Rockin’ around the Christmas TV: What classifies as a holiday movie?

By Madeline Condor | Staff Writer

Countless movies come with the most wonderful time of the year. Holiday specials are filmed, and holiday classics rerun constantly. With the spread of cheer, many staples enter the mix, but some of them aren’t strictly made for the holiday season. What classifies a movie as a “holiday movie”?

My annual rewatch of “When Harry Met Sally” typically comes in late September, due to the changing weather, colorful leaves and smell of autumn in the air. It just feels right to watch it at that time of year.

The same goes for “Edward Scissorhands” — a movie that falls during Christmastime. The movie is full of snow, lights and ’80s Christmas decorations. While the aim of the film wasn’t and never will be to be a holiday staple, it is one for me.

To answer my original question, what classifies a movie as a “holiday movie” is the mood it puts you in. Do the scenes capture the essence of what it means to celebrate the holidays? I’m not talking about the Christmas setting in “Die Hard,” which doesn’t capture the feel of the season.

While there are movies that obviously fit the bill for holiday movies — like “A Christmas Story” or “White Christmas,” where the time of year is integral to the plot — other movies should make their way onto your seasonal rewatch list.

“Little Women” is a warm-feeling movie that’s perfect to watch while sipping cocoa beneath the tree. “Groundhog Day” is great for a rewatch at a bonfire. “Catch Me If You Can” is perfect to watch with your family at a holiday reunion. These movies technically wouldn’t count as holiday movies, but their mood correlates with the time of the year.

I know plenty of people wouldn’t agree with my line of thinking, but this is the way I see it: If it makes sense to watch a movie in Christmas pajamas, it totally counts as a holiday movie. I would never sit in candy-cane-decorated attire to watch “Triangle of Sadness” or “Carrie,” but I 100% would for “Eyes Wide Shut.”

Celebrate the holidays with the films that you hold dear to your heart. I’ll follow my tradition of watching “The Polar Express” on Christmas Eve, but I’ll let a few nontraditional holiday movies slip in as well.