How to Have a Christmas Movie Marathon

Variety is the key to preventing any movie marathon from becoming a snore-fest, so it's a very good thing that there are so many different styles of Christmas films to choose from. If you want to help people get into the holiday spirit with a Christmas film festival, this article will help you to figure out your perfect movie lineup and ensure success.


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    Know who your audience will be. If you're reading this, odds are your marathon will consist of more than just you, so you need to give this some thought. Are there going to be two attendees or twenty? Will they be adults, kids, teenagers or a combination? Do you know these individuals as family, friends, coworkers, a mix or something else entirely? All of these must be considered when determining your lineup of movies because you want picks that are appropriate and appealing for your audience.
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    Consider serving food. This is especially useful if the movies are long and/or your audience large, it'd be a good idea to have some food at the beginning and between films. You can go with traditional movie munchies such as popcorn and a selection of sodas or go all out with the Christmas theme by serving cookies and hot chocolate. Maybe you could do both or perhaps have coffee and mints at the very end for anyone who stays after the final movie, it's up to you. Just make sure to have things ready so you don't interrupt the movies when they're playing, and unless you want to miss a few minutes, have enough to where you won't have to make anything more until between movies.
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    Try to limit the lineup to three films, no more than four. You're probably going to include feature-length movies and those can be pretty long, so three will be enough to keep people engaged without eating up too much time. If one film is less than 60 minutes, you may feel free to throw a fourth into the mix and if your group is planning for a longer marathon with even more movies, go ahead.
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    Try to include at least one family film literally any age group will enjoy. If you've got a mix of adults and kids, you'll want to keep all the films like this unless you're saving a grown-up film for when the kids go to bed. If it's all adults, then this will keep things engaging and perhaps bring back some childhood memories.
    • A Charlie Brown Christmas is foolproof for this category and short enough to where you can include three longer films. Other suggestions include Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street or The Polar Express.
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    Add in a Christmas comedy film. This would be a good choice to keep the energy up. Obviously, some of these will be more appropriate for children than others––if you have children or teens, take your pick(s) based upon their ages.
    • Elf is a great pick because people of all ages like it and its PG humor is nothing older children can't handle. Other suggestions are Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Christmas with the Kranks, A Christmas Story and Home Alone.
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    Try a musical Christmas film. These can come in several varieties. White Christmas, Holiday Inn, The Grinch cartoon and The Nightmare Before Christmas are what immediately come to mind. However, other good picks would be Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas or any of the Muppet Christmas films.
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    Try the traditional movies. For more avid movie lovers, include at least one of the older classic Christmas movies. White Christmas, Holiday Inn, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas have already been mentioned. If you need something not so musical and a little more serious, good picks would be Christmas in Connecticut, The Bishop's Wife or the quintessential Christmas classic itself, It's a Wonderful Life.
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    Take care with the overlapping genres. Some films fall into more than one category and that's okay, just avoid too much overlapping. For example, A Christmas Story is a good classic, comedy and family pick that would appeal to many audiences. To balance it out, pick something that fits one of those categories and does it differently such as Elf for a more energetic comedy or It's a Wonderful Life for a more serious classic.
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    Be a good host and set the mood. Stay interested and energized throughout the whole thing, but lighten up and calm down depending on what's happening in the film. Your guests should know you're trying to help them have a good time and if anything, they would be wise to appreciate your effort. If they're less than grateful, it's a shame on them, not you. Just don't forget to relax and have fun!


  • Have a brief break between each film so everyone can breathe, use the restroom, grab munchies and anything they need to get ready for the next.
  • Consider making it an Ugly Christmas Sweater party as well and have people vote during intermission with a prize for the ugliest at the end.
  • If you have a lot of kids, consider getting a sing-along video and using it as one part of your line-up.

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Categories: Christmas Parties