31 Secrets You Never Knew About Your Favorite Christmas Films

Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX Shutterstock.
Yes, you can quote every single line in Home Alone. You've watched Elf more times than you can count. You once stayed up for an entire A Christmas Story marathon on Christmas Day. In short, you know your Yuletide classics.

Or do you? We've dug up some fascinating factoids about 30 holiday films, and we're willing to bet a fishnet-clad leg lamp that many will come as news to you. Some films marked the debut of future Oscar-winners. Some involved nefarious plots to off child actors. And some featured surprise cameos, awkward errors, and serious Hollywood trickery.

Read ahead so you can show off during your next family viewing of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation or It's a Wonderful Life.
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Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

Margaret O'Brien's casting as the youngster Tootie angered a lighting man, whose daughter had also been up for the role. According to O'Brien, his daughter's rejection caused the man to have a nervous breakdown, and he intentionally dropped a large light that almost struck the child star and her stand-in.
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It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

The scene in which George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) runs through snowy Bedford Falls was shot on a hot July day. The film was also one of the first to use new technology to create fake snow, as opposed to the era's traditional method of painting cornflakes white.
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Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

The film was shot during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, with Edmund Gwenn playing the role of Santa for the unsuspecting crowd.
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Video: Courtesy Warner Bros.
The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)

Eagle-eyed viewers have caught this mistake. Snow Miser and Heat Miser react at the wrong times to their orders about controlling the weather. One YouTube user went so far as to fix the scene so that it makes sense.
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Trading Places (1983)

Randolph (Ralph Bellamy) and Mortimer Duke (Don Ameche) always wear matching suits and tie patterns.
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A Christmas Story (1983)

This '80s classic inspired the TV show The Wonder Years, which featured a similar narration style and retro timeline.
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Video: Courtesy Buena Vista Distribution.
One Magic Christmas (1985)

Actress and director Sarah Polley made her film debut as Molly in this Disney movie.
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Lethal Weapon (1987)

Danny Glover was not too old for this shit. Though his character, Roger Murtaugh, turns 50 at the beginning of this action film set during the holidays, Glover was only 40 when it came out.
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Video: Courtesy Paramount Pictures.
Scrooged (1988)

Three of Bill Murray's brothers appear in this take on the Charles Dickens' classic. Brian Doyle Murray plays Frank's veal-gifting father in a flashback, while John and Joel Murray play his present-day brother and his pal in the Trivial Pursuit scene.
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Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)

Actress Noelle Parker, who played Harmony, was the stepdaughter of Patrick Dempsey at the time of filming. The future McDreamy was married to her mother, Rocky Parker, from 1987 to 1994.
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Die Hard (1988)

Frank Sinatra was originally offered the role of John McClane. Die Hard is based on Roderick Thorp's Nothing Lasts Forever, a sequel to The Detective. Because Sinatra played the lead in the 1968 film adaptation of that novel, he was contractually obligated to be offered this role first. As Sinatra was in his 70s and presumably not up for running around in a bro tank, he passed. Don Johnson, Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, and Arnold Schwarzenegger also reportedly turned down the role made famous by Bruce Willis.
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX Shutterstock.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

The Griswolds live next door to the house owned by Lethal Weapon's Roger Murtaugh.
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Video: Courtesy 20th Century Fox.
Home Alone (1990)

Watch closely, and you'll notice the nosy neighbor kid mouthing the shuttle driver's lines. Also, it's totally his fault they left without Kevin.
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Video: Courtesy 20th Century Fox.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Backstreet Boy Nick Carter is the blond kid enjoying the Slip 'N Slide.
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Hook (1991)

According to Raushan Hammond, the actor who played Thud Butt, it was a surprise as to which Lost Boy would be handed Peter Pan's sword. Williams unexpectedly gave it to Hammond, and his reaction was completely natural.
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Batman Returns (1992)

Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman costume was so tight, it was vacuum-sealed after she put it on. This meant she could only wear it for minutes at a time, for health reasons.
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Little Women (1994)

During filming, Claire Danes' hair caught on fire as she carried a candle up a flight of stairs. Beth really did have the worst luck.
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The Santa Clause (1994)

The design of Tim Allen's Santa suit changes throughout the film. Was the wardrobe department feeling fickle?
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The Ref (1994)

Oscar winner J.K. Simmons made his film debut in this black comedy.
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While You Were Sleeping (1995)

This Sandra Bullock rom-com was originally intended to have a male protagonist, but screenwriters reversed the genders when it was suggested that having a man follow a woman he doesn't know might be seen as predatory. Ya think?
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Jingle All The Way (1996)

Joe Pesci was the original favorite to play Myron, but he was ultimately considered too short next to Arnold Schwarzenegger. So Sinbad scored the role.
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I'll Be Home for Christmas (1998)

Did this film hint at an eventual Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel pairing? Biel stars in the Jonathan Taylor Thomas comedy, while Timberlake and the rest of *NSYNC sang "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays" for the film's end credits.
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX Shutterstock.
Jack Frost (1998)

George Clooney was originally attached to play the Michael Keaton role of the dad-turned-snowman.
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Video: Courtesy Universal Pictures.
Love Actually (2003)

One sad storyline wound up on the cutting room floor. Director Richard Curtis filmed, but didn't use, a plot in which the headmistress at the school, attended by Emma Thompson's son, is in a lesbian relationship with a dying woman. Anne Reid and Frances de la Tour played the couple, and as you can see, tissues would have been required.
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How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Look closely at the swirling clouds that appear throughout the film, and you'll notice that they briefly form the initials of director Ron Howard, his brother Clint, and star Jim Carrey.
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Video: Courtesy New Line Cinema.
Elf (2003)

Peter Billingsley, who starred as Ralphie in A Christmas Story, plays bespectacled elf Ming Ming in this scene.
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Photo: Matt Sayles/AP/REX/Shutterstock.
Elf (2003)

Speaking of the beloved holiday film, before the role of Buddy the Elf went to Will Ferrell, another legendary comic almost got the job. Yep, Jim Carrey, who went on to star in his own Christmas classic in the live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas, was slated when the project first came to fruition all the way back in 1993. By the time the movie was produced, nearly a decade later, he had moved on and Ferrell filled Buddy's cheerful shoes.
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Bad Santa (2003)

In the Czech Republic, the film's title translates to "Santa the pervert."
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Christmas with the Kranks (2004)

This film is based on John Grisham's Skipping Christmas, but was released under a different title to avoid confusion with the Ben Affleck vehicle Surviving Christmas.
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The Polar Express (2004)

The movie's reference to a bad boy in New Jersey who is being mean to his sisters is a nod to director Robert Zemeckis' mentor, Steven Spielberg, who did in fact have two sisters.
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The Family Stone (2005)

The photo of a younger Diane Keaton shown at the end of the film was digitally altered to make her appear pregnant, which is often the case with family snapshots we see in most films. Movie magic!