Hi all! So with the crazy awesomeness which is the holiday season, I am left with even less time to blog and there is really no other reason as to why I have lagged on this. But in keeping with the Christmas spirit and reaching out to those near and far this time of year, I thought I’d finally put in a blog for all of you wonderful readers who haven’t given up on me quite yet. (Thank you! I love you!) As a promise to you, I will be blogging on all things Christmas all the way up to the actual day as part of my own version of “12 Days of Christmas”.
As per tradition, the one thing my family looks forward to this time of year are the non-stop Christmas movies on almost every channel. With all the amazing movies brought to you by the Hallmark channel every year, it is hard to come up with a list of top 5 favourites, but after a lot of debating, I have come up with a list of go-to movies without which the holiday season would be incomplete.
Home Alone 1 & 2
Is it a surprise at all that these 2 movies are first on the list?
For those of you who potentially live under a rock (or for some bizarre reason haven’t seen this movie or the sequel yet), Home Alone is a 1990 American Christmas family comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus. The film stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, an eight-year-old boy who is mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris for their Christmas vacation. Kevin initially relishes being home alone, but soon has to contend with two would-be burglars played by Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci. The film also features Catherine O’Hara and John Heard as Kevin’s parents.
The night before their flight to Paris for a Christmas holiday, the McCallister family gather at the Winnetka, Illinois home of Peter (John Heard) and Kate (Catherine O’Hara) McCallister. Their eight-year-old son, Kevin (Macaulay Culkin), is ridiculed by his siblings and cousins. After a fight with his older brother, Buzz (Devin Ratray), Kevin is sent to the third floor of the house, where he wishes that his family would disappear. During the night, a power outage resets the alarm clocks and causes the family to oversleep. In the confusion and rush to reach their flight on time, Kevin is left behind and the family is unaware until they’re already airborne. Once in Paris, both Peter and Kate desperately try to book a flight home, but find all the flights booked for the next two days. The clerks put Kate on standby for any possible seat opening. The rest of the family goes to their relative’s home in Paris.
Meanwhile, Kevin wakes up to find the house empty and is overjoyed with his new freedom. The Chicago Police Department arrive to check on Kevin but are unable to locate him. Kevin’s joy soon turns to fear as he deals with his next door neighbor, “Old Man” Marley (Roberts Blossom), (who is rumored to have murdered his family in 1958) and two burglars, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) (the “Wet Bandits”), who are burglarizing the neighborhood’s vacant homes and have targeted the McCallisters. Kevin keeps the duo at bay by tricking them into thinking the house is still inhabited, but they eventually realize that Kevin is home alone. While the duo closes in on Kevin, he calls the police and escapes the house into a neighboring vacant home. Harry and Marv manage to catch him and discuss how they will get their revenge.
Will Kevin be able to escape unharmed? Do Harry and Marv succeed in their intentions? Will Kevin’s family make it back on time for a happy ending?
As of 2009, Home Alone was the highest-grossing comedy of all time. It spawned a successful franchise, with four sequels and three video games, and with the main cast reprising their roles for the sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
Harry Potter series
Now I know there is nothing directly Christmas-y about these movies, but every holiday season, ABC never fails to run a marathon of Harry Potter and so over time, I have come to associate these movies with the holiday season.
Based on the infamous novels by author J. K. Rowling, the series is distributed by Warner Bros. and consists of 8 films beginning with Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone (2001) and culminating with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011).
In the first movie we are introduced to our loveable protagonist, Harry Potter, who is an orphaned boy brought up by his unfriendly aunt and uncle. At the age of eleven, half-giant Rubeus Hagrid informs him that he is actually a wizard and that his parents were murdered by an evil wizard named Lord Voldemort. Voldemort also attempted to kill one-year old Harry on the same night, but his killing curse mysteriously rebounded and reduced him to a weak and helpless form. Harry became extremely famous in the Wizarding World as a result. Harry begins his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and learns about magic. During the year, Harry and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger become entangled in the mystery of the Philosopher’s Stone which is being kept within the school.
In the second movie, Harry, Ron, and Hermione return to Hogwarts for their second year, which proves to be more challenging than the last. The Chamber of Secrets has been opened, leaving students and ghosts petrified by an unleashed monster. Harry must face up to claims that he is the heir of Salazar Slytherin (founder of the Chamber), learn that he can speak Parseltongue, and also discover the properties of a mysterious diary only to find himself trapped within the Chamber of Secrets itself.
