This difficult year is, once again, taking its toll on beloved holidays and traditions. As we find ourselves separated from family and friends during a time of celebration, we could all use some good old fashioned holiday cheer. There is no shortage of Christmas films adapted from books that we can all enjoy from the safety of our own homes. Christmas films are a classic holiday tradition and watching (and reading!) these heartwarming tales can provide us a sense of normalcy and seasonal joy during these tumultuous times. Whether you are looking for the classics or something a little bit out of the box, we’ve got plenty of holiday films to help you celebrate safely.
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Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is arguably the most famous (secular) Christmas tale of all. Ebeneezer Scrooge is a miser, a harsh boss, and an all-around grump. On a bitterly cold Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who take him on a journey through time that forces him to see the error of his ways. This touching tale inspired many of the holiday traditions we take for granted today including family gatherings, festive meals, and generosity towards our fellow man. It has never been out of print and has generated numerous film adaptations. In fact, 22 different DVDs are available when you search our catalog today.
O. Henry’s famous short story, The Gift of the Magi, tells the tale of a poor young couple who secretly sacrifice what they hold most dear to make the Christmas holiday special for each other. This romantic tale of selflessness and charity has two cinematic adaptations that you can stream through hoopla with your library card today.
Depressed, George Pratt finds himself spending his Christmas Eve on the edge of a bridge, ready to end it all. But the intervention of an odd stranger gives him the chance to see how important he has been to those he loves and how much he has to live for. Philip Van Doren Stern’s The Greatest Gift was adapted into the all-time classic Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life, but did you know this beloved movie was almost never made? When Stern couldn’t find a publisher for his short story, he printed it as a booklet and sent it out as his Christmas card. Somehow, it found its way to Hollywood producer David Hempstead and the rest is cinematic history.
In How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr. Seuss’ lovable grouch learns the true meaning of Christmas when he pits himself against the Who’s of Whoville and their Christmas celebrations. The meanest, most Christmas hating-est man around has had multiple film adaptations over the years. You can check out Jim Carrey’s 2000 live action version or the classic animated 1966 film with your library card today!
Jean Shepherd’s best-selling book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash is a collection of short stories adapted from Shepherd’s childhood antics growing up in Indiana. Originally performed on the radio, these stories tell the tale of Ralph, a man who has returned to his hometown and spends the day reminiscing about the past with an old friend. Funny and heartwarming, these stories evoke small-town life in a bygone era. Four of the stories inspired the beloved 1983 Christmas film A Christmas Story, for which Shepherd served as the narrator.
Though it may be hard to believe, Christmas was not always the cherished comforting holiday we think of today. In Charles Dickens’ Victorian England, strong Puritanical sentiment and harsh industrial working conditions led to a decline in its popularity. Desperate for money, Dickens wrote the now famous A Christmas Carol in hopes of making enough to pay off his debts. However, his publisher rejected the manuscript leaving Dickens little choice but to spend the last of his savings to release the story himself. And Christmas, as we know it, was born. Les Standiford’s The Man Who Invented Christmas is a nonfiction account of the sensational publication of the story of a season that offers insight into one man’s transformation of an entire holiday. Starring Dan Stevens, Jonathan Pryce and Christopher Plummer, the 2017 film adaptation of the same name can be checked out using our Library to Go service today.
On Christmas Eve, Marie and her siblings always receive wonderful gifts from their godfather Drosselmeyer. This year is no exception, with a magnificent clock castle and nutcracker soldier. But after the children go to bed, their toys come to life and begin to battle with the house mice. When only Marie wakes up to see the spectacle, she unwittingly finds herself a part of this conflict. E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic Christmas tale The Nutcracker has seen numerous film adaptations. You can stream the 1986 Maurice Sendak version, check out the dvd of the 2018 Nutcracker and the Four Realms, or you can try out our streaming classical music channel medici.tv and see several famous ballet companies perform The Nutcracker to Tchaikovsky’s beloved music.
Yes, Grisham of the legal thriller fame wrote a Christmas story! With their daughter, Blair, on a year long Peace Corp assignment in Africa, the Kranks decide to forgo all the buying, baking, caroling and decorating and skip Christmas for a 10-day Caribbean cruise. But escaping the holiday isn’t as easy and carefree as it sounds. Sabotaged by their neighbors, harassed by the Boy Scouts and surprised by their daughter, it will take a Christmas miracle to salvage their holiday. Grisham’s hilarious story Skipping Christmas was adapted to film under the title Christmas with the Kranks in 2004.
Many of you may be a bit confused at the inclusion of the first Die Hard film on this list. A big Hollywood action film as a Christmas movie? Surely we must be joking. Ah, but look again. A man joins his estranged wife at a Christmas Eve office party, only to have it hijacked by terrorists. He must do whatever it takes to save the day (and the holiday) from their evil intentions. Christmas setting? Check. Christmas music? Check. A heartwarming family reunion? Check. All the makings of a classic Christmas film. Even the book it is based on is set during Christmas. Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp pits retired police officer Joe Leland against a group of German terrorists who take over the office Christmas party Leland’s daughter is attending. Armed with only his gun, Leland takes on the heavily armed criminals one by one.
Whichever holiday film strikes your fancy, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season.