“‘Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la la la la la la”. So, what better way to kick off the festivities than a list of the five Christmas cinema classics to make you stamp out your “bah humbug”-ing before it gets into full swing…
Home Alone (1990)
When it comes to classic Christmas movies, you can’t get much better than Home Alone. The story of Kevin McAllister (Macaulay Calkin), a young boy stuck in his house while his annoying family is away on Christmas has been a stable of festive viewing for decades. The slapstick comedy is timed perfectly and back and forth between Kevin and the Wet Bandits trying to break into his house is very sharp, witty, and very painful.
What ultimately makes Home Alone such a good Christmas movie, however, is that it reminds us why the Christmas season is important in the first place. We can all get pretty sick of our family especially when we have to start coordinating with them for the holidays, but the truth is, we’d all be pretty lonely if we had no one to celebrate with. Seeing Kevin reunite as all the chaos he’s been through is genuinely heart-warming and reminds us of why we come together for Christmas in the first place.
Home Alone is available to stream on Disney+ and Virgin Go TV. It can also be rented or bought across many popular streaming sites.
Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Whether this film counts as a Christmas or Halloween film is a debate that will go on for ages. Either way, I’d say this is one of the best films you can see about Christmas.
This is the story of Jack; The Pumpkin King who has grown bored of Halloween every year, deciding that he would rather prepare to celebrate Christmas instead. The film is worth watching for the soundtrack alone. Songs like ‘This is Halloween’ and ‘What’s This’ will get stuck in your head for days. On top of that, the stop motion animation by Henry Selick is brilliant, bringing together all sorts of gangly yet creative designs for the monsters of Halloween Town, and then coating them in white and red sparkles when it’s time for Christmas. If you’d like a slightly darker Christmas film with a more unorthodox style, then this is for you.
The Nightmare Before Christmas is available to stream on Disney+ and Virgin Go TV. It can also be rented or bought across many popular streaming sites.
Christmas Story (1983)
When you were younger, was there that one present you really wanted for Christmas and you had to convince your parents to buy it for you. Now imagine if that present was an air-soft rifle. That is the basic plot of Christmas Story.
Christmas Story is a simple family comedy, following a young boy’s regular life leading up to Christmas. That might not sound like much but it’s the little things that make it work. The antics with the parents, fending off bullies, and visiting a disgruntled mall Santa who you can tell does not want to be there.
It’s funny partially because of how relatable it is with smaller moments leading to some of the best punchlines. It’s a light-hearted and fun movie that works for the kind of person who wants a more chilled but still warm film for the holidays.
Christmas Story is available to stream on Virgin TV Go. It can also be rented or bought across many popular streaming sites.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
This is the oldest films on the list. Made over 70 years ago and while it does have a more modern remake, the original is one of the quirkiest Christmas comedies you can see and still holds up after all these years.
The plot is about a man who genuinely believes that he is Santa Claus. As such, a court case is held to determine whether he really is the real Santa Claus. As silly as it sounds, it makes from a compelling comedy-drama. This primarily comes down to Edmund Gwenn’s portrayal of Santa Claus which may be one of the best portrayals of the big red man in cinema history (and the only one to win an Oscar for their performance). He’s witty and stern but also very warm and kind. Whether he’s playing off of a stuffy all lawyer in court or speaking to a girl about what she wants for Christmas, you will believe that this guy is Santa.
Nowadays most people know that Santa Claus probably doesn’t exist but this film asks you to have a little more faith during the holidays and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Bith the older and newer version of Miracle on 34th Street are available to stream on Now TV, Sky Go and Virgin TV Go. It can also be rented or bought across many popular streaming sites.
Tokyo Godfathers (2007)
This is a Japanese animated film, but it can be easily found with English subtitles. The plot is about three homeless people: a transgender woman, an alcoholic, and a runaway schoolgirl as they find a baby in a rubbish bin. With some reluctance, they decide to return the baby to their mother.
As they go on their journey, you learn more about their pasts, where the baby came from all mixed in with some comedic hijinks. The three leads are well written and watching them banter off each other is hilarious. As the story continues, we see each of them confront their troubled pasts, forming some powerful and heart-warming moments.
Despite this, the film fully captures the more optimistic side of Christmas. Our three protagonists are the lowest in society: downtrodden and ostracised. Despite this, they still come together out of kindness to get this baby back home. The traditional Christmas themes of unity and goodwill are very much on display.
Tokyo Godfathers is available to stream on Netflix. It can also be rented or bought across many popular streaming sites.
This blog was originally posted in 2019, but we’re resharing it because we think it’s great!
Top tip: If you can’t find the film online and don’t want to rent or buy it, try asking you family and friends if they have a copy you can borrow!