RedEye’s holiday movie calendar


Kate Benton

Each day this month, we suggest watching the movie we have listed. You’ll certainly be in the Christmas spirit by the end!

Norah Wulkopf and Kate Benton

This December, get into the holiday spirit with RedEye’s winter-themed movie calendar.

Dec. 1, “It’s a Wonderful Life”

Year released: 1946

Director: Frank Capra

“It’s a Wonderful Life” might just be the perfect holiday movie. It’s about family, charity, love and how tiny deeds add up so that everyone greatly impacts the world around them. Never failing to bring a smile to my face, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is one of the most uplifting movies I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t seen it, you really need to.

Dec. 2, “Jack Frost”

Year released: 1998

Director: Troy Miller

I’m not confident this movie exists 11 months out of the year, but I always remember it come December. Michael Keaton plays a father reincarnated as a snowman trying to reconnect with his son. It’s so strange, yet touching.

Dec. 3, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

Year released: 2001

Director: Chris Columbus

When I think of the Holidays, the first thing I think of is Harry Potter marathons. Back when ABC was still ABC, you could count on them to be showing all of the Harry Potter movies leading up to Christmas, the first movie having the absolute best Christmas scene. Nothing makes my heart melt more than Daniel Radcliffe receiving Christmas presents for the first time.

Submitted by Mandala Gupta VerWiebe.

Dec. 4, “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”

Year released: 1983

Director: Burny Mattinson

This is how I was introduced to “A Christmas Carol.” My brothers and I watched this on snow days when we were little and I think the ghost of Christmas future scarred me. If you don’t watch this delightful little cartoon, bah humbug!

Dec. 5, “Die Hard”

Year released: 1988

Director: John McTiernan

Yes, “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie. It’s about a man trying to get home to see his family, the soundtrack is entirely Christmas music and it’s set on Christmas Eve for goodness sake! Maybe I’m biased because the first time I saw “Die Hard” was on Christmas, but there’s no way “Die Hard” isn’t a Christmas movie. Plus, it’s an awesome action movie with a stellar Alan Rickman performance.

Dec. 6, “Love Actually”

Year released: 2003

Director: Richard Curtis

For whatever reason, “Love Actually” is everybody’s favorite holiday romantic comedy, me included. I can’t explain why, but it’s absolutely amazing. It’s cheesy and silly, and Hugh Grant dances to “Jump (For My Love).”

Dec. 7, “Frosty the Snowman”

Year released: 1969

Director: Arthur Rankin, Jr., Jules Bass

If you know the song, you know what happens, but it’s still nice to watch.

Dec. 8, “Elf”

Year released: 2003

Director: Jon Favreau

My family watches “Elf” every Thanksgiving; it’s our way of kicking off the holiday season. Every scene in “Elf” is iconic, from Will Ferrell fighting a mall Santa to Zooey Deschanel singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” It’s funny, sweet, and everything you could want in a holiday movie.

Dec. 9, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”

Year released: 1966

Director: Chuck Jones

Let your heart grow 3 sizes this year too.

Dec. 10, “Gremlins”

Year released: 1984

Director: Joe Dante

It’s a bit of a genre breaker like “Die Hard,” but “Gremlins” is a Christmas movie too. Take it as a cautionary tale about gift-giving, or as a horror comedy with the cutest little creature known to man: Gizmo.

Dec. 11, “Little Women”

Year released: 1994

Director: Gillian Armstrong

Though it isn’t explicitly set during the holidays, “Little Women” is a winter movie best watched wrapped up in a blanket on your couch. My mom and I always watch it while wrapping presents, though admittedly I’m more focused on the movie than I am on the presents. Seeing the March sisters come of age and fall in love is heartwarming and heartbreaking. “Little Women” is a must-watch in my household.

Dec. 12, “The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause”

Year released: 2006

Director: Michael Lembeck

All of “the Santa Clause” are good, but this one has Jack Frost in it.

Dec. 13, “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

Year released: 1964

Director: Robert L. May

How can you not love “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”? It’s a bizarre origin story for Rudolph featuring characters you sort of remember like Yukon Cornelius and Hermey the Misfit Elf. Take a trip down memory lane and give this classic a rewatch.

Dec. 14, “White Christmas”

Year released: 1954

Director: Michael Curtiz

“White Christmas” is the original Hallmark holiday movie but most aren’t brave enough to say that. Complete with musical numbers, contrived conflict and a plot to use Christmas spirit to save the veterans, it’s frankly ridiculous. Yet the crooning of Bing Crosby is a holiday staple that you just can’t go without.

Dec. 15, “The Princess Switch”

Year released: 2018

Director: Michael Rohl

Netflix holiday romcoms are my guilty pleasure. They’re awful and poorly acted yet I adore them. They’re probably the worst movies that come out every year but I watch them anyway. “The Princess Switch” is the best one from last year.

