Good Clean Fun: A Christmas Watchlist

"Watching Christmas movies in hard times actually captures so much of the spirit of Christmas. They remind us to have faith and believe."

This year Christmas will be one like no other. 2020 is almost over, all eighteen months of it. This is the year where not going home to see your parents shows them you love them. Hopefully no matter how you choose to show love to the ones you care for, you do find time to connect.

My Christmas this year began on November 15th, because I need cheer. If I could hire cheerleaders, I would. Full time. They would follow me through errands and remind me that I can “ACTUALLY DO IT.” So can you.

Now, I feel the Christmas spirit stronger than any year before. Like Scrooge when he wakes up the morning after all the ghosts have visited, for the first time–my holiday spirit is awake. He’s aware, and he’s pumped to do something about it.

This year has brought death and illness to the forefront. Many people lost their jobs, loved ones, and their sense of security. While listening to Christmas music more aware than ever, I began to realize that all the Christmas songs remind us that for the most part everyone wishes they were home for Christmas and often cannot be.

Which is why this year is the year to take on cheer. I mean it. Watching Christmas movies in hard times actually captures so much of the spirit of Christmas. They remind us to have faith and believe. To focus on the small things that will touch someone’s heart.

One of the most successful holiday movies, It’s a Wonderful Life, was made shortly after World War II. James Stewart felt unsure it was appropriate to make a film so soon after such immense hurt. As a film lover, I believe that is what makes the film so universal: the pain that was present versus the goodness that exists in the world, the power of community, and faith that better days will come.

It truly is the perfect time to cozy up and hibernate. You’ve had an immeasurable year, but you made it here. We know more than ever what a true privilege that is. In a culture that feeds off accomplishments, my wish for you is that you give yourself a break.

Here is a movie recipe for Christmas Cheer, streaming now.

It’s a Wonderful Life, directed by Frank Capra: The big dog of Christmas Films, this movie is a must watch. The film was a box office flop, but with a miracle, became popular many years later. Now it is considered one of the most important films ever made.

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, directed by David E. Talbert: This film is the spirit of Christmas. It's the comfort of eating candy or the singing of your favorite carol. It will be passed down for generations to come. A seasonal treat for all ages.

The Night Before, directed by Jonathan Levine: Filthy fun is the best way to describe this film. Or maybe, a millennial Christmas Carol. With a rock hard cast of Seth Rogan, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mindy Kaling, and a surprise by Miley Cyrus, this film is the remedy to the holiday blues.

Feliz NaviDAD,directed by Melissa Joan Heart: Because we all need a Lifetime movie to drink hot coco and dream of small time living, where hunky dads are dating and doing their Christmas best, Feliz NaviDAD is the perfect go-to feel-good movie.

Le Père Noël est une ordure ( Santa Claus is a Stinker), directed by Jean-Marie Poiré: This is my favorite Christmas film of all time. I find it so funny and incredibly wrong in every way, yet, it's what I enjoy most about it. This French seasonal classic was made by Le Splendid theater group. The jokes are consistent and slap stick, yet it deals with the need we all feel to be seen and loved for our authentic selves–especially during the holiday season. The film follows a suicide hotline on Christmas Eve. It is in French, but don't let that divert you–the jokes are universal.

Meet the Family

Mariana Da Silva is a Brazilian Mexican writer/actress who lives in Los Angeles. She is the founder of El Cine, a Latin Film Organization that promotes film education and charitable giving. Mariana has appeared on Telenovelas and TV series, her credits include El Rostro De Analia, Las Dos Caras de Ana and NCIS. Mariana's short films have appeared at festivals world wide.

Mariana is right handed.