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It is that most magical time of the year where everything smells like peppermint bark and fir trees and non-denominational holiday candy and the air is filled with love and anxiety (equal parts). And a major part of what makes holiday season the holiday season ARE THE HOLIDAY MOVIES (duh).

So, without further a do, here are, in chronological order-all the holiday movies you can catch on the big screens across the area this month (+ some handy Netflix selections at the bottom). Sadly, no Just Friends showings we could find, but plenty of other stuff. Pass the eggnog flavored popcorn….




  • It’s A Wonderful Life (Opens Dec 19th @ AFI and Arlington Drafthouse, opens at Angelika on Dec 21st) I shouldn’t have to tell you what this film is about, because you MUST have seen it, but George Bailey is having a crisis of faith and a streat of misfortune and contemplates ending it all on Christmas Eve. But when Clarence, an angel who’s trying to get his wings, is sent to help him see the light George Bailey learns the true meaning of wealth and happiness and it will make you cry your eyes out and you’ll love it.


  • The Nutcracker – Bolshoi Ballet (December 21 + 23 @ Angelika) There is a small group of people who will pay to watch a ballet for 4 hours (that small group includes me) but you should too for so many reasons! Reason 1: the Bolshoi ballet is arguably one of the best ballet companies in the world. It has existed since 1776, which means it is as old as the US. Reason 2: The Nutcracker is a holiday classic and you can see it performed for $20. That is a steal! (Just don’t let anyone know you watched it on a screen).
  • Miracle on 34th Street (Opens Dec 22nd @ AFI) The theme of believing in Santa Clause is big for the holiday movie sort, but none really does it quite as well as this one. Macy’s hires the real Santa Clause (or so says Kris Kringle) and of course he is immediately deemed insane and probably not fit to have little kids sitting on his lap all day. But a lawyer, a Macy’s employee, and a super jaded little girl all work together to prove he is the real thing and therefore learn the true meaning of Christmas. If Santa did exist and tried to claim he really was real, I imagine it would go something like this.


  • A Christmas Story (Opens Dec 22nd @ AFI) Never give up hope about getting that gift that you really wanted.


  • Die Hard (December 22 + 24 @ AFI) I will never understand why people call this a Christmas movie. Call me a Christmas purist, but just because a movie takes place during the holiday season DOESN’T mean it’s a Christmas movie. Nonetheless, I don’t have to tell you that this movie is a classic and I suppose could be enjoyed at all times of year. NYPD officer John McClane teams up with himself to save his wife and her coworkers from a German terrorist and kicks some serious ass. This is not a Christmas movie.


  • Die Hard 2 (December 23 @ AFI) Apparently as long as a movie takes place on Christmas it is considered a Christmas movie. So continue with your Die Hard marathon and watch John McClane save Dulles air traffic and stop a terrorist.

and if you’re staying IN, here are a few that are just a few button pushes away:

Netflix Instant Viewing:

Love Actually – Every British actor  you could name off the top of your head (hello Colin Firth and Hugh Grant) and every romantic comedy plot you could think of come together in the ultimate rom-com mash up. It’s exploding with cuteness and the only thing better than this being an actual film is that it’s also a Christmas movie. YES.

love actually

  • The Nightmare Before Christmas – Tim Burton does Christmas (and Halloween) and it’s spectacular. You’ve seen this. But Jack Skellington is the king of Halloweentown and he discovers Christmas Town and weird things ensue.


  • Black Adder’s A Christmas Carol – Inexplicably not on IMDB, but Rowan Atkinson flips the story of A Christmas Carol around to where the ghosts teach a Victorian merchant in meanness and it is hilarious.


  • I’ll Be Home For Christmas – Another absolute product of the 90s, Jonathan Taylor Thomas (JTT, where have you gone?) and Jessica Biel star in this Christmas movie about a spoiled college kid who finds love and the true meaning of Christmas. I’m not so much recommending this so much as telling you that it exists.
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles – Steve Martin and John Candy play their archetypal characters, but who cares because that’s always funny.  Straight-laced Steve Martin is forced to travel with a slovenly shower ring salesman (because of course he is) when easier modes of transportation fail to get them home for the holidays.


  • White Christmas – Bing Crosby. Danny Kaye. Rosemary Clooney. This is the sort of cast that you can’t afford not seeing come together for a Christmas extravaganza (literally). These three greats are basically their singing and dancing selves as they team up to put on a truly great Christmas production for Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye’s former commanding general’s fledgling inn because there hasn’t been any snow this season. I think you can see where this is going (the title is White Christmas afterall) but the songs and the performances are not to be missed. You’ll also probably cry in this one too, because seeing an old, proud, military man cry may be one of the most heart-breaking things ever.


let us know in the comments if we missed anything. SPREAD THAT FILM CHEER FOR ALL TO ENJOY.