The Christmas and New Year holiday season is all about family and tradition. Those traditions might vary between the US, the UK, Nigeria and other countries, but some things are common to all.
Sitting together as a family and watching a movie is not so common in the online age, but it is something we still do at Christmas.
While it is always great to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster, there are some classic Christmas movies that everyone should see. If any of the following have so far passed you by, try to catch them in the company of loved ones this holiday season.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
The Dickens classic is the ultimate Christmas tale, and it has been adapted for the screen numerous times. While the 1999 version starring Patrick Stewart is most faithful to the source material, there is something about the Muppet Christmas Carol that captures the spirit of Dickens’ message and the whimsy of his storytelling in a way no other has managed. Yes, it is aimed at children, but this is a family movie in the true sense, and viewers of all ages will be drawn into its wonder.
Here’s a movie that is forever linked to the festive season through decades of TV airings on Christmas Day afternoon. Never has anything 80 years old seemed so fresh, and the movie is one classic set piece after another, from “we’ll always have Paris” to the emotional casino scene when Rik fixes the roulette wheel to give the Bulgarian newlyweds the miracle they need.
Love, Actually (2003)
The UK chick-flick that guys pretend not to like but have spent the past 19 years quoting extensively just gets better with each re-watching. The way the plotlines come together as half a dozen very different groups of people prepare for Christmas is an absolute joy. The ensemble cast reads like a who’s who of the turn of the millennium’s biggest British talents, including Hugh Grant, Andrew Lincoln, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley and Colin Firth. But best of all is Bill Nighy, who steals every scene he is in as washed-out fading rock star Billy Mack.
2003 was a great year for Christmas movies. Will Ferrell seems to have been on TV screens forever, but Elf was his breakthrough movie role. The character of Buddy was the ideal vehicle for Ferrell’s ability to convey a sense of child-like wonder into the most mundane, and even the most cynical viewer gets drawn into the magic of the season. Amid the slapstick humour, there are also some well-disguised adult gags that will keep everyone laughing for different reasons.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
There’s nothing saccharine about Tim Burton’s dark stop-motion cartoon. The set-up, Jack Skellington of Halloween Town discovering Christmas Town and planning a take-over, is more than just a battle between good and evil. It delivers a message that anyone can make a choice about the right way to live. It also happens to be a visual masterpiece.
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