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The Grand Tradition of Christmas Movies

If you're a fellow pop culture fanatic, chances are you're also a serial movie re-watcher. But even if you don't feel the need to revisit That Thing You Do! or Mean Girls on a monthly/annual basis, you've probably seen Home Alone or It's A Wonderful Life more than once. Because they're holiday movies!

Christmas movies are meant to be watched again and again. Whether they're based on classic tales like Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" or spin new stories like Love, Actually (ok, that one involves A LOT of stories!), the familiar film backdrop of the holiday season brings comfort and joy. And the familiarity gives us all a reason to start watching them as soon as the last bit of Thanksgiving leftovers are stashed in the fridge.

The beauty of a Christmas movie is that it becomes a tradition in and of itself, a touchstone to return to every year. And, if I may get a little deep on the subject, no matter how you're feeling about your holiday situation, your outlook can be improved by a repeat viewing. If you're on the outs with your family and feeling a little Kevin McCallister or John McClane1, or frustrated with your career path like Clark Griswold or Lucy Moderatz2, or just feeling Scroogey or Grinchy, if your ho-ho-ho is at an all-time low-low-low, you can pop one of these movies on and escape for a few hours.

Obviously I have a few favorites, as evidenced by the inaugural series of Casey BarberSHOP holiday cards. Home Alone is always one of the first movies to be cued up, followed by Christmas Vacation.

But I have to watch Bridget Jones3 on a night when my husband's not at home, while he saves A Christmas Story until I'm otherwise occupied. (Thanks, babe!) The Muppets' Christmas Carol is frequently saved for Christmas Eve, because there's only one more sleep till Christmas. There are subtraditions within the holiday movie tradition—not set in stone, but ones that add to the thrill of the season.

You can see our must-watches above—are there any I'm missing? Any Christmas classics that should be added to the annual viewing pile? And any you'd like to see immortalized in holiday cards next year?

1. Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

2. Yes, While You Were Sleeping is a Christmas movie.

3. In our house, the jury is still out on whether or not Bridget Jones' Diary is a Christmas movie. I say it is, because of the crucial role of the Jones' turkey curry buffet, but my husband thinks it's incidental in the way that When Harry Met Sally is not a New Year's Eve movie. Whatever. It's still an excuse to watch it again!