9 Classic Holiday Movies to Celebrate Your Dysfunctional Family

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If the feverish pace of the holiday season has you feeling like you’re stuck in a thunderdome with your family as opposed to soaking up quality time with your family, you might just be nearing the end of your rope by now.

Maybe I’m wrong and you’re in one of those “Leave It To Beaver” families, all cuddled up together on the couch, in front of a fire, taking turns reading aloud from Dickens. Maybe Aunt Shirley’s making her famous peppermint hot chocolate and your younger brother Ricky is upstairs changing into a Santa costume to delight all the children. Even Patrick, your regal golden retriever is in on the fun, wearing a set of reindeer antlers on his head and a big red satiny bow around his neck, prancing around majestically like he’s one of those fancy Instagram dogs. If this sounds like your family, this post is not for you.


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If alternatively, your Aunt Peg has had too much sherry and is confessing her one true love was her college roommate Denise and that your Uncle Henry never “touches her as a woman should be touched anymore;” or if your mom brought her new boyfriend to dinner and you finally place his familiar face as the little boy you used to babysit in the early 90s; or if your family is nowhere in sight and you’re really bonding with the whiskey bottle you’ve nicknamed dad while you anxiously await your Seamless delivery, then you’ve come to the right place.

To all the damaged products of dysfunctional families, this post is for you. You don’t know what caroling around the neighborhood as a family feels like, but you sure as heck know the solace a dark closet can provide when your older brother and dad are going at it again over dropping out of college. The weirdos, the freaks, the goths, the misunderstood, gather ye round, for it’s time to indulge in some holiday films made for us, the broken ones.

Leave Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer to the normals and instead, enjoy these holiday movies starring your brethren, the dysfunctional family, described below as they should be, by jumping on the #ExplainAFilmPlotBadly train.

Home Alone
A young boy’s negligent parents were pressured by society and the Catholic Church to have more children than they can keep track of, and forget one of those children at home when leaving for a family vacation. The child left at home must protect the family’s honor and worldly possessions from burglars in this examination of the seedy underbelly of Chicago’s suburbs in the early 90s.



A Christmas Story
As the specter of nuclear war with the USSR looms, a young boy schemes to arm himself with a gun by any means necessary, including desperately trying to persuade an aging deity of western consumerism.

Elf
After being lied to his whole life, a middle aged man is exiled from his isolated village and the only family he has ever known. We follow the immigrant’s journey to New York as he faces severe hardships and fails to assimilate into American culture.


The Family Stone
Cultures collide as Republicans and Democrats clash over a Christmas holiday in this sobering commentary on the political divide in modern America.




Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Promises of change and declarations of love prove to be lies when a family loses track of their child again, this time in pre-Giuliani New York City.



National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Though it is never discussed, over the course of two decades, a midwestern family’s children don’t age yet their appearances change drastically. One Christmas the patriarch of the family goes to unusual extremes to collect his holiday bonus, as he remains convinced money can buy happiness.



Christmas With The Kranks
Evil befalls a family that dares to turn its back on Christmas, thus proving Santa is more powerful than god himself. The Kranks are bullied, guilted and manipulated back into celebrating, because autonomy is outlawed, and they live in fear forever.


The Ref
A cat burglar is the real victim of a Connecticut couple’s crumbling marriage.



Four Christmases
Two spoiled city dwellers reckon with their pasts in this unflinching commentary on the divorce epidemic in America.



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