Most of the holiday tunes that have flooded radio stations, TV commercials and grocery-store speakers over the past month come with origins that date back for decades. It's hard to craft an original Christmas song that will stick the way Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" or Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" have, but a handful of holiday movies have attempted such a feat, with varying degrees of longevity. Here are some holiday-playlist staples (and one that was just too great not to mention) that hailed from movies and TV specials.
Bing Crosby -- "White Christmas" (written by Irving Berlin)
From "Holiday Inn" (1942)
Thurl Ravenscroft -- "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" (written by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel)
From the animated special "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" (1966)
Faith Hill -- "Where Are You, Christmas?" (written by James Horner, Will Jennings and Mariah Carey)
From the movie "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (2000)
Judy Garland -- "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane)
From "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944)
Danny Elfman -- "What's This?" (written by Danny Elfman)
From "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993)
Danny Elfman & Cast -- "Making Christmas" (written by Danny Elfman)
From "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993)
Josh Groban -- "Believe" (written by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri)
From "The Polar Express" (2004)
Vince Guaraldi Trio -- "Christmas Time Is Here" (written by Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi)
From the TV special "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (1965)
John Williams, composer -- "Somewhere In My Memory" (lyrics by Leslie Bricusse)
From "Home Alone" (1990)
Billy Mack -- "Christmas Is All Around"*
From "Love Actually" (2003)
*It's technically a holiday cover of The Troggs' "Love Is All Around," but Billy Mack (played by Bill Nighy) is too original for us to not include this gem.
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A Christmas Story (1983)
Perhaps one of the only films given an annual 24-hour marathon, "A Christmas Story" is still fresh even on hour 20. Did you know they now actually make <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Story-Deluxe-Large-Lamp/dp/B000VX16UY">the leg lamp?</a>
Will Ferrell as a over-sized, hyperactive, sugar-devouring Elf just seems all too natural in this movie. While his consumption of sweets makes us ill (spaghetti with chocolate syrup?) we love it when he confuses maple syrup with liquor.
The Ref (1994)
Over 15 years ago, Denis Leary made this film about a dysfunctional Connecticut couple and their bat-shit crazy family, which will definitely make you feel better about your own. It's the funniest he's ever been, but he still gets upstaged by Judy Davis, Christine Baranski and some really mean old lady.
Trading Places (1983)
We could all use a little Wall-Street-revenge fantasy right now! Might as well be hilarious!
By far one of the best adaptations of the classic Charles Dickens story, featuring Bill Murray as Scrooge. Who doesn't like to see smarmy, evil TV executives learn how to be nice?
Bad Santa (2003)
Billy Bob Thornton does the most twisted version of Santa you've ever seen, complete with a foul-mouthed, criminal midget sidekick. A lot of the funny can be attributed to Thurman, the 8-year-old whose adorable naivete makes bad Santa seem so much worse.
Santa's Slay (2005)
Christmas films that earn top spots on annual lists of Best Holiday Films usually feature some brilliantly-executed synthesis of humor, sentimentality, originally, and tradition--but none of these things are what earned "Santa's Slay" the top stop on <a href="http://www.ugo.com/movies/funniest-christmas-movies-santas-slay" target="_hplink">UGO's list of Funniest Christmas Movies</a>. No, this nonpareil holiday film instead combines the murder, Satan, and the horror tactics of Santa as played by professional wrestler Bill Golberg. But don't worry--it's all in campy good fun. What's not to like?
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Gonzo (as Charles Dickens) narrates this Muppet version of "A Christmas Carol," with Michael Cain as Scrooge. It's cruel of him to make Bob Cratchit work on Christmas, but what do you expect from someone who hires a frog as an accountant?
MST3K: Santa Claus Conquers The Martians
The geniuses of Mystery Science Theater 3000 did an episode with great riffs on this terrible/amazing Christmas movie. Watch the MST3K version, or if you can get it, watch the original and observe the ridiculousness for yourself.
Santa Claus The Movie (1985)
Yeah, this movie is awesome. Dudley Moore + evil John Lithgow + a sled that runs on candy canes and hope = unintentionally hilarious. You must rent this-so-bad-it's-fabulous film.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
This holiday comedy classic proves the Griswolds don't need to leave home to have a disastrous time. It has all the quirky mishaps only Chevy Chase could pull off, and like all good Christmas movies, ends with a SWAT team raid!
Christmas In Connecticut (1945)
Arnold Schwarzenneger was so enamored with Christmas In Connecticut that he adapted the 1945 "snowball comedy" into his own film in 1992, but as with any attempt to remake the classics--especially one starring the hilarious Barbara Stanwyck as an impostor food critic--the original is far superior than its successor. Sure, the film lacks the special effects and gross-out gags of newer comedy classics, but the sharp dialogue and screwball scenarios should earn this one a spot among the funniest holiday films.
Jingle All The Way (1996)
This 90s action/Christmas comedy only gets better with time. First of all, any movie starring both now-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and now-nobody Sinbad wins our kitsch-loving hearts. Secondly, Phil Hartman plays a snooty, neighbor's wife-coveting yuppie, which makes us miss him dearly. Third of all, just look at the photo. Just look at it. Now laugh.
Comfort And Joy (1984)
They may not gorge themselves on Thanksgiving food or flatten themselves for sales items on Black Friday, but lets not forget that our friends across the pond have holiday spirit too. If you feel like doing a little celebrating UK-style, make sure to check out "Comfort and Joy," the 1984 comedy directed by Bill Forsyth which follows the Christmas crusades of a DJ just dumped by his girlfriend. Plus there are rival ice cream gangs--enough said.
Home Alone (1990)
The movie that made all 90s children want a TalkBoy for Christmas (now they just want iPads) is still hilarious even 20 years later. From little Macaulay Cullkin's notorious yell to Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern being seemingly impossible to kill (seriously, how many concussions does it take?) there are plenty of genuine and ironic reasons to give this Christmas comedy a re-re-watch.
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas
The third installment of the series following the stoner duo is all kinds of madcap fun.