It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Which is why I have compiled a list of a few of my Festive Film recommendations, old and new, for everyone to watch this holiday season.
1. Arthur Christmas (2011)
Starting off strong, Arthur Christmas is about the enthusiastic younger son of Santa, Arthur (James McAvoy) who finds out that a child has been forgotten on Christmas and seeks to rectify the situation by delivering the present himself. The film has a wonderful story about family and a brilliant ensemble cast of UK stars, most notably Bill Nighy who plays Grand Santa, who made me laugh the whole way through the film.
Favourite Quote – “I’ve seen this before! Sleigh fever they call it! The Pressure of Christmas sends a man doo-lellied-tap! Santa Claus XVI of 1802! Every child that year got a sausage nailed to a piece of bark!”
2. The Santa Clause Trilogy (1994), (2002), (2006)
I watch these films every year and never get bored of them. The Santa Clause trilogy tells the story of Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) who after accidentally scaring Santa off the roof, takes over the role of the man in red because of the legal and magical ‘Clause’ making him Santa whether he likes it or not.
Favourite Quote – “I think that If we’re going to destroy our son’s illusions, I should be a part of It.”
3. Love Actually (2003)
Is it really Christmas without ‘Love Actually’? Each time I watch this film I’m still surprised by the number of a-list celebrities featured. This film is brilliant and is sure to make you smile, laugh and cry. Love Actually is a compilation of hilarious, heartwarming and heartbreaking love stories over Christmas that all interlink seamlessly. This film is about romance, family, friends, home and self-love and pushes the message that “love, actually is all around us”.
Favourite Quote – “There was more than one Lobster present at the birth of Jesus?”
4. Muppets Christmas Carol (1992)
In my opinion, this is by far the best Muppet movie and one of the best Christmas films. In this retelling of ‘A Christmas Carol’, Michael Caine plays the infamous grouch Ebeneezer Scrooge. He’s visited on Christmas Eve by three mysterious spirits who hope to change him for the better and make him see the error in his ways. The music is sure to get stuck in your head and make you smile, which is why this is definitely a top recommendation.
Favourite Quote – “There are two things in life I hate: heights, and jumping from them”
5. This Christmas (2007)
The Whitfield siblings have come home for Christmas to celebrate with their mother Shirley. But after not seeing each other for so long they realize how little they know about each other’s lives and how much each member of the family has changed, including Shirley who is hiding her relationship status out of fear of how her children will react. This film has a brilliant ensemble cast, music as well as an important message about family. A must watch!
Favourite Song – ‘Try and Little Tenderness’ by Chris Brown
6. Happiest Season (2020)
The most recently released film on this list, Happiest Season is about Abby (Kristen Stewart) who goes home for Christmas with her girlfriend Harper with the hopes of proposing, but that is shot down when she finds out that Harper never came out to her family and has no intention to over the holiday season.
Favourite Quote – “Have you managed to get a man’s permission to take ownership of an adult human woman yet?”
7. Rise of the Guardians (2012)
It can be argued that technically this isn’t a ‘Christmas Film’, but in all honesty, I could watch this film all year round. But there’s something about Christmas that makes this film seem so much more wondrous. ‘Rise of the Guardians’ tells the story of the mischievous Jack Frost and how he is chosen by the moon to protect the children of this world alongside Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Mr Sandman against the evil boogie man, Pitch Black. This film continues to make me smile every time I watch it.
Favourite Quote – “My nightmares are ready, are your guardians?”
8. Nativity (2009)
I look forward to watching this film every year and having all the songs stuck in my head well into the New year. ‘Nativity’ tells the tale of Paul (Martin Freeman), a primary school teacher who is told to produce this year’s Nativity play. But after he lies to a former opponent, hilarity ensues over the fact that the primary school Nativity play is apparently being turned into a Hollywood movie.
Favourite Song – ‘She’s the brightest Star’ by the Nativity Cast
9. White Christmas (1954)
Named a Christmas classic, White Christmas is the oldest film on this list. This musical romance is about war veterans Bob Wallace and Phil Davis who agree to put on a show at their old commanders’ failing inn, to help get it back in business. This film is full of romance, classical music and is a cosy Christmas classic to watch this season.
Favourite Song – ‘Count Your Blessings’ by Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney
10. The Holiday (2006)
Who doesn’t love a Rom-Com at Christmas? The Holiday tells the story of Iris (Kate Winslet) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz) who decide to swap homes for Christmas after experiencing heartbreak. Whilst living in each other’s homes they fall in love with two local guys as well as discover who they are.
Favourite Quote – “Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies, and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason, you’re behaving like the best friend”
11. Klaus (2019)
Despite this film coming out in 2019, it made me feel like a child again and I am not ashamed to say it made me cry. The film tells the story of an entitled postman, who is shipped off to a remote town of feuding families, miserable people, and a reclusive toymaker named Klaus (who mistakenly receives a letter from a child asking for a present). The animation, music and story are beautiful, which is why it has made it onto this list.
Favourite Quote – “A true selfless act always sparks another”
12. The Polar Express (2004)
I know some people find this film creepy. I understand. But the reason I am recommending this film is that it brings back a feeling of nostalgia for me and childlike wonder, also because I find it interesting how Tom Hanks manages to play half of the characters, from the Conductor to Santa.
Adapted from the book by Chris Van Allsburg, ‘The Polar Express’ tells the story of a young boy who boards the illusive Polar Express to travel to the North pole and meet Santa. Along the way, he meets some memorable people and discovers the true wonder of Christmas.
Favourite Quote – “Seeing Is believing, but, sometimes, the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”
13. Scrooged (1988)
Another adaptation of Charles Dickens’s beloved novel, Scrooged, is about disgruntled television executive Frank Cross who is visited by three spirits intent on making him change his ways and realize what he lost. This modern interpretation adds humour to the classic novel as well as sends the message that everyone has the opportunity to be kinder towards each other.
Favourite Quote – “The b**** hit me with a toaster”
14. Home Alone (1990)
Finishing just as strong as we started, we have ‘Home Alone’, the Christmas classic made by Chris Columbus. This is about a young boy named Kevin who, after a misunderstanding, is left home alone at Christmas whilst his family boards a plane to France.
If that isn’t bad enough, his house catches the eyes of two thieves who plan to rob it, as they believe it is vacant. Kevin makes it his business to protect his home, whilst his mother scrambles to get back to Kevin before Christmas morning. This film will make you laugh, smile and cringe at some of the severe stunt scenes but is an all-around holiday favourite.
Favourite Quote – “Keep the change Ya filthy animal”
Words by: Isabelle Adams
Edited by: Tamikka Reid