As students, Christmas is a time for us to relax. Unless you’re a third year like me and the build up to Christmas is nothing but stress, stress, stress. Whether or not you can find the time, getting wrapped up in Christmas festivities is really exciting. And if you are as stressed as me, it’s a Christmas miracle when you can carve out time to unwind and feel festive without making the trip to the nearest markets or catching up on some last-minute Christmas shopping (although both of those alternatives are amazing too). These are six of the best Christmas films that’ll transport you right back to your childhood.
Disclaimer: If you haven’t seen any of these films, proceed with caution guys; my descriptions include spoilers.
In sixth place comes Jack Frost (1998).
Emotional train wreck. I watched this film many a time when I was young and it made me cry every single time. You witness Michael Keaton as the loving father of one tragically die in a car crash on his way back to his family only for him to return soon after as the front-garden snowman. Yes, I know it sounds silly, but remember: this is a film for kids. You watch a wife mourn her husband and a son fight against all critics to keep his father’s memory, and snowman vessel, alive. Christmas time is family time and there’s nothing better than taking a trip down memory lane and watching Jack Frost with your mum and dad.
Fifth place goes to Home Alone (1990).
It’s been over 20 years since its release… Feel old yet? Regardless, who doesn’t love this classic? We love it for many reasons. Before becoming a world-renowned drug addict, Macaulay Culkin was nothing short of squishy-cheek adorable child actor; Joe Pesci as Harry and Daniel Stern as Marv are basically a real-life cameo of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum; and, of course, man-of-the-year President-Elect Donald Trump was considerate enough to not completely ruin our childhood until the second film. Yay!
Fourth place can’t be dominated by anything other than Elf (2003).
Comic actor Will Ferrell plays the wide-eyed beloved sweetheart we’ve come to know as Buddy the Elf. This classic chronicles Buddy’s passage to The Big Apple after he outgrows the North Pole. Alongside one of our favourite characters, we journey to find and bond with Buddy’s real father as he comes to terms with realising he is not, in fact, a real elf.
Third place is stolen by The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).
Musical numbers galore. For me, musicals are everything. And, honestly, if you don’t think so too, that’s your problem. Combine a musical with director genius Tim Burton and you have Christmas gold. Jack Skellington falls down the wormhole to find himself in Christmas Town (I know, original right?). Like most of us, he’s enchanted by the magic that is Christmas and abducts Santa in order to deliver the presents himself. A mash-up of Halloween and Christmas, you’ll find yourself singing at the top of your lungs. Sing with me: “What’s this? What’s this? There’s something very wrong. What’s this? There are people singing songs.”
Swooping in at second place is none other than Miracle on 34th Street (1994).
Based on the 1947 classic tale, this remake never fails to bring me tears, joy and a little bit of Christmas hope. Six-year-old Susan Walker has doubts about every child’s Christmas hero, Santa Claus. Richard Attenborough, the late brother of nation’s sweetheart David Attenborough, plays a last-minute department-store Santa who believes he’s the real thing. As a man with unwavering faith, he turns a child’s world upside-down and reminds us, as the viewers, to have a little hope, love our family and believe in something special every once in a while. If it doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, I give you permission to complain to me directly.
And the champion of all champions, Polar Express (2004).
Two words: Tom Hanks. Any film with this guy in is going to soar. With Polar Express, you can tag along on an epic journey to the North Pole. Much like Susan Walker, a young and doubtful boy embarks on a voyage of self-discovery that leads him to concede Christmas miracles can happen and only good can come of having faith in the world around you. We give thanks to Hollywood for making Chris Van Allsburg’s charming story a symphony of Christmas cheer.