Period Films for the Holidays: Part One

If there’s something Doug and I love to do, is talk about movies and movie history. In part one of this blog post, Doug recommends fifteen holiday classics you can enjoy while snuggled up in a warm blanket.

By Doug Daye
One of my favorite things to do at Christmas time is to get comfortable on the couch and watch holiday movies! There are so many holiday classics that people have watched with their families for generations. There are many holiday films that were set in a certain time in history or produced in years past that are still quite popular today. Here is a list of some period holiday movies, old and new, to sit back and watch with a good cup of hot chocolate!! 

1. It’s a Wonderful Life! (1946)

In this iconic holiday story, devastated businessman George Bailey is shown how life would be if he had never existed by an angel trying to earn his wings. The film reflects the post WWII time period in which the film was released. It also has flashbacks of the Great Depression and shows how the characters are affected by the challenges that faced the country at that time.

2. A Christmas Carol (1938, 1951, 1984, 1999, and more!!!) 

Of course, everyone is familiar with the famous Charles Dickens story of the stingy Ebenezer Scrooge and the three spirits that help change his heart. There are various versions of this film and most are set during the Victorian era. I’m a kid at heart, so I’ll mention “A Muppet Christmas Carol” and “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” right here too! 

3. White Christmas (1954) 

Set right after WWII, two former soldiers form a song and dance team with two sister performers and put on a big holiday extravaganza at a lodge, only to realize it is run by their former general. Bing Crosby leads the cast with beautiful musical numbers, including the titular “White Christmas.” 

4. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) 

One of my favorites when I was a kid! Based on Charles M. Schulz’s 1950s comic strip, Charlie Brown tries to find the meaning of Christmas as he finds the holiday becoming commercialized. It premiered on CBS in 1965, became a hit with audiences, and is still aired as a TV special today. 

5. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) 

Starting off in 1903, the story follows one year of the life of the Smith family in St. Louis leading up to the opening of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (or the World’s Fair) in 1904. Though the story takes course over different seasons and Christmas is not the main point, it does have beautiful Christmas scenes. Also, Judy Garland performs the famous holiday song “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” which is why it has earned a spot on this list. 

6. A Christmas Story (1983) 

Set around the 1940s, the movie reveals the adventures of a young boy, Ralphie, and his family during the holiday season. Ralphie is obsessed with getting a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas which, at the time, was based on the popular Red Rider comic strip released in 1938. Though made in more modern times, it maintains the nostalgia of an earlier era. 

7. The Polar Express (2004)

 On the night of Christmas Eve in the late 1950s, a young boy boards a train to the North Pole to meet Santa Clause. Based on the popular children’s book, the story was inspired by writer Chris Van Allenburg’s childhood memories of the Herpolsheimer’s and Wurzburg’s department stores at Christmastime in Grand Rapids, MI. 

We will be posting part two of Doug’s Christmas movie blog next week!

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