What makes a truly great holiday movie? Is it a perfect story arc? Is it the ever presence of snow and hijinks? Is it the ability to warm your heart? Sure, those are all plausible, but for my experience, the way to construct a perfect holiday movie was to have released it in 1994. Maybe it because these movies came out right in my “not-quite-ready-to-be-a-big-kid” phase. But take a look at the three movies below and I think you may agree that 1994 was a magical year for great holiday films. 

Little Women (1994)

Okay, this is the first on the lost that is not technically a holiday film. But not a winter passes that I don’t cuddle up on the couch with some cider and footie pajamas and watch this perfect adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s masterpiece. It’s a wonderful story about the connection between women, the angst of making difficult decisions when so much of your life has already been decided for you and ultimately how sacrifice is a little bit different for everyone.

Fun Facts:
  • Christina Ricci, Natalie Portman, and Thora Birch all auditioned for the role of young Amy March, which eventually went to Kirsten Dunst.
    • (Bloggers note: while I am a fan of all of these actresses, Dunst is pretty irreplaceable as the precocious and, let’s be real, annoying Amy)
  • Winona Ryder introduced Christian Bale to his now wife during the production of Little Women, because this movie is made of unbound magic.
  • My sister and I still refer to our own mother as “Marmie” on account of how frequently we watched and how much we loved this film.

The Santa Clause 

This movie still sleighs (sorry, I couldn’t help it!). Tim Allen plays a career-obsessed toy manufacturer who accidentally becomes Santa Clause. The movie pays close attention to every detail (SC – Scott Calvin) and isn’t afraid to lay on the heartwarming moments that make movies like this so special.

Fun Facts:
  • The movie was originally written with Bill Murray in mind. Murray starred in another Christmas masterpiece “Scrooged”, obviously Tim Allen is just about perfect in this film but my heart weeps knowing we could have had Murray in Santa gear and do not.
  • Anjelica Houston was considered for the role of Laura, and I personally believe it was the though of her that inspired the hard bob hairdo for the character.

Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

Looks like 1994 was the perfect year for remakes of classic holiday films. This movie benefits from absolutely perfecting casting. Mara Wilson could do no wrong in the 90’s (or today, she’s hilarious on social media) Elizabeth Perkins has the kind of charm you expect from a 1940’s starlet and, although I was too old to believe it, when the movie came out I was certain Richard Attenborough was actually Santa Clause. The movie is silly, heartfelt and follows a timeless view of New York as the perfect place to spend a magical Christmas.

Fun Facts:
  • This is the second movie to feature perfect human Alison Janney
  • In my perfect world, all children would dress like the kids in this movie, just miniature adults in tailored tweed and loafers.