It is the 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 equal parts love and anxiety. 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, we couldn’t find any Just Friends showings, but there’s plenty of other stuff. Pass the eggnog flavored popcorn….

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Screenings:

  • Love Actually (Opens Dec 16th (TODAY!) @ Bethesda Row Cinema) I shouldn’t have to tell you why Love Actually is a great Christmas move. Any film that manages to cast Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Martin Freeman, and Keira Knightly is a goddamn winner.

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  • The Muppet Christmas Carol (Opens Dec 18th @ AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center) The Christmas Carol is a classic. And it can only be made better with Muppets.

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  • It’s A Wonderful Life (Opens Dec 18th @ AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center) 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.

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  • The Nutcracker – Bolshoi Ballet (December 20 @ 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).

  • A Christmas Story (Opens Dec 21nd @ AFI) Never give up hope about getting that gift that you really wanted.

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  • Die Hard (December 22 + 24 @ AFI, December 23 @ Bethesda Row) 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.

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And if you’re staying in, here are some movies that are just a few clicks away:

Netflix Instant Viewing:

A Very Murray Christmas – Directed by Sofia Coppola, A Very Murray Christmas is like a giant spoof of the whole celebrity cameo driven Christmas movie. The trick to understanding the plot is understanding that there basically is no plot. So just sit back, relax, and enjoy Bill Murray being forced to sing Christmas carols by Amy Poehler and Julie White.

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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.

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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.

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I’ll Be Home For Christmas – Another 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.

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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.

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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 after all) 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.

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Christmas with the Kranks – In this movie Tim Allen changes out of his Santa costume and back into his suburban-middle-class-dad costume for good. He’s married to Jamie Lee Curtis and together they make a sort of charmingly dysfunctional couple. Watching game: what kind of hijinx will Tim Allen get into now?

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Bad Santa – Billy Bob Thorton plays an alcoholic who dresses up as Santa and robs stores for fun until he befriends a troubled kid with a heart of gold, but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that Billy Bob Thorton plays an alcoholic and it is hilarious. Pour some (or a lot of) mint schnapps into some hot chocolate and enjoy.

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Fireplace for Your Home – No script, no actors, just one hour’s worth of a fireplace crackling to a festive soundtrack. It’s not going to overwhelm with you excitement but hey, it can’t disappoint you – Fireplace for Your Home doesn’t hide what it truly is.

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

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