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When did it happen that the holidays became the time for going to the movies? It used to be the only place you went at the holidays was to Grandma’s house and Christmas shopping. So when did the movies become a part of the holiday tradition? And are they a good part?

I mean I understand that kids are out of school, they’re bored, and having the family escape to a theater for a few hours is a method of relaxation for some people. And I’m not going to lie. No one is more excited to be going to see I AM LEGEND than me. When I get around to it. Which may be when it’s out on DVD. Or not.

But with everything else competing for our attention during the busiest time of the year, why do we flock to the movie theater? Personally I think it all started with It’s A Wonderful Life. In America’s simpler days that movie sucked us in. And we’ve be treading off to the theater ever since, hoping to rediscover that Christmas Magic.

So if you’re going to the movies, enjoy. Let me know if you see something good. And if you feel like staying home and renting or watching movies on cable here is a list of my ten favorite holiday themed movies for your delight and edification.

1. A Christmas Story–an almost painfully funny film not only for the gags but it’s depiction of the average family at Christmas.

2. ELF–Has become a holiday tradition at our house. “Is there sugar in syrup? Then yes!”

3. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer–Although the Island of Misfit Toys did creep me out a little. “Bumbles bounce!”

4. Trading Places–Okay, it’s not really a “holiday movie” but this is my list. Besides, Dan Ackroyd raiding the Christmas party in the Santa suit is hilarious.

5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation–Chevy Chase just makes me laugh. Whatever happened to him?

6. Die Hard–See #4

7. A Charlie Brown Christmas–Linus is the man.

8. A Miracle on 34th Street–You have to be a total cynic not to tear up at this one. I am not a total cynic.

9. Home Alone–Every kid’s fantasy. Confront your inner demons and rescue your home from invaders.

10. Muppet Christmas Carol–There has never been a better version of the Dickens classic in my opinion.

What about you? What are your favorite holiday films? And has watching a particular movie at the holidays become a part of your family tradition?

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