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Where to see Christmas movies in Austin, from 'Elf' to 'It's a Wonderful Life'

Eric Webb
Austin 360

Dare I say: Christmas movies are as important to the holiday season as Christmas carols. This year, with Austin's theaters back in action, there's a feast of films. Here are a few good options.

Paramount Theatre

The "Elf" Pub Run returns this year on Nov. 30. Runners will meet at the Paramount, dash off to Easy Tiger on East Seventh Street for a sip and then head back to Congress Avenue to watch the Will Ferrell holiday classic. If you're not into the whole running thing, this year the theater is offering a "VIP Holiday Hijinx" ticket that replaces the running with a party van. You can also just buy a ticket for the movie, no extra tinsel, for $11. Doors at 6:30 p.m., screening at 7:30 p.m.

As usual, the theater has plenty of films on tap for December at Austin's historic downtown performance palace: "White Christmas" (Dec. 7 and 19), "It's a Wonderful Life" (Dec. 14), "Love Actually" (Dec. 15) and "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (Dec. 19)

More information: austintheatre.org/all-is-bright-holidays-at-the-paramount.

Donna Reed, left, and James Stewart in a scene from Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life."

AFS Cinema

Austin Film Society's arthouse theater did some drive-in action last year while the cinema was closed. This year, they're back in the theater with holiday deep cuts like "Remember the Night" (Dec. 20 and 23), "The Thin Man" (Dec. 21 and 25) and "Fanny and Alexander" (Dec. 22 and 26), as well as regular-depth-cut "It's a Wonderful Life" (Dec. 24 and 25).

Check the cinema's website for showtimes. More information: austinfilm.org/calendar.

Alamo Drafthouse

As you might expect, Austin's iconic movie chain will light up your holidays with a little sugar and a little spice. This year's Christmastime film slate includes "Planes, Trains & Automobiles," "Love Actually," "The Polar Express," the 1994 "Little Women," "Scrooged," "Gremlins," "The Holiday," "Batman Returns," "The Jinx and DeLa Holiday Special," "White Christmas," "Tokyo Godfathers," the 1974 "Black Christmas," "Elf," "When Harry Met Sally" and "The Apartment." There will also be special movie parties for "Elf."

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And perhaps the best of all: Drafthouse will present "AFGA's Special Christmas Special" on Dec. 13 at the South Lamar location. "Beaming with deranged holiday cheer," as the official description goes, it is "a brand new, feature-length mixtape culled from the tinsel-strewn video vaults of the American Genre Film Archive."

Check Drafthouse's website for locations and showtimes. More information: drafthouse.com/austin/movies/your-home-for-the-holidays.

Will Ferrell, right, and Bob Newhart star in "Elf."

Blue Starlite Drive-In

Austin's long-running drive-in movie mini chain will show a variety of holiday-adjacent flicks across its Mueller, downtown and Round Rock locations: "Home Alone," "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," "Elf," "Die Hard," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "Fatman," "Silent Night," "Edward Scissorhands," "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," "Gremlins," "The Preacher's Wife" and "The Shining."

There will also be some screenings of the Scooby-Doo and Charlie Brown Christmas specials. And on Dec. 18, the Blue Starlite's downtown location will feature a night of drag performances paired with the film "Krampus."

Check Blue Starlite's website for locations and showtimes. More information: bluestarlitedrivein.com.

Festive Float at Austin Motel

This being Texas, a Christmas movie series at a swimming pool is not that weird. (But still weird enough, in the good way.) Austin Motel's iconic kidney bean-shaped pool will host showings of "Elf" (Dec. 2), "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" (Dec. 9) and "Home Alone" (Dec. 16). Doors open at 5 p.m. and screenings start at 7 p.m. There will be seasonal drinks, popcorn and s'mores. All of Austin Motel's holiday events are free to attend with a suggested donation to CARY Council on At Risk Youth. More information: austinmotel.com/event/winter-wanderland.

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Domain Northside

Head on over to the North Austin mixed-use development every Saturday of the season for a slate of flicks: "Home Alone" (Dec. 4), "Elf" (Dec. 11) and "The Polar Express" (Dec. 18). Movies start at 6 p.m., and the screenings are family-friendly. Bring your own blanket and snacks. More information: domainnorthside.com/events.

Rocket Cinema at Meanwhile Brewing Co.

Movies, plus beer. Don't need to sell this too hard. Rocket Cinema, the mobile movie screening company from Montopolis' Justin Sherburn, will screen "Elf" on Dec. 1 and "Klaus" on Dec. 15. Shows start at 7 p.m. on the pitch at the Southeast Austin brewery. Tickets to "Elf" cost $10; tickets to "Klaus" are not yet available. More information: rocketcinematexas.com/now-playing