Resources for Family Caregivers of Older Adults
Seniors’ Holiday Movie Memories ~ Our Top Picks for Family Reminiscing

Seniors’ Holiday Movie Memories ~ Our Top Picks for Family Reminiscing

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The holidays are special times for all of us it is true!

During the holidays it is an especially important time to reminisce with our senior loved ones, providing them with opportunities to step back in time and remember feelings of enjoyment and comfort.

Many of our seniors have lost so much throughout their lifetimes including their own parents, siblings, dear friends, pets and traditions. As we age, our lifestyles change too and not always for the better. Our seniors have had to downsize and may have given away belongings that bring back special memories such as holiday decorations and other mementos.

Sharing Memories Through Favorite Films

One way in this age of technology that we can share bygone memories with our senior loved ones is by sharing visual memories through films. We all remember special times in our lives through movies. Our seniors remember who they were with when they saw certain films, they lived through times depicted in the films feeling the same hardships and they wore the same clothes and drove the same cars.

This holiday, we want to share with you our top picks for favorite holiday films for the family to share together and remember a life well lived! We hope that you enjoy these films together and use them to start conversations with your seniors about their life and stories. You may be surprised what remembrances are elicited when they watch these classic films. Some may be available on TV during the holiday season, be available in the library, online or you may want to purchase some and give as gifts to be viewed throughout the year by your seniors.

Top Five Holiday Movies

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)             

Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore

Directed by Frank Capra, this is a bittersweet comedy/drama about George Bailey the eternally-in-debt guiding force of a bank in the typical American small town of Bedford Falls who dreams what it would be like if he was never born and is helped by a soon-to-be angel.

This film reminds us of the importance of family and friends in good times and bad.


White Christmas (1954)

Starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen, Rosemary Clooney

White Christmas was the first VistaVision production full of oldie-but-goodie Irving Berlin tunes, formers friendships rediscovered as Crosby and Kaye invite the men from their old troop together to honor the General and make new friendships in the mix. It is considered one of the most heartwarming stories with beautiful scenes and musical numbers.


A Christmas Carol (1938)           

The 1938 version starring Reginald Owen is our favorite but the 1951 version starring Alistair Sim is also a great choice. These are both good for reminiscing. There are of course other newer versions that you and your senior may enjoy including Mickey’s Christmas Carol (for fun and grandkids) or the 1984 version with George C. Scott which are also our favorites. The Dickens classic brings out a feeling of goodness and cheer as Scrooge comes to grips with the true meaning of Christmas and begins to see the best in his fellow man.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)          

The 1947 version of this heartwarming story about Santa Claus and those who fought to believe will bring back many different memories for your senior including Macy’s and the Thanksgiving parade, stars such as Natalie Wood and Maureen O’Hara as well as the lead role played by Edmund Gwenn and the feeling of a simpler time.

The newer version made in 1994 is also good for the family but the 1947 is best for reminiscing.


The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

The story of Cary Grant coming to earth as an angel to help a beleaguered bishop who’s trying to build a cathedral and has lost his true vision. Starring Loretta Young as the bishop’s wife and David Niven as the bishop.

Classic movies with touching stories lend well to opening up conversations about the past – and often some wonderful stories from the memories of senior loved ones!

Honorable Mentions

There are just so many greats among the classic holiday movies that we can’t stop with five. Here are two more, but it’s still so difficult to limit it just to these.

Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)

Bing Crosby plays Father O’Malley sent to St. Mary’s a run-down parochial school on the verge of condemnation. He and Sister Benedict played by Ingrid Bergman work together in an attempt to save the school.

It brings back memories of school days and childhood escapades. While not directly related to the holidays as the other movies, it contains music and themes that will be wonderful for seniors!


The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan are a couple destined for love during the Christmas season. It is a definite romantic comedy your family will enjoy and your seniors will remember.

A remake of this movie’s plot starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan called “You’ve Got Mail” doesn’t capture the charm of the classic 1940 version but the younger family members familiar with the more recent movie may enjoy finding the similarities.

We hope you enjoy these holiday films with your whole family!

We would love to hear your picks for favorite holiday memory making films!

2 Responses to Seniors’ Holiday Movie Memories ~ Our Top Picks for Family Reminiscing

    • Thanks Edie, we agree! These are some of our favorites but there are many more classics to share with elders to bring back fond memories. Hope you stop by again!

We'd love to hear your thoughts!





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