If you want to settle an argument, ask an expert. If you want to start one, ask a bunch of opinionated laypeople. This collection is an example of door number two.
The 12 members of the ATA News editorial team, who are opinionated people with little to no actual expertise in film criticism, have each composed a recommendation for their favourite holiday movie. The result is a semi-comprehensive list of tried-and-true classics joined by the odd left-field monkey wrench.
If you’d like to share your own holiday film endorsements with your colleagues, please find this item on the ATA’s Facebook page and post a comment.
Babes in Toyland (1961)
A classic Disney family film that’s full of whimsy and magic. This 1960s technicolour treat warms the heart and tickles the imagination of young and old alike.
Kim Dewar, legislative affairs and social media officer
A Christmas Carol (1951)
A timeless lesson in humanity summed up by Jacob Marley’s ghost when he says, “Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
A timeless moment of comedic relief comes when Scrooge, much to the horror of his housekeeper, attempts a headstand in his dressing gown on Christmas morning.
Laura Harris, communications officer
A Christmas Carol (2009)
A Christmas Carol has always been my favourite holiday classic. The story of a bitter old miser turning his life around after a series of visits from apparitions gives me hope that even the most stubborn of us (including me!) can learn from our past mistakes and make the world a brighter place.
I particularly like the 2009 Disney version because of the stunning 3D computer animation.
Andrea Berg, executive staff officer
A Christmas Story (1983)
“Hey kid, you’ll shoot your eye out!”
This is how the main character describes his best Christmas present ever. This comedy is one of our family favourites. Set in the 1950s, it’s one-liners will play in your head until March!
Mark Ramsankar, ATA president
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
This is the quintessential tale of redemption. It reminds us all that no one can take Christmas away. It’s not about the lights or the presents or the songs, it’s about being together and the sense of community that lives within all of us.
And in the end, innocent Cindy Lou shows us that even the worst of us is capable of change, even the Grinch.
Shelley Magnusson, executive staff officer
Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Purists may consider this Jim Carrey version to be an abomination, but it gets my vote largely because of the Grinch’s delivery of one line: “You might want to scooch over a little bit.”
A masterful combination of an outlandish situation with a matter-of-fact delivery, this line generated uproarious laughter when it first emanated from our television, and it’s since become a family catchphrase that’s deployed whenever it’s remotely applicable, such as when couch hogs are about to get squished.
Cory Hare, managing editor
Fantastic casting with a fun and whimsical story. How can you not love the image of an adult-sized Will Ferrell sprawled across the lap of his elf-sized “dad” played by Bob Newhart?
Jonathan Teghtmeyer, editor-in-chief
The Family Man (2000)
A modern twist on It’s a Wonderful Life, The Family Man is a humorous movie about a man who has the chance to live two realities (successful businessman
versus family man).
Erin Solano, graphic designer
The Little Crooked Christmas Tree (1990)
The Little Crooked Christmas Tree is a short film that I had on VHS as a child and always liked. Even though the tree is not perfect, it receives the most perfect of all Christmases. The movie teaches kindness and compassion, loss and sadness and, in the end, the tree knows it was all worth it.
This is, however, a strange short film — it is simply photos with narration.
Bromley Chamberlain, staff writer/photographer
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
A festive season classic with great messages about giving. Besides, don’t we all love, ah, (especially President Ramsankar) “old” guys with white beards?
Gordon Thomas, executive secretary
Moonstruck is not about Christmas, but it’s set during the season; it has references to La Bohème, an opera set at Christmas.
A classic romantic comedy all about love, death and family, emotional abandon and poignant truth. Great performances by an excellent cast, an inspired and witty script and a magical setting (“in a Brooklyn that never existed,” Roger Ebert once said) make it well worth watching at any time of the year, but especially at Christmas.
Sandra Bit, supervising editor
The Snowman (1982)
My pick is the animation of the book The Snowman by Raymond Briggs.
The beautifully drawn pastel illustrations are accompanied by great music. The animation captures childhood, friendship and imagination with a contemplative, humorous touch. It has a whimsical sense of magic and a heartwarming feeling that embody the spirit of Christmas.
Yuet Chan, graphic designer