If you know the answer to this question, please tell the execs over at Hallmark. I can’t quite take anymore of their [Word] Christmas [Word] movies. But all my complaining about that style of production-line cookie-cutter movies has also intensified this question in my brain. What exactly do I think is a good Christmas movie?

A few titles comes to mind. ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ ‘Die Hard,’ ‘White Christmas.’ And for each of these it’s impossible to overestimate the effect of nostalgia, but it goes well beyond that.

These are all movies that can stand on their own. I even have friends who vehemently claim that ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is not really a Christmas movie, it just happens to end during Christmas. The same goes for ‘Die Hard.’

And what’s more, these are movies made by filmmakers, each with their own vision of the finished product. Contrast that with any made-for-TV movie you can think of, or lazy adaptations of children’s books, which shall remain nameless, both in this article as well as in the sands of time itself.