It’s Christmastime! Once the cloud of wrapping paper and ribbons settles and everyone pushes back from the holiday table, here are five great Christmas movies to cap off the day:
1. Scrooge — Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic has been adapted more times than we care to remember — most recently as a motion-capture monstrosity helmed by Robert Zemeckis — but also as a vehicle for Muppets, Mickey Mouse and Murray (as in Bill). But the 1951 version starring Alastair Sim as the titular humbuger contains the definitive portrayal of one of the enduring characters of Western literature.
2. A Christmas Story — TNT’s annual 24-hour marathons of this film — about a boy who wants nothing more than a BB gun for Christmas — helped turn it into an enduring staple of the holiday season.
3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation — Unfairly dismissed as an unnecessary threequel to “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” this Chevy Chase vehicle remains the definitive look at the nightmarish family get-together around the Christmas tree.
4. It’s a Wonderful Life — When one describes a film as Capraesque, this is the movie being evoked. George Bailey’s (James Stewart) inherent decency and hard work are both celebrated when he learns just how valuable his life has been. Truly a Christmas miracle.
5. Home Alone — The story of an irrepressible youth who wants nothing more than to see his family again — and the thieves who want to break into his home and steal his Christmas goodies — may not be the greatest movie ever made, but it has plenty of heart.