Jamie Murnane: The Family Stone stars some of my favorite people in the world, whom I’ve never met and never will: Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton and Claire Danes (and some decent guys, like Dermot Mulroney and Luke Wilson). That, initially, is what drew me to this 2005 holiday movie. But, what keeps me coming back to watch it every year (usually multiple times), is that the characters are real, sometimes dysfunctional people. There’s uptight SJP’s Meredith, snarky NPR-loving McAdams, and of course, the gay, interracial couple with the newly adopted baby.
They’re all couped up in the Stones’ house for the holidays, dealing with some serious, and some not-so-serious issues. It’s total chaos that ranges from hysterical (SJP getting drunk in the dive bar) to touching (her unknowingly emotional gift to the family). The film is not trying to convey some insanely impossible family holiday moment, but reminds us that no family is perfect and how boring it would be if they were.
Drummerdeeds: As an atheist Hindu (I know I’m full of it, but I think it sounds cool), I love nothing more around the holiday season than curling up with spiked eggnog and watching the 1990 classic, Home Alone. Everything from the infamous aftershave scene, to “Buzz’s girlfriend — woof!” and the awesome score (I’m a band geek), this movie is made of pure win. Plus, Macaulay Culkin (with a name like that, no wonder he sued his parents) has always looked like a lesbian, so, in my opinion, the movie should be classified as “lesbian-ish.” And, thanks to the film, whenever carolers and other unwanted solicitors come to my doorstep I promptly say, “I’m gonna give you the count of 10 to get your ugly, yelluh, no good keister off my property before I…” Just kidding, of course. Happy holidays, everyone!
Lesley Goldberg: Since I can’t marathon A Christmas Story or Love Actually with Mia or Hoagie this year, I’ll go the TV route. Friends has some of the funniest holiday-themed episodes ever. Think “The Holiday Armadillo,” where Ross and company attempt to teach Ben about Hanukkah and the single dad winds up in the most asenine costume ever only to be outdone by Chandler’s Santa Claus (and Joey’s Superman); and “The One Where Rachel Quits,” which features a super cute B-story where Phoebe learns what happens to the Christmas trees that aren’t taken home for the holidays (hint: the chipper!).
But my most favorite holiday TV episode is “So-Called Angels,” from My So-Called Life. When Rickie is abandoned by his abusive uncle, angelic guest star Juliana Hatfield teaches Mrs. Chase the true spirit of Christmas and she opens her home to Angela’s gay friend in need. It’s one of the finest hours of television from a show that wasn’t known for tugging at viewers’ heartstrings.