HOLLYWOOD—The holidays are fast upon us, and with Christmas fast approaching, it’s all about movies that feel good, brighten up your day and deliver you plenty of laughs and family bonding. There are plenty of classics that some people adore like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Elf,” “The Santa Claus” or anything that appears on the Hallmark Channel. Yeah, you know it is bad when the Hallmark Channel has like two months dedicated to everything Christmas and they end up being the exact same movie, but with different people.

However, forget about those flicks, I have two movies that stay at the top of my list every Christmas: “Home Alone” and “Die Hard.” Yes, I get flack about the other one all the time, and I’ll explain my reasoning on that more later. However, let’s chat about “Home Alone.” This 1990 classic is one of my favorite movies of all time. I loved it as a kid, I love it as an adult, and I still laugh my heart out each time I watch it. What makes it so iconic? Well, it is about family at its core, but it also focuses on a brilliant eight-year-old who manages to outwit burglars while home all alone after his family travels to France and forgets all about him near Christmas.

The movie works so well thanks to actor Macaulay Culkin, who portrays Kevin McCallister. Trust me, what kid didn’t want to be Kevin. Who got be home all alone, eat whatever he wanted, watch movies that one’s parents would not allow them to watch and so much more. It all seems good and dandy until you actually experience it. It doesn’t hurt that the film also delivers some laughs that you would never, and I mean never expect. I never get tired of watching that scene involving the fake movie that Kevin utilizes to outwit Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. I will admit I think the laughs are way wicked in “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” where that hotel scene involving the staff leaves me in stitches every single time I watch it. Also, I love introducing this flick to my nieces and nephews around the holidays, so they get a taste of what films I watched as a kid and how the classics never get old.

I don’t think I have ever watched “Home Alone” or “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” and not had a bellyache as if I wasn’t watching the movie for the first time. Now it is time for a bit of a diversion because I like to be different. One of my all-time favorite flicks around Christmas is “Die Hard.” Yes, I am talking about an action-flick that came out in 1988 and made Bruce Willis a star. I am not joking; I can watch this movie every time it comes on TV year-round.

Around the Christmas holiday or let’s just say the month of December, I can watch the movie back-to-back, and I never get tired of it. For me it is the quintessential action-movie that checks all the boxes: a great hero, a great villain, fun supporting characters, gunfire, explosions, epic stunts and surprises along the way. I know what you’re thinking, how in the hell is this considered a Christmas movie? Well, the chaos of the narrative takes places on Christmas Eve when our hero John McClane (Bruce Willis) flies into town to visit his estranged wife Holly, but the Christmas party is interrupted by a group of terrorists led by Hans Zimmer (Alan Rickman). Rickman is fantastic as a villain. You feel he’s a threat to our hero and there is enough villainy in him that makes you scared for what he might do next.

“Die Hard” is a great game of cat and mouse and it does so in a way that just works effortlessly for a viewer. It starts off just a tinge slow, but picks it immediately and once the foot is on the gas it doesn’t let up until those final moments when we get that iconic line uttered by Bruce Willis’ character, “Yippee Ki-Yay MotherF…” It just works so well for this movie, but it is used incorrectly in subsequent sequels, but the classic never disappoints so I never get tired of hearing that line in the movie.

Yes, “Die Hard” is a bit unorthodox because you have blood, mayhem, curse words and everything that you would think would be the opposite of a family flick, but I disagree. It is a family flick for those who love action, and everyone has a different cup of tea. Some of us like the feels, some of us want to cry, some of us want to laugh and some of us just want to be on a rollercoaster full of thrills. “Die Hard” and “Home Alone” are at the top of my list when it comes to Christmas classics, what are yours?