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Make festive memories this Christmas with these holiday classics!

By InCinemas  /  23 Dec 2021 (Thursday)

'Tis the time of year for holly jolly music, peppermint-flavoured everything, Michael Buble and Mariah Carey's grand reappearance, and last but definitely not least – festive films!

The long-standing genre has blessed (and sometimes bombarded) us with a never-ending supply of feature films every year, from big blockbusters (think Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms) to tv films (every Hallmark production) and animation (Arthur Christmas, Klaus). But despite there being new Christmas films every year, viewers still tend to revisit old classics and we don't blame them. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Right?

Here are some of our favourite classic holiday films that you can stream this festive season:

Home Alone (1990)

Starting off the list with the classic of classics, the film that catapulted young Macaulay Culkin to household fame – Home Alone

The comedy film follows Culkin's Kevin McCallister, a boy who is forced to defend himself in his Chicago home from burglars after his family accidentally leaves him behind on their Christmas vacation to Paris. An 8-year-old boy left alone to his devices? Be sure to expect chaos and calamity! Not only is the film a fun family watch for the holiday season, it's also home of many quotable lines that are still used to this day.

The success of this holiday film has spawned a total of 5 sequels/remakes/reimaginations and counting, with the most recent being the Disney+ exclusive Home Sweet Home Alone starring Jojo Rabbit's Archie Yates.

Where to watch: Disney+


Love Actually (2003)

Love Actually is not only just monumental as a Christmas film but also to British cinema. From legendary actors such as Bill Nighy and Alan Rickman, to up-and-coming young talents like Keira Knightley and Thomas Sangster, the film has it all. Written and directed by Richard Curtis, Love Actually delves into different aspects of love as shown through ten separate stories involving a wide variety of individuals, many of whom are shown to be interlinked as the tales progress. The story begins five weeks before Christmas and is played out in a weekly countdown until the holiday, followed by an epilogue that takes place one month later.

Sure, there may be some questionable plot points that the internet has come to excessively burn but don't let that deter you from enjoying all the other storylines that are present in the film. After all, there is a very strong messaging that love (is) actually all around.

Where to watch: HBO GO


The Holiday (2006)

Take the generic location-swap plot point but make it festive and you'll get The Holiday! Filmed in both California and England, the romantic comedy stars Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz as Iris and Amanda, two lovelorn women from opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, who arrange a home exchange to escape heartbreak during the Christmas and holiday season. Jude Law and Jack Black play the film's leading men Graham and Miles.

Now we know almost all Christmas movies tend to play the romantic angle at some point, selling the belief that anything is possible during the festive season. We don't mind that. What we do mind is that the subgenre of festive rom-com has become so convoluted and overdone that there doesn't seem to be a fresh angle left. Hence, we're left with revisiting timely classics that were actually good (read: The Holiday).

Don't believe us? Give it a watch and let us know if you didn't like it.

Where to watch: Netflix


Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2001)

Too much love and Christmas spirit in the air for your liking? We've got just the cure to balance it all out – Ron Howard's Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey. Based on the children's story by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, the film follows the Grinch, a grouchy, solitary creature who tries to cancel Christmas by stealing Christmas gifts and decorations from the homes of the nearby town of Whoville on Christmas Eve. Miraculously, the Grinch realizes that Christmas is not all about money and presents.

The world-building on this classic is often overshadowed by Carrey's performance as the titular character – one of the greatest things to happen to Christmas movies might we add. This film was ahead of its time with the set and costume design and Carrey's commitment to the role was the super glue that bound it all together. 

Where to watch: Amazon Prime


Die Hard (1988)

If you're looking for a subtle Christmas classic, look no further. Based on the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp, Die Hard stars Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Alexander Godunov, and Bonnie Bedelia. It follows New York City police detective John McClane (Willis) who is caught up in a terrorist takeover of a Los Angeles skyscraper while visiting his estranged wife. 

Die Hard not only made Willis the face of action films but also made Rickman a household name in Hollywood with his portrayal of the villain Hans Gruber.

Is Die Hard a Christmas film, you ask? Well, doubt no more as the long-standing debate has been finally put to rest when the studio behind the film finally addressed that it is in fact one of the greatest classics for its 30th anniversary.

Where to watch: Disney+

The Polar Express (2004)

If you love Tom Hanks (like we do) and you love Christmas (also like us), we can bet that The Polar Express is on your Christmas watchlist every year.

The animated musical fantasy film tells the story of a young boy who, on Christmas Eve, sees a mysterious train bound for the North Pole stop outside his window and is invited aboard by its conductor. The boy joins several other children as they embark on a journey to visit Santa Claus preparing for Christmas. 

There is a magical childlike wonder about the film that holds up even for the adults so this entry on this list is not only for the kids despite it being an animated film.

Where to watch: HBO GO


The Family Stone (2005)

There's nothing quite like the chaotic energy of a big family gathering for the holidays. You know what we mean. The Family Stone represents just that. 

Starring an ensemble cast – including Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Jessica Parker, Luke Wilson, Claire Danes, Rachel McAdams, and Tyrone Giordano – the plot follows the Christmas holiday misadventures of the Stone family in a small New England town when the eldest son Emmett  (Mulroney), brings his uptight girlfriend (Parker) home with the intention of proposing to her with a cherished heirloom ring. Overwhelmed by the hostile reception, she begs her sister (Danes) to join her for emotional support, which triggers further complications.

There's family, there's love, there's laughter, there's tears, and there's Christmas. What more could we ask for? Also, Rachel McAdams gives her best performance of the noughties in this. Yes, we're aware the decade also includes The Notebook and Mean Girls. We said what we said.

Where to watch: Disney+

Do you have any traditional Christmas films you watch every year that we didn't mention? Let us know in the comments below!
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