Christmas is a very interesting time of year for an adult. No matter what do you or how you best try to recreate the holiday, it just feels like it can never live up the way your mind remembers it from your childhood. The fuzz of nostalgia can cast a beautiful glow on anything in hindsight, but there are things we can do to get ourselves back to those moments, like watching Christmas movies. The right ones can flash us right back to when we were wearing warm pyjamas and shaking the boxes underneath the tree, trying to figure out what might be inside.
The child may grow, but it always manages to live on inside of us, and never does it come out as much as it does around Christmas. Christmas movies almost act like a poke-ball in the sense that they help to summon the child in us once we are adults. (Wow, that was an awful analogy. I am leaving it in though because the nerd kid that lives inside of me appreciates it.)
While we may grow up and grow out of the targeted demographic for Christmas movies, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still enjoyable to watch as adults. In fact, I’m going to prove it to you.
Here are 6 children’s Christmas movies that you can still enjoy as an adult.Next
The Nightmare Before Christmas
So begins the great debate: is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Christmas movie, or is it a Halloween movie?
Obviously, having it on my list of Christmas movies shows you what category I think it falls into. With Christmas as a core concept in the film, I do declare that it is officially safe to call this a Christmas movie. Hell, I consider it safe to even call this one a modern Christmas classic.
What is it about this movie that appeals to both adults AND children though? The answers are far too many to list here. From the art design, to the existential woe of Sally, to the BRILLIANT Danny Elfman soundtrack and voice work, there is very little about The Nightmare Before Christmas that doesn’t appeal to everyone.
Oh, and it has one of the best musical moments ever put on film. Don’t believe me? Just watch below.
The reality is, The Nightmare Before Christmas is timeless and its fanbase is ageless. It’s a film that can be enjoyed no matter how old or jaded you get.Previous Next
A Christmas Carol (2009)
There are SO many great adaptations of this story and picking just one was really hard. I almost went with Scrooged, but that film is darker and clearly more aimed at the jaded adult sect. For that reason, I settled on the most recent version of the classic story, with Jim Carey and some killer CG to help seal the deal.
Also, Robert Zemeckis directed it, and if you grew up in the 80′s and 90′s like me, that is a strong selling point.
But make no mistakes, just because it is CG doesn’t mean there aren’t some genuinely creepy moments. I know that sounds funny coming from me (a guy who writes disturbing lists for a living) but make no mistakes about it, A Christmas Carol is a morality story wrapped up in a ghost story, and this version reminds you of that on a couple occasions.
That, and the classic story, are the main reason this Christmas movies is well suited for both adults and children. It’s also clear that Jim Carey is having a great deal of fun here in his multiple roles (he plays all the Scrooges through time, and all the spirits).
Though Mickey’s Christmas Carol is my favorite TV version, this just might be the best film version to date. The Muppets Christmas Carol ALMOST beat this one, too, but Carey wins for his multiple roles.
See, I like Muppets AND Mickey Mouse. I am not nearly as jaded and cynical as most of you think I am.Previous Next
Although many may choose to argue in the opposite direction, I will now tell you why Home Alone is easily the darkest movie on this list. A list that is accentuated by dead people so far, mind you.
Home Alone is a movie about a sadistic (yet genius) kid who sets various brutal traps around his house to keep two old creepy guys from breaking in and robbing him while he is home alone during Christmas. Keep in mind, after a few of these traps, the “Wet Bandits” make it clear that they intend to harm Kevin if they get into the house.
So, in essence, whether you all know it or not, Home Alone is basically like the movie Straw Dogs. Just with far less rape.
Why does it appeal to both kids and adults then? Perhaps you should re-read this whole entry if you don’t know the answer to that. I could say much more about this one, but some lacklustre sequels really sucked some of the wind out of this movies’ sail. I would love to see a sequel when Kevin is in his twenties and a serial killer, though.
I better go write that, right now.Previous Next
When we speak of modern Christmas classics, it’s safe to say that Elf is the first film many of us think of.