Dec. 16, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

Year released: 1989

Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik

It’s the Griswold Family Christmas! The holiday season isn’t complete without Chevy Chase’s seasonal hijinks and overly decorated house. There’s a lot to love about this movie.

Dec. 17, “Home Alone”

Year released: 1990

Director: Chris Columbus

At least for me, “Home Alone” is the holiday movie. It feels almost sacrilegious to get through the first few weeks of December without watching it. Starting on Thanksgiving, my grandpa plays “Somewhere in My Memory” nonstop, so it’s nearly impossible for me to think about the holidays without thinking about “Home Alone.” It’s a hilarious yet sincere movie that showcases the best of John Hughes. You can’t go wrong with “Home Alone.”

Dec. 18, “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”

Year released: 1992

Director: Chris Columbus

That’s right. The “Home Alone” series gets 2 days in a row. It deserves it.

Dec. 19, “The Polar Express”

Year released: 2004

Director: Robert Zemeckis

I loved the music when I was younger, and it was practically the only Christmas movie I watched when I was little. I’ve always loved it since I was a little kid.

Submitted by Tyler Lericos.

Dec. 20, “Christmas in Connecticut”

Year released: 1945

Director: Peter Godfrey

“Christmas in Connecticut” is a holiday romance comedy that helped establish all the tropes we love today. It’s full of deception, unexpected romance and holiday spirit. It’s a classic and a must-watch.

Dec. 21, “The Year Without a Santa Claus”

Year released: 1974

Director: Arthur Rankin, Jr., Jules Bass

Rankin/Bass holiday movies are always kind of fever dreams for me. I know I watched them every December and I know I loved them, but I cannot for the life of me tell you what they’re about. The main things I remember about them are the songs which were always so amazing. “The Year Without a Santa Claus” might be the best one.

Dec. 22, “Miracle on 34th Street”

Year released: 1947

Director: George Seaton

“Miracle on 34th Street” reminds me a lot of my grandpa; he showed it to me one winter break when I was about 8. Not only that, he loves Santa Claus. In fact, he covers his house in little Santa figurines. This movie functions as a love letter to Santa and the holiday spirit of the 40s and 50s.

Dec. 23, “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town”

Year released: 1970

Director: Arthur Rankin Jr., Jules Bass

Again, a Rankin/Bass movie that could really be about anything. This is the one with “One Foot in Front of the Other.”

Dec. 24, “Trading Places”

Year released: 1983

Director: John Landis

Set during the holiday season, “Trading Places” follows Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd attempting to undermine the two Wall Street brokers who set them up. It’s a great time with an even greater cast.

Dec. 25, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Year released: 1965

Director: Bill Melendez

What more do I have to say?

Dec. 26, “Scrooged”

Year released:1988

Director: Richard Donner

Bill Murray’s take on “A Christmas Carol.”

Dec. 27, “A Christmas Story”

Year released: 1983

Director: Bob Clark

When I think of Christmas movies, my mind goes straight to “A Christmas Story.” TNT plays it all day on Christmas Eve so we always have it playing then and when we open our presents on Christmas morning. It’s one of my favorite family traditions so this movie means a lot to me, not to mention we quote it all the time in my house. It’s a classic and makes me really happy so I’m happy it got a place on the calendar.

Submitted by E.P. Presnell.

Dec. 28, “Jingle All the Way”

Year released: 1996

Director: Brian Levant

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad race to find Turbo Man, the toy of the season. It’s a silly movie with a lot of heart. Plus it feature Schwarzenegger yelling “Put that cookie down!”

Dec. 29, “The Family Stone”

Year released: 2005

Director: Thomas Bezucha

There’s no way for me to write about “The Family Stone” objectively. I’m sure if you showed me this movie today with no familial context, I’d hate it and consider it overly saccharine and sappy. But you just can’t do that with holiday movies. Sentimentality is key to a good one. I first saw “The Family Stone” at age 11 while wrapping presents with my mom on Christmas Eve. As I watched, the quirky characters and holiday melodrama completely won me over. I loved this movie. Then the end happens, and I understood why my mother watched it every year on Christmas Eve. She lost her mother to cancer about a year before I was born, so this holds a special place in her heart. “The Family Stone” always makes me bawl my eyes out.

Dec. 30, “Holiday Inn”

Year released: 1942

Director: Mark Sandrich

Another old holiday musical, “Holiday Inn” follows the chaotic love lives of its main characters throughout the year, beginning and ending on Christmas. I put it on here because it’s the first movie “White Christmas” appears in, but it is worth noting that the film features blackface.

Dec. 31, “The Apartment”

Year released: 1960

Director: Billy Wilder

I went into “The Apartment” almost completely blind. I knew its closing line (“Shut up and deal”), but that was all. I think that’s the best way to go into it, so that’s all I’ll say.

Featured Image designed by Kate Benton.