5 Christmas Movies I Have to Watch Every Year

Christmas. You feel it in the air, right? The faint scent of peppermint, cinnamon, and pine trees everywhere, the crowds of people at the mall, the Christmas tree posts on Instagram. 

I don't make any excuses: I'm obsessed with Christmas. And Christmas movies, specifically. 

Rituals are very important to me. I resist to call them "traditions" because traditions suggests a cultural relevance--and my habits are highly individual, especially when it comes to Christmas movies. 

There are five movies that I have to watch every single year to mark the Christmas season. If I don't get them in (like last year), it almost feels like Christmas didn't happen. Am I the only one? 

Anyway, here are my five favorites: 

1. The Santa Clause

"The Santa Clause" is one of those movies that I loved as a kid and I still love as an adult. I also recently found out that a significant number of people believe Claus is actually spelled with an "e" and don't realize the title is a pun. Oops. Watching it these days, I totally see Scott's side of everything--and find myself even more bewildered by Charlie's mom and Neil. It's such a great movie: simple, heartwarming, and featuring some of the best, goofiest, 1990s-era jokes and effects. 

2. The Polar Express

Pretend for a moment that this movie doesn't have that weird, hyper-Christian undertone. Ok, now I love it. I just ignore all that part. It's a beautiful movie (even with the uncanny valley effect) and has some amazing songs and moments. I always find myself wishing to know more about all the other kids on the train and I wish more of the movie was spent in the actual North Pole, because the buildings, elf workshops, and square are just beautiful. 

3. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Every year as a kid, I looked forward to watching "the Muppet Christmas Carol" on TV. It was the best part of the holidays. I still love this movie. When I finally got a DVD copy a few years ago, I had to order it from Hong Kong. Now, you can find it in Target almost every year. It's totally worth owning because I like to watch it every single Christmas eve. It's the perfect goofy, fun movie. 

4. Love Actually

I know there are some critics out there who argue that "Love Actually" is not, actually, a very good movie. Here's the thing though: they're wrong. Is it problematic in some ways? Oh, sure. But does that take away from my enjoyment of it as a Christmas movie? No. Because every single time Emma Thompson turns on that Joni Mitchell CD and cries in her bedroom, I cry like an infant whose been left behind. It's a breathtaking scene and any criticism of the film is redeemed in that moment. Because Emma Thompson is queen. 

5. the Nightmare Before Christmas

Is it a Halloween movie? Or a Christmas movie? That's the question. I like to think it's both. It's a movie that's perfect for the run up to the Christmas season--for that time between Thanksgiving and Christmas when it's still Fall, but you want to get excited about Christmas. All I know is, it was one of my favorite movies growing up and it's still one of my favorites now. And it's not Christmas until I've watched it. 

What are your favorite Christmas movies? 

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