My Favorite Christmas Films

And “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out” is at the Top

By Jeff Salter

Topic: Do you have a favorite Christmas / holiday novel? What about your favorite movie? Do you restrict reading/viewing of Christmas / holiday themed books / movies to the holiday season?

I’ll reply to the last question first. No. I don’t restrict my viewing of holiday films to the holiday season. However, that’s when most of them are on, so that’s when I’m most likely to catch one. But if one of my favorites appears during any other part of the year, I’m just as liable to watch it then.

A word about Christmas novels: Other than the two I’ve written [“The Yuletide Caper” and “Random Sacks of Kindness”], I don’t really read much fiction that’s holiday-themed. Rather, I could say, I don’t seek out a novel because it’s set around the holidays… but if it’s a good story that interests me and it also happens to be set during the holidays, then I’ll dive right in.

Now to the Movies

There are several Christmas-themed films that I love … but quite a few VERY popular titles that I actually can’t stand to watch (and the networks typically run them around the clock… for about six weeks each year). One of the films I don’t care for is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I know it is beloved by many… and I like several of the actors in it. But I just don’t like the story line… and I feel the pain of the Jimmy Stewart character in the many disappointments he faces.

There are other holiday favorites that I don’t like, including “White Christmas” which has already been noted this week by one of the Resident Foxes.

My favorites

Probably my all-time favorite is “A Christmas Story” (1983). Even though it’s set in the late 1940s, I “recognize” many of the sights and sounds from my own experiences in the middle 1950s. Furthermore, I love the writing “voice” of author Jean Shepherd — as well as his actual voice in the narration sequences. That “voice” reminded me a lot of my own voice in some memoirs I penned that same year (BEFORE I saw the film)… and Shepherd’s voice also reminds me of some of Bill Bryson’s best work (e.g., “Life and Times of Thunderbolt Kid”).

A close second place would go to “Miracle on 34th Street” — the 1947 version… NOT the re-make. I love the charm of it, the way it treads the line between the commercialized holiday season and the “magical” sense of goodwill and fellowship. And the climactic scene in the courtroom is a classic!

Other films featuring Christmas as a background) that I enjoy are:

* “Christmas in Connecticut” (1945) — but NOT the re-make

* “The Bishop’s Wife” (1947) — but NOT the re-make

* “Bachelor Mother” (1939) — but NOT the re-makes

My final two entries are on this list only because they’re terrific films which happen to be set during Christmas… but otherwise have little to do with the Holiday season. These are:

* “Home Alone” (1990)

* “Die Hard” (1988)


What about YOU? Enjoy Christmas-themed books? Movies? What are your favorites?

[JLS # 614]


About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
This entry was posted in Books, Christmas, classics, favorites, Holiday, Jeff Salter. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to My Favorite Christmas Films

  1. I’ve seen short clips of your two favorites, but as I mentioned on Monday, I rarely sit down to watch an entire movie all the way through, unless I’m in a theater – which is rare.
    I think I have both of your Christmas books in my Kindle app – I need to dig those out!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Believe it or not, I have never seen “A Christmas Story”. My sister is particularly fond of “A Christmas in Connecticut ” (which I also have never seen), and of “The Bishop’s Wife”. I find the latter a good movie, a good story, but I have never been a big fan of Loretta Young.
    Remember, it isn’t Christmas season until Han Gruber falls from the Nakatomi

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      This movie (Bishop) and the Farmer’s Daughter are pretty much the only Loretta Young films that I enjoy. She was also good in a western with Wm Holden and Robt Mitchum… where she’s a “purchased” bride to a widower. Can’t remember the title, though.


  3. jbrayweber says:

    HANDS DOWN – A Christmas Story! I can recite just about every line. It is a staple in my house to have it on when it plays for 24 hours straight. I love that movie for the humor but also because of the setting. While I did not live during the time it was set, I can relate to all the nuances and details by remembering them from my grandparents’ homes and the stories from my parents. Plus, the movie captures the spirit of Christmas magic and wanting through the eyes of a child which sends us back to our own childhoods.

    I do love the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” (and it’s remake).

    “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is another favorite! Love everything about that one! And, unlike you, I am a fan of “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

    “Die Hard” is another favorite and I will argue with anyone that it IS a Christmas movie. Lol

    A Christmas movie I canNOT stand… “Home Alone”. Sorry…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      that’s several that you and I both enjoy, Jenn.
      Not sure why those animated features (like Rudolph, Grinch, and Frosty) have never appealed to me. I’m sure it’s partly the “style” of the art being animated.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well… I never! Who ever heard of anyone not liking the movie “White Christmas?” Shame on you, Jeff. LOL That happens to be my all-time favorite Christmas movie. We watch it at least once during the holidays. And for me, it doesn’t have to be Christmas for me to watch it or any other Christmas themed movie.

    Each Christmas, I discover some new Christmas movies that I fall in love with. The stories are just so great. Two of my favorites are Borrowed Hearts with Roma Downey and Eric McCormack and The Christmas Card with John Newton and Alice Evans. Last year we discovered the Hallmark movie The Christmas Train with Dermot Mulroney and Kimberly Williams-Paisley. Arnie and I both loved it. It was based on a novel by David Baldacci, which I’d like to read to see what was changed. I enjoy reading the novels and seeing the movies for almost all stories.

    It doesn’t have to be Christmas for me to read a holiday story. I read many books with holiday scenes in them during other times of the year. Several of my own stories have scenes from Christmas in them.

    As far as my favorite Christmas themed book, I don’t think I have a favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You have several good movies on your list. I like many of them and make sure to watch them every year.
    The one movie that you listed that I can’t stand to watch is A Christmas Story. When I was in middle school we the last day of school before Christmas break they showed A Christmas Story. I remember reading a book in the dimly lit classroom instead. I tried watching it again a few years ago but Wyatt had me turn it off when the kid got his tongue stuck to the flag pole.
    Like you I enjoy the older films but not the remakes. Christmas in Connecticut and Miracle on 34th Street are both favorites. I’ve never made it all the way to the end of The Bishop’s Wife.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Elaine Cantrell says:

    It seems to me that the original version of all these movies is better than the remake, or maybe it’s just my age showing. I’ve seen everything on your list except Bachelor Mother. When I write I like to set novels at Christmas or near it. I had one short with Clean Reads called The Table in the Window which is not available now. I had another Christmas story out some time ago called The Best Selling Toy of the Season. That publisher isn’t around anymore so that one too is unavailable now. I just can’t make myself do anything with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, I watch It’s a Wonderful Life every Christmas Eve. Maybe because I enjoy overcomer stories. And I identify with with characters who struggle with dealing with life circumstances that are not something they would choose. The work toward acceptance and meaning are important in my own life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      for me, it’s just too painful to watch: the old scatterbrained guy getting blamed for the loss of the deposit, the mean old man in the bank who deliberately tricked the scatterbrain, the ill-tempered druggist who hits the boy and busts his ear…
      Just too much for me.


      • I suppose that’s the difference between literary fiction and escapism. I think about the original audience for that film. My parents’ generation and their parents. They had living memory of the Great Depression and World War 2. Bank regulation was in its infancy. There were really were people like Mr. Potter (still are). Child labor laws were loosely enforced. The mean tempered druggist was not his normal self because he had just received news that his son had died in the war. And as a mother of kids with autism, I have lived in fear that one of my kids will make an uncle Billy mistake and lose everything without knowing why. I do not have a sunny outlook on life because life has not been particularly sunny for me. So stories dealing with long term perseverance against the odds appeal to me.

        Liked by 1 person

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