10 holiday movies and specials for when you just can’t think anymore

Congratulations! You are done with finals. Or not, if you’re a doctor or aren’t a student or you work here on campus. But hopefully you have some time to relax over the holidays and can take an hour or two to watch one of my top 10 favorite holiday movies and specials.

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

The original, from 1966. I’m not sure why Hollywood always has to try to better the best because it’s impossible. This is such a classic and nothing can replace it. Nice try, Jim Carrey.

2. Elf

This is obviously on the list for its plethora of quotable lines, the best being, “You disgust me. You sit on a throne of lies. You stink. You smell like beef and cheese. You don’t smell like Santa.”

3. Home Alone

I could watch this movie a million times and never get sick of it. Also, who doesn’t fantasize about having the house to yourself over Christmas (albeit, without the pesky burglars).

4. The Holiday

Such a great, feel-good movie. It makes me want to house swap for a little London cottage and dance to “Mr. Brightside” in my pajamas, in the hopes that Jude Law will show up.

5. The Family Stone

Definitely underrated, but any movie with Diane Keaton is a winner, so obviously, this makes the cut.

6. A Charlie Brown Christmas

The soundtrack cannot be beat and everyone loves a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

7. The Santa Clause

What child hasn’t dreamed that her dad isn’t really Santa Claus?

8. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 

Again, the original, because who doesn’t love claymation and the island of misfit toys.

9. A Christmas Story

“You’ll shoot your eye out!” will get stuck in your head for the next day and a half.

10. Die Hard

I will admit, I’ve never actually seen this movie because I didn’t have brothers to force me to watch it, but apparently, according to my colleague Matt Hastings, this should be on the list 10 times.

Honorable Mentions from the Office of Communications team

  • Bad Santa

I’m a sucker for dark comedies, and this is one of the all-time darkest. Definitely not recommended for anyone who considers “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “The Santa Clause” or “Miracle on 34th Street” as must-see holiday fare. Billy Bob Thornton is irredeemable in the extreme, until he encounters an oddball child who coaxes a whit of humanity from his circling-the-drain existence. – Chris Casey, managing editor

  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 

There’s something endearing and relatable about watching the Griswolds plan a big family Christmas and everything that can go wrong does, but in the end, the family still comes together. It’s also one of the many reasons we’ve never tried to harvest our own Christmas tree! – Ryan Nisogi, senior director, digital marketing strategy

  • It’s a Wonderful Life

It’s hard to beat this classic. It makes you smile, it makes you cry, it makes you grateful for the life you have – no matter how many times you’ve seen it. “George Bailey, I’ll love you till the day I die.” – Jenny Merchant, creative brand manager

  • Carol

While Kiley watches “The Holiday” in her pajamas and dreams of Santa bringing her Jude Law for Christmas, I’ll watch “Carol” – a romantic drama set during Christmas in 1950-something New York – in my Santa hat and hope Cate Blanchett comes to my home for the holidays. – Kristen “KO” O’Neill, senior director, content strategy

  • Love Actually

Multiple colleagues love this movie, but in my opinion, it still doesn’t compete with “The Family Stone” or “The Holiday.”

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