Writer, Dimi Nazarov
It’s hard to imagine Christmas without our favourite Christmas movies. Settling in on Christmas Eve with a blanket and a mug of hot chocolate by the fireplace has become a crucial part of winter celebrations across North America. Whether your favourite film is Love Actually, Die Hard, Elf or a seasonal film from the Hallmark Channel, only a Grinch could fail to love a Christmas movie.
The holidays are one of the biggest reasons why we love winter. It is the most wonderful time of the year, after all. The cold weather brings people together, Christmas music is magic, and quintessential films allow us to escape into a world of gingerbread and nostalgia.
In the universe of Christmas movies, holiday tropes and cliches are prevalent, filled with laughs, family, and Santa adventures. While these cheesy, feel-good films are often linked to classic themes of redemption and rediscovery, or the holiday spirit to fix everything; ones like Home Alone, or the Christmas Chronicles, pack a punch of action, create a sense of belonging and a metaphorical return home.
Yet, does a Christmas movie have to be about Christmas? If is simply takes place around Christmas, how much holiday cheer must it have for it to qualify? Here are the top five holiday favourites that capture Christmas in a beautiful lens:
1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
This forgotten classic is tinged with magical passages of the past and cements the idea that Christmas is a time for giving, and while it may seem ancient to some, it has been rated time and time again as the best, most resonating holiday film, with its themes from 77 years ago as timely as ever.
2. Home Alone (1990)
Home Alone’s main message: there is nothing more important than family, except maybe defending your home from burglars on Christmas Eve. Kevin McCallister teaches us nothing if not to be resourceful and adaptable, and very careful for what we wish for.
3. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
This is a timeless story of a green, grouchy creature who plans to put an end to Christmas in Whoville before he discovers that this holiday is so much more than gifts, decorations, and food. Christmas joy and spirit is the focus, along with the emptiness of materialism.
4. Elf (2003)
With a magical mixture between silliness, talent, and great quotes, this lovable, comic film taught us as kids to spread cheer, and “treat every day like Christmas”. It is considered to be one of the greatest Christmas movies ever made, with a plot that engages audiences of all ages.
5. Love Actually (2003)
As one of the most famous Christmas romantic comedy films, it is also the highest grossing in this genre, with a theme of the importance of relationships and connections between people. As Mark and Juliet have shown us, the holidays will always be better if you spend them with people you love.
Christmas movies will always contain our happy memories from the past. Their predictability of comfort and happy endings provide a break from rest of year and aspire us to be the best version of ourselves. The world they create makes us look out the window in hopes of snow, share cookies with our friends, and pass out gifts from under the Christmas tree to our family. Holiday movies offer a glimpse into the world as it could be.