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Top 4 Christmas movie picks for the 2018 holiday season

Christmas is a time when families often keep the tradition of spending at least one evening together, enjoying a delicious meal followed by relaxing in front of the TV to watch a favourite holiday movie.

Our family is no different. We love the holidays because it brings our family and friends together, helping us to remember and cherish each other through thoughtful gifts, memorable meals, festive songs and Christmas cheer.

Each year we pick a new movie to watch, and it’s been our tradition every year to let a different family member pick the holiday movie. Since we’ve had good and not-so-good picks over the years, this time I’ve decided to compile a list of our top 4 holiday movies for 2018 so that readers can easily join in our tradition.

My top 4-holiday movie picks are:

#1: YOUNG KIDS, PRETEENS AND FAMILIES: The Christmas Chronicles (2018, Rated TV-PG, Netflix)

This is a brand new family and kid-friendly Christmas comedy film from Netflix, recently released on November 22, 2018, just in time for Christmas. The film stars Kurt Russell as Santa and follows a brother and sister who hatch a plan to catch Santa Claus on camera which results in accidentally crashing Santa’s sleigh. With just the right amount of dialogue and action, the ensuing chaos turns into an unexpected journey that most kids could only dream about as these two siblings try to save Christmas. A highlight of the movie is when Santa performs a musical number of “Santa Claus Is Back in Town” in order to increase Christmas spirit. To top it off, Kurt’s solid acting makes the unfolding antics heartwarming, funny, and towards the end somewhat emotional (Cue a lump in your throat and a few tears). Not only does it remind us why Christmas is a time of sincere caring, but it can help you to open your heart and tap into the true meaning of “Christmas cheer”. Audiences have rated it 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, and because it only occasionally uses words like “damn”, “crap”, etc. I would recommend to all audiences, young or old.

#2: YOUNG KIDS, PRETEENS AND FAMILIES: Elf (2003, Rated G, Amazon Prime)

This is another family-friendly Christmas comedy film, starring Will Ferrell in his iconic and superbly cast role as one of Santa’s elves who learns he is actually a human and goes to New York City to meet his biological father, spreading Christmas cheer in a world of cynics. This film is regarded by many as one of the greatest Christmas films ever made, and for being perhaps Ferrell’s most beloved film role. His amazing acting is complemented by other famous actors who play various characters, including James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Daniel Tay, Ed Asner, and Bob Newhart.

Like the aforementioned “The Christmas Chronicles“, part way through the movie we get to hear (And sing along to) a musical favourite of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town“, this time helping raise enough Christmas spirit to fully power Santa’s sleigh. With an audiences rating of 78% on Rotten Tomatoes, I highly recommend this film for all audiences.

#3: PRETEENS AND FAMILIES: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000, Rated G, Amazon Prime)

Dr. Seuss’s classic storybook comes to life with this live-action adaptation from the famous director Ron Howard (Angels & Demons, Apollo 13, Backdraft, A Beautiful Mind, Cocoon, The Da Vinci Code, Far and Away, Frost/Nixon, Inferno, Made in America, Parenthood, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Splash, Willow, etc.).

Not only is it superbly directed, but it was a huge box-office success, becoming the second highest-grossing holiday film of all-time. It also won an Academy Award for Best Makeup as well as getting nominations for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

The film stars Jim Carrey as the Grinch, and to be honest, there isn’t a past or present actor who is better suited for the role than him. Not only does he truly embody the mischievous nature of this self-centered vengeful creature who despises Christmas and those who celebrate it, but he’s able to humanize him by providing us with a clear picture as to why his sadistic nature evolved from childhood. This well-known story follows the Grinch as he plans on ruining the Christmas holiday for all of the citizens of the town of Who-Ville. But a heartwarming interaction with a young resident helps to transform the Grinch’s heart, helping everyone to focus less on gifts and festivities and more on their personal relationships.

Just a word of warning, small children might find the Grinch’s appearance scary, and some scenes can be upsetting due to his mean nature. One things for sure, either you like this film or you hate it, and that’s reflected in the 51% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Although it’s a Christmas fantasy movie, it can often come across as just a bit too dark and dense, and not light enough to be enjoyed by all audiences.

#4: OLDER TEENAGERS AND ADULTS: Love Actually (2003, Rated 14A, Netflix)

Although this movie is over 15 years old, it’s still known throughout the world as the ultimate Christmas romantic comedy, and one of the best all-around box-office movies for the season. The reason why I chose this particular movie is that I’ve always felt that Christmas is meant to remind us to focus on our relationships with each other. In fact, Christmas itself is really centered around our capacity to love. By opening our hearts to the Christmas message we slow down, stop and pay attention to who we love, why we love them and then take steps to make sure those loved ones know we truly care about them.

This delightfully funny yet sometimes bitter-sweet movie draws on eight “love stories” of very different couples set during a frantic month before Christmas. Not only does it boast an impressive cast (Starring: Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Martine McCutcheon, Bill Nighy, and Rowan Atkinson), but the cinematography, musical score and superb acting make this movie resonate with all audiences.

One caveat that bears some relevance is the fact that this movie has been rated Rated 14A for sexuality, nudity, and language. The rating stems primarily from several sexually explicit scenes, like seeing nipples, a brief view of a penis, simulated sex scenes, and a bedroom love scene. Also, unfortunately, it contains moderate coarse language, including the occasional use of the word “fuck”, but the word is used conversationally and is not used aggressively. It also contains some scenes that may upset very young viewers, like a woman becoming distressed when she suspects her husband of cheating on her. And, in another scene, a woman is almost attacked by her mentally ill brother at a hospital, but remains unharmed, calmly responding to the situation.

For more information see the links below:

#1: YOUNG KIDS, PRETEENS AND FAMILIES: The Christmas Chronicles (2018, Rated TV-PG, Netflix)

#2: YOUNG KIDS, PRETEENS AND FAMILIES: Elf (2003, Rated G, Amazon Prime)

#3: PRETEENS AND FAMILIES: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000, Rated G, Amazon Prime)

#4: OLDER TEENAGERS AND ADULTS: Love Actually (2003, Rated 14A, Netflix)

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