Thanksgiving week is upon us! On Thursday, millions of families across the country will gather around dinner tables, have a huge feast, and reflect on what they’re most grateful for.

While no one can deny the importance of biggies such as family, friends, a roof over your head, a paycheck and good health, I also usually include some other less obvious items on my “What I’m Thankful For” list every year. Stuff like unforgettable experiences I’ve had, funny things my kids say, great books I’ve read, the kindness of a stranger I encountered somewhere, and my favorite movies.

This time of year, there are always seven movies I’m thankful for, as they help me remember how important it is to laugh, to have friend and to be loved.

 

Christmas Vacation – Some family members of mine have a tradition of watching this goofy 1989 movie — the third film in the Vacation franchise — every winter. And every year we all still laugh at Clark Griswold’s (Chevy Chase) holiday antics and quest to getting his Christmas tree up and house decorated while also dealing with crazy Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid). The hap-hap-happiest Christmas, indeed.

Elf – I know that watching this movie is another holiday tradition for many families besides mine (and luckily we have it in the Box!). Who can resist Will Ferrell’s naïve Buddy the Elf? He WILL save Christmas for us all, every year!

The Lord of the Rings trilogy – I love LOTR so much that my mom was convinced I was going to name my firstborn Frodo. (I didn’t. But I don’t blame her for thinking that.) I find Thanksgiving weekend the perfect time to settle in for 9+ hours of bravery, friendship and selfless heroes. I am especially thankful for Gandalf because, you know, WIZARDS.

Miracle on 34th Street – This 1947 classic never gets old. Who doesn’t love watching bag after bag of mail addressed to “Santa Claus” delivered to the courtroom to prove that the elderly man who goes by “Kris Kringle” (Edmund Gwenn, who scored an Oscar for his performance) is indeed Santa Claus, winning over skeptics like Doris (Maureen O’Hara) and her no-nonsense daughter Susan (a young Natalie Wood)? Santa IS real, you guys! Duh.

It’s a Wonderful Life – And finally we come to what might be THE classic of the season. In 1946, director Frank Capra introduced moviegoers to George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), a desperate man on the verge of suicide who is visited by his guardian angel, Clarence (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George’s life in flashbacks — and then reveals what the world would be like if George had never been born. If this movie doesn’t make you want to give thanks for everything you have and everyone you love and who loves you back, I don’t know what will.

 

What movies are you thankful for this time of the year?