Holiday films to life your spirits

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Many families have their own unique holiday traditions, but some traditions transcend familial lines to become an integral part of many people’s holiday celebrations. One of the more popular traditions during this festive time of year is to watch a favorite holiday film with family and friends. With that in mind, the following are some of the most beloved holiday movies ever to make it onto the big screen.

· “It’s a Wonderful Life”: Perhaps no holiday film is more beloved than this 1946 Frank Capra-directed classic. Screen legend Jimmy Stewart plays a desperate businessman contemplating suicide during the holiday season. But a guardian angel helps him realize all the good fortune in his life by showing him what life might have been like if he had never existed.

· “White Christmas”: This 1954 song-and-dance film stars Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye as a pair of longtime friends and ex-military men who fall in love with a sister act team that includes famous singer (and aunt to George Clooney) Rosemary Clooney. Crosby and Kaye join forces to save the failing Vermont inn of their beloved former commander.

· “Miracle on 34th Street”: Natalie Wood stars in this 1947 classic that follows the trial of Kris Kringle, who claims to be Santa Claus and must prove otherwise to avoid being institutionalized. Nominated for Best Picture at the 1948 Academy Awards, “Miracle on 34th Street” won three of the prestigious statuettes, including a Best Supporting Actor Oscar® for Edmund Gwenn, who played the jolly old man in the red suit.

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· “Bad Santa”: Though not quite as heartwarming as many holiday films, this 2003 black comedy stars Billy Bob Thornton as miserable, alcoholic con man “Willie,” who poses as a mall Santa Claus so he can rob a department store safe on Christmas Eve. But in spite of its rather raunchy take on the holiday season, the film is ultimately a story of redemption as Willie befriends a bullied youngster and begins to turn his life around.

· “A Christmas Carol”: Those looking for a more traditional take on holiday films need look no further than this 1951 adaptation of the Charles Dickens novella, which tells the tale of bitter miser Ebenezer Scrooge as he is haunted by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.

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