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Getting Jolly
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Since it’s officially December we can all stop pretending we haven’t been both dreading and looking forward to the Christmas season for months now, and just roll with it. I’ve been listening to carols on my Spotify since Thanksgiving (maybe a little before), and shopping for gifts every spare minute; amazingly enough, they are gifts for other people – which is a surefire sign that it’s the holidays.

I know some people have a hard time getting into the holiday season, and lots of people get the Christmas blues. While I can’t wrap my mind around that necessarily, I can give you reasons to smile, even if you aren’t into all the kid movies with Claymation (which are awesome, by the way). Sometimes grown-ups just need a little adult time with some tasty spiked eggnog. And I’ve got the perfect movies for you to watch while you try to relax as you untangle lights for the tree and wrap presents until your back spasms.

1.       National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: This is one of my favorite movies of all times. In fact, it stays in rotation year-round, because sometimes you just need some Cousin Eddie. If you’ve never seen it I feel so sorry for you. There’s too many amazing one-liners to fit in this small column, there’s perfect jokes about how much most of us want to slam our heads against the wall after spending hours upon hours with our family. Look, don’t get down on my for that sentence – I love my crazy family. But I am a grown woman, and sometimes being around your family makes you feel like you’ve become a child again, which makes you want to run away and do things you have to have a little ago on you to do; like drink and smoke and rent a car.

2.       A Christmas Story: Another classic – I mean, how many people don’t know about the iconic leg lamp? Actually, most people I know have a t-shirt or a tree ornament with that leg on it. This movie pretty much plays on repeat on TNT all month, so if you’ve been hanging out under a rock since it came out in 1983, you can make sure to catch it. Then, when people say “you’ll shoot your eye out!” and laugh like maniacs you can actually know what they’re talking about.

3.       Scrooged: I am a huge Bill Murray fan, so there are few movies he’s in that I won’t watch happily and proclaim “brilliant!” This is one of them, of course, and another movie that stays in constant rotation in my home. Now, there have been a million takes on A Christmas Carol over the years – from Mickey Mouse to probably some adult version called something vile – but this is the best. Not just because Bill Murray is a total jerk (which amuses me), but because it’s just a great take on a classic that rings true to everyone in their own way this time of year. Whatever just watch it!

4.       Gremlins: Yep, I said Gremlins. I’m talking the original, not the second movie when they’re in New York and there’s that girl gremlin that looks like New York from the Flavor of Love television show. I mean, there’s a whole crazy monologue from Phoebe Cates about her dad getting caught in the chimney while trying to play Santa one year. It’s a nice change from Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph. Plus, who doesn’t love Gizmo? People without cold, cold lumps of clay where their hearts should be, that’s who.

5.        The Nightmare Before Christmas: You can get your Claymation fix on with this classic, and you might even let your older kids watch it with you. This is a weird movie, because I can never decide if I should watch it during Halloween or Christmas, so I settle on both, and watch it whenever I want. I’m just a rebel like that. It’s a dark little love story, and there’s singing, which we know thrills me, of course. But there’s also a little bit of creepy in there – a little sweet with the sour. And if you were a teen in the 90s and don’t love this movie then you’re probably being marked off some list of cool kids who know who Jordan Catalano is and have a favorite Spice Girl. Don’t be on that list – I don’t want to have to pull a face when I see you around town.