Festive films: Curl up and melt into these classics

Eimear O’Connor roasts chestnuts on an open fire as she settles down to her all time favourite Christmas movies.

After stuffing yourself full of more turkey than is physically possible, what’s better than collapsing onto your couch and watching that films that frequent our screens once a year? From the old time classics to the new and animated, Christmas isn’t Christmas without them, so here’s my top 10.

The Snowman

In 1982, this charming children’s book was turned into a film of equal charm and magic. With a runtime of just 24 minutes this film has been brightening up Christmas’ for years. The only words uttered in this movie are the lyrics of the iconic song ‘We’re Walking in the Air’. Most unfortunately this song now probably conjures up the image of an envelope floating through the snow filled air in the ad for An Post. Yet as we are reminded of the moment when the snowman melts, our heart cannot help but melt with it.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Santa gets fired and put on trial. As odd as that sounds this film leaves you feeling all warm and full of Christmas cheer. Natalie Wood, who would later go on to play Maria in West Side Story, is absolutely adorable, and alongside the incomparable Maureen O’ Hara, the cast effortlessly creates this festive masterpiece. And hey, what else says Christmas like the twinkle in St. Nick’s eye?

The Santa Clause

Cranky cynic turned good – a formula that has taken hold on Christmas movies. Maybe the killing of Santa and having to take his place is this film’s unique twist. Laced with comedy, it allows a nice break from the ‘awww-ing’ which accompanies most other homely Christmas flicks.

Home Alone

The blonde headed Macaulay Culkin saving the contents of his house from two evil burglars after his parents forgot him when they were going on holidays, doesn’t that just spell ‘recipe for success’? But once you look beyond the obvious need for the intervention social services, what Christmas would be complete without the trademark screaming face?

Love Actually

You either love this film or hate it. It begins five weeks before Christmas and gradually counts down to the big day. This film is telling the story of a variety of characters and weaving their lives together in some way, making a complicated web that’s played down by the lovely warm feeling you get from romcoms.

How the Grinch stole Christmas

Jim Carey, a green monster, Dr. Seuss and a whole load of Whos. Once again the cynic turned good formula. It is however, the Cyndi Lou Who who captures the hearts of the audience… Cue awwww-ing…


Ok ok, not technically a Christmas movie but what’s Christmas without the epic love story of Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater? The plot of this film doesn’t need spelling out but I defy anyone not to be moved as Jack sinks beneath the waves. It graces our screens each year and never let’s down as a way of passing yet another enjoyable day on the sofa with a tin of chocolates at hand.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

So Santa is usurped and Jack replaces the traditional sleigh and reindeers with a coffin-like sleigh and skeletal reindeer. But all in all, Jack captures the spirit of Christmas…kind of. It started out as a Tim Burton poem and is now a classic Tim Burton film. It’s made its way successfully into the hearts of Christmas lovers and haters alike, now that is a success!

The Muppet Christmas Carol

An adaption of Charles Dickens literary classic taken over by the Muppets. Michael Caine stars as Scrooge as Kermit and Miss Piggy and company attempt to show him the meaning of Christmas. Heart warming and spirited, just what’s needed on those cold Christmas nights.

It’s a Wonderful Life

James Stewart, need I say any more? Although this film deals with a grim subject, the iconic scene of Stewart running down the street wishing everyone a Merry Christmas is definitely an iconic Christmas moment. The message in this film is very clear, no matter how insignificant you think yourself you can’t but touch the lives of people around you and that’s definitely always worth a mention.

Don’t pass up on any others though, there are loads of films that I’m regretting not putting in and I know that everyone has their own favourites. So, my advice to you: get a good TV guide and there’s no need to leave your television all Christmas, just release your inner child/slob.

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