Making a list, checking it twice: Season’s best, most festive films

Photos courtesy of IMDb

By Kalena Reynolds | Reporter

Christmas is right around the corner, and it’s finally socially acceptable to buy a jug of eggnog that will probably sit in the back of your fridge until spring cleaning comes around. That said, it’s also time for the annual rotation of classic Christmas movies, so here’s the starting lineup based on originality, acting, plot and likability. And no, “Die Hard” didn’t make the list.

1. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

Sliding into the No. 1 spot is the notable “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Between the dirty, outrageous humor and over-the-top storyline, this Christmas film is so bad, it’s good. While it’s not your average heartwarming family Christmas movie, it’s one that will leave your head spinning and stomach sore from laughter. It won’t be the first on most Christmas movie rankings — or even on the list, for that matter — but it encapsulates the Christmas spirit. Chevy Chase never fails in cinema and always finds a way to craft characters that are both equally lovable and cringeworthy. This film takes a turn from the typical “everything is perfect because it’s Christmas” facade that plays out in a majority of holiday movies, showcasing a more realistic side of Christmastime.

2. “The Santa Clause 2”

While the entirety of “The Santa Clause” movie franchise is binge-worthy, “The Santa Clause 2” is made for the full-bellied fireplace watch on Christmas Eve. The cast is unbeatable, from Tim Allen and Elizabeth Mitchell to David Krumholtz and Spencer Breslin. In “The Santa Clause 2,” Tim Allen’s Scott Calvin is thrown two significant roadblocks: His son is on the naughty list, and Calvin must get married if he wants to remain Santa. Allen’s character is blunt and lacks self-awareness, but he turns a corner as he meets his love interest. While he learns to open his heart, he steals ours with his care for his son and the people around him, which is why it deserves the second spot on this list.

3. “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Let’s be honest here: “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is basically a cult classic. Everyone has seen it, and everyone loves it. There is nothing particularly spectacular about this movie beyond its nostalgia. It has withstood the test of time across generations, as it was first released in 1965 and is still streamed online due to its popularity. It’s heartwarming and a sweet reminder of childhood innocence and glee during Christmas.

The movie was ahead of its time, as the storyline follows Charlie Brown and his frustration with materialism during Christmas. Linus’ infamous speech about the true meaning of Christmas is still notable today and manages to cheer up Charlie Brown after he experiences a wave of doubt and deflation upon learning how his peers view Christmas.

4. “Krampus”

While “Krampus” isn’t what most people think of when envisioning warm and fuzzy Christmas movies, it features a unique spin on holiday films: It will send a chill down everyone’s spine with its top-notch jump scares.

The film was released in 2015 and is based on European folklore about a devil-horned monster that eats children on the naughty list. Everyone needs a change from the average rotation of Christmas movies, and “Krampus” is the perfect film for that — as long as you don’t watch it at night.

5. “Elf”

“Elf” takes the No. 5 spot on this list for its classic belly laughs and all-around cuteness. There is no doubt that the acting in this movie is top-notch, but it’s arguably overrated, which is why it’s landing in fifth place.

The movie has one of the best casts of any Christmas movie. With Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel as two of the main characters, it was bound to be a hit. Ferrell’s quirky take on Buddy the Elf and how he views the world is refreshing. The film was unique during its release and remains so to this day — thanks to its ability to avoid being too cheesy despite its over-the-top main character, who we all know and love.