OTR’s Favourite Christmas Movies

There is nothing better than watching a good Christmas movie with your family or friends to get in the Christmas spirit. (Image source: ABC 7)

By Eva Blandis | @BlandisEva

Given the challenging year we have all had, it is hard to get in the Christmas mood. So, our team at On the Record are sharing some of their favourite Christmas movies to help you out!

Jon Favreau’s Elf  

Viki Ntafillis | @viki_ntaf

Source: IMDb

No matter how many times my family watches Elf, we laugh so hard we cry. There is something so hilariously endearing about Will Ferrell’s character Buddy, a grown man who has only known the joys of Christmas for his whole life and has been oblivious to the real world. I especially love when he first arrives in New York, because it portrays cities in a way I would have never imagined. I mean, who looks at gum on a rail not in disgust, but as though it is free candy? Who sees a zebra crossing and uses it to play hopscotch, with zero regard for the traffic constantly flying through it? This movie is genius. Not to mention Will Ferrell’s impromptu shower duet of “Baby Its Cold Outside” with an unsuspecting Zooey Deschanel, and his attempt at the Cossack dance – truly iconic.

Elf reminds me that we can perceive everything in a way that is lighter, merrier, and just generally more fun; even the mundane can become hilarious and exciting from a new perspective. I also love how this movie emphasises the importance of family, as everyone coming together at that time of year is the real magic of Christmas. 

Nancy Meyers’ The Holiday

Helen Karakulak | @Helen_Karakulak

Source: IMDb

Jack Black as a romantic lead – I shouldn’t need to say more, but I will.

Nancy Meyer’s 2006 film The Holiday follows Kate Winslet as the lovesick Iris and Cameron Diaz as workaholic Amanda as they try to escape their problems by doing a holiday house swap.

Jack Black is surprisingly charming as Iris’ love interest, with a highlight being his performance of various film scores as they wander their local video store (a site of nostalgia in 2020). Speaking mostly in quotes from famous Hollywood films, Eli Wallach is delightful as Arthur, the older neighbour who Iris befriends during her time at Amanda’s home. He helps her find her gumption, which is assisted by a lovely score by Hans Zimmer, and feels like a piece of holiday magic.

Unique and charming, The Holiday is a Christmas staple in my house (despite my mum and I watching it multiple times year-round). Sure, it can be corny but, much like Iris, some of us are looking for corny in our lives, especially at Christmas time!

Available to stream on Netflix.

John Lucas and Scott Moore’s A Bad Moms Christmas

Nikita Skuse | @nikita_skuse

Image source: IMDb

I absolutely adore A Bad Moms Christmas from 2017. I think I love it so much because it strays from the traditional, nuclear families typically portrayed in Christmas films and shows the experiences of three completely different (and more realistic) family dynamics. I first saw it at the cinema with my mum and sister, and I think we’ve watched it together every year since. There are so many different aspects of each mother-daughter relationship portrayed in the film that reminds us of us – it’s a laugh and eye-opener seeing our dysfunctional traits on screen. A Bad Moms Christmas is the kind of film you can put on without the Grinches in your lives kicking up a fuss. The comedy element, fantastic line-up of actresses and follow on from its non-Christmas themed predecessor, Bad Moms, lends the film to all kinds of audiences, not just the Christmas-crazed.

Les Mayfield’s Miracle on 34th Street

Michelle Wakim | @MichelleWakim

Image source: IMDb

I can’t imagine a Christmas without Miracle on 34th Street (1994). Just like many 90s films, this classic is heavily coated in nostalgia. Mara Wilson, the token child-actor of our youth, plays a young girl named Susan who is raised to believe that Santa is a childish phenomenon and nothing but a fantasy. After meeting a jolly old man who serves as the Cole’s Department Store Santa Claus, Susan teams up with a charming, warm-hearted lawyer to prove that said Santa Claus is the real deal. This, naturally, escalates to a court case which brings New York City to a halt. Miracle on 34th Street ages with grace and enterally offers viewers an enchanting world full of good deeds, family connections, and a warmth that can only be associated with the camera quality of the VCR era. As a child, I loved it for Wilson and the uplifting sensation I found in the argument that Santa was real. As an adult, I love it because I can escape into a world where faith, magic, and Christmas delight matter above all else.

