Hollywood loves Christmas.
Or does Christmas love Hollywood?
Either way, holiday movies have become as much a part of Christmas as mistletoe and reindeer.
“Holiday films are like comforting blankets keeping you (warm) during the winter season, whether you’re with friends and loved ones or far from home,” says Pauline Arroyo, marketing coordinator for Nickelodeon Theatre, which shows a series of holiday movies each Christmas season. “Hosting this series this year and in years past is our way of offering season’s greetings to the community. We invite everyone to enjoy old classics, newer favorites, and everything in between.”
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Who doesn’t remember the abominable snowman hanging the star on the tree or Frosty wishing everyone a happy birthday? Or Santa’s mail arriving in the courtroom, or George Bailey’s friends and family saving the day?
From the 1946 movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” to 1983’s “A Christmas Story,” to the 2003 film “Elf,” Christmas movies are holiday traditions for many.
Some, like those just mentioned, are obvious holiday-themed movies. Others are a bit more subtle – Don’t try to convince someone who cherishes “Little Women” as a tradition that it’s not a Christmas movie. (It does begin on Christmas Eve.)
There are plenty of opportunities to watch Christmas classics in theaters around Columbia, including the Nickelodeon’s Holly Jolly Hollywood series.
“At its very heart, Holly Jolly Hollywood is a series that sets out to unite people of multiple generations in the tradition of watching wonderful films with friends and family,” says Alison Kozberg, director at Nickelodeon. “The series presents a combination of established, beloved classics like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ with newer entries to the holiday film canon such as ‘Edward Scissorhands’ and ‘Little Women.’
“It is energetic, fun, and features an array of winter scenes that create the perfect setting for a cup of hot chocolate, a stout beer, or a fuzzy sweater. Holly Jolly Hollywood’s eclecticism ensures that there is something for everyone. … We encourage people to bring a grandparent, friend, and to introduce a new generation to the joys of spending the holiday season at the cinema.”
Holly Jolly Hollywood offers events with some of the movies to make them even more festive.
“Little Women” (1994) is showing at 2 p.m. Dec. 10, with baked treats (inspired by Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy) offered before the movie.
“Edward Scissorhands” will play at 7 p.m. on Dec. 11, and folks are encouraged to dress in 1990s fashions and compete for prizes. Enjoy themed trivia, and a special “Edward Scissorhands Suburban Sale” at concessions. Get $2 off any draft beer when you buy a large popcorn. The first dozen to order the combo get free sugar cookies.
And the series finishes with two classics: Two showings of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at 2 p.m. Dec. 17 and 7 p.m. Dec. 18, and “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947) at 2 p.m. Dec. 24.
“We encourage kids to get creative with the two-page coloring spread in our most recent Nick Mag and to join us for greeting card-making before ‘Miracle on 34 Street,’ ” Kozberg said.
Tickets are $10 per person at nickelodeon.org.
The Nickelodeon isn’t the only theater bringing Christmas cheer this season. Here are a few other places you can go to watch holiday movies:
S.C. State Museum
▪ “The Polar Express 4-D Experience,” daily through Jan. 5: Feel the bite of the wind, dance in the snow and more in this 15-minute, 4-D version of the beloved Christmas children’s book-turned-movie.
▪ “Star of Bethlehem,” daily through Jan. 5: Take a journey into the past as this full-dome planetarium experience takes you to the ancient cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem to investigate the story of the Christmas star. The show uses historical and scientific facts to unravel this 2,000-year-old mystery through an immersive audiovisual display featuring popular Christmas carols
▪ “Frozen,” plus a party, 6-9 p.m. Dec. 27: Not only can you watch the Disney movie “Frozen,” but you can also meet and greet Anna and Elsa and enjoy crafts and activities. “Frozen” costumes are highly encouraged.
Go to www.scmuseum.org for show times and ticket information. The State Museum is at 301 Gervais St.
▪ “A Christmas Story,” 3-5:45 p.m. Dec. 16 at Richland Library Main Auditorium, 1431 Assembly St.
▪ “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” 3-4:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at Richland Library Ballentine, 1200 Dutch Fork Road, Irmo.
Go to www.richlandlibrary.com for more information.
Regal Cinemas theaters
Watch holiday classics for $5 per ticket at noon Saturday through Dec. 23. Here’s the schedule:
▪ “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” noon Saturday, Dec. 9.
▪ “Elf,” noon Saturday, Dec. 16.
▪ “Gremlins,” noon Saturday, Dec. 23.
Regal Cinemas Columbiana Grande 14 is at 1250 Bower Parkway. Regal Sandhill Stadium 16 is at 450 Towncenter Place.