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Best Holiday Movies: You Don't Need Santa and Reindeer to Call it Christmas

I never thought of myself as a “girly girl” until the other day when my editor asked me my favorite Christmas movie. My first thought … “Can I look that up on Pinterest?” It’s true, you can.

I had no idea of my favorite Christmas movie. Aren’t they all the same? I’m really not what you would call a movie lover, and if you ask my co-worker, Elyse, she’ll tell you I’m a Scrooge. That’s a lie. I love Christmas, but Christmas movies? Like with Santa and reindeer and stuff?
My favorite Christmas movie, which some may argue is not a Christmas movie, is “The Holiday.” Yes, the rom-com with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz. Don’t believe it’s a Christmas movie? Google it. “The Holiday” ends like every other Christmas movie: You feel all warm and giddy inside. It’ll put you right into the Christmas spirit, just like Rudolph! And there’s lots of snow, so it must be a Christmas movie.
And if “The Holiday” counts, “Sweet Home Alabama” should too, right? There’s no snow, but that’s like every Christmas I’ve ever seen in the deep South, so it must be right. And then there’s the reason I became a journalist: “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.”
But on a serious note, I like “The Santa Clause” and “Elf,” and, of course, the classics like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” but here are my top three Christmas movies and why I love them:

This movie is about two women with guy problems (I can so relate) and how they want to experience somewhere new for Christmas. They swap homes, and both fall in love with a man in a town halfway across the world from their own.
It turns out the website from the movie, homeexchange.com, is real, so I know what I’m doing tonight. Just kidding, Rick (my editor-in-chief). But really, I would love to meet my own handsome Jude Law in some little cottage in England. I know, I know, movies aren’t real, and it never happens that way … but Christmas is about believing, right?
If you’re into rom-coms like me and you haven’t seen this movie, you need to watch it right away. You will fall in love and be more jolly than ever. 

I bet you thought my next one would be “Love Actually.” It probably would be if I had seen it … That’s what I’m doing Saturday. But back to business. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” – the one from 2000 with Jim Carey – is a classic.
One of my favorite things about this movie is all the little Who songs. I still sing along with every one of them. If this would have been a list of my favorite Christmas songs, this story would have been done last week.
But here’s the thing, I’ve always been on the Grinch’s side. This is probably why Elyse thinks I’m a Scrooge, but it’s totally out of love. I mean, in the end they all get along anyway, and it doesn’t even matter. Anyway …
My favorite scenes are when young Grinch has a crush on Martha May Whovier, and he does his best to win her affection. My heart melts for the poor guy when all the little Whos make fun of him, and if you can’t choose him after all that, do you even really know what Christmas is?
I completely understand why he wanted to ruin Christmas for the Whos. Revenge! But that’s not what Christmas is about, it’s about love. And that’s exactly why this movie makes it in my top three.
“In Whoville they say that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day … And then the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!”
How clever, Dr. Seuss.

This one is full of great quotes, and it’s not even the movie itself that makes it one of my favorites. It reminds me a lot of my own family. As an elementary school teacher, my mother looked most forward to “Polar Express” day, when she could sit Indian-style in the middle of the floor with her class of 8-year-olds, put on “The Polar Express” and sip hot chocolate from a mug. 
Of course, my favorite Christmas quote of all time came from this movie: “Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.” And it’s not talking about Santa Claus or reindeer. It’s about all those untouchable emotions, like friendship, love and hope, that shape who we are.  
I’m fortunate to have a family that cares little for materialistic things. We express our feelings openly, and everybody’s feelings matters as much as the other’s. And if something’s wrong, you might as well get it off your chest when you walk into Mama’s house. Otherwise, you’ll be questioned, maybe even tormented, until you let everybody know what’s got you down in the dumps. 
I’ve truly been blessed. I’ve learned what it means to have the spirit of Christmas, the spirit of giving and the spirit of love. 
See, I’m no Scrooge. You talk about love, and I’m all in. My mother no longer teaches third grade, but I’d be more than happy to curl up on the couch with reindeer blankets and hot chocolate while watching “The Polar Express” together. I know she would, too. 
So if the silver bell rings for all who truly believe, then you could easily say, I still hear the sweet sound.
Merry Christmas! 

By Randall Haley, associate editor of HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at randall.haley@hottytoddy.com.

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