Harry Potter’s third year sees the boy wizard, along with his friends, attending Hogwarts School once again. Professor R. J. Lupin joins the staff as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, while convicted murderer Sirius Black escapes from Azkaban Prison. The Ministry of Magic entrusts the Dementors of Azkaban to guard Hogwarts from Black. Harry learns more about his past and his connection with the escaped prisoner.
During Harry’s fourth year, the Dark Mark appears in the sky after a Death Eater attack at the Quidditch World Cup, Hogwarts plays host to a legendary event: the Triwizard Tournament, there is a new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor Alastor Moody and frequent nightmares bother Harry all year. Three European schools participate in the tournament, with three ‘champions’ representing each school in the deadly tasks. The Goblet of Fire chooses Fleur Delacour, Viktor Krum and Cedric Diggory to compete against each other. However, curiously, Harry’s name is also produced from the Goblet thus making him a fourth champion, which results in a terrifying encounter with a reborn Lord Voldemort.
Harry’s fifth year begins with him being attacked by Dementors in Little Whinging. Later, he finds out that the Ministry of Magic is in denial of Lord Voldemort’s return. Harry is also beset by disturbing and realistic nightmares, while Professor Umbridge, a representative of Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge, is the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Harry becomes aware that Voldemort is after a prophecy which reveals: “neither can live while the other survives”. Therefore, the rebellion involving the students of Hogwarts, secret organisation Order of the Phoenix, the Ministry of Magic, and the Death Eaters begins.
In Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts, Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters are increasing their terror upon the Wizarding and Muggle worlds. Headmaster Albus Dumbledore persuades his old friend Horace Slughorn to return to Hogwarts as a professor as there is a vacancy to fill. There is a more important reason, however, for Slughorn’s return. While in a Potions lesson, Harry takes possession of a strangely annotated school textbook, inscribed ‘This is the property of the Half-Blood Prince’. As romance and hormones lurk within the castle’s walls all year, Draco Malfoy struggles to carry out a deed presented to him by Voldemort. Meanwhile, Dumbledore and Harry secretly work together to discover the method on how to destroy the Dark Lord once and for all.
After unexpected events at the end of the previous year, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are entrusted with a quest to find and destroy Lord Voldemort’s secret to immortality – the Horcruxes. It is supposed to be their final year at Hogwarts, but the collapse of the Ministry of Magic and Voldemort’s rise to power prevents them from attending. The trio undergo a long adventure with many obstacles in their path including Death Eaters, Snatchers, the mysterious Deathly Hallows and Harry’s connection with the Dark Lord’s mind becoming ever stronger. After destroying one Horcrux and discovering the significance of the three Deathly Hallows, Harry, Ron and Hermione continue to seek the other Horcruxes in an attempt to destroy Voldemort, who has now obtained the Elder Wand. The Dark Lord discovers Harry’s hunt for Horcruxes and launches an attack on Hogwarts School, where the trio return for one last stand against the dark forces that threaten to rid the Wizarding World of non-magical heritage to achieve pure-blood dominance.
All the films have been a success financially and critically, and the series is noted by audiences for growing visually darker and more mature as each film was released.
Elf is a 2003 American Christmas comedy film directed by Jon Favreau and written by David Berenbaum. It stars Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Ed Asner, and Zooey Deschanel. It was released in the United States on November 7, 2003 and grossed $220,443,451 worldwide.
The story is about one of Santa’s elves who learns of his true identity as a human and goes to New York City to meet his biological father, spreading Christmas cheer in a world of cynics as he goes.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Clark Wilhelm Griswold had some disastrous vacations at both Wallyworld and in Europe. Now he wants to compensate for this by having a special “Griswold Family Christmas”, and after months of careful planning he invites both of his parents, both of his wife, Ellen’s parents even his uncle Louis and his senile aunt Bethany. However, what Clark does not realize that his no-manner cousin-in law Eddie was coming over in his new trailer. Clark even prepares his house for Christmas with over 20,000 lights and a tree that does not even fit in the living room. As Christmas eve comes, Clark will soon realize that a series of unfortunate events will start to unravel for him, as the Christmas Turkey would burst and have no meet, his aunt’s cat would chew on the lights and his uncle Louis will burn up his tree, and he will even soon discover that his boss have cut the Christmas bonus to give him a month in the jelly club, can Clark keep it together and understand the true meaning of Christmas?
The Santa Clause
The Santa Clause is a 1994 American fantasy family comedy film directed by John Pasquin. It stars Tim Allen as Scott Calvin, an ordinary man who accidentally causes Santa Claus to fall from his roof on Christmas Eve.
