While driving home from work the other day, I was listening to a call-in show on NPR. A woman called to find out the best way for her family to save money for their child’s college fund. It made me think about how expensive our little bundles of joy can be. The good news – kids don’t always separate you from your money – sometimes they actually help you keep some! Here are a few ways your kids will help fatten your wallet come tax time.
The holiday season is all about getting together and spending time with family and friends, right? Sure, that’s all fine and dandy, but let’s talk about what else is really great about this time of year. As a kid, I always looked forward to snow days, sledding and time off from school. While those activities are fun, there’s still one thing that’s missing. Any guesses? I’m talking about holiday movies!
What’s so great about holiday movies? For starters, you can enjoy them while also spending time with family and friends. It’s a good way to kick back, relax and most importantly – laugh! Some of my greatest childhood memories stem from my parents making root beer floats or a big bowl of popcorn and then throwing in a movie. When I think of holidays, movies immediately come to mind. With that, I give you my list of top holiday movies. Enjoy!
For me, it doesn’t get any better than Home Alone. As a kid, I always wondered what it would be like to be left home alone. Eight-year-old Kevin McCallister, aka Macaulay Culkin, actually got to experience that feeling firsthand in the movie. What’s even better is that he had to protect his home from two burglars who planned on robbing it. An 8-year-old against two adult burglars doesn’t seem like a fair fight, right? Wrong! Kevin successfully defends his house, although he realizes that he’d rather have his family around for the holidays.
I liked the movie so much my parents had to buy it for me on a couple different occasions due to wear and tear on the first one. If you haven’t seen Home Alone, you’re missing out! I also recommend Home Alone 2, although any version after that isn’t worth your time.
I’ll admit that I’m a huge Will Ferrell fan. With that said, how could I leave Elf off my list? Ferrell, who is well over 6’ tall, is raised as an elf in the North Pole. Due to all the mistakes Ferrell makes because of his height, he’s sent to New York City to search for his biological father. While Ferrell is one that often uses a lot of profanity in his other roles, Elf is a movie that the whole family can enjoy.
The Santa Clause
If you like Tim Allen, you’ll like The Santa Clause. Allen, known as Scott Calvin in the movie, inadvertently causes Santa Claus to fall off his roof to his death. Scott follows the directions left behind in Santa’s clothing, and all of a sudden, transforms into the real-life Santa. Scott and his son Charlie do everything a kid could dream of, including riding in Santa’s sleigh, visiting the North Pole and helping the elves prepare for Christmas.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Some people like the animated version that came out in 1966, others like the version that came out in 2000 that starred Jim Carrey. It doesn’t really matter which one you’re partial to because in the end, the plot is the same. The Grinch, who is some sort of creature, hates Christmas and everything it stands for. He hates it so much that he goes around the town of Whoville and steals all the Christmas presents, trees, lights and anything else to do with Christmas. In the end, he comes to the realization that Christmas is more about spending time with family than material goods.
Aside from the different versions of movies, there is also a book, which I highly recommend.
A Christmas Story
My dad absolutely loves the movie. Ever since I can remember, it’s been a family tradition to watch A Christmas Story on Christmas Day. Considering the movie is played continuously for 24 hours straight on TBS, that’s not too hard to achieve. I think what’s so great about the movie is that many kids can relate to it. Ralphie – the main character – is a 9-year-old boy who wants a Red Ryder B.B. gun for Christmas and nothing else. Throughout the movie, Ralphie is told by his parents, teachers and even Santa Claus that he’ll shoot his eye out with a B.B. gun. Just when it looks like Ralphie wasn’t going to get what he wanted for Christmas, his dad surprises everyone – including his wife – and tells Ralphie he has one last gift to open. Of course the one gift turned out to be the coveted B.B. gun.
The story doesn’t end there. After taking his new gun out for testing, a bullet ricochets and hits him in the face. Afraid to tell his parents what really happened, Ralphie lies and avoids getting his gun taken away. People seem to either love or hate the movie, but I think that’s mainly due to how much it’s overplayed. In my opinion, it’s a classic.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph’s story has been going around since a book was published about the fictional reindeer back in 1939. Along with the book, a song and a movie are also widely popular. What’s so special about Rudolph besides the fact that he helps fly Santa around? It’s his red nose. While all the other reindeer made fun of Rudolph because of his oddly colored nose, Santa embraced it and asked Rudolph to lead the way.
It’s a Charlie Brown Christmas
I’m not a huge fan of cartoons, although It’s a Charlie Brown Christmas is still good enough to crack my list. A lot of people focus on the commercialized part of Christmas. I’m talking about the gifts, cards and everything else that goes into it. In the movie, Charlie Brown gets upset over that fact. He spends the rest of the time searching for the “true meaning of Christmas.” It’s a good movie to help people understand that there truly is more to the holiday than just receiving.
Frosty the Snowman
While I hate snow now, I loved it as a kid. Building snowmen was one of the highlights of my winters, along with watching Frosty. When the snow began to melt at the end of every winter, all the snowmen in my neighborhood began to thaw as well. The same goes for the movie. A group of kids build a snowman that comes to life. As spring nears, Frosty realizes he will melt away if he doesn’t head somewhere cold.
I know I’ve left some popular ones off the list, but I can do that because it’s MY list. With that said, I know A Nightmare Before Christmas is popular, although I’ve never been a fan. The same can be said with A Muppet Christmas Carol and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Do you agree with my list? If not, what are some of YOUR favorite Christmas movies? Let us know in the comments section below!