Tonya Strickland

With three weeks off for winter break, students could go crazy with screaming little cousins and homemade sweaters or knitted gifts. Luckily these five holiday films can be found at the corner rental store or quite possibly on local programming during the wee hours of the morning when chocolate fudge sugar-highs are in full force.

“Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: Christmas Classics Collection”

The cute nasally reindeer voice of Rudy, the jolly narrator, and Yukon Cornelius with his catchy melody “Silver and Gold” will keep you whistling until February. Let’s not forget dorky little Hermey and his love for dentistry and the island of misfit toys! 1964 was the best year ever for the sole reason of this movie’s creation.

In the name of childhood nostalgia, it is OK to wrestle the remote from Grandpa’s hand in desperate search for Rudolph and his blinking nose, despite being old enough to watch “Bad Santa.”

Let’s face it; the “Jolly” would be taken out of the “Holly Jolly” this Christmas if it weren’t for the characters of this classic film in all their wonderful puppetry splendor.

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

Oh, that Clark Griswold, such the hallmark of Christmas joys. The way he lights up the outside of his house like the sun, how he falls off his ladder again and again as if straight out of an “America’s Funniest Home Video,” how he’s constantly pestered by his crazy relatives armed with snotty-nosed children and most memorably, how he finds the family fur-ball as a fried shisca-cat are all the gift-wrapped bad luck moments that have the power to crack any bah-humbugger.

And who doesn’t want to electrify their holiday cheer with a good belly-laugh at the sight of a dim-witted suburbanite? Sure, there’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th St.” but when Clark’s goofy neighbor sees him trying to fit a mammoth-sized Christmas tree through his front door and asks, “Hey Griswold. Where do you think you’re gonna put a tree that big?” and Clark replies with, “Bend over and I’ll show you,” no amount tingle-giving, warm-hearted cinematic competition can outshine this film.

“Jack Frost”

Oh wait, this film belongs on the “I-can’t-believe-someone-actually-came-up-with-a-plot-this-stupid” top five list. Oh well.

With a PG rating, one might wonder if this film could be classified under another category – maybe if a parallel to the R rating existed, not restricting some viewers on the ethic of offensive material such as sex and drugs but of offensively-mind-dumbing material such as dead fathers who comeback to life AS SNOWMEN.

Michael Keaton stars as Jack Frost, a not-so-there father who keeps missing out on his son’s life. Unfortunately, the dad dies. What’s even more unfortunate is that a magic harmonica is involved. So the kid plays the little instrument and Jack comes back to life as a snowman – topped off with a hat and scarf. There’s laughter, there’s tears and then there’s the movie’s tagline: “Jack Frost is getting a second chance to be the world’s coolest dad … if he doesn’t melt first.”

“Groundhog Day”

Feb. 2, a little out of season but with six more weeks of snow still on the ground, it’s a holiday movie – kinda. Plus, “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher never sounded so good, even if it is played over and over.

For Phil Connors, however, it’s enough to make him get downright loopy and act out funny scenarios.

Phil comedically relives the worst day of his life as watchers get to enjoy the sight of a down-on-his-luck jerk meeting karma smack him in the face, just over 30 times in 101 minutes. Scenes of him piggishly ordering everything on the dessert menu, to customizing his personality to fit his lady friend’s likes and dislikes from dates only he remembers, to becoming the town hero after numerous accounts of miraculously saving people from the small mishaps he fully anticipated occurring like a rehearsed play. “Da doo da doo, I got you babe -“

“Home Alone”

Nothing rings in the Yuletide spirit quite like neglectful parenting. Rope, jumper cables, a paint can and a blow torch (you know, whatever was lying around the house) have never been so funny until they were used to horribly maim and injure two would-be robbers in this family favorite. Ah, the joys of laughing at others’ pain.

With the slap of aftershave on his fair cheeks, Kevin McCallister’s aaah-face will linger in holiday movie memories for years to come.

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