For me, Christmas Day is an excuse to spend time with the extended family and have the freedom to indulge in never-ending supplies of food and alcohol. I’m sure that this is the case for many people, regardless of religious orientation. But for many there comes a point on this festive and gluttonous occasion when, despite the fact that your body starts to get weighed down by all the cheese, chocolate and wine you’ve consumed, you’re not quite ready to call it a day. It’s times like these that call for a Christmas Day movie!
A movie? But, isn’t that a bit anti-social? It doesn’t have to be. The key is to find a film that’s not intellectually demanding enough to talk over; that everyone’s happy enough to watch; and that’s upbeat enough to keep the mood cheery.
These five films aren’t necessarily the “best” Christmas films, but they’re damn fine entertainment for a group or party environment on Christmas Day.
Die Hard (1988)
Everyone’s favourite action movie is an absolute blast no matter what time of year you watch it, but it’s especially entertaining during the Christmas season. Die Hard may not be the cheeriest film but any fan of action cinema will be happy while it’s playing. Maybe wait till the little ones have gone to sleep though!
Who would’ve thought that Will Ferrell’s comedy could work in a kids’ film? Elf is a hysterical G rated Christmas delight and, believe it or not, it’s actually one of Will Ferrell’s better films. Ferrell is right at home as a human, raised as an elf since birth. Hilarity ensues when he leaves the North Pole to find his real father, played by James Caan, in New York City. It truly is a miracle that this unique Christmas story happens to be a solid and thoroughly entertaining film. Thanks, Jon Favreau, for directing a great Christmas Comedy for the whole family to enjoy.
Love Actually (2003)
Anyone who’s anyone loves Love Actually, whether they’re partial to romantic comedies or not. It’s the ultimate rom-com, meshing together several different Christmas love stories and leaving no room for the boring bits. You will laugh, then you will cry, then you will laugh and cry again. The film is so frothy that you can jump into it at any point and still be moved, making it the perfect choice for your Christmas gathering.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is one of the most familiar and retold Christmas stories in Western culture, and rightly so. Unfortunately, the marketing world preys on already existing gold and repackages it over and over again for every demographic until it ends up entirely devalued. Thankfully, The Muppet Christmas Carol presents the familiar Dickens tale with so much integrity that you’ll feel like you’re being introduced to the story for the first time. Michael Caine delivers an appropriately frightening, yet ultimately touching performance as the infamous Ebenezer Scrooge, and the Muppets add enough colour to engage the children and keep the story fresh for the adults.
Home Alone (1990)
John Hughes delivered the perfect family Christmas comedy, or the perfect family film full stop, in Home Alone. Imagine Ferris Bueller’s Day Off set at Christmas time with an 8-year-old Ferris…you’re left with this childhood comedy extravaganza! Nothing beats a good children’s caper but it’s rare to find a family comedy with tolerable child stars. Luckily the combination of Hughes’ ability to draw charismatic performances from young stars and Macaulay Culkin’s natural charm create the desired spark. Stuffed with Christmas cheer, cartoon violence, classic gags and effective coming of age lessons, Home Alone is even more enjoyable with company.