I always get criticized for breaking out the Christmas stuff too early. This year, I've actually managed to hold off about two weeks longer than I usually do. But the holiday bug is starting to bite, and I can't wait to get into the Christmas spirit any longer! Some of my favorite annual traditions center around dusting off my favorite Christmas movies and enjoying them all over again. Some of my favorites are what you'd expect, and some are a little less traditional. So, without further ado, here are the top five Christmas movies that I just have to watch every year!

  • 'A Christmas Story'

    A true classic. I actually didn't see this one all the way through until I was a teenager; but once I did, I was hooked. It's funny, easy to relate to, and heart-warming. What else could you ask for in a Christmas movie?

  • 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'

    I've loved this movie since I saw it in the theater as a little kid. There's just something so wonderfully original about an all-Halloween world trying to understand the spirit of Christmas. The dark, stop-motion, Tim Burton art style might not be for everyone; but I love it all, from the creepy characters to the amazing music. I was actually thrilled to be in a stage version of this in high school. (I played the mayor of Halloween Town!)

  • 'Love Actually'

    If nothing else, this pick just proves how much of a sap I am (especially around the holidays). I think this film is just brilliant. Several love stories played out by an incredible cast, all around Christmas time? Come on, you have to love that! Plus, it has just the right amount of comedy mixed in to balance everything out. This is a great one to watch snuggled up with your sweetheart on a cold winter's night.

  • 'Elf'

    "Elf" is another movie that's a little newer, but an instant classic. It certainly worked its way into my heart right away! Will Ferrell is absolutely hilarious, and the movie still manages to have a great, family-driven message behind it. If you haven't seen this one yet, you should definitely pick it up. Don't even bother renting it first, just buy it. You won't regret it!

  • 'Christmas Vacation'

    When somebody says "Let's watch a Christmas movie," this is always the first one that comes to mind. All the National Lampoon "Vacation" movies are hilarious, and this is no exception. I watch this one every year, and I still notice something new every time. The comedy is timeless and the cast is brilliant. Enough said!