The Easiest New Year’s Party

Whether you want to have a small, intimate party or a rager, planning your New Year’s party doesn’t have to be time consuming or difficult. New Year’s is one of the biggest party nights of the year and if you’ve taken it upon yourself to throw one, you may already be experiencing stress about the task. Instead of worrying yourself into a frenzy, use some of our helpful suggestions to truncate the party planning process and really start your year off on a great foot. All you need is a few simple tips and tricks and your party will be ready to rock, well before New Year’s Eve.

Turn Resolution Making into a Game

Making resolutions is widely considered to be one of the most futile pursuits in the New Year. Most people recycle their resolutions from previous years, usually indicating that they did not achieve what they wanted to achieve this year and need to try again—in effect, that their resolutions had no effect. There are plenty of articles about how to make resolutions stick over the coming year, but it might just be more effective to turn your resolution making into a game for your party.

Here’s how you do it. Set out a bunch of notecards with questions on them that relate to goal making. Here are some examples: “The bad habit I want to change is (blank),” “I want to do more of (blank) this year,” “I want to improve my (blank) skill this year,” “I want to learn how to (blank),” this year. Alternatively, you could hand out the cards blank and start the game by asking each person to write a question, and then pass the cards around and have each person answer someone else’s question.

Whichever method you choose, don’t have anyone put any names on any of the cards, put them in a hat or bowl and then pick them out one by one, having everyone guess who wrote what.

What to Eat

While typical party food might seem like the best fare—this is a party, after all—there are lots of kinds of foods that are specific to New Year’s that you might consider laying out. For example, in many Latin countries, grapes are a traditional New Year’s food. Eating twelve grapes at midnight is considered good luck for the coming twelve months of the new year.

In the South, black-eyed peas and ham hocks are traditional fare, while noodles are considered lucky in many Asian countries. They are a symbol of long life—so don’t break them in half before cooking and encourage your guests to slurp, instead of biting them in half. Pork (pigs) are considered lucky in just about every country they inhabit, from America to Japan, so some pork-centered dishes might be a good choice for New Year’s meals.

Dessert is as easy as making a ring cake. The ring symbolizes the close of the year and the opening a new one—how life always comes full circle. All you have to do is pick up a ring pan and use your favorite cake mix and you’re done.

What to Listen To

Unless you did decide to throw that rager, you’ll probably want some quieter, more demure music for the backdrop of your New Year’s party. The classics are always a good idea. You can probably even queue up a Pandora station that has plenty of easy-listening music, just for the occasion. Just makes sure that you have Auld Lang Syne on your playlist so that you can sing it after midnight.

How to Decorate

Start by picking up your basic New Year’s party decorations at our party store. Depending on the atmosphere of your party, you might want to go very kitsch and get lots of 2015 gear, or just a few simple tablecloths and wall decorations to get you started. The key to decorating for a New Year’s party is to remember that there is no such thing as too much gold glitter or the color black.

Gold glitter and black are the most common and well-loved colors for this celebration, so you should be able to find them in our party supply store and really round out your store-bought decorations with a few homemade ones. Stars cut from gold paper, pom-poms made from gold metallic yarn, or custom-made party hats (your guests can even make these as they come in the door), are all great places to start.

If you’re not keen on making your own decorations—not all of us have the Martha Stewart touch—you’re sure to find plenty of great decorations in our collection. Remember to keep the spirit of your party in mind. A smaller, intimate party may not warrant as many crazy decorations as a huge, New Year’s dance party should have. Go all out or keep it simple!

Make It Potluck

The best way to de-stress your New Year’s party is to delegate tasks out to those attending. You’re already hosting the party, why should you have to plan the entire thing by yourself? Enlist your most creative friend to help with the decorations and make sure the best chef of the group is in charge of at least a few of the dishes. You can even have a couple people show up an hour early to help you make sure the place is properly decorated and all of the food is out and ready for guests to arrive.

Don’t go it alone! New Year’s should be a time to remember the good times you’ve had with friends over the year and the good times you’ll have in the coming year—at least, that’s what Auld Lang Syne says.

