Hapa Holiday Movies
Growing up Jewish there weren't any movies I would say were a family tradition to watch (aside from going to every Harry Potter midnight showing). It wasn’t until I was in my teens and my fencing buddy told me about The Hebrew Hammer that I found a film which has become a holiday classic for me. Starring Adam Goldberg as the Hebrew Hammer and Andy Dick as the Evil Santa Claus, the Hebrew Hammer has to save Chanukah from Santa before he destroys it forever! Truly the perfect holiday movie for the Jewish kid who is surrounded by gentiles 99% of the time!
I chose Bad Santa. Why? Because I was originally going to pick Schindler’s List, but my colleagues here shut that down. Also… because Bad Santa is fucking dope. Plus, it’s totally on-brand for me. Fun game: watch this movie, but imagine Billy Bob Thornton delivering all of his remarkable dialogue in the Sling Blade voice. Especially during the “Fuck me, Santa” scene with the mom from Gilmore Girls who played Miss Adelaide on Broadway for like three weeks. You’re welcome.
A Christmas Story
Alison Lea Bender
I watch this movie at least three times on Christmas day. Once, sporadically while I cook a Korean American fusion holiday dinner. Then again in its entirety, lying down, after I eat dinner. Then, finally, I will pass out with it playing, with my dog on lap and peace in mind that Christmas is over again.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
I had just turned nine when this movie came out in 1989 and it clearly had a lasting impression on my ripening funny bone. Who doesn’t want to watch a flick that reminds us of the awkward forced niceties of the holidays, the failed meals, embarrassing gifts and family drama that all seems to explode from November to January? Sign me up again and again so I feel normal.
I know, I know, all your faves are problematic. But I can’t help it! I love this movie. It’s got everything I need: British actors and romance. Legit, that’s all I need. A Muppet Christmas Carol comes in a very close second. But considering that I’ve seen Love Actually well over 500 times, it’s an obvious choice. Lindy West can fight me to the death; you can never make me abandon this movie and it’s ridiculous sweaters!
Family Game Night
Naomi Takata Shepard
Watching flicks on Christmas has never really been our family’s thing. We’re a competitive bunch and we like to spend our holidays playing my Pop’s favorite card game, Canasta, or yelling at each other over how many sheep we’re willing to trade for wheat while battling it out in Settlers of Catan.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Rebecca Lee Lerman
I love this movie. It is another form of unity between two opposites! Dark meets light. Death meets rebirth. Halloween meets Christmas! This movie has it all-evocative music, decadent animation---An Oogie Boogie man, a romance between a Skeleton and a Ragdoll. What's not to love?
Vera Ellen in the “Mandy” number. Need I say more?