It’s been a long year, hasn’t it? When the first lockdown was announced in March there was no way we could have predicted the twists, turns and tiers (tears?) that were to come over the following ten months. But here we are at our first, and hopefully only, COVID Christmas with a lot of us having ended up in tier four, under restrictions which are virtually the same as a lockdown.
If your Christmas is looking a little lonelier than usual, much like mine is, I hope some of these films can bring you a couple of hours of escapism. Put your phone away, grab yourself a hot chocolate and some Percy Pigs (a personal favourite film snack), and launch into one of these…
Holidate – a brand new hit for 2020: after a disastrous Christmas, virtual strangers Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey make a pact to join each other as dates for all the major holidays in the year to come, removing the pressure from their families to find a partner. But will their plan turn out as cut-and-dry as they had originally hoped? This one has lots of laugh out loud moments and was definitely not as cheesy as I expected!
Cool Runnings – based on true events, this 1993 classic follows the story of the first Jamaican bobsled team on their journey to the 1988 Olympics. This is one of my all time favourite films: truly inspirational and heaps of fun, but make sure to prepare your tissues for one of my favourite ever film endings
Oliver! – specifically the original 1968 movie musical version. With some truly iconic showtunes from musical theatre royalty Lionel Bart, this adaptation of Dickens’ classic is brimming with nostalgia, toe-tapping tunes and one of the most gripping, dastardly storylines in musical theatre history
Nativity! – Martin Freeman’s films are always a winner for me, and once again he manages to strike the perfect balance in his stressed, neurotic, unique style of comedy. When a white lie grows out of control and the whole of Coventry comes to believe the St Bernadette’s Primary nativity play is being sponsored by Hollywood, Mr Maddens must pull out all the stops to write the nativity of the century
Die Hard – Yes, this is a Christmas film and I won’t hear otherwise. Alan Rickman and Bruce Willis as the respective villain and hero of this film should be enough to sell you on it, but if it’s not you should also expect an unbelievably gripping manhunt through a hijacked building and some of the best one-liners in movie history
The Holiday & Love Actually – You can’t watch one without the other, am I right? With the likes of British acting royalty (Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, need I go on…) making up the cast of these two films, you should be prepared for several hours of mushy, romantic Christmas escapism. They’re cheesy, but we all love them for a reason!
The Santa Clause – the dry humour in this film is what sells it for me, but having grown up watching this every Christmas it’s also 90% nostalgia. After Santa falls off his roof on Christmas Eve, sarcastic toy maker Scott Calvin reluctantly takes over the role of Santa Claus, bringing his son Charlie along with him for the Christmas adventure of a lifetime
Home Alone 1 & 2 – there is endless debate over which of these is actually better out of the two, and for me it’s one of those rare occasions where the sequel wins out. In both of these films, eight/nine-year-old Kevin McCallister finds himself alone at Christmas, using everything at his disposal to outsmart a pair of robbers before it’s too late to stop them. There is plenty of slapstick comedy in these films, as well as some truly iconic movie moments
Jingle Jangle – another new release for 2020, Jingle Jangle follows the story of an aged toy-maker (Mr Jangle) who has lost all hope, and his inspired granddaughter (Journey), on a quest for revenge against the apprentice who betrayed him many years ago. There’s also lots of brilliant new music in this film, I’ve had the album on repeat since I watched it and just can’t get enough
The Grinch – I’m going to say something incredibly controversial here, but the only version of this film I really like is the 2018 animated classic. Please don’t hate me, the original used to scare me when I was little! The animated remake is full of laugh out loud moments, some interesting twists on the original story, and makes the story even more accessible to a younger audience. This is definitely a firm family favourite in our household
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – Christmas films aren’t for everyone, and at this time of year I always find myself rewatching the best trilogy of all time, so here is my non-festive recommendation. This epic follows the story of a quiet hobbit who somehow finds himself in the company of the greatest wizard in Middle Earth and the promised King on a mission to rid the world of evil and save humanity… so you know… no pressure. This is my favourite fantasy series and I honestly can’t recommend it enough!
My Christmas Inn – I’m rounding off this list with a sweet and easy Christmas romance which I found trawling through Netflix. Advertising executive Jen Taylor’s life is flipped on its head when she inherits her aunt’s old inn in Alaska. Desperate to sell it so she can return home and score a big promotion, Jen slowly comes to find the inn means more to the people in the small village than she originally thought. Is there more to life than her work? And will she be drawn in by the small-town charm? Despite being incredibly cheesy, I really enjoyed having this one on in the background while getting on with wrapping presents
And thus ends my Christmassy lockdown film list. Hopefully by the time you’ve made it through all of these, we will be allowed outside again or at least be able to see our loved ones (socially distanced, of course). If the holidays are going to be hard for you this year, please feel free to reach out to me on my instagram @dearkatherineanne – nobody should feel alone at Christmas, and if you’re having a hard time I hope you know you’re definitely not on your own! Happy holidays, stay safe, and here’s hoping for a better 2021.