, “Christmas Vacation” sort of remedies the malady of Christmas stress by bringing families together to laugh and relax after an exhausting day; at least, that’s what it did for mine.

2. “Scrooge” (Ronald Neame, 1970)


There are countless film adaptations of Charles Dickens’ classic 1843 tale “A Christmas Carol.” This one is the best. Starring the great Albert Finney and featuring some of the most pleasantly unforgettable songs, this movie is the pure embodiment of a traditional British Christmas, and brings me back to spending Christmas Eve with my late grandmother when I was a youngin’. Like her, “Scrooge” is stylishly one of a kind, and always a pleasure to look back on.

1. “The Nutcracker Prince” (Paul Schibli, 1990)


This movie IS my Christmas. No matter where I am or who I’m with, I always experience that same enchantment I felt when I first watched it so many years ago. This animated story is an equally dark and whimsical retelling of E.T.A Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, and contains a soundtrack of music from Tchaikovsky’s popular ballet inspired by Hoffman’s work. Even though this time of year is meant to be trouble-free, there’s never any guarantee it will be. It’s good to know that when I need it most, I can rely on “The Nutcracker Prince” to help me recall what it was like to be a child who believed in magic and loved everything about Christmas.

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About Angela

Angela McInnes is an English major and up-and-coming horror film aficionado. To her, happiness is a bottle of rum and a creature-feature on a Saturday night.

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