Top-Ten Christmas Movies, The KMPH/KFRE Employees' Poll

What's your favorite Christmas movie?{} We asked that question of members of our staff at KMPH Fox 26 and KFRE CW 59. {}What we got was a list that includes new and old movies, with two runaway winners at the top of our list. {}At the end of this story I'll show you how to show your favorites.

Topping our KMPH/KFRE employees' poll is the original "Home Alone" movie, which stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, a little boy who is left home alone near Chicago when the rest of his family members jet to Paris for Christmas. {}"Kevin" is having the time of his young life until a pair of crooks, played brilliantly by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, start planning to burgle the home. {}Kevin catches on to their plot, and the way he thwarts them is a comedic romp that leaves most people laughing heartily. {}{}

A close second in our staff poll is "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation". {}It's the story of Clark Griswold, a mid-level executive who has the dream of designing the perfect family Christmas holiday for his wife, two children, and the in-laws. {}Griswold hangs thousands of exterior lights and cuts a huge tree for the home. {}But when the relatives arrive, including "Eddie", Griswold's cousin, the family puts a capital "DYS" at the start of "functional". {}There is a long list of highlights that will leave you laughing. {}WARNING!{} This movie may not be suitable for younger viewers due to occasional foul language and sexually-suggestive themes.{}

Three movies tied for third in our poll.{} "A Christmas Story" is one of them. {}What we found interesting is the number of our co-workers who love this movie, and what appears to be an equal number of them who have never seen or heard of it. {}Those who love it can tell you it is a brilliantly written and acted story of a family trying to get through Christmas, with "Ralphie" the main character, trying his best to get a Red Rider BB Gun for Christmas. {}There are several absolutely hilarious scenes, and after watching this movie for the first time most make it a yearly part of their Christmas traditions.{}

Also tied for third is "Elf", the Will Farrell movie about an Elf, played by Farrell, who is a human who was raised as an elf at the North Pole by Santa Claus. {}"Buddy", the elf, decides to go to New York City to find his human birth father, played with an amazing dry and sometimes acerbic humor by James Caan.{} He finds him, goes to live with him and his wife and son, and creates well-intentioned trouble at every turn.{} Buddy finds love and, in the end, a father's new love.{}

The third movie that ties for third in our poll is "The Santa Clause", the first of three movies that starred Tim Allen as the human who, against his will (at first), becomes Santa.{} The first movie details how "Scott Calvin", Allen's character, becomes "the big red one".{} Throw in a subplot of a custody battle between Calvin and his ex-wife, all of the majesty of Santa's Workshop, and the magic of Christmas as seen through Calvin's son's eyes, and you have a winner of a movie.{} The ending is worth the price, by the way, as two long-jaded adults rediscover the magic of Christmas.{} Surprisingly (to me at least) the second "Santa Clause" movie got no votes in our poll and it (to me at least) is nearly as good as the first one.{}

Two movies tied for sixth in our employees' poll, and while our top five is made up of relatively new films, the two at sixth place are much older. {}

The first of the two is "It's a Wonderful Life", the Jimmy Stewart movie where he plays a man who, in a moment of weakness, considers jumping from a bridge into an icy river in order to kill himself.{} "George Bailey" thinks all of those around him would be better if he had never existed.{} However, "Clarence", his guardian angel, comes from heaven to show him the error of his ways.{} Shot in black and white, this movie is a holiday tradition for many.{}

Also tied for sixth is "White Christmas", a 1954 movie starting Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire as two successful singing and dancing stars who move their show to an Inn in Vermont at Christmas time to help an army buddy.{} The subplot, which carries the movie, is the love interest between Crosby's character and an aspiring singer/dancer played by Rosemary Clooney.{} It's a story of honor and character, and of how one should never jump to conclusions based on gossip.{} By the way, the famous song "White Christmas" actually comes from the 1942 movie "Holiday Inn", which also starred Crosby along with Fred Astaire.{} If you watch "Holiday Inn" you'll notice that much of the music in "White Christmas" is reused or repurposed from the earlier movie.{} This is not too big of a surprise considering Irving Berlin did the scores for both movies.{}

At eighth in our poll is the Jim Carrey flick "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", a longer take on the original 30-minute TV special that was born from the Dr. Seuss book of the same name. {}

Ninth is "The Polar Express", a tale of a little boy struggling to believe in Santa and, as a result, the magic of Christmas.{} Taken from the book of the same name, this movie uses the voice of Tom Hanks for many of its characters, and represented a huge advance in animation when it came out several years ago. {}

Rounding out our top-ten Christmas Movies poll is the original "Miracle on 34th Street", which debuted in 1947. {}It's the story of a little girl who believes that a department store Santa is the real deal, the lawyer that works to prove that he is, and the Santa whose only desire is to bring Christmas cheer to all of the world's children. {}Side note:{} the lawyer has a love interest who wants to disown him for not helping Santa, which helps him help Santa.{} And the little girl is played by the one and only Natalie Wood.{}

Some movies that got votes in our KMPH/KFRE employees' poll but which didn't make the top ten are "Scrooged", which came in 11th, the original "A Christmas Carol", "The Nightmare Before Christmas", "Love Actually", and the original "Die Hard" (which takes place at Christmas time).{}

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