Christmas films are some of the greatest films ever made. It’s true; think about it – name another type of film that you and your family are guaranteed to want to watch, all together, with no arguments? What other films can raise a smile no matter how many times you’ve seen them? Christmas films are pure escapism; happy endings are promised, and, even if you’ve got wrapping to do, cards to write and a Christmas dinner to prepare, snuggling up for a couple of hours to watch the perfect Christmas movie is never a waste of time.
We’ve rounded up some of the very best festive films; which will you choose to watch this Christmas?
The Family One: Home Alone
It all started back in 1990, when Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) was literally left home alone when his family – his huge family at that – took a Christmas trip to Paris. A mix up involving pizza and a brotherly fight, plus the unfortunate timing of a neighbour’s visit, means that Kevin is forgotten. At first, Kevin is thrilled at the prospect of being able to watch scary movies and eat ice cream all day long; he can even order pizza (plain cheese, naturally) and use aftershave (argh!). But, when two bungling burglars decide that the supposedly empty McCallister house is the perfect place to break into, Kevin has to defend his home using whatever he can find.
A red hot iron, marbles, paint tins and a horribly hairy tarantula all come into play in his ingenious plan, while miles away, his family embark on an epic journey to try to get home to Kevin for Christmas…be warned, the ending is a bit of a teary one.
The Classic One: It’s A Wonderful Life
George Bailey (James Stewart) has given everything he has to the town and people of Bedford Falls. He’s sacrificed his ambition, his dreams of travelling, and a better life (or so he thinks) in order to keep the town safe from evil Mr Potter, who wants to take over the town and charge everyone for the privilege of living there. One night, George discovers that money is missing from his business, and is sure that he will be blamed.
Realising that this is the opportunity Mr Potter has been waiting for, George brands himself a failure, and decides to kill himself – after all, everyone in the town would be better off if he was dead. Or would they? Angel, Clarence – who has not yet earned his wings – is tasked with the job of showing George exactly what life would be like for his friends and loved ones if he had never been born. What George sees shows him that he is needed. He is loved. And he is far from a failure. As Clarence tells him: “no man is a failure who has friends”. As the film ends to the seasonal sounds of ‘Auld Lang Syne’, be prepared to weep and then hug everyone and everything around you with overwhelming gratitude.
The Romantic One: Love Actually
An all-star cast including the late and lovely Alan Rickman, as well as Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and Colin Firth bring this gorgeously romantic Christmas film to life. It’s a collection of interconnected short stories that tie up neatly (much like a bow on a Christmas present) at the end. But, before we get there, we see love in all of its many splendoured varieties: friendship, romantic love, heartbreak, first love, and last love. We think this slushy, lovefest of a film is perfect for curling up with on Boxing Day night.
The Action One: Die Hard
Ooh, controversial! We’ve obviously just opened up the age-old debate about whether Die Hard (starring Bruce Willis and, again, Alan Rickman) is a Christmas movie or not. Now, it may not reference Christmas per se, but it is set at Christmas, and it is about love (in a roundabout way), so, despite all the explosions, gunfire, and cringeworthy glass-in-bare-feet scenes, we’re adding it to the list.
Policeman, John McClane leaves New York to visit his wife Holly (Christmassy name) in Los Angeles. She works for the Nakatomi Corporation at Nakatomi Plaza. Unfortunately, a gang of violent terrorists have decided that the Nakatomi Christmas party is the perfect time to launch an attack. John, unable to get any outside help, has to save his world single handedly. It’s a rip-roaring adventure with a nice sprinkling of Christmas spirit thrown in.