It takes me a little while to get into the Christmas spirit but once I’m there – I’m there! The tree is up, there’s a big red star on the door, I dug out the Christmas carol albums, I’ve done all my online Christmas shopping and am now bracing myself for the Christmas wrapping frenzy. It can be a crazy-hectic time (it certainly is here at Stuck on You) with a gazillion trips to the shops, furious list writing, preparation and planning.
A great way to unwind and gently ease into the Christmas spirit is to sit down with the kids each weekend leading up to the madness and watch a Christmas movie. Or, buy them a copy and pop it in their Christmas stocking!
Here’s a review of my all-time favourite top 3 Christmas movies for kids.
Miracle on 34th Street
Don’t let your kids’ initial disgust at the thought of watching a black and white movie discourage you – this movie is a must-see for Christmas. Sure, it’s a bit earnest and over the top but it gets me all choked up and mushy inside every time. It stars a very young Natalie Wood, Maureen O’Hara and Edmund Gwenn who won an Oscar for his performance in this film. The story follows Kris Kringle (Gwenn) and the cynicism and non-believers he encounters as he ventures outside of the North Pole. He goes about performing Christmas miracles and attempting to instill faith and Christmas spirit in those around him.
Central to the story we follow Kris Kringle as he tries to convince Susan (Wood) that there really is a Santa Claus. As I said, it can be a little heavy on the cheesiness but in my book it delivers everything you would want from a good, old-fashioned Christmas movie.
This is the ultimate family Christmas movie and as it’s a little dated a lot of parents forget all about it.
My son has the entire Home Alone collection (they go to 4 and get progressively worse) and he loves them! For those who don’t know, it’s all about Kevin (Macauley Culkin) who gets accidentally left behind in the chaos as his entire family go on an overseas trip. Left behind to fend for himself Kevin learns to face many fears including a scary neighbour and domestic chores!
The fun parts are when two bumbling burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) repeatedly attempt to break into the home. Kevin plants all sorts of ingenious booby traps leading to lots of slapstick and genuinely funny moments.
I often find bits of string tied to saucepan lids and door knobs after my son watches these movies as he tries to replicate the same traps on me!
A Christmas Story
I’ve saved the best ’til last – my absolute favourite Christmas movie is hands-down A Christmas Story. Released in the mid 80s it wasn’t a huge commercial success and many have missed it. Every now and then you will catch it on TV around Christmas time which is how I first stumbled upon it and it had my little brother and I in absolute stitches.
At the heart of the story is Ralphie Parker who desperately wants “an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time” for Christmas. It’s slightly left of centre but you’ll love the quirky ways of the endearing Parker family from Mrs Parker who stands in the way of Ralphie’s ultimate wish believing he’ll shoot his eye out and Mr Parker played brilliantly by Darren McGavin.
It’s a simple story about a simple family but is filled with plenty of warm and touching moments and plenty of laughs too. If you haven’t managed to catch this one I highly recommend it. A perfect present because it’s great to rewatch year after year.
At Stuck on You we’d love to know about your family’s’ all-time favourite Christmas movies. From the old to the new – what do you watch every year at your house?