It’s the time of year when the days seem to be getting shorter, the feel of winter is in the air, and the holiday season is in full swing. I absolutely love it, but I have to admit I’m not very good at enjoying the holidays. After all, I’m a teacher. It can be hard for me to simply let go and enjoy the festivities when my mind is still back in the classroom. There are lessons to plan, new tools to familiarize myself with, and so much more left to do

Yet, this is the time of year when educators like us need to let go. 2020 has left so many of us burnt out, and what we really need is to stop, rest, and give ourselves time to recover. For my part, I find myself longing for my most comfortable PJs and a cozy spot on the couch to binge-watch all the greatest Hallmark movies ever created. But when it comes to Hallmark movies, I feel most people either love them or hate them. So instead of building a list of what I believe are the very best Hallmark movies of all time, I thought I’d lean into the other side of that spectrum a little.

Tis the Season

If you’re a teacher who is looking to unwind, this list of holiday-ish movies might be just what the reindeer ordered. You won’t be enraptured by holiday princes finding and falling in love with an overly-anticipated-I-totally-guessed-she’d-be-the-one princess. Instead, these classics will give you a subtle feeling of the warmth and delight, and hopefully convince you to leave the classroom behind for at least a little while. So cuddle up, grab yourself a bowl of popcorn and a beverage of your choosing, and play these holiday-ish movies that are sure to please even the Scroogiest Scrooges.

Gremlins (1984)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBEVwaJEgaA&w=560&h=315]

When Billy’s father brings home a mogwai as the new family pet, everyone is smitten with this adorable new addition. But when rules get broken from improper care, this creature goes from the nice list to the naughty list in the blink of an eye. These creatures teach this family many lessons, and maybe one of the most important is that the only person who should indulge in a post-midnight snack is Santa Claus himself.

Die Hard (1988)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYWvwkXreaI&w=560&h=315]

Like many Christmas movies, this one is about people overcoming obstacles so they can be together with their loved ones on Christmas. The obstacles in this one just happen to be German terrorists who wreak havoc on a workplace and prove to make that end goal quite challenging. While Santa will not be climbing down the chimney in this flick, it does have Bruce Willis shimmying his way through ventilation tunnels in a Los Angeles high rise – which brings some holiday joy in itself.

Batman Returns (1992)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k-asWlaBlk&w=560&h=315]

One wouldn’t generally associate Tim Burton’s creations with holiday cheer, but here again is a Tim Burton classic that makes this list. There is the delivery of speeches and gifts, and the talk of world peace and unconditional love. There is the destruction of the city’s Christmas tree and a dance under the mistletoe. And just like many family holiday gatherings, it is filled with confrontations amongst characters who just can’t seem to find the peace and get along. All the while being set against a holiday backdrop that illuminates Gotham City in all of its glam and glory.

While you Were Sleeping (1995)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjcLQ4r8jIU&w=560&h=315]

It’s hard not to include at least one romantic comedy into this short list. While this movie has all the feels of the holiday season: from finding joy to falling in love. It also doesn’t lack the heightened holiday drama that this season often brings. Just like the magic of Santa’s arrival on Christmas Eve for children, this movie proves that a lot can happen while you are sleeping.

We hope you are all staying healthy and safe during this difficult time. For more free educational resources, or ideas on how to promote healthy Social-Emotional Learning, simply follow this link!