If you looked at the concept of the film before you knew it was Will Ferrell who starred in it, you will realize that this thing had train wreck written all over it. If the producers had cast the wrong lead actor, we would have ended up with a movie that would have been nothing short of grating and annoying. Think, for example, if Chris Kattan was cast as Buddy the Elf instead of Ferrell. No one would have made it further than five minutes into the movie. But what Ferrell did with the character was magic. He did not play Buddy the Elf. He BECAME Buddy the Elf. In doing so, he transcended all cinema, etching himself forever into the bark of the great Christmas tree that is our subconscious.
Sorry, got a bit too lofty there.
But seriously, Elf is f*cking hilarious and the casting is perfection. I mean, come on, Bob Newhart as an Elf? That wins, everything. Ever. You add to that the childlike innocence that Ferrell SOMEHOW imbues into Buddy and it is just one of those movies that every person, young and old, seems to appreciate. Plus, lines from this movie are endlessly quoted by almost everyone around the holidays. So much so, in fact, that the next next person who yells “I KNOW HIM” when someone says Santa around me is getting punched in the voice box.
That aside, I still love the movie, and so does most of the worldPrevious Next
A Christmas Story
Alright, we all get to say it once, so we may as well all say it together right now and get it out of the way:
“YOU’LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT!”
Okay, that was it. That was our one freebie of the season. The next time you say it, you are legally allowed to get open-palm slapped in the face by someone. Anyone who is within ten feet, technically speaking. Okay? Disclaimer over.
I can still fondly remember walking to the movie theater with my family when I was a child and seeing this movie. It was, no joke, snowing when we walked home, and it was one of the best Christmas memories I have. So obviously, this film is a deeply sentimental one for me. It is also a side-splittingly hilarious and timeless Christmas movie. It is odd, sure, but every person from every generation just seems to fall in love with it.
There are just so many scenes in A Christmas Story that are awesome and that never get old. Which one is your favorite?
- The creepy Mall Santa and the weird kid with the goggles (who was not an actor, by the way. He was an actual weird kid who was there that day and they decided to use him)?
- The scene where Ralphie finally snaps and beats up the bullies?
- How about the scene where the tongue gets stuck to the flagpole? Shit, the stupidest of us recreated that one.
- Or maybe it is the scene where Ralphie imagines protecting his house from burglars using his Red Ryder BB gun?
- Maybe, for you, it is the final scene in the Chinese food restaurant, where they are trying to salvage the holiday in any way they can.
The point is, I could go on for days.
A Christmas Story is one of those films that you see once and know immediately that it is perfect. You know there is not a single thing that you would change about it. It’s really just a story about a kooky family who love each other very much, and that is as timeless and ageless a tale as any.Previous Next
The Santa Clause
Come on, did you really think I would leave off a movie where a guy kills Santa? Any film that begins like that is kind of punk rock. But this is Disney, and we know from Bambi to Lion King, Disney LOVES f*cking little kids mind’s up. This film is no exception.
I mean, if you stop to think about it, doesn’t this movie imply that every Santa is killed off by the next Santa? It might not, actually. I can barely recall, but I digress. I am getting side tracked. My “write a normal, sweet article” meds are clearly wearing off.
Anyways, what can you say about The Santa Clause?
Honestly, it was a lot cuter and sweeter than I thought it would be. Tim Allen actually ended up working pretty well as the big man, and the movie had some fun ideas. I think children and adults like it because the young ones will be laughing while adults are remembering that time Santa was busted in the seventies with cocaine.
Unfortunately, The Santa Clause is another film whose very name has been sullied by awful sequels, but when we think of the original, we flashback to a simpler time. Namely, 1994. Tim Allen was pretty cool because of his show Home Improvement (a name that thought it worked on two levels) and the masses were ready for a new Christmas movie. Cue Tim Allen killing Santa and then stealing his life like The Talented Mr. Ripley, and you have the makings of a modern day Christmas classic that folks of any age can fall in love with.Previous Next
Honorable Mentions (or) Why Are These Not On The List?
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: One of the greatest Christmas movies of all time, but clearly more aimed at adults than children.
It’s A Wonderful Life: Any movie that has a man choosing death over being with his family is not a movie I can recommend to children, happy ending or not.
Arthur Christmas: An adorable film everyone loves, but not enough of you have seen yet for me to name drop it here.
Gremlins: Awesome movie, but again, not so much for the kiddies, and more focused on monsters than Christmas.Previous