They say the holidays are one of the most stressful times of the year. Family from out of town to accommodate, meals to prepare, shopping, traffic jams, cash crunch – any of these can put a damper on your seasonal bliss.
There are ways to cope with that stress, and no, not the holiday spirits that come in a bottle. Try laughter. To help make this point, here are my five favorite holiday comedies.
1. A Christmas Story (1983)
Set in the 1940’s Jean Shepherd’s novel “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash” is wonderfully adapted into the perfect slice of Americana and the challenges to ensure the perfect Christmas gift (a Red Ryder B.B. Gun) makes it way under the tree. There are so many classic moments in this film that it’s hard to pick a favorite (though I do recall personally “earning” the bar of soap as a child).
2. Gremlins (1984)
Horror and comedy do work well together. Add the holiday season to the mix for a perfect Christmas dark comedy. Poor Gizmo – who knew that getting the creature wet and feeding him after midnight would yield so much comic relief? A fun focus on the Gremlin monster, especially in the department store, “Gremlins” fits the bill as a perfect Christmas movie: comedy, horror and Holidays all rolled into one fiendish fun frolic!
3. Scrooged (1988)
Richard Donner’s remake of “A Christmas Carol,” starring Bill Murray as a TV executive version of Scrooge is my personal favorite twist on Dickens’ holiday ghost story. Carol Kane’s portrayal of the ghost of Christmas present is brilliant and quite amusing.
4. The Santa Clause (1994)
When Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) accidentally kills Santa Claus, he is forced to take over the task. I like this because it feels like a holiday overlay to Piers Anthony’s “Incarnations of Immortality” series. The transformation of Calvin to Claus is a fun complication lending to the laughs.
5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Clark Griswold’s take on holiday decorating has long been an inspiration (and probably the motivation for several synchronized seasonal light displays). The arrival of extended family adds to the stress of the season. “We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny f@#*ing Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white a%& down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of a%&holes this side of the nuthouse.” – Clark Griswold
This quintet of Christmas comedy represents only a handful of the holiday hilarity haunting the big and small screens this (and every) season. Shorts like “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” “Prep & Landing” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” are but a few more comedic classics to consider.
Source and images: YouTube