Five essential Christmas movies

It’s the season everyone has been waiting for all year long: Christmas! There are thousands of Christmas movies to get you in the spirit, but here are five classic Christmas movies that you must watch. 

The Preacher’s Wife (1996) 

Rev. Henry Biggs (Courtney B. Vance) is the pastor of a struggling Baptist church in an impoverished neighborhood of New York City. The church’s finances are in trouble, and Henry is under a lot of pressure from real estate developer Joe Hamilton (Gregory Hines) to sell him the church’s property so that he can build luxury condominiums. Because of all the pressure, Henry has become neglectful of his wife, Julia (Whitney Houston), and his son, Jeremiah (Justin Pierre Edmund). Henry prays to God for help, which comes in the form of an angel named Dudley (Denzel Washington). Dudley tells Henry that he is an angel sent by God, but Henry is very suspicious of Dudley. Julia, however, is immediately charmed by Dudley. Dudley begins to disrupt Hamilton’s schemes to get Henry to sell the church. Henry realizes that his family is the most important thing in his life, and he begins to be a better husband and father. 


Miracle on 34th Street (1947) 

In this classic Christmas movie, an old man named Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) fills in for a drunk Santa in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Kringle is a hit with everyone, and he starts appearing regularly at Macy’s main store in midtown Manhattan. Kringle surprises customers and employees by insisting that he really is Santa Claus. This leads to a court case to determine if he is mentally healthy and, more importantly, his authenticity. 


 The Polar Express (2004) 

On the night of Christmas Eve, a boy (Daryl Sabara) becomes skeptical of Santa Claus’s existence. Struggling to go to sleep, he sees a steam locomotive arrive on the street, and goes outside to examine it. The conductor introduces the train as the Polar Express, on its way to the North Pole. On the train, he meets an energetic girl (Nona Gaye) and a know-it-all boy (Eddie Deezen) who help him on his journey to believing in Santa Claus. 


Home Alone (1990) 

When Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin), a bratty 8-year-old, misbehaves the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother (Catherine O’Hara) forces him to sleep in the attic. After the McCallisters accidentally leave for the airport without Kevin, he wakes up to an empty house and assumes his wish to have no family has come true. But his excitement turns to fear when he realizes that two thugs (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) plan to rob his house, and that he alone must protect his family’s home. 


A Christmas Story (1983) 

This beloved holiday film follows a young boy named Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), who spends most of his time avoiding a bully (Zack Ward) and fantasizing about his ideal Christmas present, a “Red Ryder air rifle.” Often disagreeing with his cranky dad (Darren McGavin) but comforted by his loving mother (Melinda Dillon), Ralphie struggles to make it to Christmas with his glasses and his hopes unscathed. 

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