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Our Favourite Christmas Films

This year, more than ever, we need an abundance of all things Christmas to get us into the festive spirit. The impossibility of us enjoying our favourite holiday activities, such as parties with family and far-flung friends, Christmassy visits to the pub (thanks tier 3), and exploring Christmas markets, has left many of us needing an extra boost. While we can’t indulge in our usual festive cheer, there are other ways of bringing some Christmas magic into your life. One perfect way of making yourself feel Christmassy is, of course, through watching Christmas films. We have already discussed our love for trashy, Hallmark Christmas movies, but we want to recommend some of our other non-Hallmark festive favourites – trashy and otherwise (but let’s face it, all Christmas films have an element of trash) – to get you in the mood. 

The Holiday (2006)

One of our all-time faves, and also one that it doesn’t even need to be Christmas to watch. There are so many reasons to love it – it is a Nancy Meyers movie after all. The film that made us fall in love with Jude Law! The use of the iconic ‘swapped’ lives trope! Cameron Diaz trying to reach a small village in Kent whilst wearing heels in the snow! Jack Black playing a rare, and unexpected, romantic lead! Kate Winslet being wonderful! Ultimately, a charming and warm film set off with great comical and romantic moments which just so happens to be set at Christmastime. While everyone has surely has watched this film, if you haven’t, please treat yourself. And if you have, watch it again. A sure bet to put a smile on your face and will distract you from the fact that you won’t be getting kissed under the mistletoe this Christmas. 

Carol (2015)

Not your typical Christmas film per se, but the Christmas season is an important backdrop for the film. Based on Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, this story of two women who fall in love in the 1950s is heartbreaking and beautiful. Todd Haynes’ dreamy and stylish direction is also a treat for the eyes. Warning: you might cry, but what is Christmas without a touch of melancholy?

Gremlins (1986

A childhood fave of ours, this iconic 80s comedy-horror tells the story of a young man called Billy who receives a mysterious pet – a ‘mogwai’ – that his dad bought him in Chinatown for Christmas. The salesman warns Billy’s dad not to feed the animal after midnight, or expose it to light or water. Billy names the strange creature Gizmo, and while he starts off seemingly cute, he is, of course, soon exposed to water, light, and fed after midnight. A horde of monsters are released and mischief and chaos ensues. This wacky classic never gets old.

Tangerine (2015)

This low-budget, critically acclaimed film by Sean Baker was famously shot on an i-Phone 5s. On Christmas Eve, our two heroines, Sin-Dee Rella and Alexandra, search ‘tinsel-town’ for Sin-Dee’s cheating pimp boyfriend and the woman he is having an affair with. Both characters are transgender sex-workers and the film has been praised for its representation of LA’s sex-trade subcultures. This is a brilliant addition to the ‘buddy comedy’ sub-genre with the two leading actresses displaying amazing chemistry. It makes for an unconventional, yet dazzling, Christmas film. 

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Finishing up with a classic. The Grinch is mercilessly bullied by the residents of Whoville, so sets out on a plan to ruin their Christmas, until little Cindy-Lou thwarts his ice-cold heart. The Grinch is an interesting character for many reasons, not least because he is the embodiment of an anti-capitalist sentiment surrounding the commercialisation of Christmas. The fact he ends up with the love of his life, who just so happens to be the wife of the evil capitalist Mayor, is iconic, TBH. The Grinch is the hero we all need this Christmas. Lots of fun moments in this film and watching it will inject you with the energy you need post-Christmas dinner.

Written By

Rochelle is the co-founder of The Culture Sift.

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