12 timeless Christmas movies
Photo: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad star in 'Jingle All the Way' (1996).
Nothing says Christmas more than being full to the brim, parked in front of the TV, watching your favourite Christmas movies.
Get your Christmas movie playlist ready with these traditional Christmas films:
A Christmas Story
A festive staple in the USA, this comedy is a timeless classic and focuses on a little boy who wants a BB gun for Christmas.
"Don't expose him to bright light. Don't ever get him wet. And don't ever, ever feed him after midnight." This sage advice is ignored midway through Gremlins, with devastating results.
Seeking a unique gift for his son an erstwhile inventor (Hoyt Axton) purchases a cute, fuzzy little "Mogwai" from a Chinatown shopkeeper's (Keye Luke) grandson (John Louie), who dispenses the above-mentioned warning before closing the deal. Meanwhile, young bank clerk Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) must suffer such antagonists as rich-bitch Mrs. Deagle (Polly Holliday) and priggish Gerald (Judge Reinhold) while pursuing his romance with Kate (Phoebe Cates).
This is either unbearable schmaltz or a festive heart-warmer, depending on who you ask. Love is certainly all around in this ensemble comedy-drama set in the holiday season: even a school nativity play is an opportunity for romance. Comic standouts include Bill Nighy as an ageing rock legend who’s reduced to competing in the race to land a Christmas Number One.
The Polar Express
Robert Zemeckis sprinkled his family-friendly magic on this performance-capture animation starring Tom Hanks in multiple roles, including narrator, train conductor and Santa Claus. This one ticks a lot of boxes for Christmas fanatics, including reindeer, elves and a whole heap of snow.
A Christmas Carol
Widely considered to be the definitive of the many film versions of Charles Dickens' classic novel is this 1951 British adaptation, starring Alastair Sim (entitled "Scrooge" in its U.K. release).
Sim plays Ebenezer Scrooge, a London miser who, despite his wealth, refuses to make charitable contributions and treats his sole employee, Bob Cratchit, as an indentured servant.
On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who show him the error of his ways, before it’s too late.
‘Home Alone’ series
Who hasn’t loved the idea of being left without your annoying family and lounging in a hotel with all your needs met? Thus began the legend of ‘Home Alone’, and all of the sequels, of course. However Kevin soon realises that even with all the hassle of setting booby traps for a pair of bungling burglers, it’s not really Christmas without having your loved ones to share it with.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
This 1966 animated version of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a line-by-line reading by Boris Karloff of the classic children's tale (also fun is Jim Carrey's big-screen turn as the Grinch).
Fans of the book will enjoy seeing the Grinch in motion as he attempts to stop Christmas from coming.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens + the Muppets = a true holiday classic.
In this version of Dickens' ‘A Christmas Carol’, directed by Brian Henson (son of the late Jim Henson), Kermit plays the role of Bob Cratchit, with Miss Piggy as his wife and Michael Caine as his miserly employer, Ebenezer Scrooge. Gonzo appears as Charles Dickens, to help narrate the tale.
Jingle all the Way
A cranky Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) joins the Christmas crush to try to get the Turboman action figure for his son, with disastrous consequences. Laugh, and laugh some more at this hilariously frantic mess of a Christmas movie...and watch out for the waterworks at the end.
Miracle on 34th Street
This classic Christmas film is a favourite with many. When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing. Featuring Mara Walker, who also starred in ‘Madeleine’, a little girl helps the public to believe that Kris Kringle really is real.
This hilarious Christmas favourite describes Will Ferrell as a Christmas elf, Buddy, who was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa's elves. Unable to shake the feeling that he doesn't fit in, the adult Buddy travels to New York, in full elf uniform, in search of his real father.
The Santa Clause
This 1994 classic features Tim Allen as the ordinary man who accidentally causes Santa Claus to fall from his roof on Christmas Eve.
When he and his young son, Charlie, finish St. Nick's trip and deliveries, they go to the North Pole where Scott learns that he must become the new Santa and convince those he loves that he is indeed Father Christmas.
What are some of your favourite Christmas movies?