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Wyatt Anderson, 9, of San Juan Capistrano, wraps a gift for his family at the Boys & Girls Clubs’ annual Operation Holiday Homework. Photo: Allison Jarrell

By Megan Bianco

What makes a movie a Christmas essential? Well, of course, they usually revolve around the Christmas season, like Miracle on 34th Street (1947), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) and Love Actually (2003). Then there are Christmas classics that only feature the holiday in a single act of the film, like Holiday Inn (1942), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945) and It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). Next are the traditional popular movies set during December where the plots don’t have anything to do with the holiday, but are still viewed during the month: Trading Places (1983), Lethal Weapon (1987) and Die Hard (1988), to name a few.

Going even farther, there are the movies that have absolutely nothing to do with Christmas that people still enjoy watching during the holiday season: The Wizard of Oz (1939), The Sound of Music (1965), Mary Poppins (1964), etc. I think that most people like to watch movies that make them feel good during the last couple of months of the year because it reflects the spirit of the season.

That is precisely the reason why Pixar wisely releases their films Thanksgiving weekend and why their latest, Coco, is currently killing it at the box-office three weeks into release. So on a surprisingly dry week of new releases, I would recommend revisiting your favorite movie to watch during the holidays or check out CocoLady Bird or Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in theaters if you haven’t already.

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