Cozy up with these Christmas rentals

Thu, 12/20/2007 - 5:55pm
By: Emily Baldwin

Cozy up with these Christmas rentals

With Christmas just around the corner, this weekend will be filled with last minute shopping, baking, gift wrapping and tree trimming. The long list of to-dos can often add stress to an already busy season and sometimes even take a bit of the Christmas cheer out of your system.

This weekend why not take a little time out to relax with friends and family while getting into the Christmas spirit with one of the classic Christmas film favorites your local rental store (or your own movie library) has to offer? Some of these classics will, of course, be airing on television over the next few days, so if you plan accordingly, you can enjoy them free of charge. Now, in no particular order, here are 12 holiday films to rent this Christmas:

1. “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946)
One of the most popular Christmas films, Frank Capra teams up with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed to produce this touching holiday classic. Follow the life of George Bailey as he gets an angel’s perspective on the lives he has touched over the years.

2. “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947 and 1994)
Both versions of this fanciful movie will bring a little more childlike faith into any household. When Kris Kringle gets a job at Macy’s, he encounters one little girl who doesn’t believe in the jolly fellow. It’s up to Santa to convince Susan that all it takes is a little bit of faith.

3. “A Christmas Story” (1983)
Who hasn’t heard the famous line, “You’ll shoot your eye out,” from this holiday classic? Set in the ‘40s, all Ralphie Parker wants for Christmas is an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock. Obstacles get in his way at every turn as Christmas nears, and his hopes for the perfect Christmas seem anything but certain.

4. “Love Actually” (2003)
This romantic comedy is for the adults in the house, and, with the exception of one or two racy story-lines, is a sweet and heartwarming story of love. The film follows the lives of eight very different couples dealing with their love lives in various loosely and interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England.

5. “National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation” (1989)
This John Hughes laugh-fest follows the Griswold family as they plan for a big family Christmas. Bit by bit their plans fall apart as bad luck invades the family’s holiday. Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo and Randy Quaid star in this film, the funniest of the National Lampoon series.

6. “Home Alone” (1990)
Another John Hughes film, this family classic stars Macaulay Culkin in one of his best roles. Watch as 8-year old Kevin deals with the highs and lows of being home alone when his family accidentally leaves him behind over the holidays.

7. “Elf” (2003)
One of the best modern Christmas films, this Will Ferrell comedy is wonderfully original and masterfully executed. After inadvertently getting carried back to the North Pole in Santa’s gift sack, a human baby is raised along with Santa’s elves. After wreaking habit on the elf community due to his oversized stature, Buddy is sent to New York City to find his birth father.

8. “Polar Express” (2004)
This Robert Zemeckis film, based on Chris Van Allsburg’s book, became an instant classic with the younger set. On Christmas Eve, a doubting boy boards a magical train that's headed to the North Pole and Santa Claus's home.

9. “A Christmas Carol”
With more than a dozen variations of this Christmas classic on record, there is a version for everyone. Whether you go for the George C. Scott 1984 production or the Noel Langley adaptation “Scrooge,” this story, based on Charles Dickens’ novel, tells a story of redemption. Watch as the ghosts of Christmas past, Christmas present and Christmas future visit the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge.

10. “Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1966 or 2000)
Whether you opt for the cartoon originator or the Ron Howard visual stunner featuring Jim Carrey, this classic story deals with having a change of heart. Despite the Grinch’s best efforts to ruin Christmas for Whoville, his plan fails when one little girl remembers what Christmas is all about – melting the icy resolve around the Grinch’s heart.

11. “The Holiday” (2006)
Nancy Meyers’ romantic comedy follows two women facing a lonely Christmas as they swap homes for the holidays. Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz star alongside Jude Law and Jack Black in this boy-meets-girl tale. Sweet, funny and a lot of fun, this is a great film for Christmas night.

12. “The Santa Clause” (1994)
Tim Allen stars in this humorous take on what happens when you accidentally kill Santa Claus. Scott Calvin quickly finds himself transforming into the jolliest of elves and has no option but to take on the biggest job on earth.

Below are 10 more films that would make nice substitutes if you can’t get your hands on any of the above.

Honorable mentions:
• “Prancer” (1989)
• “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)
• “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965)
• “Gremlins” (1984)
• “Bad Santa” (2003)
• “Trading Places” (1983)
• “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” (1987)
• “Ernest Saves Christmas” (1988)
• “Frosty the Snowman” (1969)
• “Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer” (1964)

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