Christmas 2021: 9 Best Movies To Get You In The Festive Mood
- It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
- Die Hard (1988)Die Hard (1988)
- The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
- Love Actually (2003)Love Actually (2003)
- Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)
- Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
- A Bramble House Christmas (2017)A Bramble House Christmas (2017)
- The Holiday (2007)The Holiday (2007)
- A Christmas Carol (2009)A Christmas Carol (2009)
From black-and-white classics to cheesy Hallmark movies, this list of Tatler editors' favourite Christmas movies is sure to bring some festive cheer
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
"Is it maudlin? Yes. Is it syrupy? Yes. Is it still one of the greatest and most uplifting movies of all time? Definitely yes. Frank Capra’s classic, with Jimmy Stewart in an unforgettable turn in his everyman role, is as relevant today as it was over 70 years ago simply because its story is one that resonated then and will continue to resonate for all time: that we all have the power to touch the lives of those around us and make their world a better place.
I watch it every Christmas and it never gets old."
—Marc Lourdes, Regional Director of Digital Content
Die Hard (1988)
"There's Christmas movie, and there's Die Hard. Opinions are divided about its qualification as a family-friendly fare for the festive season, but think about it: it's set at a Christmas party, there are presents and jingles, snowfall, and plenty of fireworks–the latter courtesy of the explosive action. The set-up is riveting, setting a new benchmark for action movies in the '80s. Action star Bruce Willis injects a regular guy charm and wit to his John McClane. It also features the late Alan Rickman in his first-ever movie role and his character Hans Gruber, menacing yet restrained, has gone down in history as one of the best movie villains.
What else is there to say but yippee-ki-yay!"
—Brian Cheong, Digital Editor
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
"Is this a Christmas movie or a Halloween movie? Who cares! It’s a lot of fun to watch at any time of year. Watching Jack, the skeleton king of Halloween Town and his merry mob of monsters try to understand Christmas is hilarious and strangely touching. The music by Danny Elfman is catchy and delightful. The stop motion effects are cute. And if you’re one of those serious types who must analyse everything, this Tim Burton-produced movie is a chilling parable of the dangers of cultural appropriation."
—Terence Toh, Dining Editor
Love Actually (2003)
"Ensemble cast aside, Love Actually can make even the coldest, greenest chambers of all Grinches’ hearts melt with its “Awww..”-inducing moments and big romantic gestures (read: dramatic cue cards love declaration scene). Not only does it have a wholesome British appeal, but it’s also peppered with so many profound insights: love actually is all around in all shapes and forms, and it transcends race, language, and age. The best part is (spoiler alert!) every character gets their happy ending by the end, making this every bit a festive film that it is. It’s a feel-good flick that’ll make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside—just like the season of Christmas should!
Love Actually, to me, you are perfect."
—Lainey Loh, Digital Director
Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)
"The fact that it starts and ends with Christmas makes it the ultimate seasonal movie to watch for me. It’s peppered with loveable characters, memorable scenes (the fight scene, hello!), awesome soundtrack, and a delicious love triangle. Hugh Grant’s smooth-talking Daniel Cleaver is the perfect counterfoil to Colin Firth’s straight-laced Mr Darcy—but boy, the man can cook and kiss!
Anyway, Bridget’s (played to perfection by Renee Zellweger) personal discoveries about herself as she muddles through life make this a relatable movie that’s one for the ages. I never ever get tired watching it. It's the best movie to watch with your besties or even alone with a tub of ice cream."
—Elizabeth Soong, Print Editor
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
"I firmly believe that no Christmas movie list isn't complete with this classic from the '90s. I remember watching Home Alone 2 many times as a child. There's something special about this movie as it captures their child-like imagination about what it would be like to be separated from family and experience New York City on your own. It answers the question I had as a kid: what if you could stay at a classy hotel, visit a massive toy store, and just be a tourist in the big city. Macaulay Culkin's performance truly captures this magical experience and there are, of course, lots of physical comedy from the likes of Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, who return as the two bungling burglars from the first movie and are back for more.
In many ways, Home Alone 2 upscales the fantasy of every kid from being alone at home to being alone in the big city. Still, as any good Christmas movie should be, it is all about finding meaning in reconnecting with your family during this festive season."
—Chong Jinn Xiung, Editor of Generation T, Malaysia
A Bramble House Christmas (2017)
"You know it's Christmas in my house when Andy William's Christmas album is playing on full blast and cheesy, romantic Christmas movies light up our screens with their predictably happy endings. It's hard to pick a favourite, but my most watched Christmas movie to date is A Bramble House Christmas, a Hallmark film about a down-on-her-luck nurse and single mum who 'inherits' an all-expenses paid Christmas vacation from her elderly patient in his will.
Full disclosure: Rom-com addicts like me have already started watching our Christmas movie playlists since July!"
—Tania Jayatilaka, Senior Digital Writer
The Holiday (2007)
"Nancy Meyers is the master of a feel-good movie and her debut Christmas film, The Holiday is no different. As usual, her leading ladies were the perfect choice, with Cameron Diaz playing Amanda Woods, an uptight movie trailer producer in Los Angeles and Kate Winslet as Iris Simpkins, an insecure newspaper columnist in London. Both lovelorn during the Christmas season, they decide to swap homes to escape their lives for two weeks. Hilarity, heart-warming moments and of course, romance ensues.
However, romance is not the best part of The Holiday. For me, it would have to be the friendships that develop in the movie between Amanda and Iris and more importantly, Iris and the charming 90-year-old former screenwriter who lives in the neighbourhood, Arthur Abbott, played by the late Eli Wallach. And it would be criminal to not give a shout-out to the dreamy set design of Iris's quaint Rosehill cottage in snowy Surrey as well as world-renowned film score composer Hans Zimmer's amazing soundtrack, which pulls everything together."
—Zue Wei Leong, Digital Writer
See also: 5 Shakespeare-Inspired Movies To Watch
A Christmas Carol (2009)
"I can’t for the life of me remember the first time I watched this Christmas classic but I remember as a child being unsettled by that one scene where (spoiler alert!) the present meets future. Growing up watching Jim Carrey, who also starred in another quintessential holiday film as another green and mean grump, I had to give this a go. While it’s essentially a ghost story with a morality trope, both Carrey and Gary Oldman’s performances were top-tier, even through a 3D motion picture.
An aside for fellow literary historians who want to revisit the film: intentionally or otherwise, Dickens’ work could be interpreted as social commentary, as it was set during the last legs of the Industrial Revolution, where child labour was still permitted and the division between classes had never been farther apart. I hope that doesn't take the magic out of this fairy-tale!"
—Koyyi Chin, Print Writer