The Chimes’ Christmas movie watchlist

The Chimes A&E staff decks your holiday watchlist with the most essential Christmas films.


Pierce Singgih, Kayla Santos, and Adam Pigott

Christmas films are beloved by many, including our own arts & entertainment staff. With winter break quickly approaching and Christmas around the corner, fill your Christmas watchlist with this joy-inducing array of films and television specials.


The animated classic is an absolute essential for the Christmas season. Adapted from the beloved Johnny Marks song, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” perfectly embodies Christmas spirit with its beautiful story of love and acceptance. Bolstered by a unique and endearing stop motion style, this film melts the hearts of any grinches or scrooges, reminding audiences that value and self-worth are found inside rather than out. – Pierce Singgih, Arts & Entertainment Editor


Released in 2003, Elf remains a Christmas favorite. When Buddy the Elf, played by Will Ferrell, realizes that he is human and that his real father resides in New York City, he leaves the North Pole in hopes of reuniting with his estranged father. From eating spaghetti with chocolate syrup to throwing snowballs at 50 miles an hour, Buddy must learn how to culturally adapt as he seeks to strengthen bonds with his father’s family. Elf will make you laugh out loud, sing along to “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” and maybe even shed a few tears. – Kayla Santos, Deputy Arts & Entertainment Editor


A young boy has an adventure of a lifetime when he hops on a train to the North Pole in this 2004 animated adaptation of the classic children’s book. He has trouble believing in Santa Claus throughout the film, but eventually begins to believe, prompting him to see and hear many things that others may not. This film’s main message is that “believing is seeing,” not the other way around. Robert Zemeckis, the director of dramatic films like Forrest Gump and Flight, has definitely shown his versatility with the joyously poignant “The Polar Express.” Zemeckis reunites with Tom Hanks, who shows his own versatility by playing so many different roles in this film. The adventure sequences and the Christmas themes make it a movie enjoyable for all ages. Adam Pigott, Staff Writer


Few films understand the spirit of Christmas like “A Charlie Brown Christmas” does. The animated classic puts audiences in Charlie Brown’s relatable blue shoes as he seeks to find the true meaning of Christmas. However, as Linus beautifully recites the nativity scene, Charlie rediscovers joy and happiness in his life. This film’s jazzy soundtrack, unashamed authenticity and timeless animation style will surely bring warmth and comfort to anyone experiencing the Christmas blues. – Singgih


Family tensions arise during Christmas time at the Stone household when Everett Stone, portrayed by Dermot Mulroney, decides to bring his girlfriend Meredith Morton, portrayed by Sarah Jessica Parker, home for the holidays. Unfortunately, the rest of the Stone family has difficulty welcoming her into the Christmas celebrations.  However, through the ups and downs, the two parties find a way to put their differences aside and make the most of the Christmas season. “The Family Stone” excellently reminds us of the Christmas season’s capability of uniting even the most polar opposites together.  – Santos


Director Ron Howard made an excellent choice recruiting the always-zany Jim Carrey to be the Grinch. Carrey’s portrayal of the Grinch is unparalleled and this film still holds up even 18 years after its initial release. In a live-action remake of the 1966 animated film, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” perfectly blends comedy with a sprinkle of drama as the Grinch turns from a Christmas-hating monster into a joyful compassionate being. His turn is as becoming as it should be, as he ultimately realizes that his problems stem from within. This film reminds us the power of Christmas knows no bounds. Pigott


Chicago Transit Authority token collector Lucy Moderatz, portrayed by Sandra Bullock, has the Christmas she never dreamed of when she saves her secret commuter crush, Peter Gallagher, from an oncoming train on Christmas Day. When information gets lost in translation at the hospital, the Gallaghers believe that Moderatz is the fianceé to now-comatose Peter. After spending a belated Christmas with the Gallaghers, she grows very fond of the family, even realizing that she is falling in love with Peter’s brother, Jack, portrayed by Bill Pullman. This film brings a romantic comedy twist to Christmas cinema, filling our hearts with both warmth and laughter. If you are looking for a ‘90s Christmas rom-com, look no further than “While You Were Sleeping.”– Santos


Kevin McCallister, played by Macaulay Culkin, is left, well, home alone after his family leaves for a Christmas vacation to Paris. Kevin’s initial fun and games quickly dissipate as bumbling burglars Harry and Marv, portrayed by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, respectively, plan on robbing the perceivably vacant house. Watching how their plans fail as a result of Kevin’s clever and painful traps is what makes the film so adventurous and comedic. Watching how Kevin turns everyday items into these traps creates a sense of awe. The film also contains the message of the importance of family and reconciliation, making it not only funny, but also meaningful. This film has jokes, laughs and lessons for all age groups scattered throughout. Pigott


Yes, “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie. – Singgih

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