* Because laughter is one of the greatest gifts
* Wacky holiday classics for all ages
* Revisit some holiday faves — click to stream instantly
The holiday season, statistically the most stressful time of the year, is also a great time for classic comedy. A good movie can take the edge off of tense family gatherings and help cement beloved traditions. If you’re looking for some lighter fare this winter, here are 10 of the wackiest holiday movies to re-watch.
1. Christmas with the Kranks
If the holiday season just tends to make you cranky, Christmas With the Kranks may be just the thing. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Tim Allen, it features a memorably outrageous Christmas lights display… and that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
From the classic series featuring Chevy Chase, it’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Antics abound as the Griswolds embark on a holiday misadventure in this, the most popular of the National Lampoon holiday films.
This 1988 holiday comedy stars Bill Murray as a comically cynical TV executive who finds himself haunted by three kinds of “holiday spirits” and winds up royally “Scrooged.”
4. Bad Santa
One of the most memorable holiday caper films, the original Bad Santa is directed by Terry Zwigoff and stars Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox and Brett Kelly.
Will Ferrell plays a human raised by elves in this hilarious yet heartwarming modern Christmas classic. Highlights include Zooey Deschanel singing Christmas carols, James Caan as the Elf’s Scrooge-like birth father, and what is possibly the best worst pasta recipe ever invented. Don’t miss Peter Dinklage’s cameo as children’s book superstar, Miles Finch.
6. Four Christmases
Trapped in San Francisco by a thick fog on Christmas morning, Brad and Kate (Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon) find themselves forced to spend the holiday with all four of their divorced parents’ families.
7. A Christmas Story
In this nostalgic holiday comedy set in the 1940s, young Ralphie dreams of the perfect Christmas gift: a Red Rider BB gun. Seen from the young boy’s perspective, the world is at once towering and comedic.
8. Home Alone
Home Alone may not be the first thing people think of when holiday movies come to mind, but this classic, starring a young Macaulay Culkin, is great holiday fun for the whole family. Even for those of us old enough to have watched Culkin grow up (and seen his far darker, yet equally memorable performances in the likes of Party Monster ) the original Home Alone retains some serious laugh out loud moments.
9. Jingle All the Way
This slapstick holiday favorite has Arnold Schwarzenegger heroically battling his way through the department stores in a quest to retrieve the very last Turbo Man action figure left on the shelves. It may not be fighting prehistoric wizards or futuristic cyborgs, but Schwarzenegger commits fully, ensuring maximum laughs.
10. The Santa Clause
Another Tim Allen holiday film, The Santa Clause finds divorced dad Scott Calvin (Allen) unexpectedly transformed into a real life, sleigh-piloting Santa.