It’s dark outside early, you have cards to write and presents to wrap… what else do you do but watch a Christmas movie while you work? Here are Tom Smith’s family-friendly top ten.
1. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
A contender for ‘best adaptation of A Christmas Carol of all time’ (and ironically, one of the most faithful, despite the addition of Muppets), the Muppet Christmas Carol take us on a tour of miserly Scrooge’s transformation from a mean old man to a much nicer person. Kermit the Frog’s turn as Bob Cratchit always has us reaching for our hankies.
2. Die Hard
Yes, Die Hard is undeniably a Christmas movie! The holiday season is summed up with Bruce Willis in a filthy white vest in all its action-packed glory. As someone once said, it’s not Christmas until you’ve seen Alan Rickman falling off the Nakatomi plaza!
3. White Christmas (1954)
The first Paramount film to to be shown in colour, White Christmas has city man Bing Crosby putting on a festive show out in the countryside, with feelings, favours, dance numbers, a sister act, mishaps in love and sentimentality galore. You won’t find a film with more Santa costumes than this one.
4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Chevy Chase and family take us on an accident-prone Christmas romp, complete with agonisingly awful relatives, exploding turkeys, faulty electronics – and a kidnapping. Perhaps best-known for featuring the greatest film poster tagline of all time: ‘Yule crack up!’.
5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
A green-clad Jim Carrey rhymes his way through this adaptation of the 1957 Dr. Seuss story, in which the grumpy Grinch tries to take revenge for wrongdoings against him at Christmas – only to find that a little girl named Cindy Lou wants to include him in this year’s celebrations.
6. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
The idea of it being ‘always winter but never Christmas’ is enough to horrify even the hardest of hearts. This adaptation of C. S. Lewis’s book is remarkably faithful to the original – and Tilda Swinton as the White Witch was a casting dream come true.
7. Home Alone (1990)
Accidentally left alone at Christmas, Macaulay Culkin eats junk food and messes around to his heart’s delight – until he realises that burglars are trying to rob his house, and that he actually sort of misses his family. Every ’80s and ’90s kid grew up longing to built their own versions of those booby traps!
8. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
This remake of the 1947 black-and-white original stars Richard Attenborough as Santa Claus and Mara Wilson as the little girl who doesn’t believe in him. It’s a charming tale of how even cynical New Yorkers can learn to believe in the magic of Christmas.
9. The Snowman (1982)
The sound of ‘Walking in the Air’ resounds through British Christmas traditions. A beautiful, bittersweet story of a boy’s adventures with his Snowman, it’s a reminder that we need to enjoy Christmas while it lasts. The 2012 sequel, The Snowman and the Snowdog, celebrated thirty years since The Snowman’s first broadcast.
10. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
No list of Christmas films is complete without It’s a Wonderful Life. James Stewart’s turn as someone who truly discovers the power of a single person to change the world is perhaps the most iconic Christmas movie of all time.