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The 13 movies of Christmas

Make merry with a wide array of classic films and television specials.
by Brandy McDonnell Published: December 25, 2012

7. “Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas” (1977): Muppets creator Jim Henson used a variety of puppetry techniques to adapt Russell and Lillian Hoban's children's storybook, which puts an animal twist on O. Henry's famed holiday tale “The Gift of the Magi.” This Emmy-nominated TV special is like three of my favorite things all in one.

8. “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947): Edmund Gwenn won a best supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of a man claiming to be Santa Claus in this stirring family drama co-starring Maureen O'Hara, John Payne and young Natalie Wood.

9. “A Christmas Carol” (too many to list): Charles Dickens' beloved Victorian saga has been adapted for the screen a multitude of times since the turn of the 20th century. I generally begin my annual holiday viewing with the 1984 telefilm starring George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge, but Alastair Sim's 1951 film “Scrooge” is better known. The Muppets, Mickey Mouse and a motion-capture Jim Carrey have all brought the “bah humbug” to the screen.

10. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” (1966): Looney Tunes mastermind Chuck Jones co-directed the definitive screen adaptation of one of Dr. Seuss' kaleidoscopic rhyming tales. He even produced the musical TV special with Ted Geisel himself. Boris Karloff is brilliant as the narrator and voice of the emerald-hued grump, but Thurl Ravenscroft steals the show with his deep-voiced crooning (unfortunately uncredited) of “You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”

11. “Trading Places” (1983): John Landis' satirical comedy about a pampered commodities broker (Dan Aykroyd) and a broke street hustler (Eddie Murphy) who unwittingly swap lives as part of a scheme by two coldhearted investment bankers (Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche) who want to solve an ongoing debate about nature vs. nurture is set during the holiday season. Not only does it feature two comedic geniuses in their prime, but it also seems just as relevant today as it did nearly 30 years ago.

12. “White Christmas” (1954): Irving Berlin's musical starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen is my most likely choice for Christmas Day cinematic entertainment. Snow on Dec. 25 is a rare occurrence in Oklahoma, but that doesn't make hearing Bing croon the adored song any less heartwarming.

13. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993): Add a horror-fantasy flair to your musical Christmas with director Henry Selick's and producer Tim Burton's stop-motion tale of bored Halloween Town leader Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon provided his speaking voice, while Danny Elfman sang for him) who becomes obsessed with Christmas and decides to overthrow Santa Claus.

by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
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