Our Favourite Festive Films to Watch This Christmas

The festivities this year may be a little different to those of Christmas past, but if you’re looking for something to make you laugh, or to give you that little warm fuzzy feeling, then a good old fashioned Christmas film could be just what you need!

Whether you’ve eaten so much that you’re physically unable to move from the sofa, or you’re getting cosy with the family in your new Christmas pyjamas, there’s nothing quite like settling in with a box of Quality Street and a festive favourite.

If you’re looking for an old classic or inspiration for something new, take a look at our round up of our top festive films to keep everyone entertained this Christmas.

1. Love Actually (2003)

When this film starts being shown on TV on a weekly basis, we know it’s Christmas season – and we love it! While technically a rom-com, the film has become a staple of the festive viewing calendar ever since it hit cinemas 17 years ago. Love Actually follows the lives of eight very different ‘couples’ in the lead up to Christmas. Set almost entirely in London, it follows the ups and downs of love and relationships, and we see how each of the stories are interlinked as the tale progresses. Written and directed by Richard Curtis, it features a predominately British cast (including Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley and Liam Neeson), and it’s definitely one to watch to make you all warm and fuzzy inside.

2. The Holiday (2006)

If you like your romantic comedies then here’s another one for your list. Written, produced and directed by Nancy Meyers, the story follows film trailer editor Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and wedding columnist Iris (Kate Winslet) as they exchange homes in an attempt to escape heartbreak over the Christmas holidays. Set in California and the snow covered English countryside, their lives change unexpectedly when they meet and fall in love with two local guys. This film is perfect for a cosy Christmas movie night, and we’re sure the guys will even enjoy it too!

3. Home Alone (1990)

KEVIN! Set to spend Christmas in Paris with his family, the film follows eight-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) who is forced to defend his home from a pair of burglars, after his family accidentally leave him behind when they set off on their Christmas break. Kevin acts quickly by wiring his own house with makeshift booby traps to stop the burglars and to bring them to justice. This light-hearted comedy is perfect for all the family, and if you like this, why not watch the sequel too? Home Alone 2 is set one year on, and this time, Kevin loses track of his family at the airport and mistakenly gets on a plane headed for New York City while the rest of the McCallisters fly to Florida. Two classic Christmas films which are sure to put a smile on your face.

 

A woman lying on the bed while watching a Christmas film and eating popcorn
Credit: Jeshoots

4. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

This film may be more than 70-years-old, but it regularly tops the polls for the all time favourite Christmas movie. This American fantasy drama stars Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, who is on the verge of committing suicide until he’s visited by an angel who shows him the true importance of his life, and what his town would have looked like if it hadn’t been for all his good deeds over the years. Although the film didn’t do too well when it was first released, it was elevated to beloved classic status when it became a television staple during the Christmas season in 1976. And now, It’s a Wonderful Life is considered one of the greatest films of all time.

5. Elf (2003)

This tale follows Buddy, (Will Ferrell) as he’s accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised among Santa’s Elves. He discovers that he’s actually a human, and so sets out to New York to find his real father (Walter Hobbs) while spreading Christmas cheer along the way. After a DNA test, Walter, a cynical businessman reluctantly attempts to get to know childlike Buddy with increasingly chaotic results. A movie full of Yuletide cheer, Elf is a good-natured family comedy, and should definitely be one for the list this Christmas. 

6. Deck the Halls (2006)

This American Christmas comedy centres around two neighbours, self-proclaimed Christmas expert Steve Finch (Matthew Broderick) and Buddy Hall (Danny DeVito). Set in a small Massachusetts town, Finch is threatened by Hall’s arrival, and the men become fiercely competitive as each tries to outdo the other. When one of them decides to decorate his house with so many Christmas lights that they are visible from space, the neighbourhood is turned upside-down as the families try to discover the true meaning of Christmas. This film is perfect for the whole family as a Boxing Day treat, and one you can watch again and again.

7. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

This remake of a classic is arguably as good as the original, featuring Mara Wilson, as six-year-old Susan Walker. The little girl is skeptical of the Christmas myth surrounding Santa Claus, a trait she perhaps learned from her mother, Dorey. When tasked with hiring a Santa for Macy’s department store, Dorey enlists a man with the curious name of Kris Kringle (Richard Attenborough) who claims to be Santa himself. It’s then down to a young lawyer, along with Susan and Dorey to prove he’s the real thing. If you’re looking for a family feel-good film this Christmas, this gets our thumbs up!

 

A man sitting on a rug watching a Christmas film, with a Christmas tree and a wreath
Credit: Eugene Zhyvchik

8. Die Hard (1988)

OK, so Die Hard isn’t strictly a Christmas movie, but if you want a break from the classic festive films then this should tick all the boxes. New York City policeman John McClane (Bruce Willis) visits his estranged wife and two daughters on Christmas Eve. He joins her at a Christmas party in the headquarters of the Japanese-owned business she works for, but the festivities are interrupted by a group of terrorists who take over the exclusive high-rise, and everyone in it. Soon McClane realises that there’s no one to save the hostages – but him. This action-packed film was so good they made five of them! And with lines like, “Now I have a machine gun, ho-ho-ho”, what’s not to like?

9. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) 

This Christmas cracker is a fantasy comedy-drama produced by Jim Henson Productions and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Adapted from Charles Dickens’s 1843 story A Christmas Carol, it’s the fourth theatrical film to feature the Muppets. It stars national treasure Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge, alongside Muppet performers, including Gonzo narrating the film as Dickens and Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit. The Muppet Christmas Carol is funny and heartwarming, and serves as a good introduction to the story for young viewers.

10. White Christmas (1954)

This 1954 Christmas film, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, is a truly fun-filled musical extravaganza. Having left the Army following WW2, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis team up to become a top song-and-dance duo. Davis introduces Wallace to a pair of beautiful sisters (Betty and Judy) who also have a song-and-dance act. When Betty and Judy travel to a Vermont lodge to perform a Christmas show, Wallace and Davis follow, only to find their former commander, General Waverly, is the lodge owner. A series of romantic mix-ups occur as the performers try to help the General. Now more than 60-years-old, this was the first film to be released in VistaVision, a higher resolution, widescreen variant of the 35mm motion picture film format (created by Paramount Pictures). And there are plenty of great songs to get you in the Christmas spirit, including the title song “White Christmas”.

 

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