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PACEspectives: Favorite Holiday Movies

News Story

A Christmas Story. A Rugrats Chanukah. A Muppet Christmas Carol. Pace faculty and staff dish on the memorable holiday movies they’re drawn to, year after year.

It’s been quite a year for PACEspectives—we’ve covered everything from the gig economy, to celebrity culture, to Black Friday. As 2017 winds down, we thought we’d celebrate the holidays with some lighter fare. If you’re looking for a classic holiday movie to add to your queue, here are some that just might do the trick:

The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)
My favorite holiday film is The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945) staring Ingrid Bergman and Bing Crosby. I have seen it so many times my mind flickers through many spectacular scenes without effort but always gets stuck on Sister Mary Benedict helping Eddie conquer the bully on the playground by teaching him how to box. The practice sparring scenes between Eddie and Sister Benedict are hilarious but the comments between Sister Benedict and Father O’Malley after Eddie bests the bully are priceless. “Quite a change,” says Father O’Malley, “he’s an improved man.” “I wonder,” says Sister Benedict “does it mean anything, does it prove anything to beat up your fellow man?”

—Michelle Lang, Assistant University Librarian for Graduate Services


White Christmas (1954)
My favorite holiday movie is the 1954 movie White Christmas starring Bing Crosby. There are so many great holiday movies, but this movie is special to me. I watched it every year with my mother and father as a little girl growing up and have continued to watch it yearly into my adulthood, now with my daughters. This movie touches on friendship and family, it is funny and brings a tear to my eye every time I watch it. The music and dancing is timeless. My holiday season would not be complete without watching this movie. It leaves me with a warm heart.

—Shannon Thyberg, Media and Marketing Coordinator, University Relations


A Rugrats Chanukah (1996)
I enjoy the Rugrats Chanukah special, in which the gang sets out to find the meaning of Chanukah—or, as they put it, “the meany of Chanukah.” Tommy Pickles, fresh off his Oscar-worthy performance as Moses in A Rugrats Passover, delivers yet another star turn as our hero, Judah Macabee. Any Rugrats episode featuring Grandma Minka and Grandpa Boris is worth tuning into, and this one is no exception.

Lance Pauker, Marketing Writer, University Relations


A Christmas Story (1983)
A Christmas Story—it’s a cute film, whenever I come across it on TV, I’ll just keep it on, and sit down and watch it. Another one, this is old school, and it’s memorable—March of the Wooden Soldiers. it reminds me of when I was a little kid, and we’d watch it every single year. 

—Denise Santiago, Director, Office of Multicultural Affairs


The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
What I like most about The Muppet Christmas Carol is that it grows with the viewer. You can enjoy it at any age not just for its whimsy (there certainly is that), but for the fact that the film presents Charles Dickens’ great work largely unedited (despite being intended for children). It even improves upon the original text, sprinkling in modern language without falling back on condescension. 

It’s snappy, it’s surprisingly dark, and best of all: it encourages young minds to interact with classic literature in a way that so few adaptations manage to do successfully. This makes the viewing experience more enjoyable for older audiences as well, particularly book nerds, who are always hungry for a meaty reinterpretation of the classics. Not all adaptations need to be grandiose and humorless—in fact, I’d argue that just about any famous book can and should be performed by the Muppets. They’re as full of life and color as the literature we fall in love with, and inspiring kids to read is about as close to the holiday spirit as you can get.

—Jillian Gorry, Copywriter/Proofreader, University Relations


Hook (1991)
One of my favorite holiday movies is Hook, a classic, fantasy adventure film about Peter Pan, played by the late Robin Williams, as he returns to Neverland as an adult. Hook encourages its audience to bask in the splendor of youth, to embark on an adventure that bends the constraints of reality and delve into the craze of one’s imagination. It’s childish, thrilling, and lighthearted. That’s why I like it.

—Cicero Clamor, Associate Art Director, Marketing and Communications