New Year Traditions to Implement this Year

While Thanksgiving and Christmas are thought to be the most tradition-laden holidays during our end-of-of-the-year festivities, New Years has plenty of fun traditions that can make a standard party a little more special. Many of these traditions are passed down from other cultures and still leave their mark on American New Year celebrations. Here are some of the top New Year traditions to incorporate into your party this year and start 2015 on the right foot.

The First Footing

Though this does sound kind of like a B horror movie, it is actually a Scottish tradition that celebrates the first visitor after midnight. The First Footer is traditionally a dark-haired man who brings money and food for the family and while it can be a member of the family or the household, tradition states that the person must leave for at least an hour before midnight.

Some traditional gifts, if you’re going to implement this tradition into your New Year festivities, are bread, salt, and whiskey, along with some coins. If you don’t know any dark-haired men, just be sure that your first footer is not blonde—as this means they are likely a Viking and Vikings have always been bad news, right?

Big Parties

A no brainer, right? Spain and Portugal are most famous for their giant, lavish parties to mark the passing of the old year and the beginning of the new one. Fireworks, light displays, and even fountain shows are not uncommon. New York City is not the only city that has a giant crystal ball that drops as the year ends.

While building and coordinating a ball drop might be a little much, you can still throw a grand party. Pick up some New Years’ decorations from our party supply store, put away the Christmas tree and mistletoe and deck out your house for your own big party.

Bright New Year beverage napkin

Clean House and Paid Debts

In Japan, it is extremely unlucky to start the year with a messy house and with any remaining debts. The week leading up to New Years is usually spent making sure that the house is in order, both literally and figuratively. It is also a time of forgiveness—both offering it and asking for it. Any lingering disagreements should be settled so that the new year can start off on the right foot.

An additional Japanese tradition includes spending some portion of New Year’s Day writing down what you hope for and expect in the year to come.

Emancipation

African Americans were emancipated on January 1st, 1863, under Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. For African American families, this day often holds special importance and is often marked by traditional food and by watching or attending church services. It is also the second-to-last day of Kwanzaa, which is a holiday that connects people with their African ancestors.

Auld Lang Syne (you know the song, right?)

Did you know that this song was written by the famous poet Robert Burns? It has been used as a song to mark the passing of the new year for only a few decades and the translation does not always make sense, but it is nice to sing after the ball drops and the countdown hits zero. The song’s purpose is essentially to commemorate the good times that have come before and to look forward to the good times that have yet to come. Few people know all the words, so here they are—you’ll impress your friends by knowing all of the words to this song that we’ve all heard a hundred and five times (English Translation Version):

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for days of auld lang syne.

We two have run around the hills
And pulled the daisies fine.
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot
Since the days of auld lang syne.

We two have paddled in the stream
From morn till the sun was down.
But seas between us two have roared
Since days of auld lang syne.

So here’s a hand my trusty friend.
Give us a hand of thine.
We’ll take a good-will drink again
For auld lang syne.

Baby New Year

The first baby born in the New Year in almost every country around the world is showered with presents and with attention. Many are awarded full scholarships to schools of their choosing and the mother’s medical bills are waived. They will generally be presented with a full supply of diapers and other baby essentials. (Timing is everything…)

The first baby of the year is a big deal. In ancient times, the baby was paraded up and down the streets of the city. While we might not throw a parade for the kid anymore, he/she definitely dominates the news cycle for a few days.

Other Traditions

Every country has their own traditions that are designed to bring good luck and love to those who participate. Here are a few miscellaneous traditions that you might find fun to bring into your New Year’s Party.

In Spain, twelve grapes are eaten at midnight, one for each of the coming months, to ensure happiness and health.

In the Netherlands, bonfires and fireworks are very important to the celebration. They burn their old Christmas trees and welcome the coming year, fully purged of the old.

New Year’s resolutions are big throughout the world, though studies show that most are abandoned within the first week. The key to making a resolution that sticks is making a reasonable goal and having a reasonable plan for accomplishing it.

Want to go big?  Tent Rentals, Party Rentals & Event Rentals in Philadelphia can be found here: Bucks-Mont Party Rental

Winter Weddings: Hire a Wedding Planner or Go It Alone?

