End-of-the-year celebrations give many families a rare opportunity to be together under one roof.
There are scores of ways to take advantage of that time together — and one of them is by watching a Christmas-themed movie.
While there are plenty of choices, many of the go-to favorites below are worth another look, with a surprise tossed in as well.
Check it out — and let us know about your favorite Christmas family movies in the comment section below.
1.) “Home Alone” (1990). With a now 38-year-old Macaulay Culkin reprising his role as Kevin McCallister in a hilarious new Google commercial, it’s the perfect time to revisit the classic film starring a very young Culkin. Chris Columbus directed the film and John Hughes (“The Breakfast Club,” “Pretty in Pink”) wrote it.
Young Kevin McCallister (pictured above left) is left home alone after his family somehow forgets him when they jet off for their Christmas vacation. While they try to make their way back to him during the height of holiday travel season, McCallister must defend his home from a pair of threatening bandits, played with hilarity by Joe Pesci (“Goodfellas,” “Raging Bull”) and Daniel Stern (“City Slickers,” “The Wonder Years”).
“Home Alone” has held up so well over the years because it’s an honest picture about youth, family, and needing to stand up for oneself when the occasion calls for it. It’s also wildly funny and inventive.
“Home Alone” is available on Hulu.
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2.) “The Christmas Chronicles” (2018). Kurt Russell (above right) has been rocking what may be the best beard in the entertainment industry in his last few pictures, such as in the R-rated westerns “The Hateful Eight” and “Bone Tomahawk.”
That beard is now helping him entertain the kids by playing Santa Claus in Netflix’s “The Christmas Chronicles,” which recently debuted on Netflix. (His beard in the film is reportedly 80 percent real.)
The film finds Russell’s Santa Claus taking a brother and sister on a wild adventure on Christmas Eve after the two desperately try to capture a picture of him.
“Christmas Chronicles” is exciting and funny and Russell is pitch-perfect in his role. He’s one of the best cinematic Santas out there. There’s also a surprise cameo at the end of the movie that parents will love.
“The Christmas Chronicles” is available on Netflix.
3.) “Christmas with the Kranks” (2004). This finds comedy gold in the pairing of Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. The performers play a couple planning to take a vacation from Christmas the first year their daughter says she will not be home.
When said daughter makes a last-minute schedule change, Allen and Curtis rush to create a Christmas for her.
“Kranks” finds humor in both the good of Christmas and the stresses that often come hand-in-hand with it. It’s a film that delivers on the funny — and has a great message at the end.
“Christmas with the Kranks” is available on Amazon Prime.
4.) “Magic” (2018). While not a traditional Christmas movie, “Magic” is the perfect film to watch with the family before the year is up. Director Robert Davi and the remarkable no-kill animal sanctuary in Los Angeles known as D.E.L.T.A. Rescue recently exclusively premiered the movie on LifeZette.
Christopher Lloyd (“Back to the Future,” “Angels in the Outfield”) voices Magic, an angelic dog sent to heal a broken family consisting of a grieving father and daughter. Meanwhile, a doctor and a laboratory staff are also chasing Magic, hoping to use him for experiments.
“Magic” is about the importance of family and the relationships we create in our lives, especially with our pets.
“It’s a dog’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,'” Davi, who also stars in the picture, told LifeZette about the film in an exclusive interview. For those who never thought they needed a dog’s “Wonderful Life,” “Magic” proves they absolutely do.
5.) “The Case for Christmas” (2011). Dean Cain (“Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” “Ripley’s Believe It or Not”) is the king of Christmas movies. He’s starred in a seemingly endless array of holiday-themed pictures; “The Case for Christmas” is one of the best.
The film, originally aired by Hallmark in 2011, features Cain as a lawyer who has lost his Christmas spirit. How he gets it back is by defending Santa Claus in court. The film is goofy but engaging. It’s a wonderful tale for the whole family that has plenty of laughs for the kids and plenty for everyone to take away from the experience.
You can stream “The Case for Christmas” on the Hallmark streaming app.
Check out the trailer for “The Case for Christmas” below: