While Christmas can be a hectic time of year, taking a little time to relax and enjoy the Holidays is necessary. With hundreds of Christmas movies and specials to choose from, there no end to the warmth, spirit and nostalgia that can be invoked when you cuddle up on your couch and settled in for a movie or two. Here’s my list of not to be missed Christmas favourites and I’ll warn you, some of them are not for the faint of heart. Keep them for the week before Christmas or dole them out all December long.

One Magic Christmas

I will start with my absolute favourite! One Magic Christmas stars Mary Steenburgen and Harry Dean Stanton and tells the story of a woman who has lost her Christmas spirit and has to lose everything else to gain it back. I have a lump in my throat from beginning to end and I’ve been watching this since the 80’s. It’s such a great movie that will have you believing in the magic of Christmas.

Miracle on 34th Street (94)

While I have never seen the original Miracle on 34th Street, the nineties remake has become one of my instant Christmas classics. The story of how Santa when against an American court in New York City and wins his case thanks to a plucky young girl with a dollar bill.

A Very Murray Christmas

The newest addition to the nice list, Bill Murray’s Holiday Special (Netflix) is an irreverent, hilarious and heartwarming hour of television. Set during a winter storm where Bill Murray is contracted to do a Christmas special, when the lights go out, the fun starts. It features two of my favourite Christmas songs, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) and A Fairytale of New York, and they both get me every time, even four years in.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

This is one Christmas special that we are all very familiar with. A Charlie Brown Christmas may be the ultimate Christmas special. As a kid we enjoy it for the colourful characters (and Snoopy’s dancing) but as an adult we can appreciate the message it delivers and that fantastic soundtrack.

Home Alone

Catherine O’Hara is a Canadian treasure (if you’re not watch Schitt’s Creek, get on it) and her turn as Kevin Mcallister’s mother in Home Alone is both visceral and captivating to watch. The story of a kid left home alone on Christmas is the fantasy we have all lived as children but when  a little time goes by we begin to appreciate the family that we need.

Love Actually

There’s so much to love about this fantastic movie, it’s hard to pinpoint any favourite character or circumstance. As a whole this British film about 10 different stories that interact as the story plays out as Christmas approaches includes some of the best performances of Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy and many, many, many more.

Rudolph

Another animated classic known throughout the world tells the tale of a reindeer who saves the day even though he was bullied by Santa’s gang of vagrant thugs (you know, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen). It’s held up over the years and remains one of the best kid’s classics for all ages.