Dec. 21, 2011 at 1:36 PM ET
There aren't that many holidays that get a ton of their own movies. You're not going to see an "Arbor Day" comedy, and outside of the creepy "Leprechaun" horror series, there aren't a lot of St. Patrick's Day films either.
But Christmas movies are as abundant as snowflakes at the North Pole. From the old classics ("It's a Wonderful Life") to the gut-busters ("National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation") to the delightful surprises ("The Nightmare Before Christmas"), there's truly something for everyone.
We've got a slideshow of great Christmas movies, and here are a few of our staff favorites. You're encouraged to share your favorite in the comments, and by voting in our poll.
'A Christmas Story'
The classic. The great Jean Shepherd not only wrote the story, he offers the narration as adult Ralphie. It's so quotable, so memorable, so much a part of our culture. "I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!" " You'll shoot your eye out, kid!" "Only I didn't say 'Fudge.'" "It's a major award!" "A crummy commercial?" "Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian." The tongue stuck to the pole, the leg lamp -- the movie is about none of that as much as it's about family. I'll take a 24-hour marathon of the Parker clan over any time spent with the Kardashians any day. -- Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation'
"Christmas Vacation" is often overlooked due to all the attention given the original "Vacation," but it's just as much of a classic. Clark Griswold is every person who's ever longed to recreate a wonderful family Christmas with all the perfect trimmings, even if that dream was forever out of reach and it never really happened that way in the past, either. And the lines rival "Christmas Story" for humor. Some of my favorites involve doofus cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid). When he asks Clark if he's surprised to see him, Clark's classic response is: "Oh, Eddie... If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now." --G.F.C.
This one's for the less-traditional holiday movie watcher in all of us. But 1988's introduction of John McClane (Bruce Willis) and his oft-quoted catch phrase that begins "Yippie-ki-yay" is sure to warm the cockles of your heart. It kicks off at a holiday party, introducing the gloriously Scroogey Alan Rickman in one of his earliest American roles as the greedy Hans Gruber. Then there's the careful slaying of Gruber's gun-toting elves by McClane (who adds a little "ho ho ho" to a sign he tapes to a robber's body that also reads "Now I have a gun"), and the most creative use of holiday packing tape in all of cinema (who knew it could strap a piece to a sweaty, oily cop's bare back?) Ultimately, this is a film about family, about a guy who flies all the way across the country to be with his wife and children, and discovers he's going to have to jump off the top of a building with just a fire hose strapped to his waist to be able to hold them in his arms again. There's even snow, of a sort, in the form of negotiable bearer bonds twinkling in the night sky. Spike your egg nog and punch a reporter in the face: It's showtime! -- Randee Dawn
What's your favorite Christmas movie? Tell us in the comments, and vote in our poll.
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