Chris Columbus’ Home Alone

Rebecca Gaitaneris | @bec_gaitaneris

Image source: IMDb

Whenever I begin preparing for the holidays, part of that preparation involves watching some of my favourite Christmas and holiday classics. One festive film that reigns supreme every year is Home Alone.

No matter how old I get and no matter how many times I watch it, Home Alone still makes me feel like a child at heart. To clarify, I’m talking about the first Home Alone. The other Home Alone movies in the franchise are up there with the greats, but nothing quite compares to the original.

I’ll never forget some of the best scenes and quotes that play on a loop during the festive season. One of my favourite scenes is when Kevin goes to the supermarket and after successfully bluffing his way past the supermarket cashier, the bottoms of Kevin’s grocery bags burst open on his walk home, spilling his groceries onto the pavement.

When you’re a kid, there are times where you want absolute freedom to do whatever you want. Kevin takes advantage of the freedom in being home alone by watching movies he’s been told not to watch and eating junk food —“Guys! I’m eating junk and watching rubbish! You better come out and stop me”.

I think what is most appealing about Home Alone is that it allows both kids and adults to witness something they might have fantasised about: having the house all to themselves so they can do whatever they want. Watching Home Alone as a kid was liberating, as it allowed me to live vicariously through Kevin McCallister.

Home Alone ticks all the boxes for a feel-good festive film, and there is no doubt it will continue to entertain audiences and me for many Christmases to come.

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas

Jordan White | @JordanBWhite1

Image source: IMDb

I watched The Nightmare Before Christmas for the first-time last November on a flight back from Canada. Twice. Better late than never, right? For me, it encapsulates all the nostalgia of seeing New York, Quebec City, and so many other magical places covered in snow and Christmas decorations.  

Allan Arkush’s Christmas with Holly

Ashleigh Buck – @ashkbuck

Image source: IMDb

I am a sucker for anything Christmas, especially the corny movies that never fail to get you in the spirit of the festive season. Whilst almost impossible to pick a true favourite, one of the movies I adore is Christmas with Holly. This 2012 film captures the meaning of family and Christmas all in one following a little girl who’s lost her mum, lives with her three uncles, and doesn’t have the courage to speak. Throughout the film, we unravel the spirit within the young girl and how love and Christmas can bring smiles and laughter into any family. I remember the first time I watched this film with my mum on a Saturday afternoon a few years back — it was a total accident, but we were instantly in love with it. I would have to say my favourite part of the film is when all three uncles are trying to get Holly to speak by introducing her to their jobs and passions: a small yet gorgeous gesture that never fails to put a smile on your face.

Owen Hurley’s Barbie in the Nutcracker

Alexandra Bull | @ally_bull19

Image source: IMDb

My favourite Christmas movie is a bit of an odd one, but I have been watching it every year since its release in 2001. I started ballet the same year Barbie in the Nutcracker was released, and now I have a weird emotional attachment to the movie. I love to watch it at least five times (not an exaggeration) around Christmas, as it holds a lot of childhood nostalgia for me which I love to reflect on. The weird obsession with the movie has also led to watching countess ballet performances of The Nutcracker at the Festival Theatre, usually around Christmas time as well which coincides perfectly with the film. Although the graphics and sound are a bit outdated, the story is told beautifully, and it never fails to make Christmas feel that little bit more special and magical after I have finished watching it.

Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life

Eva Blandis | @BlandisEva

Image source: IMDb

Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1947)has to be one of the greatest Christmas films of all time. I, for one, adore it and watch it every Christmas Eve with my family. The story follows the life of George Bailey, and the struggles that he faces growing up and in adulthood. In the time leading up to Christmas, George faces significant challenges which lead him to the decision to end his life. However, Clarence, his guardian angel, comes to the rescue and shows George what his hometown and his family would be like if he had never existed. 

It’s a Wonderful Life is a perfect film to watch at Christmas as it shows you the importance of appreciating everyone around you, and everything they do for you. As well as this, the film reminds us that there is some magic in the world.

If you have never seen It’s a Wonderful Life I highly recommend that you watch it this Christmas, as it will remind you that no matter how hard life gets, there is always joy in the world. 

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