Holiday · Media · Nostalgia

12 Nostalgic Days of Christmas: 9 Christmas Movies and a New Way to Think About Them {Ninth Day}

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Everyone and their dog has made a list like this.  And they have done so, year after year, after year. Just Google “top holiday movies” or “top Christmas movies.”

Go ahead.  I’ll wait.

See? Dozens and dozens of lists just like this one.  Some have 10 movies.  Some 25 or 50. Some have 100.

I dunno . . . seems like a “Top 100 Christmas Movies” list would cover just about every Christmas movie you could possibly want to watch. One wonders what kind of horribleness your Christmas movie has to be to not make a top 100 list . . .

In any event, you may be asking yourself: why should I read another Christmas movie list? What could The Nostalgia Diaries possibly add to the conversation?

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As you know, nostalgia can play a powerful role in creating happier days today. And movies? Well, movies can stir up all kinds of magical nostalgic memories—especially Christmas movies (well, at least the ones in the Top 100) Maybe you went to see Elf on the first date with your significant other. Maybe watching Christmas Vacation every year on Christmas Eve was a family tradition. Those memories, especially this time of year, take you back, make you smile, and give you warm fuzzy feelings about your past. And those are feelings that you can use to create happy, meaningful days today. How? By continuing those traditions. By connecting with family and friends. By laughing and crying and remembering it really is a wonderful life.

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But movies can even do more than that. You see, movies (good ones anyway) have the ability to pull you into the lives of other people—the fictional characters—and allow you to experience their emotions, which of course are based on and shaped by their own histories and their connections with other people and places and moments in their fictional lives (as created by the writers and directors and cinematographers). When we as the audience experience the “magic of cinema,” we experience moments that will someday be (if they were real people) nostalgic moments for these movie characters.  We go to the movies for many reasons, but one of the best reasons is to feel, and we can do that by experiencing life’s moments alongside the likes of Forrest Gump, Indiana Jones, Harry and Sally, Jerry Maguire. Their moments become our moments. Their memories become our memories.

So in a way, when we watch movies, 1) we can experience the the making of nostalgic moments by our favorite characters, 2) who may be nostalgic about their past, 3) while experiencing our own nostalgia as we engage in the tradition of watching a nostalgic movie, 4) all the while creating new memories that may be someday be nostalgic on their own.

It’s like Nostalgia Inception.

Okay, maybe it’s not like Inception. But you get my point. The most wonderful thing about movies is that when the filmmakers do it right, we get to experience all of those moments and feelings and emotions with the characters, which we then can call upon years later when we watch the movie again and again and again. And at the same time, we can recall our own memories and experience our own nostalgia involving the watching of those movies.

Pretty cool, I think.

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So is this list of 9 Christmas movies groundbreaking? Not at all. But perhaps you can watch these holiday movies (and any other movie) and think about them just a little differently this year.


1) Love Actually

One of my favorite movies, Christmas or otherwise.       


2) Miracle on 34th Street

The classic version with Natalie Wood, in black and white. The only way to watch it.


3) Elf

A special kind of movie that blends ridiculousness with love and hope and family, creating a Christmastime romantic comedy that can’t be missed.


4) How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Jim Cary’s Grinch character is wacky and weird and wonderful. Cindy Lou Who is pretty cute, but seems to be a bit more than two . . .


5) It’s a Wonderful Life

Honestly, this movie. The emotion will leave you in tears. Unless you are heartless. In which case, why are you watching It’s a Wonderful Life?


6) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Some of the best movie quotes come from this classic. “Can I refill your eggnog? Get you something to eat, drive you into the middle of nowhere, leave you for dead?” — Clark Griswold


7) A Christmas Story

‘You’ll shoot your eye out.” Solid parenting advice.


8) Scrooged

A pretty good modern version of A Christmas Carol. Fun fact: all three of Bill Murray’s brothers appear in the movie.


9) Home Alone

Sometimes all I want for Christmas is to be left alone. Kidding . . .  All I really wanted for Christmas when Home Alone came out was that house. Seriously, who didn’t want that house?

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Just joining us for this series? The links below can help you catch up:

12 Nostalgic Days of Christmas: 1 Christmas Infographic {First Day}
12 Nostalgic Days of Christmas: 2 Holiday Gift Guides {Second Day}
12 Nostalgic Days of Christmas: 3 Nostalgic Traditions {Third Day}
12 Nostalgic Days of Christmas: 4 Nostalgic Crafts to Create with Your Kids This Christmas {Fourth Day}
12 Nostalgic Days of Christmas: 5 Classic Christmas Cookies {Fifth Day}
12 Nostalgic Days of Christmas: 6 Ugly Christmas Sweaters {Sixth Day}
12 Nostalgic Days of Christmas: 7 Underrated Christmas Songs That You Will Love {Seventh Day}
12 Nostalgic Days of Christmas: 8 Holiday GIFs {Eighth Day}

Join us tomorrow for a great Tenth Day of Christmas! You can quote me on that.

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One thought on “12 Nostalgic Days of Christmas: 9 Christmas Movies and a New Way to Think About Them {Ninth Day}

  1. Future nostalgic movie…”It’s A Wonderful Blog: Based On The True Stories Of The Nostalgia Diaries”.
    Seriously, this is one of my favourite blogs….hands down….hey, wait, that just brought something to mind…wasn’t there a board game called Hands Down?
    Anyway, thanks for sharing 🙂

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