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The Santa Clause | Image via Disney+

My Top 5 Defining Holiday Movies

Written by
Angela Slater-Meadows
and
and
December 5, 2022

“WHAT IS THE TOMATOMETER®?

When at least 60% of reviews for a movie or TV show are positive, a red tomato is displayed to indicate its Fresh status.

When less than 60% of reviews for a movie or TV show are positive, a green splat is displayed to indicate its Rotten status.” – rottentomatoes.com

My Top 5 Defining Holiday Movies
The Santa Clause | Image via Disney+

Almost everyone has at least one or two movies that define their holiday season. Here is Senior Journalist Angela Slater-Meadows’ top five. Have you seen them? What are your favourites?

1. Elf

MOVIE DEETS –  2003; PG; Comedy; Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel; 85% Tomatometer®

STORY LINE –  Buddy the misplaced but joyous “elf” is actually a human who was raised in the North Pole. Determined to find his father, Buddy naïvely embarks on a hilarious journey to New York City where he finds so much more – including family, love and Christmas cheer!

FUNNY SCENE – When Buddy calls out the fake department store Santa – “You stink. You smell like beef and cheese! You don't smell like Santa… You sit on a throne of lies!"

FAMED QUOTES –  “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear!” – Buddy Elf

2. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

MOVIE DEETS – 1989; PG; Comedy; Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki; 67% Tomatometer®

STORYLINE – Clark Griswold is a hard-working, family man who is really counting on his company Christmas bonus this year. His best intentions for a perfect Christmas vacation play out amongst the Griswold family and their hysterical extended relations in a most dysfunctional yet heart-warming way.

FUNNY SCENE – When Clark tries to catch the wild squirrel living in the Griswold family Christmas tree and all hell breaks loose.

FAMED QUOTES – “When Santa squeezes his fat ass down the chimney, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse!” – Clark Griswold

The Grinch and Cindy Lou Who | Image via IMDB

3. How The Grinch Stole Christmas

MOVIE DEETS – 2000; PG; Comedy; Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Christine Baranski; 49% Tomatometer®

STORYLINE – The Grinch hates Christmas and all Whos, from high atop his garbage mountain overlooking the town of Whoville. Cindy Lou Who, however, is determined to reunite the resentful Grinch with his long-lost Aunties and even his once true Love. 

FUNNY SCENE – When the Grinch ponders whether or not he will accept Cindy Lou Who’s invitation to the Whoville Holiday festivities - “4:00, wallow in self-pity. 4:30, stare into the abyss. 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one. 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me. I can't cancel that again. 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing. I'm booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness."

FAMED QUOTES – “It came without ribbons, it came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. Maybe Christmas (he thought) doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.” — The Grinch

4. Home Alone

MOVIE DEETS – 1990; PG; Comedy; Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern; 67% Tomatometer®

STORYLINE – Poor Kevin can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble over the holidays and is finally sent to sleep in the attic. When he awakes the next day, he finds himself alone and must defend his family home from some truly ridiculous burglars.

FUNNY SCENE – When Kevin bravely takes on the burglars by luring them into his cleverly booby-trapped home.

FAMED QUOTES – “Guys, I’m eating junk and watching rubbish! You better come out and stop me!” — Kevin. “Keep the change, ya filthy animal.” — Gangster Johnny

Kevin and the Wet Bandits | Image via IMDB

5. The Santa Clause

MOVIE DEETS – 1994; PG; Comedy; Tim Allen, Eric Lloyd, David Krumholtz; 73% Tomatometer®

STORYLINE – Scott is a recently divorced dad who has his son on Christmas Eve. After burning their holiday dinner, Scott thinks that things can’t possibly get any worse – until he accidently kills Santa! In the pocket of Santa’s coat, Scott discovers the Santa “Clause”, which indicates that he is obligated to become the new Santa.

FUNNY SCENE – When Scott can’t seem to satisfy his new Santa appetite with sweets and of course milk. 

FAMED QUOTES – “The card in the Santa suit, you said you read it, right? So when you put on the suit, you fell subject for the Santa Clause.” – Bernard Elf . “Seeing isn't believing. Believing is seeing.” – Judy Elf

It's A Wonderful Life | Image via The New York Times

Other Timeless Traditionals – 

6. A Christmas Carol 

(1999; PG; Drama; Patrick Stewart)

7. Bad Santa 

(2003; R; Comedy; Billy Bob Thornton)

8. A Christmas Story 

(1983; PG; Comedy; Peter Billingsley)

9. Miracle on 34th Street

(1994; 1947)

10. It’s a Wonderful Life 

(1946)

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