The advent calendar is one of the great holiday traditions. Counting the days until Christmas can be as simple as moving a marker from one day to the next or opening a tiny numbered door to reveal a verse or small treat.
Last year, my mother challenged me with something a little more elaborate. She gave me a box of numbered envelopes, and in each envelope was a good deed to do for the day. It was a fantastic exercise in the true spirit of the season.
It also gave me an admittedly less altruistic idea. This year, I want to challenge film fans to complete the Christmas Movie Advent Calendar. Starting Saturday, just watch one holiday movie each day until Christmas.
Here are 25 suggestions for your calendar, some traditional and some not-so-traditional:
- “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” & “Frosty the Snowman” — Originally television specials, Rudy and Frosty were released on DVD a few years ago. Sometimes it’s just nice to reminisce.
- “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” — Classic Dr. Seuss cartoon trumps the Mike Meyers movie any day.
- “The Santa Clause” & “The Santa Clause 2” — These movies, starring Tim Allen, had no right to be this adorable.
- “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” & “The Muppets Christmas Carol” — The classic Dickens tale gets the kiddie treatment.
- “Scrooged” — Dickens meets Bill Murray. Best part of this modern take? The stagehand trying to staple antlers on mice.
- “Polar Express” — An incredible journey aboard a train bound for the North Pole.
- “The Chronicles of Narnia” — Step through the wardrobe into a winter wonderland.
- “Smoky Mountain Christmas” — Absolutely loved this Dolly Parton TV special as a kid. It’s a Dolly-fied version of Snow White, complete with an evil witch. But the music made it worth it. If anyone has a copy, let me know.
- “John Denver & the Muppets Christmas” — Denver and the Muppets crew lend their voices to Christmas classics and original Denver tunes. “Alfie the Christmas Tree” brings on the waterworks every time.
- “Prancer” — Girl nurses reindeer, who may or may not belong to Santa, back to health.
- “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” — The reason my family never had a real tree. Mom was terrified we’d get one inhabited by a squirrel.
- “Home Alone” — Maybe Kevin’s infamous scream won’t be quite as annoying after all these years. Maybe.
- “The Nightmare Before Christmas” — Only Tim Burton could meld Christmas and Halloween.
- “Love Actually” — Fantastic film follows eight couples during a frantic month before Christmas.
- “You’ve Got Mail” — The Little Shop Around the Corner all dressed up for Christmas reminds us why little shops feel like home.
- “Sleepless in Seattle” — A Christmas Eve call into a radio show brings a widowed father many admirers, including a New Yorker who might just be the one.
- “While You Were Sleeping” — After saving man on the train tracks on Christmas Day, Sandra Bullock pretends to be his fiancée, then falls in love with his brother.
- “Die Hard” & “Die Hard 2” — Certainly not traditional Christmas fare, but both Jon McClane adventures take place during the holidays.
- “Reindeer Games” — Not as cheery as it sounds. But a good flick with Ben Affleck.
- “Gremlins” — The perfect gift for Christmas? An adorable little furball that, should you decide to give him a bath and a snack, spawns horrible monsters.
- “Ghostbusters II” — The sequel culminates with a New Year’s Eve showdown with an ancient bad guy. Good cheer saves the day.
Heather Bremer, a former Herald Bulletin reporter/designer, writes a weekly column on movies, television and pop culture. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.