The best Christmas films to watch ahead of New Year’s Eve 2018

All the best Christmas films and Christmas movies to watch in 2018

Wondering what movies to stream this Christmas? We’ve gone ahead and ranked the best of the best for your viewing pleasure right through New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day – the holidays aren’t over yet, after all!

Spending time with friends and family is fun and all, but let’s face it, one of the best things to do over the holiday is to grab yourself some cocoa (or mulled wine for the adults), dive under a blanket and pop on your favourite Christmas movie. Of course, everyone has their own favourite from the genre, but you’d have to be a real Grinch to disagree with the quality of the entries on this list – even if you might not agree on the ordering.

So let’s break out the mince pies and dive into the best Christmas movies to watch this December.

10) Love Actually

Available on: Netflix

For a good while, anything that Director/Screenwriter Richard Curtis produced turned to gold. Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’ Diary are all considered modern classics of British cinema, and yet none are so fondly remembered as his take on the Christmas rom-com, Love Actually.

Boasting a star-studded cast with the likes of Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson, Love Actually takes a kaleidoscopic look at Christmas by offering several stories that approach the topic of love in a unique way. What really helps to sell the whole thing is Craig Armstrong’s sweeping score which kicks in at the just the right time for maximum emotional distress. I’m not crying, you are!

9) Elf

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

elf

Before he became a Disney darling, Jon Favreau made the little Christmas movie that could with Elf. Who would have thought that Will Ferell dressed as a giant elf would become a roaring success? And yet, Elf has gone on to be one of the most renowned Christmas movies of the last two decades.

The only reason Elf isn’t higher on this list is that, unlike some of the other entries here, it doesn’t offer too much for the adults in the room. This is a movie that proudly aims to please a younger audience, of which it does so terrifically through intricate stage design, great casting and of course, Buddy’s love of sugar.

8) Arthur Christmas

Available on: Netflix

The most recent film on this list, Arthur Christmas took me by surprise when I first saw it. After the somewhat mediocre Flushed Away, I was worried that Aardman Animations (the company behind Chicken Run) had lost its way, but I’m more than happy to say that Arthur Christmas proved me wrong in so many ways.

Offering a fresh take on the Christmas holiday, this animated caper sees three generations of Santa Clause bump heads after discovering that a single child has been overlooked on Christmas Eve. In typical Aardman style, there’s plenty of great humour here for kids and adults alike. Pay particular attention to the background of any given shot as you’re sure to find a gag hidden in plain sight.

7) Scrooged

Available on: Now TV

I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for anything that has Bill Murray in it. Before he was singing Christmas carols for Netflix, Bill took on a far more recognisable Christmas story with Scrooged. Flipping the Charles Dickens tale on its head, Scrooged is full of profanity, guns, explosions and drinking – definitely not for the kids in the audience.

One of the best things about Scrooged is its practical effects, most of which range from somewhat terrifying to oh-my-goodness, I’ll be having nightmares for a week. The standout example for me is the raging innards of the Ghost of Christmas Future, which stills feels like the best visual representation to date of what hell might actually look like. Merry Christmas everyone!

6) How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Available on: DVD & Blu-ray

I know, some people hate this movie. If you grew up watching the quaint 1966 cartoon adaption of The Grinch, then this Jim Carrey led bonanza will seem jarring to say the least. But if you’re willing to give it a chance, you’ll find one of the best comedic performances of the 2000s.

Chewing up every piece of scenery he’s given, Jim Carrey’s Grinch is so quotable that any drinking game could leave you hospitalised within the first 30 minutes of viewing. Plus, you have to give the man credit – trying to act with that much makeup on must have been task unto itself.

5) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Available on: Now TV

lampoon christmas

Nothing spells Christmas quite like Chevy Chase losing his mind and brandishing a chainsaw. Who would have thought that the only entry in the Vacation series to feature barely any travelling would also turn out to be one of its best films? You can’t help but sympathise with Clark Griswold, after all, who hasn’t desperately tried to enact the perfect Christmas at some point or another?

Even though the audience is largely on Griswold’s side, it’s no less entertaining to see his plans of holiday bliss fall completely to the wayside thanks to a squirrel, an overcooked turkey and eventually, an entire SWAT team. Repeat viewings are a must.

4) The Muppet Christmas Carol

Available on: Now TV

The Muppets went through a brief spell in the 1990s of adapting classic works of fiction to the big screen. 1996 brought us Muppet Treasure Island while four years prior, audiences were treated to The Muppet Christmas Carol. Reinventing the classic Scrooge tale with some musical Muppet flavour, The Muppet Christmas Carol is just so charming it hurts.

From the first pounding drums of Scrooge’s introduction (played by none other than Michael Caine) to the sweeping notes of It Feels Like Christmas, Muppet Christmas Carol has you in its hooks. If you’ve already seen the film, then I highly recommend returning to the sing-along edition for optimum Christmassy goodness.

3) Die Hard

Available on: Now TV

Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie and I’ll prove it to you. In the same vein of Home Alone’s message about the importance of reconciling with family over Christmas, John McClane is so determined to do just that, that he’s ready to take down a small army of terrorists in the process. If that doesn’t scream holiday spirit, then I don’t know what to tell you.

Outside of Die Hard’s Christmas antics, there’s no denying that it’s just a damn good action film. McClane is a total badass but the tension never lives up, always giving you the impression that something could go wrong at any moment. Buckle in for a Christmas story like no other.

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2) It’s a Wonderful Life

Available on: Now TV

A lot of people might not realise that upon its initial release, critics slated It’s a Wonderful Life for being corny, and as one critic put it: “To make his points [Frank Capra] always takes an easy, simple-minded path that doesn’t give much credit to the intelligence of the audience.” Of course, nostalgia has been kind to Capra’s production, and it is now one of the most celebrated Christmas movies of all time.

James Stewart always had an endearing on-screen presence, but it never felt more at home than with his portrayal of George Bailey. The man’s eternal optimism in the face of adversity is exactly why so many people have gravitated towards the film over the years. A true classic of American cinema.

1) Home Alone

Available on: DVD & Blu-ray

If Google’s recent Christmas commercial isn’t enough of a give away – everyone flippin’ loves Home Alone (myself included). John Hughes always had a knack for plucking at everyone’s heartstrings, helped by unforgettable characters and dialogue that’s still quoted to this day, and the domestic antics of Kevin McCallister are no exception.

Everything here is perfect, from Macaulay Culkin’s turn as the boy wonder himself, to the hilarious reactions from the Wet Bandits as they’re pummelled by Kevin’s traps – Home Alone never makes a misstep.

There’s no denying that as you get older, you begin to empathise more with McCallister’s mother and his next-door neighbour, but the charm of seeing the world through a child’s eyes never wears off. Merry Christmas ya filthy animals!

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