Bride and Groom Flute Set

While summer is the most popular time of the year to get married, getting married during the winter is a unique and beautiful experience—but it can also be trying. Unlike the summer, when your guests, parents, and friends are more likely to be able to take a little time off to help you get the wedding together, most people are busy at work right up until and definitely after the holiday season. This can make it difficult to plan a wedding with just the two of you. When it comes to winter weddings, is it better to hire a wedding planner or to plan it without one? Here are the pros and cons of each choice.

Pros of Hiring a Wedding Planner for a Winter Wedding

• Friends and family aren’t the same as a wedding planner. Even if your sister has been the maid of honor at three other weddings before yours, she might not have the same training and relationships with local venues and vendors that a wedding planner does. A wedding planner has the ability to help you reel in your ideas to a manageable zone and has the knowledge and expertise to pull of your vision. Plus, there’s usually not going to be any personality conflicts that can sometimes crop up when you enlist family members to do big tasks.

• Wedding planners know all the details. Even if your winter wedding is your second, third, or fourth wedding, chances are you still haven’t planned as many weddings as your local wedding planner. She’s got a checklist a mile long that ensures that all your bases are covered.

• A wedding planner is a willing ear. Most people become wedding planners because they love planning weddings—otherwise it would quickly become tedious and the tedium would show in the weddings that they plan. This means that unlike your mother, best friends, and even spouse-to-be, they will never get tired of talking about your wedding. No matter how excited your friends and family members are for you, they’ll never be as excited as you are, which may leave you with no one to talk to about your upcoming nuptials. A wedding planner can fill that gap.

• Wedding planners know which vendors can be trusted. If you’re a bit of a control freak—and most brides and grooms are—you already feel a little wary about turning over the food, decorations, and set-up to people that you do not know. What if they don’t come through? Your wedding planner likely has great relationships with the best vendors in the area.

Cons of Hiring a Wedding Planner for a Winter Wedding

• Wedding planners are expensive. There’s really no way around this. Planning a wedding, as you’ve likely already come to realize, is time consuming, and that individual has to be compensated for her time. This can take a serious chunk of your budget, leaving less money for wedding decorations, food, and venue than you had originally allocated.

• It’s difficult to fully communicate your vision. One of the perils of hiring a wedding planner is that they do not know you very well and they only have a short window to understand what you want in your wedding before the ball has to get rolling. If you can’t perfectly articulate what you want, you might end up with food, flower arrangements, and wedding decorations that you aren’t in love with.

• Wedding planners often specialize in certain types of weddings. If your wedding is not “fairytale” themed, you might have difficulty finding someone in your area to help plan your wedding. One of the reasons some planners are so successful is because they have found their niche, the kind of wedding they plan very well, and do not stray from it.

Pros of Not Hiring a Wedding Planner

• You have complete control. Just because you want to have control over your wedding does not mean you are a control freak or a Bridezilla. If you know exactly what you want, or at least how to figure out exactly what you want, then a wedding planner may be a superfluous cost.

• More budget for other things. Like we said above, hiring a wedding planner is hugely expensive. If you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars for a wedding, a wedding planner should be the first thing you cut from your list. Winter weddings have less competition than summer weddings, so you might not even need their expertise in finding a venue or vendors to work with.

• Small weddings simply do not need that much planning. Logistics is a big part of a wedding planner’s job. If you are only planning on thirty attendees to your wedding, there is no reason to hire a wedding planner for such a small crowd.

• The internet has plenty of resources. Not only can you research vendors and venues online, there are also lots of websites that offer not just wedding decorations, but lists to help you coordinate your big day, stay on schedule, and make your day as perfect as possible.

Cons of Not Hiring a Wedding Planner

• If you are planning a large wedding, the logistics may be too much to tackle. If there are hundreds of—or even just one hundred—people that are invited to your wedding, you may have difficulty making sure that you have enough food, chairs, and drinks for everyone in attendance. A wedding planner knows exactly what large weddings need.

• You have to start from scratch. This can be scary, even if you have a year to plan your wedding. Where do you even start? A wedding planner who has been in the business knows where to start, how to schedule a wedding so that your venue and vendors are all in order, and so that you are as calm as possible as you walk down the aisle.

