Christmas movies on repeat are one of my favourite things about the festive season. I love them all, from Disney classics to corny Hallmark movies that play on SABC 3. Here’s a list of my ten favourite Christmas movies.
10. Jingle All The Way
A little bit of a guilty pleasure, Jingle All The Way features Arnold Schwarzenegger in all his cheesy-nineties-movie glory. Its impossibly nineties plotline is part of Jingle All They Way‘s charm – a film following two Dad’s desperately searching for this season’s must-have toy would be a two minute short ending in a purchase from takealot.com if filmed today.
9. Buster and Chauncey’s Silent Night
This direct to video animated featurette follows two “mouse-cians” and an orphaned girl (voiced by Glee’s Lea Michelle) as they navigate a series of mishaps. The animation is poor, and the plot is worn. But like Hallmark Christmas films, Buster and Chauncey’s Silent Night will fill you with Christmas joy in spite of its shortcomings.
8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Grinch hated Christmas!
The whole Christmas season!
Now please don’t ask why.
No-one quite knows the reason
Based on Dr Suess’s Christmas classic, Jim Carrey’s Grinch is the great Christmas anti-hero. More than any other film on this list, How the Grinch Stole Christmas gets explores what Christmas really means.
7. The Santa Clause
The fact that this movie’s premise is based on a pun gives you an idea of what to expect from The Santa Clause. Tim Allen’s Scott Calvin is an average American dad who accidentally kills Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Because of the Santa clause, not only must Scott take over Santa’s duties but he also becomes Santa Claus. The Santa Clause is everything a good Christmas movie should be, with the added benefit of having a little adult humour hidden between the scenes.
Surprisingly good, the story of the human who thinks he’s an elf is endearing, hilarious and filled with Christmas spirit.
5. Arthur Christmas
Criminally underrated, Arthur Christmas answers the question on everyone’s mind – how does Father Christmas deliver all those gifts in a single night? The answer: it’s a high-tech affair involving Father Christmas and his entire family. Arthur Christmas offers valuable insight into the operations that make Christmas possible. It’s a must watch for children everywhere, and I’m happy to welcome it to my head-cannon of Christmas folklore.
4. Disney’s A Christmas Carol
Disney and Jim Carrey unite to bring Charles Dicken’s yule-time classic to life in this masterfully animated story. The film stays true to the novel, and as a result, A Christmas Carol is best suited for older children. The magic of A Christmas Carol is that it acts as a sort of time capsule; refusing to update iconography to modern times. Here, the Ghost of Christmas Present, who is based on Father Christmas, appears in his original form – as the merry-making personification of Christmas, and not the child-friendly gift bringer we think of today.
3. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Much debate surrounds whether Tim Burton’s iconic film is a Halloween or Christmas movie. The answer is it’s both, and that’s why it’s remarkable. Based on the poem by Tim Burton, the film follows Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town. After discovering Christmas Town and Christmas cheer, Jack decides to relieve Santa of his duties and takes over the Christmas Eve deliveries. Released over 20 years ago, there is still nothing even similar to the Christmas / Halloween tale.
2. The Polar Express
Based on Chris Van Allsburg’s picture book of the same name, The Polar Express is the quintessential Christmas movie. This alluring Christmas tale is filled with Christmas magic. If I were judging The Polar Express as a movie alone, it probably wouldn’t crack my Top 20 list – the characters lack depth, and the plot is at times, lacklustre. But as a Christmas movie, no other movie sets the Christmas mood better.
1. Love Actually
Starring every British actor that didn’t make the cut for Harry Potter, Love Actually is the seminal Christmas movie for adults. This iconic romantic comedy kicked off the anthology film trend, and it remains unmatched. The festive season can be lonely when you’re single, but Love Actually reminds us that “love, actually is, all around”.