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Movie Rentals That Summon The Spirit:

What better way to spend time with your family this holiday season than by hitting the local video store to rent a few Christmas classics? And what better place to get all your rental needs met than at Vidiots, a Santa Monica mainstay that offers an array of titles, friendly service, and an all-around excellent vibe to boot? We’ve compiled a list of a few seasonal classics for you and yours to enjoy over egg nog and turkey. See below for the most watchable films of the winter months.

If you do go to Vidiots to check out any of these timeless gems, be sure to also ask about the store’s Saturday night film screenings. It’s also worth inquiring about one of their top holiday picks: “The Pee Wee’s Playhouse Limited Edition Gift Set, with Pee Wee’s Christmas Special.”

Whether you rent at Vidiots, your local Santa Monica Blockbuster, or at countless RedBox locations, we know you won’t go wrong with these yuletide gems. If we’ve left your favorite off the list, we hope you won’t put coal in our stocking.

Happy holidays, Santa Monica film buffs!

“A Christmas Carol”

There are way too many versions of this movie out there to know which one is tops, so we’re going to go ahead and demand that you rent the one starring George C. Scott in the title role. Simply put, it’s the best rendering of the Ebeneezer’s story, that of a greedy man haunted by three ghosts who help him change his grouchy ways. The classic text by Charles Dickens really gets its due in this careful interpretation.

“A Christmas Story”

“You’ll shoot your eye out,” says every single adult character to little, hapless Ralphie. This is perhaps the best comedy for those in search of holiday nostalgia. It’s simply a blast to watch Ralphie, the elementary school-aged protagonist, beg and plead for a toy gun for Christmas, while he also reminds us of the radio shows and Christmas parades of days gone by.

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”

If you want to teach your children that it’s good to be different, definitely rent this Rankin/Bass stop motion animation classic about misfit toys, an elf who wants to be a dentist, and a reindeer who doesn’t fit in. If that isn’t enough to sell you on it, watch it for Burl Ives and his singing snowman.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Watch the world’s most famous “blockhead” tend to a sad looking Christmas tree, direct the school Christmas pageant, and come to grips with his feelings of sadness around the Santa season. There’s no better way to teach your kids about determination and inclusiveness than to turn them on to this Peanuts chestnut in which the not-so-cool-kid is ultimately blessed with the merriest Christmas in the land. And if your kids have never heard Vince Guaraldi’s ivory tickling, it’s time.

“Love, Actually”

This is for the romantic in your household, and it’s all about finding love during the most commercial season known to man. Besides a really cute plot, the all-star cast makes this movie worth a second and third viewing. Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant, Rowan Atkinson, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman… these are just a few of the powerhouse names attached to the film. And it’s set in London, so you get to see that gorgeous city decked out for the holidays.

“Christmas Vacation”

Oh, those crazy Griswold’s and their ill-fated vacation plans. This story of family Christmas travel gone seriously awry makes any bad experiences you may be encountering during the holidays look like a piece of cake. Chevy Chase is at his goofy finest.

“Bad Santa”

Strictly for adults, this hilarious holiday flick finds Billy Bob Thornton playing a potty-mouthed mall Santa. Things go from bad to worse when this hard-drinking, filthy-tongued Santa befriends an outcast kid. But it all turns out kind of sweet, if you can get through the crass humor and side-splittingly blue jokes.

“Scrooged”

More for the adults but not totally off limits to the bigger kids, this is the best comic take on the Charles Dickens classic. It might be fun to rent this one along with “A Christmas Carol,” starring George C. Scott, just to compare the funny version with the more sober one. Bill Murray stars, so you’re guaranteed a few good guffaws.

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