Festive films to get you through everything from family fights to food comas
Take a break from arguing with your family this winter break and engage in something that everyone can get along while doing — shutting up and watching a movie.
Holiday movies can be more than just a pleasant pastime, they have the power to become part of traditions and bring people together. Here are a few suggestions for what to watch during your holidays.
Jon Favreau’s Elf is debatably the greatest Christmas movie of the new millennium. You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone that doesn’t have a good time when you throw this on.
Both Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel are undeniably likable, making this kids movie enjoyable for any age group. Be careful watching Elf early in your winter break, as it will be impossible to stop yourself from quoting the movie afterward.
Home Alone (1990)
In the beginning of the 90s, John Hughes and Chris Columbus captured lightning in a bottle with Home Alone. This movie is still unmatched in many ways, with one of the best child actor performances of all time, a heartwarming ending, and slapstick senseless violence. What’s not to love?
Another Chris Columbus holiday masterpiece. Even after all these years, who doesn’t want a mogwai for Christmas? With violence to match Home Alone, this is the perfect holiday movie if you’re in the mood to see comedy, horror, and fantasy, plus an old lady who gets launched through her ceiling on a stair lift.
The Sound of Music (1965)
While not explicitly about the holidays, the music, sense of family, and heartwarming nature of The Sound of Music makes it a perfect flick to throw on while lounging around on boxing day when you have three hours to kill. Even if you’re not a fan of musicals, you’ll be humming along to “My Favorite Things” for who knows how long afterward.
Happiest Season (2020)
This rom-com came out during the thick of the pandemic and probably flew under most people’s radar. Kristen Stewart spends the holidays with her girlfriend’s family — with the small issue that no one knows that they are dating. LGBTQ+ representation is seriously lacking in Christmas media, so it’s great to see a movie promoting inclusion.
The Lodge (2019)
Horror movies shouldn’t be kept just for Halloween. They’re wonderful any time of year. The Lodge starts with a bang (literally) and doesn’t let up. It stars Riley Keough who plays the part of a woman trying to connect with her soon-to-be step kids as they spend the holidays in a secluded lodge.
If you’re tired of movies about Santa, wait until the kids have gone to bed and put this on for some serious psychological horror.
The Night Before (2015)
This comedy has a bit of everything — cheesy Christmas-movie narration from Tracy Morgan, friendship, and in true Seth Rogen fashion, lots of drugs. The holidays can be a time to really let loose and indulge yourself, and that’s exactly what happens in The Night Before. Joseph Gordon-Levitt adds a sense of sincerity and heartwarming-ness to this rather raunchy flick.
There is also a great cameo from one of UVic’s most prestigious alums, Nathan Fielder.
Love Actually (2003)
What better way to spend Christmas than watching nearly every single British actor of the 2000s assemble for a truly classic holiday romantic comedy? With countless storylines, the entirety of Love Actually’s 135-minute runtime is engrossing and wholly entertaining.
No one knows they want to see Martin Freeman as a pornstar until it’s already happening.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005) and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
High-budget young-adult fantasy movies were just made differently in the early 2000s. Both of these huge franchise films have just enough Christmassy elements to make them perfect for the holidays.
The snow-covered land of Narnia is terrifying yet comforting at the same time. Tilda Swinton’s iconic role as the White Witch is juxtaposed wonderfully by one of the best dressed on-screen depictions of Santa (technically Father Christmas). Put this on and you might just be surprised by how well it has held up.
Most of the Harry Potter films have a bit of Christmas in them, but none quite as much as the first one. The childlike wonder of discovering magic is brought to life by none other than Chris Columbus (big surprise). Cozy up with some hot chocolate, internally denounce J.K. Rowling, and enjoy some truly outdated, yet nostalgic, CGI.
Whether you’re spending the holidays with your family, celebrating with friends, or catching up on time for yourself, a good movie is the perfect thing to get you through these long winter nights.