Just Married Flag

We hope this gives you something to think about.  Good luck with your planning!

The Ultimate Office Holiday Party

If you’re in charge of the office holiday party, you may feel a lot of pressure to make sure that the party is as top notch as it can be. Even if your office is not politics heavy, you might still feel like there are a lot of personalities to please with this party, and with lots of different people come lots of varying beliefs.

Making sure that no one is offended and everyone has fun may seem like a monumental task. Planning an office holiday party does not have to be stressful—with the right tools and the right tips, it can actually be fun. Here are our tips for planning the ultimate office holiday party.

Ask Around

The best way to make sure that everyone has a stake in this party is to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard. If you can, schedule a quick meeting where people can throw out suggestions, and try to do it as early in the season as possible. Alternatively, if you can’t find a time when everyone can sit together for a couple minutes, go around the office and see what suggestions each individual wants to offer.

An office is already a complicated place, with lots of different personalities. To avoid stepping on any toes, make sure that you’ve had every one’s input. If your party is specifically a Christmas theme but there are people in the office that do not celebrate Christmas, make sure their holiday traditions are represented as well. If your party is just holiday themed, still make sure that Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, and New Year’s are all represented.

Asking around is also a great way to ask people to volunteer for tasks like brining food, making and hanging decorations, and planning activities for the party.

Create Invitations

While emailed invitations might be the most efficient way to get the word out about the upcoming party, you can also distribute physical invitations, as a reminder, a few days before the party. Depending on when your party is—either during office hours or afterwards—include any information that your fellow employees might need to know about what to wear, who to bring, and what to bring.

If you have a pretty free budget, you can have invitations printed by a professional printer, or you can spend a little extra time and make them yourself, printing them out on the office printer. Whether you make them yourself or have them printed, make sure they are read about a month before the party. It might be a good idea to include an RSVP requirement, so you know how much food you need to have.

Deck the Office Halls

Christmas party supplies are not difficult to come by and you might even have some left over from last year. Again, if you have lots of budget to work with, you can get really fancy with your holiday or Christmas party decorations, but if your budget is tighter, you might consider looking through discount or low-cost decorations and spicing them up with some handmade designs. Keep in mind that you really only need a few decorations in order to make the office look great.

Music is a key piece of holiday decorating. If your party is intended to be non-denominational, it might be best to stay away from Christmas hymns, but there are plenty of more commercialized holiday songs that will be perfect. A great way to make sure you have a unique mix of music is to purchase a Christmas mix CD or to turn on an internet radio station. This way, you’re sure to have uninterrupted music for hours.

If you really want to go all out, you could hire a DJ or a local musician to take requests and really make your party special. A lower-cost option is to rent or set-up a karaoke machine, with some holiday classics queued up so the party goers can make their own music.

Food and Drinks

Getting enough food and drink for a large office party is usually the most difficult and expensive part of planning a holiday party. If you have a small office, you probably also have a small budget. The cost of food and drink can be mitigated by farming out the tasks to individuals.

If someone is famous for making brownies, be sure to enlist them to make brownies for the party. If someone has a famous chili recipe, ask if they would be willing to make a pot for your party. If you go this route, you’re likely to have a sort of hodge-podge of different dishes and desserts, but it’s also a great way for each person to show off their signature dish and get everyone involved.

Drinks can be a little bit trickier. If your party is during office hours, you might not be allowed to have alcohol. Stick to virgin eggnog and cider in that case. If you are allowed to have alcohol, it might be best to not stock up on it too much. An office party, even if you’re close with all of your coworkers, is not the place to get drunk and rowdy.

Activities

Not every party needs to have activities, but it can be a good way to make sure that everyone doesn’t just stand around and continue talking about work. A Christmas scavenger hunt is a great way to get everyone involved and it can even be really fun to plan. This is another time when karaoke might come in handy, or an activity like white elephant or Yankee swap could be really fun.

Other fun holiday activities might be playing dreidel, having a present-wrapping contest, or a holiday trivia tournament. Don’t be afraid to look outside the box or have individuals make suggestions and bring games to play with the whole group.

