Where to See Christmas Classics on the Big Screen in Austin

Here’s your cure for cabin fever and forced family bonding

White Christmas

Christmas may be about friends and family, but after a few cabin fever hours with relatives you'll crave each and every opportunity to shake off in-laws arguing about politics, sugar-crazed toddlers smashing into furniture, and the generally overbearing sounds of merriment. However, constantly disappearing into the kitchen to check on the cider only works so often. The obvious solution is a quick trip to the cinema, so you'll be with your relatives without having to listen to or see them for a couple of hours.

Of course, there are always the easy options of another screening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, or you can listen to your tone-deaf cousin try to hum along to Pitch Perfect 3. But there are some more traditional family-friendly titles screening this weekend that will get you all out of the house.

Once you've snagged any early arrivers from the airport you can all dive straight into the Home for the Holidays series at the AFS Cinema (Dec. 22-30). Start by empathizing with Barbara Stanwyck as a struggling singleton pretending she has her life together in time for a Christmas in Connecticut (we all know the feeling, Barbara). If you feel a stiff drink is in order, stick around for the gin-sozzled The Thin Man, with William Powell and Myrna Loy investigating a Christmastime murder in the Big Apple the only way one should handle such affairs: well soused. Adding some color after those black-and-white gems, only a grinch could fail to weep at Christmas Eve and Christmas Day screenings of White Christmas. If that can't cheer you up, then three screenings of Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life will remind you that as long as you have family and friends, as crazy as they drive you, you still have everything.

OK, so maybe not everything. If you really need that official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot Range Model air rifle, then the Alamo Drafthouse is screening the 1983 seasonal classic A Christmas Story (Alamo Lakeline and Slaughter Lane, Dec. 23 & 24; Alamo Mueller, Dec. 24). Not only is it as much fun as you can have without triple-dog-daring a friend to do something really dumb, but if you mess up the holiday dinner and have to go for Chinese food, you can tell your relatives it's just like the movie.

If you're feeling a little more mature and want to show off Austin's arguably most famous cinema, the Alamo Ritz offers an immortal quartet of romantic leads (Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet and, um, Jack Black) and a special brunch mimosa menu for noon screenings of The Holiday (Dec. 23 & 24). Or, if you're feeling rambunctious, you can always throw "real" snowballs at each other in special scratch 'n' sniff Movie Party screenings of Elf (Dec. 22-25).

Home for the Holidays at AFS Cinema

Christmas in Connecticut Friday, 6:30pm; Sunday, 4pm.

The Thin Man (1934) Friday, 9pm; Monday, 7pm.

White Christmas (1954) Sunday, 1pm; Monday, 4:30pm.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946) Sunday, 7pm; Monday, 2pm.


A Christmas Story (1983) Saturday, Alamo Lakeline, 3:40pm, Alamo Slaughter Lane, 3:55pm; Sunday, Alamo Mueller, 12:40pm, Alamo Lakeline, 3:40pm, Alamo Slaughter Lane, 7:45pm.

The Holiday (2006) In Brunch We Trust. Alamo Ritz, Saturday, 12:30pm; Sunday, noon.

Elf Movie Party (2003) Props, a contest, and a snowball fight in the theatre are just some of the party perks. @Alamo Ritz, Friday, 4, 10pm; Saturday, 4, 7, 10pm; Sunday, 3:15, 6:15pm; Monday, noon, 3, 6, 9pm.

For full times and listings, visit austinchronicle.com/calendar/film.

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Christmas movies

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