Greatest Holiday Movies

Cartoon by Samuel Sherrill

December is here: it’s officially time for the holiday season to start. Shopping, hanging lights, decorating, Christmas songs on every radio station and of course all of our seasonal favorite films.

Now, the University Journal staff realize we aren’t professional film critics, but we do love our movies, and we think we’re pretty good at picking good ones.

Here is a list of what the members of the Journal believe are the best holiday flicks out there.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Liberty Films’ “It’s A Wonderful Life,” directed by Frank Capra, is a classic. Clarence, an angel, helps out George Bailey, a man struggling to see what impact and value his life brings.

Life Editor Andrew Leavitt said the film “Makes you grateful for the people around you. You never know the impact you’ve had on other people and the impact they’ve had on you. A classic tale of love.”

Agreeing with Leavitt, Megan Fairbanks, the print editor-in-chief, said, “… ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ has everything (romance, drama, magic, etc.) so there’s something for everyone to enjoy!”

The Holiday

Samantha Burfiend, the web editor-in-chief is a fan of “The Holiday” and said it’s a movie not only for Christmas, but for the other lovey seasons too.

“The romantic comedy is charming and sincere,” Burfiend said. “It gives you the relatability of being single while having the hope of finding love. Hans Zimmer creates a superb soundtrack, which flows through the movie effortlessly. Jack Black and Kate Winslet give you holiday goals, and the amount of golden Hollywood buzz creates a perfect California holiday flick. Also, who wouldn’t be jealous of Kate Winslet’s UK cottage (winter goals)!”

Burfiend continued, “In addition, it has some of the best cameos I’ve ever seen in a holiday film. This movie doesn’t just give me holiday warm feels, it also taught me what a meet-cute is.”


Raunie Bailey, the Journal’s graphic designer said, “My favorite is ‘Elf.’ It is my favorite because it includes one amazing actor (Will Ferrell) who in all of his movies brings a smile to everyone’s face and is so funny. I also like it because it is up-to-date on my time of living and humor so I feel like I can relate to it more, but it also includes the general holiday message about family, Christmas, Santa Claus and love. It also insights real-life living situations such as adoption, half-siblings, and parents that have passed (but that’s in all movies). But in all reality, the humor and how it makes you laugh uncontrollably is what I love most about it.”

Mitchell Quartz,  photographer and outdoor editor, also agrees with Bailey that “Elf” is the best.  

“I like Elf. Elf makes me feel nice inside,” he said. “I like the comedy. I like how he finds his dad. I like how he makes his dad love him. I like when he eats the gum. I like how he gives his dad the ‘for someone special.’ I like how he finds the best coffee.”

While You Were Sleeping

“While You Were Sleeping” is a 1995 film directed by Jon Turteltaub starring Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman. The story follows Lucy, a woman in Chicago, mistaken as the fiance of a comatose man over Christmas.

Mikael Simpson, one of our copy editors, said, “I love it because it’s my mom’s favorite and I’m a big fan of Sandra Bullock. It’s a sweet movie that takes place during Christmastime about finding family and feeling loved. It definitely leaves you with a warm heart when it’s over.”

A Christmas Carol

“The best Christmas movie in my opinion in ‘A Christmas Carol,’” Carlee Jo Blumenthal, the Journal’s Social Media specialist said. “… Specifically, the 1984 made-for-television movie starring George C. Scott and the 1970 musical adaptation called ‘Scrooge.’”

Carlee Jo continues, “The original story by Charles Dickens has always been one of my favorites to come back to no matter what time of year it is. It’s spooky with the ghosts and warnings of what befalls those who don’t use their time in their mortal bodies to do good and live in a way that not only betters themselves but also betters society around them. It’s a beautiful look at how one person can affect and change the lives of so many around them for the good.”

If you’re not in the Christmas spirit yet, there is nothing better than popping in a seasonal classic. So no matter which movie you choose, the University Journal staff wishes you an enjoyable holiday season. If you have any opinions on the best holiday movies, please send in a letter to the editor at

Story By
Savannah Palmer and
The University Journal Staff