Here are some of our favourite Christmas movies, as well as movies set around this time of year. Our picks range from Dickensian Muppets to Tim Allen in The Santa Clause, and Gremlins tearing up the town. Plus, classics like It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. We’d love to hear your picks too!
The Muppet Christmas carol (1992)
We love the Muppets! Get in the spirit of the season as the Muppets tell their version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Michael Caine is Ebenezer Scrooge, Kermit the Frog is Bob Cratchit, Miss Piggy is Emily Cratchit and Robin the Frog makes for possibly the cutest Tiny Tim ever. The whole affair is narrated by “Charles Dickens”, aka Gonzo the Great, and it’s about as heartwarming as you can get! Essential Christmas viewing.
It’s a wonderful life (1946)
Possibly the classic Christmas movie of all time. George Bailey, a desperate man on the verge of suicide, is visited by his guardian angel, Clarence, who shows him how important he is to those around him and what their lives would be like without him. Our only possible bone to pick with this movie, is its somber warning of his wife Mary’s fate had he never existed – what’s wrong with being a librarian, we ask you?! (In fact, we think it’s quite a Wonderful Life!) Still, this is definitely one to watch.
Tim Burton’s The nightmare before Christmas (1993)
Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, is bored with doing the same thing every year for Halloween. One day he stumbles into Christmas Town, and is so taken with the idea of Christmas that he tries to get the resident bats, ghouls, and goblins of Halloween town to help him put on Christmas instead of Halloween – but alas, they can’t get it quite right. Sally, Jack, skeletal reindeer, gorgeous stop-motion animation from Tim Burton – perhaps not quite traditional Christmas fare, but still a wonderful watch.
Well, we seem to have given up on traditional holiday movies, but who can go past Gremlins? This is another movie set at Christmas, and if you like mild horror and hilarity, and enjoy Christmas, this one’s for you:
“Billy Peltzer’s father buys him a new cuddly pet. But heed these three warnings: Don’t ever get him wet. Keep him away from bright light. And the most important thing, the one thing you must never forget: no matter how much he cries, no matter how much he begs… never, never feed him after midnight!” (Library Catalogue)
Holiday Inn (1942)
A musical affair with Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and music by Irving Berlin. A song-and-dance man leaves show business and opens up an inn in Connecticut with his former partner. Believe it or not, the song “White Christmas” was written for this film. Another classic Christmas movie, complete with lots of crooning. Watch and enjoy!
Love actually (2003)
A romantic comedy for Christmas! This film explores the ups and downs in the relationships of eight London couples in the weeks building up to Christmas. An all-star cast, including Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Laura Linney and Colin Firth. Lovely.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Back to the classics. “The holiday season is in full swing when a cultured gentleman with twinkling eyes, an ample belly and a snowy beard is hired as Macy’s department store Santa. He claims his name is Kris Kringle and soon fills everyone with Christmas spirit… except for his boss, Doris Walker, who’s raising her daughter to not believe in Santa. But when Kringle is declared insane put on trial, everyone’s faith is put to the test as young and old alike face the age-old question: Do you believe in Santa Claus?” (Library Catalogue) With Natalie Wood and Maureen O’Hara.
The Polar Express (2004)
Some have found the animation a little jarring, but this is just so Christmassy we don’t believe you can go past it! An adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express.
“Santa Claus does not exist. Or does he? For one doubting boy (voice of Daryl Sabara and Tom Hanks), an astonishing event occurs. Late on Christmas Eve night, he lies in bed hoping to hear the sound of reindeer bells from Santa’s sleigh. When to his surprise, a steam engine’s roar and whistle can be heard outside his window. The conductor (voice of Tom Hanks) invites him on board to take an extraordinary journey to the North Pole with many other pajama-clad children. There, he receives an extraordinary gift only those who still believe in Santa can experience.” (Library Catalogue)
The snowman (1982)
Another adaptation of a classic book – this time Raymond Briggs’ The snowman.
“A wordless animated short film set to music that tells the story of a lonely young boy and the incredible adventure he has, when the snowman he builds one Christmas Eve magically comes to life. A gentle fable of friendship and the power of the imagination.” (Library Catalogue)
This one is very definitely a black comedy – produced by the Coen Brothers. Starring Billy Bob Thornton and Lauren Graham.
“A miserable conman and his pint size partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper, only to rob department stores on Christmas Eve but run into problems when the conman befriends a troubled kid.” (Library Catalogue)
The Santa clause (1994)
Screened almost every year at Christmas along with its sequels, this is a family favourite. It’s towards the very beginning of Tim Allen’s screen career, and a lot of fun. Popcorn required.
“When a man inadvertantly kills Santa on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place.” (Library Catalogue)
So – a few of our favourites. Browse more Christmas movies on our catalogue!