When does Christmas really begin? Is it when advent calendars start going on sale? When Starbucks start selling eggnog lattes? When the John Lewis advert comes out? When Bonfire Night is over? Oh no, my friend. True Christmas spirit can only come from one specific source: the artfully created craft that is the Christmas Movie.
Christmas movies are significantly different from other movies simply due to their very niche purpose. Inciting Christmas cheer is no mean feat; even kids nowadays only care about pigs in blankets and getting an iPhone (or getting a Leapfrog LeapPad thing. I don’t know). Everyone is still capable of getting that feeling though. The little warm tingle in your stomach. The imaginary waft of pine trees and mince pies and mulled wine, the inexplicable desire to sing Mariah Carey. Although actually Christmas Day always involves eating too much and falling asleep on the sofa by 3pm, the build-up is the highlight of the year.
So, without further ado, I hereby list 5 Christmas films that give me that mince-pie-tingly feeling (it may just be indigestion, but stay with me here) –
Plot: Two women with guy-problems decide to swap houses over the Christmas period, trading Surrey, England for the luxury of Beverly Hills. They each meet a new local guy, and fall in love.
Although a quite crap rom-com at its base, The Holiday saved itself (just about) by being Christmassy. All the Surrey-based scenes are all lovely and suburban and snowy and cosy; probably a nightmare in practice, but great to watch from the comfort of your bed on your laptop. It’s the most jarring thing in the world to see Jack Black in a rom-com (get back to your comedic classroom, Mr Schneebly). However, Jude Law is in it. Jude Law is fit.
Plot: Young boy is mistakenly left home alone whilst his family go on a Christmas holiday, and has to deal with two conniving burglars.
SO SO SO BLOODY CHRISTMASSY. That scene when Kevin goes to listen to the choir at Christmas Eve, ahhhhhh! Surely this alone makes you want to dress like an elf and swim through lakes of tinsel. Just a massive classic, soundtrack and all. I want to squeeze Macaulay Culkin’s cheeks and read him a bedtime story.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Plot: Young boy yet again is mistakenly forgotten about: he made it to the airport this time, though. Wreaks havoc around a fancy hotel and faces sticky burglars once again.
In my view, even more amazing than the original Home Alone. The massive Christmassy toy shop with the turtle doves, my little heart can’t take it! Tim bloody Curry as a hotel receptionist! After watching this film, all I wanted to do was steal my dad’s credit card and order lots and lots of ice-cream room service.Remember the slightly random Pigeon Lady? Or when When Kevin and his mum reconcile at the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, I DARE you to try and not cry. As long as we erase from our memories that Donald Trump makes a minute cameo, all s fine. Spirits remain high. This is what Marv from the Sticky Bandits looks like now, if you were wondering.
Plot: Ten Christmassy storylines overlap, detailing the countdown Christmas in a beautifully British way.
Love Actually reminds me of how much I love London, and Christmas, and British Actors (and boy were we spoilt with this film – Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Kiera Knightley, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman, Rowan Atkinson, need I continue?). Hugh Grant shimmying, an airport chase, sad/hot Karl being rejected mid-foreplay…There’s so much love in this movie, of all kinds – friends, colleagues, parents, siblings, lovers, spouses, families, even the basic kindnesses from strangers looking to help someone out (looking at you, Rowan Atkinson). It’s heartfelt and heartwarming, and makes Christmas seem even more magical than it already is. SO SO GOOD. Even if this scene has raised your expectations of men wayyyyy too high.
Plot: A human raised by elves realises he isn’t really an elf and goes to find his father in New York.
We are all Buddy the Elf. OH MY GOD SANTA’S COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Buddy makes me want to eat spaghetti for breakfast and use “cotton-headed ninny muggins” and “you smell like beef and cheese” as my new insults of choice. Buddy’s sole mission is to spread Christmas cheer, literally what else do you need? Zooey Deschanel is lso the prettiest little mince pie in all the world. I want one. There’s even an Elf Drinking Game for anyone who wants to spice up their 63rd viewing of the film.
And so, there you have it. I know what you’re thinking. Where are the classics! Where’s It’s A Wonderful Life! Where’s Miracle on 34th Street! Truth is, I haven’t seen them. Sorry. (I’m on it).