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Learning Liftoff’s Top 7 Favorite Holiday Movies

Everybody seems to have a favorite holiday movie. Ask ten people to name their favorite flick, and you can expect ten different responses.

Some of the films are silly, others sentimental.

So, we asked our sometimes silly, sometimes sentimental staff at Learning Liftoff to select their favorite holiday movies and here’s what we got.


According to Buddy the Elf, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” Another great way to spread Christmas cheer is by watching the movie Elf. Any movie that features Zooey Deschanel’s singing and Will Ferrell’s humor is sure to be a hit. While Elf is rated PG, the film appeals to adults as well as kids, thanks to jokes that will be picked up by only the intended audience. –Sarah Mills,  K12 Social Media Coordinator

A Christmas Carol

There have been no less than 24 movie versions of Charles Dickens’ immortal classic, A Christmas Carol, beginning with a silent film made in 1901. I’ve seen only a few, but the one our family watches every year (yes, every year!) is the 1951 British-made version, starring Alistair Sim. It’s brilliant. Spoiler Alert: The moment when Scrooge “wakes up” after visitations from the three ghosts of Christmas and realizes he’s still alive never fails to amaze, amuse, and move us.  It’s pure movie magic. –Michael Solow, Consulting Editor Learning Liftoff

The Muppet Christmas Carol

My favorite holiday movie growing up was The Muppet Christmas Carol. The movie came out when I was nine years old, and we would always watch it around Halloween. It always felt like the official beginning of the holiday season in our home. As I got older, I appreciated that the movie brings a very traditional story to kids through the use of Muppets and humor. To me, the movie is a perfect way to teach kids about humility and compassion for others. –Scott Holm, Technical Editor Learning Liftoff

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

… Because everyone benefits from multiple, stress-relieving belly laughs about the silliness and absurdity of lights, relatives, and company bonuses. –Deanna Glick, Executive Editor Learning Liftoff

How the Grinch Stole Christmas 

I’ve always been a Dr. Seuss fan, and my favorite holiday book is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. This movie allowed the book and all of my childhood imaginations to come to life. Many of my favorite childhood memories are associated with Christmas, so to see how it can positively impact even the grumpiest of grumps is very powerful. –Brittany Marklin, Community Editor Learning Liftoff

A Christmas Story

Anyone who’s seen this movie will remember the now classic phrase, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Those five words stood between nine-year-old Ralphie and his much-coveted official Red Ryder BB rifle. This nostalgic and sweet movie may be a secret to some, but it’s a must-watch, classic holiday film for others. It takes place in the 1940s, a seemingly simpler time in which to grow up, but not without its challenges. Watch it with your family and look for these now classic scenes: the bundled-up snowsuit, the tongue frozen to the flagpole, the turkey theft, and the dreaded bunny suit. –Elizabeth Street, Managing Editor Learning Liftoff

It’s a Wonderful Life

Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if you had never been born? Frank Capra’s movie classic ponders that question along with all that’s right about the spirit of giving. Each time I watch this movie, I find something new—and reading up on it, I discovered that it was originally a disappointment at the box office. Now an annual television staple, with Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore in black-and-white, nostalgia doesn’t get any better than this. –Seth Livingstone, Associate Editor Learning Liftoff

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Seth Livingstone

Seth Livingstone is a veteran writer and editor who has spent much of his career in sports journalism covering multiple Olympic Games, Super Bowls, World Series, and Daytona 500s. He covered the Boston Red Sox throughout the 1980s and 1990s before joining USA Today and Baseball Weekly in 1999. He maintains his membership in the Baseball Writers Association of America and is a Hall of Fame voter. Seth holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University and has also worked as a substitute teacher (all grades and subjects). He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and has two grown children.

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