5 movies to kick off holiday season

Cullen Fagan, Senior Staff Reporter

Emma Vaughters

We just wrapped up an exciting month of Halloween and horror movie nights, so it’s time to venture into the next era of themed movie seasons — the much more heartwarming, and, let’s be honest, often even cheesier world of holiday movies. But if you’re like me and don’t want to get neck-deep in jingle bells this early in November, start off with these holiday-adjacent films that will ease you into the holiday spirit instead of pushing you straight into the candy-cane filled deep end.

Addams Family Values” (1993)

Directed by Barry Sonnenfield

For the folks who aren’t quite over Halloween yet, “Addams Family Values” is a great place to start. There are some spooky elements, some Thanksgiving elements (if you know you know, at this point, and I’m sure as hell not spoiling it if you don’t) and a whole lot of family elements, which is really the crux of the whole holiday thing anyway. The Addams family, as many before me have remarked, really have a beautiful thing going on with each other. Also, Joan Cusack is there, and she is delightfully unhinged.

Groundhog Day” (1993)

Directed by Harold Ramis

While definitely a winter holiday, “Groundhog Day” is on the other side of New Years, but there’s enough learning what life is really about while covered in snow that lets this film sneak into the holiday lineup. This is basically the exact same movie as Scrooged, Bill Murray and all, except that it’s way funnier, less saturated with Christmas cheer and there isn’t a better version with ducks in it. It’s clever, moving without being saccharine, and Bill Murray just has a holiday-ish face.

Coco” (2017)

Directed by Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina

Día de los Muertos might not be exactly what comes to mind when we say holiday movies, but  it is a holiday and it’s in November, and most of all, this movie just unequivocally rules. It’s visually stunning and legitimately made me cry in the movie theater, which hasn’t happened to me with a Disney movie since 2009. Also, some great family themes, which, again, are absolutely key for the holiday genre. If you’re stuck at home with younger siblings or cousins, it won’t emotionally scar them — a win all around!

It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946)

Directed by Frank Capra

This is the only actual Christmas movie on this list, but its spot is well won, because it’s so much more than that. You go through George Bailey’s whole life in this movie, very little of which actually takes place at Christmas, and it’s surprising how many of the themes here actually hold up, 70 some odd years later. Also, this is a good transitional movie between the seasons. If you are going to get really into Christmas movies and pretend, as we all seasonally do, that “Love Actually” is a good movie, you might as well start off with some taste.

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Directed by Rob Reiner

This movie isn’t a holiday movie, exactly, but it a) contains some fantastic holiday scenes and b) is good. Since there’s absolutely no way New Year’s Eve parties are going to be a thing this year, you can live vicariously through Harry and Sally as they have life-changing moments on the most exciting day of the year, surrounded by confetti and beautiful people. I just watched that clip again as I was writing this and teared up, so, really, it’s up to you whether you want to start believing in love again. Also, Christmas trees do make an appearance in this film, but not an overwhelming amount, so, a good medium!