oliday movies come in all shapes and sizes—some explain the traditions and antics, while some are warm, fuzzy and have just enough joyous moments in December that you can’t help but turn them on as soon as it’s seasonally appropriate. But for us, it’s the moments within the movies that really have us getting into a frenzy of holiday excitement. So without further ado, here are our 14 favorite holiday movie moments—from Kevin McCallister’s rockin’ Christmas party to Buddy the Elf’s epic mailroom dance battle:
Movie: “White Christmas” | 1954
This musical aims to show that even without snow, you can still have a lovely Christmas. The love-story/how to make it tale, sees two former army men trying their best to help out a friend, but it also features one of our all-time favorite holiday tunes that can even melt the Grinchiest hearts.
Why We Picked It: “White Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas movies and I especially love the classic dance numbers that are executed so incredibly by Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney. This clip is a favorite moment of mine because it truly puts life into perspective. Bing Crosby’s heartwarming voice is absolutely wonderful and it’s just a touching scene.” —Rockette Natalie R.
Movie: “A Muppet Christmas Carol” | 1992
There’s a lot of joy in this adaptation of the classic tale (three words: penguin skating party!). However, we have to award our favorite moment to Marley and Marley—better known to Muppet fans as Statler and Waldorf—for breaking out from behind the balcony for a ghostly tap dance. Their cautionary song-and-dance to Scrooge warns of punishment for their treatment of the poor and lets him know that more ghosts, though not all dancing, are on the way. Boo!
Why We Picked It: “We Rockettes are all about traditions and this movie was definitely a yearly holiday tradition for me and my family. This film really captures how the yuletide spirit can lift up even the most stubborn of Scrooges. Plus, who knew that ghosts had such impressive dance moves?!” —Rockette Jessie C.
Movie: “Home Alone” | 1990
Kevin McCallister was maybe the only guest at his elaborate “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree” dance party, but it still looked pretty fun. Proof that all you need for a party is a few mannequins, some ingenuity and the right soundtrack, Kevin not only had a rockin’ good time, but also fooled any would-be-intruders. See ya later, wet bandits!
Why We Picked It: “We all know nothing screams Christmas quite like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone. He definitely gets me wanting to groove and rock around the Christmas tree as he dances back and forth with his cardboard cutouts. It’s exactly what I look like when I decorate my Christmas tree!” —Rockette Eleni G.
Movie: “Scrooge” | 1970
After all those nightmarish visits, who wouldn’t wake up singing through the streets of London? When Scrooge realizes that he has a second chance at life, he wakes up to greet the day much more happily—and runs through the streets in hoping of making his less generous ways right.
Why We Picked It: “Everyone knows the story of Scrooge and how much of a classic it can be during the holidays. In this scene, it shows how Christmas brought the community and families to skip and dance around together. The spirit of Christmas can change anyone into a joyful, loving person no matter how stubborn they are. Bah Humbug!” —Rockette Eleni G.
Movie: “Mean Girls” | 2004
While this insanely quotable film might not immediately scream Christmas, don’t forget about alpha plastic Regina George and her A-list girl clique, Cady Heron, Gretchen Wieners and Karen Smith, taking the stage for their annual saucy performance of “Jingle Bell Rock.” The ladies dressed in midriff-baring, latex Santa Claus get-ups and thigh-high boots at the school’s Winter Talent Show definitely gets us in the yuletide spirit.
Why We Picked It: “This scene totally gets me into the Christmas spirit. Besides, I think we’re all guilty of mimicking this with a group of gal pals…” —Rockette Jessie C.
Movie: “Love Actually” | 2003
Note to all prime ministers—this is how you get down. It’s impossible not to fall head over heels for Hugh Grant as he “jumps for your love” in this incredible dance sequence. When Hugh needs a little alone time, he makes good use of his mansion—soft-shoeing down the stairs, giving us lots of finger pointing and the occasional move of his hips to this disco jam. You have to wonder how much longer he would dance, had he not been surprised by a staff member!
Why We Picked It: “This scene from the movie makes me think of how I feel when I’m decorating my home and Christmas tree for the holidays. This is a very special moment that happens only once a year! The smell of fresh pine and sparkling lights on the tree just makes me want to put on some holiday music and dance it out while creating my holiday masterpiece … and I definitely dance like no one is watching the whole time!” —Rockette Nikki H.
Movie: “Elf” | 2003
The most charmingly effusive film of all time shows the wonders of working—sort of. If a job in the mailroom results in an epic dance party like Buddy’s, we would like to apply. When Buddy’s dad sends his thinks-he’s-an-Elf son to work in the mailroom, he ends up having a pretty epic time, dancing on tables and drinking some “syrup” with one of his new friends. Who knows if any of the packages got delivered, but watching Will Ferrell bust a move to Tag Team’s “Whomp There It Is” is worth it, right?
Why We Picked It: “One of my all-time favorite holiday movies is Elf! I watch this movie every Christmas Eve as part of my holiday tradition. One of the main reasons I continue to watch it is for this epic dance scene—it makes me laugh every time! My twin sister and I both have those dance moves memorized.” —Rockette Brittany W.
