One of the best parts of the holiday season is snuggling on the couch with snacks and loved ones to enjoy some great movies!  Whether they are old classics or new releases, not much compares to the memories we make as we laugh through someone else’s holiday triumphs and nightmares.

In case you need a little help planning, here are some suggested titles to add to your holiday playlist this year.

Don’t-Miss Classics

Elf – Breaking in to the holiday movie club, just like having a new carol recognized, is not an easy feat.  Yet, Will Ferrell’s Elf not only managed to win the hearts of viewers but became an instant classic.  Throughout the year, people can be heard quoting the silly ramblings of Buddy the Elf with goofy grins on their faces.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – They took us to Wally World, Europe and Vegas so why wouldn’t we want to spend the holidays with the Griswold’s?  This movie has it all – uninvited houseguests, dried out turkey, Christmas lights that don’t work, irritated neighbors and major drama.

Home Alone – Little Kevin gets left behind when his large family heads off to Europe and forgets he’s asleep in the attic. Over the next few days, he learns about the importance of family, helps a neighbor mend fences with his family and, in the process, protects his home from holiday burglars.

It’s a Wonderful Life – the truly wonderful thing about this movie is that it sheds light on the darker side of the holiday season.  There are people who feel depressed and suicidal and the main character, George, represents those who struggle during Christmastime.  His journey leads him to realize that he has a life worth living and, really, it’s an emotionally glorious thing to behold.

All the Christmas Carol Adaptations – Whether it’s the original, Bill Murray in Scrooged or Jim Henson’s creations in A Muppet Christmas Carol (and all of the others in between) the powerful message of watching the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future remains the same.  This is a sobering reminder of how our actions can affect others when we choose selfishness over generosity.

Polar Express – Who can resist Tom Hanks and a magical train during the holiday season?  This tale follows the adventure of a boy who grabs a ticket to the North Pole

Die Hard – The first movie in the popular franchise is set during Christmastime and is typically pretty easy to find on television.  Bruce Willis notoriously begins the film wearing a white tank top but, by the end of the film, he’s seen so much action that it’s covered in dirt, blood and grime.  All this cop wants for Christmas is to see his family again but first he must fight off some truly bad guys!

Harry Potter Series – While the Harry Potter films tend to span an entire school year, there is usually a scene about Christmas.  In fact, that tends to be the pivotal point when things get decidedly more interesting.  Besides, with the magic, the chime-fueled music and snowy scenery, there’s something festive about watching these movies during the holidays.

Gremlins – if you’re looking for a syrupy, warm and fuzzy holiday classic, you may want to skip Gremlins but if you’re a horror fan willing to deal with a little gore, you will love it.  When Billy is given a mysterious creature as an early Christmas gift, he tries to follow the specific instructions for its care but things end up going horribly wrong – and his entire town pays the price.

Nightmare Before Christmas – some people argue that this is a Halloween movie but, really, any film that centers on the abduction of Santa Claus qualifies as a Christmas movie!  It’s a tad creepy and macabre like any good Tim Burton film but the message is heartwarming and the songs are catchy!

Noteworthy Additions

If you’ve seen all of those classics or are just craving a few new movies for your holiday rotation, here are some good suggestions.

Rise of the Guardians – I recently reviewed this adorable holiday flick which is, largely, fun for the whole family.

Bad Santa – this is definitely one to save for grown-ups only!  Billy Bob Thornton plays the title character and he really lives up to his name.  This movie definitely proves that donning the red suit and rosy cheeks is not enough to make you jolly.

Unaccompanied Minors – this movie is absolutely ridiculous but what good holiday film isn’t filled with cheesy, unbelievable moments?  When a storm grounds flights, some unaccompanied minors stuck in an airport end up in a lot of trouble in their quest to make the most of their ruined plans.