WORDLY’s Non-Definitive Guide to the Best Christmas Movies

Written by Sini Salatas.

The subject of Yuletide entertainment can be a contentious subject. Firstly, there’s the issue of whether to partake in Christmas-movie-watching at all (if you are in the ‘no to Christmas movies’ camp, there’s even something in this article for you). Then, there’s the matter of which movie takes the title of ‘best Christmas movie’. It could be argued that the answer to this is purely subjective and entirely dependent on a person’s mood. So, in order to cover every corner of the Christmas-movie genre, we turned to the members of Deakin Writers and asked: ‘What is your favourite Christmas movie?’

For those who really prefer Halloween:

Nightmare Before Christmas! For those who haven’t completely let go of Halloween just yet.’ – Tara Komaromy

Nightmare Before Christmas (1994) synopsis: The Pumpkin King of Halloween town, Jack Skellington, finds himself in Christmas town and develops an obsession with Christmas. He might also kidnap Santa Clause …

For the Christmas pessimist:

The Grinch for those good ol’ Christmas cynics. Can any other retail workers relate?’ – Tara Komaromy

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) synopsis: The Grinch, who lives in the festive town of Whoville, is fed up with The Whos’ (the town’s residents) Christmas spirit. The Grinch decides the only way to get some respite is to disguise himself as Santa Clause and STEAL CHRISTMAS.

For a laugh:

Home Alone, as it’s a classic underdog story about a kid trying to outsmart two dim-witted burglars. Hilarity ensues.’- Michael Pallaris

Home Alone (1990) synopsis: Eight-year-old Kevin’s crappy parents accidentally leave him at home when the family travel to France for the Christmas-period. At first, he is happy to have the house to himself, but when burglars show up, Kevin must learn to defend himself (through some rather creative methods).

Elf for sure, some of the most perfectly crafted jokes, Will Ferrell being Will Ferrell and all-round nostalgic holiday cheer!’ – Becky Croy

Elf (2003) synopsis: Buddy—a human raised as an elf—travels to New York City to find his real family. He experiences some adjustment issues.

For the dramatics:

Love Actually because honestly Billy Mack is my favourite singer’. – Andrew Lowe

Love Actually (2003) synopsis: The story of eight couples attempting to navigate love during the Christmas season. Their stories are loosely interrelated. Some highlights include a Prime Minster in love with a staffer and more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus.

‘My favourite cheesy Christmas movies are Love Actually and The Holiday 🙈. Love a bit of Christmas drama!’ – Lori Franklin

The Holiday (2006) synopsis: Two women unlucky in love decide to swap houses for the holiday season in an attempt to escape their relationship woes, with seemingly positive results. If only we all had the option to escape to the other side of the world to avoid our problems …

For festive feel-good magic:

‘Have to say The Polar Express. Beautifully cinematic, great soundtrack, and also has Tom Hanks in three different roles, so what’s not to love?’ – Toby Jeffs

The Polar Express (2004) synopsis: Billy—a Santa-sceptic—longs to believe in Santa Clause. Luckily for him, The Polar Express arrives on his doorstep on Christmas Eve. He tentatively boards, and what follows is a journey of faith, self-discovery, and an insight into Santa Clause’s preparations for Christmas Eve.

For old-fashioned charm:

Meet Me in St Louis (1944) – purely for Judy Garland singing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ (fun fact: that song was written for this film!)’ – Jess Ali

Meet Me in St Louis (1944) synopsis: Follows a year in the life of the four Smith daughters. Set in 1904 in the lead-up to the St Louis World’s Fair, the film trails the sisters as they learn lessons of love and life in preparation for a move to New York—all in technicolour, of course.

For the non-traditionalist:

‘Not necessarily to rile people up, but Die Hard was a unique take on the Christmas genre.’ – Tim Same

Die Hard (1988) synopsis: John McClane, a New York City policeman, has travelled to LA on Christmas Eve to visit his estranged wife and daughters. He and his wife are attending her work Christmas party in an exclusive high-rise when a group of German terrorists take over the building. Ignoring the instructions of the authorities, John decides to take matters into his own hands, despite his fear of heights.

And there we have it, folks. We suggest that these movies be enjoyed with a nice hot cup of tea (or a beer, this is Australia after all), gingerbread (I hear Coles have some going at a reasonable price in their bakery section), and your best pals (or alone if you’re more of an introvert—that’s cool too). The only question left to ask is: what kind of Christmas-movie watcher are you?

Read more of Sini’s work in WORDLY’s Atmosphere edition.

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