Our Favorite Holiday Movies

It's A Wonderful Life

“It’s a Wonderful Life”, produced and directed by Frank Capra. Seen here from left, Donna Reed as Mary Hatch Bailey, James Stewart as George Bailey and Karolyn Grimes as Zuzu. Paramount Pictures. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Katie and team KCM share the films that they think are the reason for the season

With the holidays just around the corner, and a large portion of the country still under lockdown, there’s no better way to get into the spirit of the season than by sitting down to watch a good old fashioned holiday movie. We asked Katie, John and the staff at KCM about their favorites — and some of their answers might surprise you! Whichever one you choose to watch, we guarantee these films will leave you feeling both holly and jolly.

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944): I love the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” It makes me cry, and is so resonant with the words “next year all our troubles will be out of sight.”  
— Katie Couric

I can’t pick just one, so here are three. Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) — What can I say?  Steve Martin and John Candy star in a John Hughes masterpiece. OK, so it technically takes place over Thanksgiving but it’s a film about the importance of family and friends being together.  “Hey, those aren’t pillows! Go Bears!”

Next up? Die Hard (1988).  Bruce Willis as John McClane saving his ex-wife (imagine!) and some other hostages at a holiday party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles. Don’t bet against Bruce. 

And last but not least, Casino (1995). Robert DeNiro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci and James Woods. Come on. Who cares whether there’s a holiday theme (there isn’t) when there is just great movie making by Martin Scorsese?
John Molner

A Christmas Carol starring George C Scott (1984). I watch it every year with my dad on Dec. 1, which is his birthday.
Adriana Fazio

My favorite holiday movie is Tokyo Godfathers (2003). An acclaimed anime film about a baby lost on Christmas Eve, and the three homeless people who help to return the baby to its parents. It’s beautifully animated and a unique way of humanizing homelessness.
Tiara Chiaramonte

I think mine has to be White Christmas (1954). It’s long as hell — but it’s the movie my family and I always watch on Christmas Eve. Nothing makes you feel better about consuming a massive Christmas Eve meal (and copious amounts of wine and cookies) than watching Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen in their cinched outfits (their waists are SO tiny). I couldn’t imagine a Christmas Eve where my whole family didn’t pass out on the couch while watching White Christmas – a holiday classic! But a close second would have to be The Santa Clause (1994), because Tim Allen is hysterical and FINE AS HELL in that movie.
Julia Lewis

The Holiday (2006) and Last Holiday (2006) are at the top of my list — purely because I get them confused so often because of their titles, but both are equally delightful films. You have Queen Latifah screaming down a ski slope in the Alps and blowing cash on the most lavish fits AND you have a Nancy Meyers film where Cameron Diaz punches a cheater in the face and then escapes to snowy England for a good ol’ romp with Jude Law. Plus Kate Winslet falls for my favorite Jack Black character.
Clare Palo

Home Alone (1990): equal parts nostalgic and entertaining.
Mary Kate O’Leary

The Polar Express (2004): I know it’s slow and the animation is “different,” but every year for the past 10 years, I’ve made some hot chocolate, put it on, and been mesmerized by the details while waiting for Tom Hanks to say, “Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.” Chills. Every time.
Aneri Desai

I love The Family Stone (2005). My son’s name is Everett — like the main character in the film — just to tell you how much I love it. It’s a great offbeat holiday movie about the coolest and most dysfunctional family. I’ve also got to say Elf (2003), which speaks for itself… it’s a great movie to watch with your kids, and it’s entertaining enough that you don’t find yourself needing to look at your phone.
Florinka Pesenti

Love Actually (2003), obviously — Hugh Grant is a Christmas must. I second Florinka on The Family Stone I love to hate Sarah Jessica Parker as neurotic Meredith! And I’m going to throw in Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) — which admittedly is not really a traditional holiday movie, but it’s got holiday/New Year’s themes and I watch it every year (alone, with wine, in true Bridget Jones style) and fall in love with her all over again. I guess I have a thing for brits and romcoms at the holidays!
Laura Buczik

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946). I could recite this entire movie by heart, and I quote it all the time, and I take personal offense when people don’t understand the reference. This movie is a national treasure and we don’t deserve it. Up until about six years ago my family would watch it every year on an old VHS that my parents taped off of the TV back in the ‘90s, so I truly believed the movie had commercials in it (even though it’s in black and white) and I never thought twice about it. 
Emily Pinto