Scott Calvin is a 38-year-old advertising executive, who is also a father to his son Charlie. Charlie’s mother, Laura is a divorcee. After agreeing to spend time with Charlie on Christmas Eve they are awakened that night by sounds on the roof. After confronting a man on the roof, who inadvertently falls off when Scott startles him, then vanishes leaving his Santa Claus outfit behind, they discover eight reindeer on the roof and Charlie convinces Scott to put on the suit and finish Santa’s work for him. As the morning comes, the reindeer return to the North Pole to Santa’s Workshop, where the head elf Bernard explains that (due to a clausical contract written on a card Scott found on Santa); in putting on the suit and entering the sleigh, he has accepted the “Santa Clause” and has agreed to the responsibilities of that position. He tells a skeptical Scott that he has eleven months to get his affairs in order before reporting to the workshop at Thanksgiving permanently.
Scott awakens in his own bed on Christmas morning and believes the night before having been a dream, but the enthusiastic Charlie recounts several events he hadn’t told him and leaves him in doubt. After Charlie proudly tells his class that Scott is Santa Claus, his ex-wife Laura and her psychologist Neal confide their concerns and ask Scott to put a stop to this delusional fantasy. Not wanting to break Charlie’s heart, Scott tells him to keep the North Pole and everything they saw a secret. Over the course of the year, Scott gains a ravenous appetite for holiday cookies and milk (though previously he had been lactose intolerant) which causes him to gain an inordinate amount of weight seemingly overnight. He also begins losing the coloring of his hair, turning it stark white and long and he has a beard that keeps growing back the instant he tries to cut it off. He also begins to recount ‘naughty’ and ‘nice’ children by name after getting his “list” of children in the mail, as well as his own suit. These changes prompt further concern from Laura and Neal, who subsequently call to have Scott’s visitation rights removed. On Thanksgiving, Scott arrives to visit Charlie, but when Laura steps out of the room for a moment, Bernard comes and takes them away to the North Pole, leading her to believe Scott had kidnapped him. Later, Laura confides that she stopped believing in Santa when she was eight, when he failed to give her a board game Mystery Date for Christmas, while Neal, at three years old stopped believing when Santa didn’t give him an Oscar Meyer Weenie Whistle he wanted.
On Christmas, Scott begins delivering presents, and is arrested when entering one of his houses, leaving Charlie stranded in the sleigh on the roof. The E.L.F.S. (Effective Liberating Flight Squad) is called and rescues Charlie and frees Scott from prison. Scott returns to take Charlie home, and manages to convince Laura and Neal of his new identity by giving them the gifts they asked for as children. Laura destroys the court order against Scott and tells him that he can visit Charlie anytime he wants. After a very public departure, Charlie tries to use a snowglobe that Bernard had given him to summon Scott to him and Scott arrives. After getting Laura’s permission for a sleigh ride with his father, Charlie and he head out to continue Santa’s deliveries.
…and finally last, but definitely not the least:
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
There are numerous adaptations of Dr. Seuss’ beloved story of a bitter, grouchy, cave-dwelling creature who is set to destroy Christmas for the unsuspecting happy-go-lucky citizens of Whoville. The Grinch is known to have a heart which is literally “two sizes too small” and lives on snowy Mount Crumpit, a steep high mountain just north of Whoville, home of the merry and warm-hearted Whos. His only companion is his unloved, but loyal dog, Max. From his perch high atop, the Grinch can hear the noisy Christmas festivities that take place in Whoville. Annoyed, he decides to stop Christmas from coming by stealing their presents, trees, and food for their Christmas feast. He crudely disguises himself as Santa Claus, and forces poor Max, disguised as a reindeer (by tying an antler from a deer plaque on the wall to his head), to drag a sleigh to Whoville, where he slides down the chimney and steals all of the Whos’ Christmas presents, the Christmas tree, and the log for their fire. (He is briefly interrupted in his burglary by Cindy Lou, a little Who girl, but concocts a crafty lie to effect his escape from her home.) The Grinch then takes his sleigh to the top of Mount Crumpit, and prepares to dump all of the presents into the abyss. As dawn breaks, he expects to hear the Whos’ bitter and sorrowful cries, but is confused to hear them singing a joyous Christmas song instead. He puzzles for a moment until it dawns upon him that perhaps Christmas is more than presents and feasting: “Maybe Christmas, he thought, means a little bit more.” The Grinch’s shrunken heart suddenly grows three sizes larger. The reformed Grinch returns all of the Whos’ presents and trimmings and is warmly invited to the Whos’ feast, where he has the honor of carving the Roast Beast.
There are so many other movies I could list here, but I think this post is never ending in its own right. What are your favourite go-to Christmas movies for this time of year?
Let me know and wishing you all a happy Christmukka, loves!