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10 must-see Christmas movies

It's that time of year again. As you flip through the TV channels or walk down the aisles of Blockbuster, Christmas movies are everywhere. Here's a list of 10 Christmas movies that have something for everyone.

1. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (1965)

The story: Charlie Brown searches for the true meaning of Christmas, facing ridicule and commercialism at every turn.

The Magic: This is one of the best Christmas movies ever made. It brings just the right amount of humor and heart to a story that is just as relevant today as it was 40 years ago.

2. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" (1966)

The Story: The Grinch steals the material trappings of Christmas from the Whos, hoping to stop Christmas from coming. When he sees they don't need possessions to have Christmas, he undergoes a drastic change of heart.

The Magic: Forget the live-action version of Dr. Seuss's story; the animated version is where the real spirit of the holidays lies.

3. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (1964)

The Story: This TV-movie tells the familiar tale of the misfit reindeer who realizes he's not alone in the world and that his bright, red nose is the only thing that can save Christmas.

The Magic: Even if you feel too old for this movie, watch it again and see how good it feels to go back to being a little kid for a half hour.

4. Elf (2003)

The Story: Buddy (Will Ferrell) is a human raised as an elf who wonders why he doesn't seem to fit in at the North Pole. He is sent on a journey to New York City to find his birth father (James Caan) and is horrified to find his father is actually on Santa's "Naughty List."

The Magic: This is the best Christmas movie to come out in recent years. It has all the elements of a classic -- the right mix of laughs and love.

5. "A Christmas Carol" (1999)

The Story: The classic tale of miser Ebenezer Scrooge and his visit from ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. This is the dramatic adaptation starring Patrick Stewart. Others include "Scrooged" (1998, PG-13), starring Bill Murray as a greedy TV executive in a modern-retelling, "Mickey's Christmas Carol" (1983) and "The Muppet Christmas Carol" (1992).

The Magic: Each version has its positive features.

6. "A Christmas Story" (1983)

The Story: Ralphie Parker wants a Red-Rider BB gun for Christmas but faces obstacles from his parents, his teacher, and Santa himself.

The Magic: This hilarious movie is considered by many as required Christmas viewing.

7. "The Santa Clause" (1994)

The Story: After Santa falls off the roof of Scott Calvin's house, Calvin's son Charlie convinces him to put on the suit and take over Santa's duties.

The Magic: This movie is all about believing in the unbelievable. Add that to Tim Allen's great performance as Scott, and you have a Christmas movie that's good to watch with friends and younger siblings.

8. "White Christmas (1954)

The Story: Two World War II veterans are a song-and dance act who meet up with another act, two lovely sisters, and follow them to a resort in Vermont, where it's 68 degrees and there's no snow for Christmas.

The Magic: Though this may be deemed "too old" for teens, it's really one of the most uplifting Christmas movies around. The great cast includes Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby.

9. "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947 and 1994)

The Story: A little girl doesn't believe in Santa anymore because her mother told her "the secret." However, when a department store Santa claims to be the real Santa Claus, the girl wonders if maybe her mother was wrong.

The Magic: Both versions are winners.

10. "It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

The Story: George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) believes he is a failure in life, so he wishes that he was never born. His guardian angel answers his wish, and George gets to see what the world would have been like without him. He returns to the town of Bedford Falls in time for a glorious Christmas Eve homecoming.

The Magic: This has been called the greatest Christmas movie. Watch it once, and it will become a tradition for years to come.

Katie Kawa is a senior at St. Mary's.

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