How to Plan a Christmas Party for Kids

If you’re in charge of the christmas party for your kids’ school, your church is throwing a holiday party, or if you just want to throw a fun party for your kids and their friends, we’ve got all the tips and tricks you need to know to make sure your party goes off without a hitch. Christmas is the center of every kid’s year, and there’s nothing better than a fun filled party to really get them in the spirit. No matter what kind of party you want to have, we’ve got the tips to make it easier and more fun for all involved—that means you, too.

1. Christmas Games –

The first task of your party planning endeavor is to make sure that you have all of your activity bases covered. Having enough for the kids to do means you won’t have to worry about the party devolving into chaos—and if you’ve ever planned a party for children, you know how often that can happen. Games and crafts are a great way to keep the kids occupied and still having fun. Here are some of our favorite.

a. Wrap presents with lots of layers of wrapping paper and newspaper and plenty of tape. Then, give the kids ten seconds to unwrap as much of it as possible before they have to pass it on to the next kid, who gets ten seconds to try to unwrap it. Instead of a timer, use holiday music. Turn on the music, let it play for a short time, and then turn it off when it’s time to pass.

b. Challenge the kids to wrap a present as quickly as possible. Give each kid the same size box, the same amount of wrapping papers and tape, and see who can do it the best.

c. See if you can get the kids to draw and guess Rudolph, Frosty, and Santa Clause.  Or any other holiday image you can think of.

d. Queue up the holiday music for Christmas-themed musical chairs.  This is great for when the kids just need to run around, and can’t keep themselves still!

2. Christmas Treats –

The kids are likely going to be eating plenty of cookies and candy this holiday season…but why not just a little bit more?  Decorating holiday cookies, for example, is a great way to pass the time. Get some green, red, and silver sprinkles for sugar cookies, or make some gingerbread men and let them give him frosting clothes and candy accessories. For a little bit older set of children, building gingerbread houses is great fun! You can buy kits, or just make some pieces yourself. They might not want to eat the pieces after they’ve built and decorated it, so it might be worth it to make some other cookies, just in case… especially if you have a handyman around the house that had to glue the pieces together :)

3. Christmas Crafts –

Simple, easy crafts that double as decorations are a great way to not only get the kids to do something creative, but ensure they have something to take home at the end of the party. Don’t underestimate the skill of your kids and you’re sure to have some amazing works of art by the end of the party. Use these to augment your Christmas decorations. Here are some suggestions of crafts.

a. Make felt ornaments. It’s easy to cut ornament shapes out of different colors of felt, ranging from green to red to white. Do the standard circle or get a little fancier. Then, using fabric glue, let the kids decorate the ornaments with ribbon and sequins. Once they’re done, just glue on a piece of ribbon as the holder.

b. Make felt Christmas trees. It’s the same basic concept, except they get to decorate an entire tree themselves. Put magnets on the back to hang on the fridge or some sticky tack to make these a great wall decoration.

c. Make an easy garland of pom-poms. Pom-poms are easy to make—just wrap some lengths of yarn around the tines of the fork and put a tie around the middle. Then, cut the loops and fluff the yarn so that it forms a neat little ball. Just tie a longer piece of yarn around each pom and you’ll have a unique, beautiful garland that was super easy to make, even for small fingers.

4. Time and Date –

Knowing when to plan your Christmas party can be the most difficult part of planning. If your party is for a class at school, the best time to hold it would likely be the last day of school before the holiday break. Kids already know they are about to go on vacation and are likely not going to be engaged with any learning that is trying to happen. Having the party keeps them engaged and gets them revved up for the coming holidays.

If your party is not for school, choosing a date and time might be a little more logistically difficult. Many families have lots of parties to attend and many families also like to spend as much time together during the holidays as possible. This is why it is beneficial to talk to the parents of your kids’ friends and see when might be a good date and time for them. You could even suggest taking the kids off their hands for a few hours so they can shop for presents without having to hide them from the kids.

Most churches already have holiday parties on their schedule. You might want to have your party in addition to pre-planned parties, even as way to let the grown-ups have fun in one room, while the kids have their own party in another.

