Culture Pick: The Culture Desk’s holiday movie picks 

McKenzie Knight, Contributing Writer

As students at The University of Alabama inch closer to the conclusion of the fall semester, many are looking for ways to destress before the highly eventful exam week. The Crimson White Culture Desk has curated their selection of holiday and Christmas movies to make your holiday season special. 


“Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” (1992) 

After the first installment grossed $476.7 million worldwide in 1990, it was decided that “Home Alone 2” would be made. It follows young Kevin McCallister, who, once again, finds himself lost and without his family during the holiday season. This time he’s stuck in New York City instead of his hometown. To no one’s surprise, this film has even more hijinks and funny quips, leaving the antagonists rolling in pain and viewers rolling with laughter.  


“Miracle on 34th Street” (1994) 

If it’s a classic you’re looking for, “Miracle on 34th Street” is the movie for you. It’s a story laced with the nostalgia one would expect from a Christmas movie. Directed by George Seaton, this film takes viewers through the weeks between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day in New York City. It follows a department store Santa Claus and his effects on the lives of those around him as he claims to be the real Santa. 


“Elf” (2003) 

With some considering it to be Will Ferrell’s best acting performance to date, “Elf” is arguably one of the more quotable holiday movies. As many Christmas movies tend to be, this film is set in New York City, complete with snowball fights, Christmas trees and more. Ferrell’s practiced comedic timing, along with the family-friendly nature of the movie, draws viewers of all ages to experience Buddy the Elf’s lively antics. 


“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) 

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is about a businessperson who does not understand the positive impact of his contributions to the lives of those around him. He is sent an angel to help him know what the world would be like without him around. Viewers will experience a rollercoaster of emotions as this film progresses, and it is an excellent movie to watch with the family.  


“Barbie in ‘A Christmas Carol’” (2008)  

“Barbie in ‘A Christmas Carol’” is a niche Christmas classic that takes a more feminine twist on the original Charles Dickens tale. Follow Barbie as she plays Eden Starling and transforms her character from a snooty diva to a humble celebrator of Christmas. Sit down with a nice cup of hot cocoa and enjoy while this film brings back the sparkly nostalgia of childhood. 


“The Princess Switch” (2018) 

Starring Vanessa Hudgens, “The Princess Switch” is a beautiful feel-good film for the holiday season. Taking place in the fictional country of Belgravia, it spotlights Stacy De Novo in a modern-day adaptation of “The Prince and the Pauper.” Viewers see her, a Chicago baker travel to a fictional kingdom for a baking competition. The twist is that the princess of the kingdom looks exactly like her, allowing both characters to switch places and live a different life in the holidays.  


“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000) 

Adapted from Dr. Seuss’ tale of the same name, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is a classic Christmas film that will instill viewers with the spirit of the Christmas season. Jim Carrey plays the Grinch, a cranky creature who lives alone on a cliff above the Christmas-obsessed town of Whoville. He despises the season for what it stands for and works diligently to ensure no one else enjoys it. Soon, though, he learns that Christmas isn’t just about the gifts given; it’s also about the relationships one holds. At the end of this film, viewers will also see their hearts grow three sizes larger.  


“The Polar Express” (2004) 

Though it has been noted to have an eerie animation style, this list of winter movies would be lacking if this classic were not included. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, it stars Tom Hanks as a peppy conductor of the Polar Express, a train that picks up kids from outside of their homes and takes them to the North Pole to celebrate Christmas with Santa. “The Polar Express” is a family favorite to some because of how it pulls at heartstrings and breaks down the distinct aspects of the Christmas spirit.  


“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989) 

Considered one of the more popular Christmas movies, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” follows the Griswold family as they have the most outlandish Christmas season imaginable. Unfortunately, everything that could go wrong goes wrong, and watchers are stuck between laughing and feeling bad for all the characters involved. 


“Four Christmases” (2008) 

An underrated Christmas icon, comedian Vince Vaughn stars in “Four Christmases” alongside legend Reese Witherspoon. Playing a couple who don’t want children and hope to spend their Christmas by the beach, Witherspoon and Vaughn’s plans are stopped when flights are cancelled due to bad weather. Both from divorced families, they then must visit all four of their parents’ households in one day, where they learn that maybe Christmas, and at least some of their family members, aren’t that bad after all.