After you open presents and get your fill of food, the best thing to do on the holiday is kick back, relax and watch a good flick.
In the spirit of the “12 Days of Christmas,” here are 12 movies that are (mostly) perfect for family viewing. Grab a cup of cocoa, get the fire burning (or turn on the air conditioner) and pop in these films.
1. “A Christmas Story”
Peter Billingsley stars as Ralphie in this 1980s comedy about a kid who wants the coolest gift around — a Red Ryder BB gun. Will he get it or not? Ralphie’s mom sure hates the idea. If you haven’t seen this, surely some cable channel will be showing it all day. Rated PG.
Will Ferrell is Buddy, a man-sized elf sent to the United States to search for his identity. The spirit of joy is unmatched in his character, and even the most cynical characters of the film warm up to Buddy’s antics. That happiness and warmth has made this a go-to Christmas movie pick. It’s one of the newer choices, released in 2003. Rated PG.
3. “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Want an ultimate holiday tear-jerker? Just watch Frank Capra’s classic, nominated for five Oscars, about a frustrated businessman (Jimmy Stewart) who is helped by an angel. Rated PG.
4. “White Christmas”
Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney lead the cast in this musical about a group of duos who travel to a Vermont lodge to, of course, put on a Christmas show.
The plot doesn’t really matter. You’re here for the songs. Rated G.
5. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”
Christmas time for the Griswold family is a hilarious disaster. Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo and Randy Quaid return in the third installment of the “Vacation” series, which is probably the best of the series. (Unless you’re that one weirdo who liked “Vegas Vacation.”) Rated PG-13.
6. “The Santa Clause”
Comedian Tim Allen got himself a hit in the live-action Disney series “The Santa Clause.” This film is about a man who discovers his true calling when he becomes the red-suited one who lives at the North Pole. A few sequels followed, but none matched this one’s magic. Rated PG.
7. “Die Hard”
This one is for action fans. John McClane, (Bruce Willis at his gritty hero best) is a down-on-his-luck cop who visits his wife at the iconic Nakatomi Plaza during the company Christmas party. And, wouldn’t you know it, terrorists show up. “Yippie-ki-yay!” Rated R.
8. “Home Alone”
Macaulay Culkin is left alone during the family Christmas vacation, and he’s got his hands full when two burglars decide this would be a great time to rob the house. This one is full of slapstick comedy and Culkin’s trademark “ahhh.” It’s like watching a live-action Looney Tunes episode. Rated PG.
An updated (read: very ’80s) take on the Dickens story, “A Christmas Carol,” stars Bill Murray as a cynical TV exec haunted by three spirits who help Murray change his attitude. Rated PG-13.
10. “Miracle on 34th Street”
Santa Claus is on trial! This 1947 film is about a whiskered gentleman who claims to be Santa, and the lawyer and young girl who defend him. It’s an oldie but a goodie that’ll melt the biggest hater’s heart. Rated G.
A monster Christmas movie? Leave it to director Joe Dante, writer Chris Columbus and producer Steven Spielberg to bring a little mayhem to the holidays.
The hit film features mini green monsters ripping through a small town, a heroic pet named Gizmo, and acting turns from Phoebe Cates, Judge Reinhold and Zach Galligan. Rated PG.
12. “Jack Frost”
Grab the tissues. Michael Keaton plays a singer who can’t seem to keep his promises to his son, Charlie.
One year after the father dies in a car wreck, he returns home as a snowman with one last chance to make things right with Charlie.
The 1998 film also stars Kelly Preston and three of Frank Zappa’s four children — Dweezil Zappa, Ahmet Zappa and Moon Unit Zappa. Rated PG.