Christmas Parties on a Budget: How to Make It Happen

Snowman Napkins

Do you have a Christmas party to plan? Do you have lots of Christmas parties to attend? Both of these can be a serious strain on your budget, unless you know how to cut back down on spending and make use of what you already have in order to make sure your Christmas budget is not maxed out just on parties. We’ve got solutions for those of you who have parties to throw and for those of you who have parties to attend where presents are expected or appreciated.

Planning a Christmas Party on a Budget

The holidays are almost upon us, and if you’re an experienced Christmas or holiday party planner, you have likely already started to think about the things you need to get and the tasks that need to be completed. Don’t let them overwhelm you! Here are some tips to make sure that you come in under budget and under-stressed this year.

1. Choose a budget. Knowing how much you want to spend before you get started is the best way to make sure you don’t go overboard. Pick a number and hold on to that number as you shop for Christmas party decorations and other necessities. Don’t talk yourself into spending more because you “really need” something. Either cut the fat from other areas or do without.

2. Don’t shun the dollar store. Dollar stores are great resources for last minute items like extra paper goods and even supplies to clean up after the party. You can also get paper goods like plates, utensils, and cups in our party supply store, for super cheap, and in any color you need—like red and green.

3. Look for sales. This is especially important when it comes to food. Food is likely going to be the most expensive part of your party-planning, so unless you’re planning a potluck, the best way to save money is to look for sales in the weeks leading into your party, freeze it, and pull it out again when it’s time to use it for the party.

4. Opt for lower-cost decorations. Christmas is usually the time of year that most people go all-out for decorating—and there’s nothing wrong with that. When you’re planning a party, there are ways to cut down your decoration costs. Instead of buying hundreds of taper candles, try tea lights. They’re just as festive, and far less expensive. Make your own decorations or look at our party supply store for some low-cost and beautiful decorations.

5. Make the party Secret Santa, White Elephant, or Yankee Swap. If you can get your guests to participate in this without it turning nasty—come on, guys, it’s Christmas!—this is a great way to eliminate the cost of holiday grab bags or party favors. Instead, you’ll just need to buy one present, and if you set a dollar limit (something very low, like $5), you’ll save some serious cash.

6. Borrow tables and chairs. While you might not need tables, you will probably need more chairs in order to make sure everyone has a place to sit. Instead of going out and buying extra seating, borrow it from some of the guests. If you offer to pick it up yourself, before the party, they’re less likely to say no and be perfectly amenable to helping out. Your local church or event hall might also have some tables or chairs you can borrow on the fly.

Planning a holiday party does not have to break the bank! With these tips, you can seriously cut down on the cost of throwing a party, and still have a great time doing it!

How to Attend Christmas Parties on a Budget

You might not think of Christmas parties being expensive until you’ve actually had to attend three or four in a row, bringing a bottle of wine and gifts to each one. These costs can really stack up and that means less budget for gifts when the holidays actually roll around. We’ve got a couple of tips to help you cut down on the cost of attending all of the parties you want to attend, without offending your hosts or scrimping on holiday cheer.

1. Suggest holiday grab bags, instead of presents for all attendees. Especially if the party is more than a couple people attending, trying to bring presents for everyone is a monumental task, especially if you want them to be personalized and special. Instead, suggest to your host that each person bring one more generic, but still special, present, and everyone exchanges amongst themselves.

2. Ditch the wine. Unless you really know what kind of wine your host prefers, it might be safer to not bring it at all. If they don’t drink it and just let it sit in their cupboard or pantry for the next couple of years, that’s a waste of your money.

3. Remember that you don’t have to attend every party you’re invited to. If you find yourself spending lots of money on holiday sweaters and gifts, it might be best to take a look at the list of parties you are invited to attend and see if you really want to attend all of them. Instead of stretching yourself and your budget thin, focus on the most important parties—those thrown by your close family and friends.

The holidays should be a time of fun and good cheer, not a time of worrying about money. With these simple tips, you’re sure to make your holiday party planning or attending much more reasonable and far less stressful.

Best Christmas Movies

Christmas reindeer

Your halls are already decked and the tree has been trimmed. Your Christmas decorations are on the wall and around the house and when night falls, your lights are bright and burning in the snowy night. You’re ready to really kick the holiday cheer into high gear. It’s time to have a Christmas movie marathon. This is the perfect Christmas party—have your guests bring their favorite flick or vote beforehand on what movies you should watch.

