It’s that time of year, re-runs of classic Christmas movies are dominating every channel you switch to, and with the freedom of streaming and on-demand, you are no longer forced to watch whatever is on TV. Without further ado, here are some of our favourite Christmas movies.
It’s a Wonderful Life
It’s a Wonderful Life is a Christmas movie like no other, with a deep and resonating message about giving up, second chances and the impact one can have on everyone around them that may not be visible at face value. George Bailey has given up on his life and commits suicide on Christmas Eve. However, his guardian angel Clarence Odbody intervenes and shows George all the lives he touched and changed for the better and how his community of Bedford Falls would be very different had he not been born.
Jingle All the Way
Arnold Schwarzenegger can truly do everything. From blockbuster action movie star to half-absent dad desperately trying to get his son the Turbo-Man action toy he wants for Christmas. Turbo-Man – the hottest selling children’s toy that is sold out everywhere. And Howard forgot to buy it in time. Watch, as he races across town from store to store to illegal warehouse set-ups trying to find it one last time to make up for his previous shortcomings with a happy Christmas with his son.
Elf is the classic Christmas movie. Elf is the tale of a Will Ferrell-looking Elf who grew up in the North Pole after crawling into Santa’s sack as a baby as Santa was visiting his orphanage. The beauty of this movie is that the Christmas magic is still alive in the mind of our protagonist and it becomes increasingly magical and funnier as he tries to convince the adults around him of his truth. All the whilst trying to adjust to a new life in a big city with his new parents and a new home.
I Saw Mommy Kiss Santa Claus
Based on the classic Christmas song of the same name, I Saw Mommy Kiss Santa Claus sees a mischievous little boy set-up traps and attacks the mall Santa at every turn after having seen him kiss his mom in his home, at the bottom of the stairs. Spoiler-alert – It was his dad dressed as Santa. It’s cheesy, silly and almost seems like a Home Alone rip-off but I grew up watching it so there. The little boy is brilliantly played by Dylan and Cole Sprouse.
The Polar Express
Based on the children’s book of the same name, The Polar Express is an animated fantasy movie that takes place on Christmas Eve and just as a young boy begins questioning the existence of Santa, a train departing for the North Pole pulls over, and the young boy inquisitively gets on. As Ebert once said, this movie doesn’t have the usual Christmas jolliness, “It has a haunting, magical quality… that lets you know eerie things could happen.”
Home Alone 1 and 2 are the undisputed kings of Christmas movies. I’m pretty sure everyone has seen these movies a hundred times, but if you genuinely have not seen them yet, who are you, and where have you been? Macaulay Culkin plays Kevin McCallister who is mistakenly left behind as his family flies off to Paris for Christmas. The sequel sees him take the wrong flight to New York whilst his family goes to Florida. Both movies see him face-off against two bungling burglars as he outwits them at every turn. It’s hilarious, wildly slapstick, with a very strong lead performance from Culkin.
The Harry Potter franchise is not like any other Christmas movie, in that Christmas is depicted in almost every movie but largely the plot does not revolve around or concern the holiday season. However, we have unanimously decided to adopt this franchise for the Christmas season so that’s that on that.
The first six movies have great Christmas scenes however the Deathly Hallows gets a little dark, understandably of course, and therefore I would recommend sticking to the first few that have the ol’ Christmas spirit. There’s something magical about watching a snow-covered castle, with a giant Christmas tree sitting in the Great Hall as Harry Potter and friends navigate Hogwarts in all its wonder. And you will never get a better Christmas present than Harry’s invisibility cloak.
I’m going to end the list with three movies I do not consider Christmas movies but many people do, so I’ll tell you why I don’t and you can scream into the void at how wrong I am. Deal?
Die Hard is just a film set at Christmas time. Yes, I said it. And it seems I’m battling against the actual screenwriter of the movie because, after a YouGov poll that revealed most people do not consider it a Christmas movie, Steven E. de Souza agreed with a fan who said “how could it not be a Christmas movie?” Die Hard does not give me the Christmas vibe when I watch it, the same vibe that Home Alone or Elf carry is absent from Die Hard, and that is my only criteria.
Another action movie falsely parading as a Christmas movie, Lethal Weapon takes a few Christmas references, a sad and lonely man, and a shootout in a Christmas tree lot. I get it, it starts with Jingle Bell Rock and ends with folks around a Christmas tree. Everyone’s Christmas is different but we have to have a cut-off for Christmas movies, and not including an unrelenting buddy cop movie is mine. Sentimental cheesiness is also a requirement in all of my Christmas movies and that’s not something I’m going to get watching a Mel Gibson with a gun movie.
It’s Christmas in Gotham and Batman is once again fighting bad guys. Batman has more credibility as a Christmas movie than either Die Hard or Lethal Weapon, however, it’s still an action movie where ornaments are used as weapons and the dark and gritty tone just kills all of the hope and spirit that I’ve come expect in a Christmas movie. For some reason, I don’t think Gotham will ever have a proper Christmas, but that’s the beauty of the hell-hole, I guess.
And that completes my list of movies you should definitely re-watch this Christmas! The beauty of most of these movies is quite literally the rewatchability of them at Christmas time. So go forth, and prove me wrong, by re-watching Die Hard instead of Elf.