By Nichole Harwood 

 Every year we come together as a family to turn on our favorite holiday and Christmas movies, whether they are classics from our childhood or new favorites from our adulthood. Below, the team here at ABQ-Live has compiled a list of six well-known old classics as well as four-holiday flicks from the 2000’s you may want to add to your must-watch holiday list this season! 

 

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Classic) 


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It’s time to start with one of the most memorable classics of all time. This television movie from 1964 stars everyone’s favorite reindeer as he goes on new adventures with new friends (including an elf that wants to be a dentist…seriously rewatch this movie) and helps everyone remember the true meaning of the holiday season. 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Classic)

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It’s time to step into the time machine and crank it only two more years for this classic. While this 1966 holiday feature is technically a television short, it holds a special place in most people’s hearts. While it has been remade into a live-action feature film and a full-length animated feature, many still find themselves drawn back to its first television iteration even if they find themselves enjoying any other of the newer versions.

A Christmas Story (Classic)

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Whether you love it or hate it (our team seemed divided), you can’t deny that it IS a classic! This holiday film from 1983 follows the exploits of Ralphie Parker’s childhood while being narrated by his adult counterpart. The film explores both the ties of family and the dreams of childhood through the eyes of an adult. Whether it’s for your family or not, it is likely playing in the background of one cherished family member’s television screen this season. 

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Classic)

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Often affectionately referred to as just Christmas Vacation, this 1989 classic has everything from slapstick comedy to family moments that will melt the most ice-filled hearts. This film follows Clark Griswold as he tries his hardest to have the perfect Christmas. Does he succeed? You’ll have to watch to find out!

The Nightmare Before Christmas (Classic)

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This 1993 film has the unique shapeshifting ability to pass as not only a Christmas classic but a Halloween one as well as we follow everyone’s favorite skeleton, Jack, as he finds himself bored with his holiday and so decides to take over another. Listen for the catchy songs and watch for the still to this day breathtaking claymation. 

 The Santa Clause (Classic)

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This 1994 film follows divorced dad Scott as, through a series of unexpected events, he ends up being shoehorned into the position of the one and only Santa Claus. The first of a trilogy that gets stranger each movie, no one can deny that the first at least deserves a place on this list. 

Elf (New Classic) 

 

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This 2003 film follows everyone’s favorite Christmas Elf Buddy as he journeys to New York to reunite with his biological father. Shenanigans ensue with every scene bringing together many individuals of different backgrounds together for the holidays.

Fred Claus (New Classic) 

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Meet Fred Claus, the older brother of everyone’s favorite Christmas icon. With Santa stealing the spotlight every Christmas, it was only expected that one of his disgruntled family members would swoop in and steal it from him at least once. This 2007 film does a fabulous job of separating what is most important about the holidays from what is most superficial by diving into the realism of what stress a single man responsible for delivering toys to every child on the planet every year must feel. Pair this with a jealous brother that still loves his little brother despite his envy, and you have the perfect setup for a new Christmas classic. 

Rise of the Guardians (New Classic) 

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Finally, a film that brings all the holidays together during the happiest time of the year! This 2012 Christmas flick focuses on Jack Frost, a lesser-known winter figure, as he finds his place in the holiday season and the world. Fighting alongside figures from the most prominent legends across the globe, including easily the most intense version of Santa out there portrayed by Alec Baldwin as a muscular Russian accented Santa Claus who uses Christmas ornaments as weapons against the forces of evil, you have the perfect ingredients for a Christmas classic or at least one of the most exciting films you’ll see all year. 

Happiest Season (New Classic) 

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This 2020 film is the newest film on the list. While jam-packed with multiple coming-out cliches, it still touches on numerous important issues that often arise during the holidays. Many other holiday flicks are often too timid about handling, from family expectations to fears of acceptance. The film follows Abby, who longs to propose to her longtime girlfriend Harper before finding that her soon-to-be fiance has yet to come out to her conservative parents. While jam-packed with tension that is only expected with this premise, this newer flick still manages to balance stress and comedy. It doesn’t hurt that Daniel Levy also stars in this flick, stealing the show with his appearance every time. While the ending is not entirely unexpected, the fact that a holiday movie is willing to show the journey to this ending at all while putting as much heart into it as possible is something to be grateful for during the holiday season. 

Did your favorite make it onto the list? We hope so! After curling up with the family to watch your favorite holiday flick make sure to visit Winter Wonderland for a winter holiday experience! Winter Wonderland will feature an optional walking tour along with local vendors to enjoy and even a chance to take your picture with Santa Claus! This event runs from Nov. 24 through Jan. 2. grab your tickets here! Don’t forget to check out our Top Holiday Menu Ideas for 2021!