Almost every channel is going to be doling out their version of the Christmas movie, from Christmas episodes of sci-fi shows, to the cheesiest of cheesy made for television Christmas movies on networks like Lifetime. You want the classics. Set your DVR now to make sure that you catch all of the X-mas flicks you want to watch before the season winds down. Alternatively, start checking Netflix now—though they’re bound to add more Christmas movies before the holiday arrives.

Home Alone

A perennial classic, though perhaps not one of the most “Christmas-y” movies out there. It’s a favorite of anyone who was a kid in the 90’s and definitely worth a watch during the Christmas season, even if just to feel happy that your family never forgot about you. It’s got action, it’s got adventure, it’s got heart. If you’ve never seen a Home Alone movie, now is the time.  Watch this first and best rendition, with all sorts of classic Christmas hijinks.

Elf

One of the newest movies on this list, Elf is also one of the funniest and has a great message about believing in Christmas and believing in the people around you. It’s fun for all ages, with slapstick for the kids and enough goofiness to keep even the most disinterested millennial smiling.

A Christmas Carol

Might we suggest the Muppet version? There are plenty of renditions of this Charles Dickens novella and which one you choose depends on your mood. There’s the slightly silly but still poignant Muppet version or the truly terrifying Patrick Stewart version, or the brand new animated movie put out by Disney, starring Jim Carrey. There are plenty of other ones you can snag, as well. Maybe watch a few different ones and compare?

The Nightmare before Christmas

What happens when all the ghouls that make up Halloween find out about Christmas? This is the perfect post-Halloween, pre-Christmas movie, and not just because the animation and story are great. It’s about love, redemption, and finding the holiday spirit.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Another Christmas classic that almost everyone has seen. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth another visit. The holiday season can get so wrapped up in Christmas decorations and buying the perfect gift and making the house look beautiful, that we forget that, despite our religious beliefs, Christmas is about family and good will. That’s what Charlie Brown’s Christmas special is all about.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

There truly is nothing better than the original Claymation Christmas classics. Rudolph’s story is one of perseverance and love, even though his fellow reindeer rejected him. It’s not just a story about Christmas, it’s a story about not being afraid to be who you are and knowing that your talents will be recognized, even if, at first, they are misunderstood.

Frosty the Snowman

Another Claymation short and the source of a favorite Christmas tune, this movie is sure to be loved by children and adults alike. You don’t have to be a child to appreciate Frosty and his great story.

The Year without a Santa Claus

Do you remember that year? Santa got a cold and was just too sick to take presents out to the girls and boys. While this isn’t one of the most popular of the Claymation set, it is definitely one of the most charming, with St. Nick venturing out to Middle America, where it never snows, to rescue two of his daftest elves and poor little Vixen, the reindeer.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

There are two versions of this movie you can watch. If you want the one that is practically ripped straight from the pages of Dr. Seuss, there is the original, animated, half an hour short that is, of course, a favorite. But there is also the live-action version, which tells some of the Grinch’s backstory and amps up the entire movie. Both are good, but if you’re going to watch the Jim Carrey, live-action one, probably start with the cartoon to get a sense of the story.

The Santa Clause

When Tim Allen’s character kills Santa, he’s enlisted in the Santa service. He has to become the next Santa Claus and begins putting on weight and learning the tricks of the trade in order to become the jolly old elf. There are some bumps in the road, of course.

A Christmas Story

While somehow not a favorite among some Christmas movie buffs, this tale is as funny as it is poignant, and TNT even runs a twenty-four hour marathon of this movie across Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It’s a brilliant tale of just what it’s like to be a kid during the holidays, with plenty of laughs and plenty of heart. Don’t skip this movie!

Miracle on 34th Street

For the little kid in all of us who desperately wants Santa Claus to be real—even if we found out, early on, that Santa was actually just your parents and not actually a magic man who came down the chimney to delivery presents to good little girls and boys. This movie is the ultimate for installing holiday cheer. Use it to open your holiday season and to top off your Christmas movie marathon!