The Champion’s movie guide for the holiday season

With decorative lights lining the streets and countless inflatable snowmen occupying front yards, it’s safe to say the holiday season is upon us. So, let’s kick off the celebration with the ultimate holiday movie marathon. Put on your pajamas and slippers, curl up with a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy our holiday favorites.


‘Little Women’: a warm holiday movie 

By Nina Figurelli

Whether you watched this movie because of Timothee Chalamet, Emma Watson and Florence Pugh, or simply because you loved the original book, “Little Women” (2019) is a holiday movie to keep you warm and lift your spirits.

“Little Women,” which was directed by Greta Gerwig and is the most recent movie adaptation of the coming-of-age novel by Louisa May Alcott, follows the March sisters’ passage from childhood to womanhood as they navigate love and their places in society.

In this post-Civil War era drama, the March sisters are an outspoken group of women for their time. The movie is largely told from the perspective of Jo March (Saoirse Ronan), an aspiring writer who lives in New York; however, there are flashbacks from the past juxtaposed with the scenes from the present to show how much the characters have grown.

Most of this film takes place during the holiday season and really emphasizes the idea of giving back to the others around you. Even though the March family doesn’t have much to give, they do their best to help as many people as they can.

Now, this isn’t your typical holiday movie; there aren’t any mistletoes, carolers or presents. Instead, “Little Women” sheds light on the real meaning behind getting in the holiday spirit and lending a helping hand. But most importantly, it shows the tight bond between sisters and women seeking empowerment.

With an impressive cast, a heartwarming message, feminism and a little bit of romance in between, “Little Women” definitely gives fireplace vibes and will keep you warm during this winter season.


‘Mean Girls’ is sort of a Christmas movie

By Nina Figurelli

Before you judge the title, just hear me out. Now technically “Mean Girls” (2004) is not a Christmas movie, but the Jingle Bell Rock talent show scene is too iconic for this movie not to be included on the list.

Cady Heron (Lindsey Lohan) has just moved to Evanston, Ill. all the way from Africa. She has been homeschooled her whole life, and Cady’s junior year will be her first time entering public school. 

She soon realizes that the dynamics of high school popularity are similar to the food chain hierarchy in Africa. With her new friends Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damien (Daniel Franzese), Cady develops a plan to take down the infamous Plastics.

“Who are the Plastics?” you may ask. They are only the most popular clique in the North Shore and are led by the ultimate queen bee, Regina George (Rachel McAdams). 

Part of this scheme involves Cady pretending to be one of the Plastics; she sits with them at lunch, goes shopping with them, listens in on their juicy gossip and even follows their silly weekly dress codes. However as Cady slowly becomes cold, shiny, hard plastic, she must learn to distinguish who her real friends are and who she wants to be.

This isn’t your typical holiday movie, but it should be a year-round staple for anyone’s must-watch list. “Mean Girls” has remained a classic since its release, and the Jingle Bell Rock talent show costumes are recognizable from a mile away.

If you are looking for a timeless movie to celebrate the holiday season, then “Mean Girls” is the perfect comedy for you. Regardless of whether or not you think this is a holiday movie, it’s a great feel-good for any time of the year.


‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ passes the holiday vibe check

By Alex Burstein

Far from the outdated holiday romance tropes and big-budget 21st-century Hallmark movies, 25 minutes of 1960s television comic animation is what always puts me in the holiday spirit.

An opening scene of snow falling while kids skate on a frozen pond would put a smile on most people’s faces. But, for Charlie Brown (voiced by Peter Robbins) in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965), he is stuck stressing over an impossible question —  what’s the true meaning of Christmas?

Charlie Brown will go on to ask this question to his best friend Linus van Pelt (voiced by Christopher Shea). 

While Linus, quick to recite the religious meaning of the holiday, believes in a traditional Christmas, the surrounding world is commercializing the holiday more and more. Even his dog, Snoopy (voiced by Bill Melendez), has entered a decorating contest with his dog house. Charlie Brown is stuck between two sides.

As Charlie Brown searches for the answer, he receives a pity invite from frenemy Lucy van Pelt (voiced by Tracy Stratford) to direct the local Christmas play. But, with the new stressors of being a director, even more problems arise.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” tackles the commercial vs. traditional Christmas debate with the same timeless, loveable comic characters. As someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, even I’m drawn back to this classic every year. Beyond the message, this simple TV special presents a perfect playlist, great characters and a warm Christmas town setting that takes me far away from the bone-chilling cold and mushy snow in Chicago.

So, whether you like good ole’ Charlie Brown, are looking for the true meaning of Christmas, or just want to watch a half hour of vintage animation with Vince Guaraldi Trio Christmas jazz in the background, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is sure to put you in the holiday spirit this year.


‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ will light up your night

By Oliver Gerharz

From the songs to the characters, just about every part of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” contributes to its reputation as an iconic Christmas movie – and for good reason.

Burl Ives portrays Sam the Snowman, who narrates the classic Christmas tale, and is the voice behind “Holly Jolly Christmas,” which has become so popular that it has gone far beyond being a song from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

The two stars of the movie are united by their misfit nature: Rudolph (Billie Mae Richards) can’t fit in because he has a red nose, and Hermey the Elf (Paul Soles) can’t fit in because he wants to be a dentist instead of pursuing a more traditional career for an elf. 

Another legendary character is the commanding and comedic presence of Yukon Cornelius (Larry D. Mann), a prospector searching for silver and gold and the third member of the party that the movie’s story follows.

The Abominable Snow Monster (Larry D. Mann) is the main antagonist of the movie but is ultimately shown to be pacified by the influences of Yukon Cornelius. Though the monster is feared at first, his misunderstood character is eventually accepted into Christmas Town, which allows him to provide the reindeer with someone tall enough to put the star on their Christmas Tree.

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” has an important message for the children it is targeted towards: accepting those with differences. If you’re thinking of rewatching Christmas classics, this movie and the other Rankin-Bass stop-motion movies from the sixties would be a great place to start.


‘When Harry Met Sally’ captures the joy and love that defines the holidays

By Saskia McDonogh Mooney

I want to start off by saying that I adore this movie. It is described as two Manhattan careerists who fall in love over twelve years, but it’s so much more than that. 

The story follows Harry and Sally who first meet on their last day at UChicago because a mutual friend has arranged for them to drive to New York together. Harry is forward and a jerk; Sally is uptight and naive. They end up hating each other. About five years later when both of them are in relationships they end up seated next to each other on a plane. The hate isn’t as strong, but the encounter is awkward and Sally continues to dislike Harry, who remains cynical. 

But after another five years, both of their long-term relationships have ended, and they’re both looking lonely and kind of lost. So when they run into each other in a store, dinner turns into a friendship, that quickly turns into best friends whose voices are the last thing they both want to hear before they fall asleep at night. To all outside observers, it looks like love, but it will take them another year or so before they figure it out for themselves.

Peppered throughout are interviews with old couples who talk about how they fell in love, and their stories and clear devotion to each other weave so perfectly with us watching Harry and Sally creating their own story. 

Altogether it’s heartwarming and hilarious and a must-watch on snowy days. And, it’s truly a holiday classic. The final scene is set on New Year’s Eve, where Harry confesses his feelings to Sally and embodies what the holiday season is all about: joy is found in spending time with those you love.