Movie: “The Best Man Holiday” | 2013
Be warned, this movie is a tear-jerker. But before you get too emotional, you are rewarded with a very fun dance break. The men decide to treat the ladies to something special—a choreographed lip sync to New Edition’s “Can You Stand The Rain.” And treat it is: those dance moves; those super slick sequined jackets; those handsome dancers!
Why We Picked It: “This scene totally gives the New Edition music videos we all love a run for their money. Perhaps a pre-dessert talent show should be on the menu at my next dinner party…” —Rockette Kristin J.
Movie: “A Charlie Brown Christmas” | 1965
Jubilant dancing and Charlie Brown go hand in hand, so it’s no surprise this festive holiday favorite features a lot of heart-warming cartoon shuffles. This classic special has it all, from pint-size Peanuts philosopher Linus relaying the meaning of Christmas to the discovery of the most in-need tree of all time. But we have a soft spot for the gang’s very groovy dance soundtracked by Schroeder … and Snoopy accompanies on the guitar of course.
Why We Picked It: “When I watch this, part of me is reminded of the times in dance class when we were each allowed to make up our own dance (always a treat when the teacher let us do that!). I think it’s a great dance scene because each character is swept away by the music as if they can’t help but dance when the tune plays.” —Rockette Kristin J.
Movie: “The Holiday” | 2006
Admit it, everyone has had a sing-along as epic as Cameron Diaz crooning to “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers in this house-swapping rom-com. When Cameron rents a house to cope with a breakup, she spends some time getting herself in order, which includes a cathartic sing-along or two. Thankfully this all took place before Jude Law came to sweep her off her feet.
Why We Picked It: “During the holidays, we are constantly surrounded by friends and family. Sometimes we just need a moment to ourselves to completely let go, and this scene with Cameron Diaz is exactly that. What’s a better holiday gift than singing off key and jumping around like a maniac, with no one there to judge?!” —Rockette Alicia L.
Movie: “The Nightmare Before Christmas” | 1993
There is some debate over if this is a Halloween or a Christmas movie, but the scene when Jack, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, discovers a world that isn’t spooky is sweet enough to win us over to the merry side. As he lankily hops around Christmas Town and exclaims “What’s This?” he sees the range of amazing pros about the holiday from snowballs and mistletoe to the fact that’s nothing nefarious is hiding under the kids’ beds. Yup, Christmas for the win.
Why We Picked It: “When I think of Tim Burton and his many dark comedies, dance doesn’t immediately pop into my head, but this is a wonderful scene that makes the list because it reminds me of the added pep in everyone’s step during the holiday season. There’s a subtle difference, but the snow and snowmen, holiday decorations, trees, lights, mistletoe and positive energy buzzing around working together, family and gratitude are enough to make even a skeleton’s days merry and bright.” —Rockette Amanda M.
Movie: “Bridget Jones’s Diary” | 2001
Proof that you can fall in love with anyone—even if they are wearing a hideous holiday sweater (or as the Brits say a “reindeer jumper”). After perhaps over-doing it at her office holiday parties, Bridget goes to another celebration the next day at her parents’ house and is reintroduced to Mark, an old family friend, who is dressed incredibly unfortunately out of guilt. Luckily (and eventually!) she sees past that fashion faux pas, and love ultimately wins.
Why We Picked It: “This movie may not scream Christmas, but I’m sure this holiday party scene resonates with many of us! Getting set up is always awkward, but then layer that with being set up by your mother and the cringe factor is pretty much instant! This scene drives home the importance of a first impression as we see how unimpressed Bridget is with Mark’s reindeer-themed Christmas sweater. Who doesn’t love an ugly holiday sweater? This movie puts a smile on my face every time!” —Rockette Karen R.
Movie: “Meet Me in St. Louis” | 1944
Try not to tear up watching Judy Garland originate the now seasonal standard “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” As the Smith family plots a move away from their St. Louis home Judy, playing Ester, tries to comfort her baby sister Tootie with this heartwarming song. Cue the waterworks!
Why We Picked It: “This is truly an epic Christmas oldie but a goodie! This scene makes me really appreciate how fortunate I am to have a beautiful family to share the holidays with, and no matter how far away or where the holiday is celebrated, it’s about love, bringing family together and appreciating every moment.” —Rockette Nikki H.
Movie: “Edward Scissorhands” | 1990
The impetuous for the entire telling of Edward Scissorhands is a grandmother explaining the origins of snow, and this icy moment of Winona Ryder twirling her heart out underneath Edward’s creation sure does make a strong case for the fluffy stuff. As Edward works on his latest creation Kim notices that his work creates a flurry of its own, and the Floridian takes a moment to relish in its beauty.
Why We Picked It: “This scene is so beautiful. It reminds me of the finale number in the Christmas Spectacular called “Snow” where each Rockette is a unique snowflake. Also, the fact that something so beautiful as the falling ice and the angelic ice sculpture is being produced from someone so odd like Edward Scissorhands is a perfect message for the holidays. Out of anything, there can come beauty.” —Rockette Alicia L.